A spotlight on Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson (1876-1955)

A spotlight on Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson (1876-1955)

Robert Thompson better known as ‘Mouseman’ was born in North Yorkshire in 1876. Son of the village carpenter, he was sent off to become a trainee engineer at a young age but soon returned with a greater understanding of design and took over the running of the family business after the sad passing of his father.

Thompson took his first commission in 1919 from the church in Ampleforth. He quickly earned himself a fine reputation as a craftsman and his order book flourished as he produced many of the iconic designs that are still in production today. The use of the adze for shaping and smoothing surfaces gave his furniture its distinctive rippled appearance, however, he is best known for the ‘Mouseman’ trademark. The Mouse signature began life in the 1920’s and 30’s with front paws, however, this was adapted, and the front paws dropped after this period.

In a letter written by Thompson he wrote
‘The origin of the mouse as my mark was almost in the way of being an accident. I and another carver were carving a huge cornice for a screen and he happened to say something about being as poor as a church mouse. I said I will carve a mouse here and did so, and then it struck me, what a lovely trademark.’
Mouseman furniture has been in production for over a century and is still made by the family-run firm today, employing many of the traditional techniques used by Thompson.

Mouseman furniture is increasingly popular with buyers from the UK and overseas, and demand at auction is at an all-time high. Anderson & Garland have the pleasure of offering two classic lots of Mouseman furniture, dating from the mid-20th Century, in our September Country House and Fine Interiors auction. If you would like to discuss furniture with our resident expert valuer Iain Byatt-Smith, please get in touch today.



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