The Hermitage Residence

The Hermitage at Graham Smith Antiques

Over the next few weeks a number of items will be offered for sale via our website that represent an assortment of antiques purchased through a local sale room that came out of “The Hermitage”, a listed Grade II  building on the outskirts of  Hexham in Northumberland.

The Hermitage had been the residence of the Morant family for two generations. Brigadier General Hubert Horatio Shirley Morant rented the house in 1922 and moved in with his wife, Helen and their three children, Doreen Shirley (1915-2013), Alice Bettine (1918-2008) and John Locke Straker (1919-1971) later Major. None of the three children ever married and on the death of the last of their children, Doreen earlier this year, the estate and contents came up for sale.

The house and contents had been untouched since the early 1920s and the sale room described it as “a rare glimpse of life between the wars”.

Unusually, many of the items were carefully wrapped up, packed away and seemingly forgotten about so they have emerged in “un-used” pristine condition. The purple leather desk tidy or correspondence case is a fine example of this. The case is embossed with the name “Heather 1914” (Mrs Morant) on the outside so must have been brought to The Hermitage with the family when they moved. The inside of the case has some original note paper printed for another Hexham property The Leazes.  The wonderful thing about the stationery is that a very early telephone number of “P.O.20” is printed on it – to have a telephone was a luxury available only to the wealthy in the early 20th century and to be given a telephone number of Hexham 20 must have been very easy to remember.  Inside the pen box at the top of the case is the original key still in its tissue paper and in an envelope marked “KEY”.

Correspondence Case 2710

An unusual pair of gilt brass candle sticks in the form of cranes holding flowers in their beaks which are the candle holders can be seen in the interior photo of the Hermitage below. The candle sticks are signed on the cast iron weighted bases, Abbott Bros, the Company that manufactured the sticks in Birmingham.


We bought a very good late 18th to early 19th century Dutch Silver table which is currently at the workshop in order to have the polish tidied up.  It’s a good piece with a shaped gallery top and shaped sides, cabriole legs with claw and ball feet, original gilt brass handles and oak lined.

Again you can see it in-situ at The Hermitage behind a chesterfield settee being used as a drinks table with a tray and bottles of spirit in place.

As I’m composing this blog I have just taken an enquiry from a customer who saw the table in my show rooms before we had the opportunity to send it off to the work shop so it may well be sold before we get it on line!  The advantage of actually calling into the show rooms is that customers do get early viewing of any new articles of stock in advance of anyone else.  As we do sell quite a number of items before they make it as far as the web site, please bear that in mind and if you are able, try to make a habit of calling in to get first chance.

Silver Table

We were lucky enough to buy a large assortment of glass – all part of one large suite of glass all decorated with a Greek Key pattern – we decided  to split it up into sets of Champagne, port , water glasses, with matching wine and water carafe and glass rinsers. One particularly unusual pair of glass dishes are particularly seasonal with one decorated with strawberries and the other with raspberries.  These are marked with a registration number which is etched into the edge for the year 1910.

Port Glasses 2716

Some of The Hermitage items that are already displayed on the web site include The Bavarian Bull, a small Victorian chest, a country house easy chair, a Nan King dish, a pair of tazza, a papier-mache tray and an Edwardian corner cabinet. Please do remember to log into the website as we upload approximately 12 new items every week and all the new items can be viewed at the bottom of the home page initially and later on the relevant section of the website.  We still have many more Hermitage items waiting to be listed.

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1 Comment on The Hermitage at Graham Smith Antiques

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