The Jane Sumner Collection

25th April 2021

Her career as a dealer in antique furniture and works of art spanned over 50 years and included Princess Margaret among her clients. Now, following her death last year, the estate of Jane Sumner has been sold at auction in Salisbury.

The sale followed that of the estate of her late partner, John Braund, which was sold in July 2019 for over £130,000. Trading as Turpin Antiques (the name taken from their original premises in Thaxted which was reputed to have been a haunt of the highwayman, Dick Turpin) the pair exhibited at a number of major antique fairs, as well as operating shops in Essex and London.

120 lots of furniture, treen and works of art from Jane’s estate came under the hammer at Woolley and Wallis on 20th April. Furniture specialist, Mark Yuan-Richards, said the sale was bittersweet. “Losing Jane so soon after John’s death was a blow for her family and, with their decades of experience, it is similarly a loss to the furniture trade. However, like many dealers they both squirreled away the best pieces for their own collections over the years and it has been a real joy to catalogue Jane’s collection. From the wholesomeness of 17th century country oak pieces to the more refined lines of Regency furniture there is almost certainly something to suit the tastes of every collector.”

Among the highlights of the collection were a carved oak panel decorated with a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which sold for £11,250, a late 17th century marquetry chest of drawers at £20,000, a brass-studded leather chest previously featured in Country Life magazine, which sold for £7,500, and a George I walnut armchair that sold for £10,000. In total the collection sold for £195,000, with only six of the 120 lots on offer failing to find a buyer.

“There was a lot of diversity in Jane’s collection, reflecting her eye for quality and decorative appeal,” continued Yuan-Richards. “There was much to appeal to private collectors and demand on the day reflected that seen 18 months ago when the sale rate for John Braund’s collection stood at 97%.”

The collection made an excellent start to the long-awaited two day auction, which had been postponed from 13th January. With a sell rate of just over 86%, the whole sale realised £885,000. Although the auction was widely viewed in the preceding days, the sale itself saw few people in the room, with much of the action being carried out online or via the telephone. 


Prices quoted include buyer's premium at 25%.

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