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YORKSHIRE CASTLE TO BE HQ OF UK's CENTRE FOR EARLY FURNITURE AND ART

The UK's first specialist centre dedicated to the English country house, early oak furniture and related master works of art is opening its headquarters and galleries at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire, with a celebratory summer exhibition and auction from 19th to 24th June 2016.

CEFA (the Centre for Early Furniture and Art) is committed to the supply of items from the 16th to 19th century 'oak period' and later revivals.

The long-awaited establishment has generated immediate interest and attention, with support from eminent academics, historians and collectors.

Louise Forster, CEFA’s founder and director, explains: “England and oak have an exciting and important relationship and it is this core focus that provides the inspiration for the centre.

“Our experts have a shared drive to establish foundations for the appreciation of the English tradition of furniture making that began in the Middle Ages. This tradition engaged only organic material and produced items that often speak volumes about the lives and thoughts of the craftsman involved in their production.”

The CEFA is opening in two stages.  Stage one is now complete, with auctions taking place and offices open to the public for processing sale entries and valuations.

Stage two, due for completion in 2017, will add two further bespoke galleries to the site, allowing for continuous exhibitions to be on view between sales.  The potential for attracting increased numbers of national and international visitors to the region has also been welcomed by the local community.

CEFA's opening reception will take place in the castle on 19th June, with the first sale on Friday 24th June. Among the lots consigned for CEFA sales are a rare 17th century child's press cupboard, and a spectacular European marriage portrait of a young noblewoman, with bejewelled bodice and elaborate pearl headdress (circa 1650), which has an estimate in excess of £60,000.

Rare 17th century child's press cupboard

Rare 17th century child's press cupboard


European marriage portrait of a young noblewoman, with bejewelled bodice and pearl headdress (circa 1650)

European marriage portrait of a young noblewoman, with bejewelled bodice and elaborate pearl headdress (circa 1650)


Heading up the sale are two of the country's most prominent auction experts, Philip Duckworth and Richard Edwards.

Philip Duckworth, a director and auctioneer at Christie’s with 30 years’ experience in the furniture department at Phillips (now Bonhams), said: “Our concept is to set the bar for this specialist field and give the world of country furniture a focussed auction supply. The aim is to source the best pieces available for our sales, whilst promoting an understanding of this period through reliable, transparent and expert cataloguing.”

Richard Edwards, CEFA lead auctioneer and general valuer, has worked extensively in the furniture departments at Sotheby’s and Doyle in New York, then at Addisons of Barnard Castle, where he was director. He comments: “Swinton Park provides the perfect backdrop for the CEFA preview exhibitions and specialist sales. Buyers have the opportunity to view lots in the calm of an English stately home setting, whilst enjoying the facilities and services of a luxury hotel. Already this has proven to be a much-favoured visit for antique and art collectors both nationally and internationally.”

CEFA's long-term mission is to provide the best possible service for buyers and sellers alike, while demonstrating a geniune passion for their work.

Condition reports and detail provided for buyers at CEFA exceeds the norm, providing a level of confidence, comfort and reassurance in CEFA's cataloguing, in a time when buying items remotely online and unseen is becoming increasingly popular.

“The excitement of buying from auctions and the opportunities they create for procuring a bargain or an undiscovered gem will always be part of the appeal,” said Richard Edwards. “However, it is luck on the day and the ever-changing position of specialist markets, which create the most significant of bargains and windfall opportunities for auction buyers.

“The CEFA sales are on-track to create excitement and opportunities in terms of historical, cultural and entrepreneurial focus and we are thrilled to be involved in putting these important foundation stones in place for the long-term benefit of the subject,” he added.

For further information, please contact Marella Darvill, Senior Auction Administrator on 01765 688940 or email marella.darvill@cefa.auction.

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