Late 19h c
From the Roger Warner collection. Roger Warner was a leading figure in the world of antiques and fine art with a career spanning the golden age of antique dealing and collecting.
of pale blue satin finely embroidered with mauve and green leaves and couching in gold wrapped silk, the reverse in lemon satin written in black ink with caligraphy, bounded with hand woven red and green plaid ribbon, the top of black satin with a fine hand woven braid , tassels of pink, green, blue and yellow twisted silks and endless knots, 2 3/4 or 7 cm d.
Very good. Just one small and two pinprick holes to bottom of blue side.
The Times Obituary on 6 June, 2008 commented. From an Elizabethan house in Burford High Street in the Cotswolds, where he set up shop in 1936, he was in touch with many of the world’s leading museums and connoisseurs, contributing to the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, George Fox’s home at Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria, Temple Newsam House in West Yorkshire, Leeds (which displays a textile collection under his name) and Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire, now the National Trust’s most visited country house. Indeed, its eccentric owner Charles Wade proposed partnership with Warner, recognising a shared eclecticism of taste and an enthusiasm for the extraordinary. Private customers included Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, Walt Disney, Mrs Graham Greene, Bruce Chatwin, Christopher Fry, Peter Ustinov and Nancy Lancaster, the designer of gardens and interiors, and her business partner John Fowler. A special interest in dolls, dolls’ houses and period costume brought a special type of customer. Lord Redesdale’s daughters, the Mitford sisters, were regular Saturday visitors, embarrassing the young bachelor shopkeeper by trying on frocks in the middle of the showroom. One day in 1938 they brought their sister Unity, sporting a black eye and generally the worse for wear, wanting “to buy a dress to cheer her up” after she had been attacked at a Fascist rally in Hyde Park. Roger Harold Metford Warner’s father died before his son was born. His grandfather, Metford Warner, ran Jeffrey & Co, wallpaper manufacturer, which hand-printed William Morris’s designs. On his mother’s side he was descended from the Sowerby family, who were noted Gateshead glassmakers. His taste was influenced by an aunt, Olivia Sowerby, the daughter of the Victorian poet Alice Meynell. Warner’s education was spasmodic, provided by successive private tutors through a childhood marked by illness. His only training in antiques came as a pupil of Fred Wilson, a lecturer at the V&A, after which he worked briefly at an antiques shop in Paddington before setting up on his own. Warner was a birthright member of the Society of Friends and devoted himself to Quaker causes. As a pacifist he joined the Friends War Victims Relief Committee in 1940 and helped to set up and equip evacuation hostels. At the end of the war he ran a Friends Relief Service team in the Netherlands. His ethical beliefs undoubtedly coloured his buying and selling. He was implacably opposed to “the ring”, a loose and dubious association of dealers who would agree not to compete at auctions in order to keep prices artificially low. Their term for him, “the old Quaker”, implied an eventual if grudging respect. His reputation for fair pricing brought many private sellers to his door, particularly the impoverished aristocracy who would, for example, finance extravagant parties by getting Warner to buy valuable furnishings on condition that they were left in the house until the festivities were over. Warner never tired of showing customers and friends around his shop and collection. He was often as interested in the history of an object as he was in its quality, and he would clinch deals with a highly personal showmanship that flattered the customer and glamourised the article: “I’ve never seen the like before. And costing you . . .” He was passionate about antiques, and, like any hunter, lived partly for the thrill of the chase. It was no doubt this infectious enthusiasm that led to an invitation in 1965 from Arthur Negus to appear on Going for a Song, the forerunner of The Antiques Roadshow, as a visiting expert alongside two non-expert celebrities. This was in the heady days of live broadcasting, and Warner clocked up more than 12 appearances, striking up brief but sparky acquaintance with Alan Coren (obituary, October 20, 2007), Humphrey Lyttelton (obituary, April 28, 2008), Alan Bennett and Diana Dors. The BBC contact led to a documentary programme in 1972 with Bernard Price, recording Warner’s purchase of the contents of an ironmonger’s shop in Presteigne, Powys, which had unsold stock going back to the 1840s. Warner’s marriage to Ruth Hurcombe, a South African botanist, produced a son and two daughters. He closed the Burford shop in 1983 after 47 years to concentrate on his garden, his exceptional private collection and a written account of his career, which was published as Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Antique Dealer by the Regional Furniture Society in 2003. His wife died in January 2007. He is survived by his three children. Roger Warner, antiques dealer, was born on May 3, 1913. He died on May 13, 2008, aged 95