These three sofas have all sold at Christies in London over the past six months - the drab upholstered version in late 2008 - with estimates of £2,000 to £3,000. All were made in the first 30 odd years of the 20th century by Howard & Son of Berners Street. All of them are supremely comfortable but do they warrant the prices they achieved at auction; the 1st made £16,250, the 2nd made £13,125 and the 3rd £8,125. All need re-upholstery and lets assume that they probably require their frames re-glueing too.....perhaps another £2,000 plus each.
The firm were a well-known and patronised cabinetmakers throughout the Victorian era, stamping nearly all their furniture, which was of a good if not spectacular quality. However, it only seems to be recently that their real forte has begun to be appreciated; the supreme comfort and elegance of their sofas and armchairs.
So why the huge prices for old sofas that have been copied by everyone from George Sherlock - http://www.georgesherlock.com/product/Edward+Sofa - to Soane - http://www.soane.co.uk/Shop/Details.aspx?Product=BunnySofaEnlarged - which are nigh on identical and copied exactly from the originals. Why these huge prices? Sadly, I'm unable to give an answer but it intrigues me. I've sat in them and they really are the perfect place to watch television from but........ Oh and I'd forgotten that we are supposed to be in recession and only the most important works of art and furniture are still making majot prices.