Release your inner Nicky Haslam at Bonhams' Gentleman's sale
This year's eclectic gathering of manly desirables offers a bumper crop, running close to 1,000 lots that will be dispersed at the Knightsbridge rooms in two sessions, the first tomorrow (Tuesday), the second on Wednesday.
Those who haven't heard of this shamelessly sexist event might be interested to know that this will be its 15th edition, following its inauguration back in 2004 by Geneva-based classic car authority Simon Kidston who, at the time, was running the Bonhams operation in Europe.
As the title suggests, it's a sale dedicated to all things masculine, from the ubiquitous 'brown' furniture to mantle clocks, ship models, scientific instruments, fossils and cigarette boxes. In other words, just the sort of things that our women folk might not allow us to display anywhere in the house other than in our own private quarters.
First the essentials...
If you haven't already got a 'gentleman's library'/man cave/den/study/office – call it what you will – this sale will certainly encourage you to establish one. Indeed, it would easily be possible to kit out such a room from start to finish with the purchase of a few choice lots, lending a golden opportunity to release one's inner Nicky Haslam.
Starting with the essentials, there's a fabulous four-and-a-half-foot, live steam model of a showman's steam engine on offer at £3,500 - 4,500, with a handsome Cary's terrestrial globe being up for grabs for around £1,500. Then you'll need a decent desk - let's go for a Victorian satinwood job for £3,000 - a chair to go with it (there's a nice 'tub' one on offer) and possibly an Anglo-Indian, ebony and ivory desk stand to go on top.
Guests will inevitably turn up, and they could be comfortably seated on a four-person leather Chesterfield for £2,500 - 3,500, perhaps resting a painful foot on an adjustable gout stool (lot 595).
...then give them something to look at
To give them something to look at, how about hanging a set of four watercolours by intrepid Victorian artist James Atkinson, who painted them on-the-spot in Afghanistan, and perhaps a couple of oils of prize-winning 19th Century cattle?
Aural entertainment, meanwhile, could be had from a 1948 'Wurlitzer' style jukebox (£8,000 - 12,000) and, for added amusement, how about making a display of 31 cabinet-makers' profile planes, a six-inch length of the first trans-Atlantic submarine cable and a large, dissected model of a human eyeball?
There's even an original, wartime poster from the Ministry of Information, carrying the now over-used slogan 'Keep Calm and Carry On'. But at an estimate of £6,000 - 8,000, you'll probably feel inclined to do the latter...