Ann Howse

Each week, in my search for the antique, I travel the highways and byways of Yorkshire and Derbyshire meeting the old and the young, the eccentric and odd and the happy and the sad. I love every single minute of it. As I wake and jump excitedly from my bed each morning I have no idea what joys are in store for me.

Over the years I have met and known some amazing people. I deal with a great many deceased estates and so meet hundreds of relatives and friends of amazing people. Some relatives are truly awful and very unkind, most however are lovely. Friends are always lovely. Recently I was lucky enough to meet a friend of the recently deceased Ann Howse.

From the Ann Howse Estate; A modern art mineral sculpture of a kneeling figure.

Ann Howse was born in Hull and became a sculptress and artist of some talent. Always on the move, Ann’s family finally settled in Sheffield where Ann went to school and eventually to the Sheffield College of Art. From there her talent gained her entry to The Royal College of Art in London. After college Ann eventually acquired a studio in West Hampstead, from where she exhibited at the Woodstock Gallery. During her working life Ann received many commissions from tiny wooden models to six foot high concrete sculptures.

Ann Howse was one of life’s eccentrics who loved the antique I spend my days searching for and who had a talent which is largely still undiscovered. Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder and an opportunity to see the beauty of Ann Howse’s work can be had on August 21st when we offer for auction a number of pieces in our Antiques and Collectables auction.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Ashford Marble

During the 19th Century the marble works at Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire became a tourist attraction as demand soared following the outstanding success of Ashford Marble at the Great Exhibition in 1851. The Royal household exhibited three exceptional inlaid black marble tables made at the workshops of T. Woodruff, Bakewell – which it was said even rivalled the work of Italian Masters.

Following Prince Albert’s death in 1861, Queen Victoria went into mourning which resulted in the fashion and taste for black clothing and adornments. This popularised Whitby Jet Jewellery and Ashford Marble. However, Queen Victoria was long familiar with Ashford Marble.

Having stayed at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, with its marble interiors and massive marble doorways, this inspired a visit to the Ashford Marble Works in 1832, where a number of purchases were made. Even earlier than this, Bess of Hardwick used Ashford Marble for the chimney piece in the Great High Presence Chamber, when building Hardwick Hall in 1580.

After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, the popularity and demand for black marble began to diminish and sadly, with the introduction of cheaper substitutes (painted designs on treated slate) the industry fell in to terminal decline, and closed in 1905.

Today Ashford Marble jewellery and ornaments are widely collected, with exquisite examples being highly sought after. The dramatic beauty of the polished black surface with decoratively inlaid designs, inspired by the Florentine pietra dura and Italianate mosaics of a time gone by.

A suite of Ashford Marble jewellery from the Buxton Museum & Art Gallery collection
A suite of Ashford Marble jewellery from the Buxton Museum & Art Gallery collection


Jewellery Specialist Sarah Clark

For further information on these or any of our Specialist Auctions, please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.