Antiques bonanza from Millers at The Anchor

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Chilcotts Auctioneers is to sell a variety of antiques and other items of interest from the clearance of waterside hotel, Millers at The Anchor in Porlock Weir.

The Honiton based auctioneers were invited to collect the items by Somerset hoteliers Nigel and Anne Way, who recently purchased the leasehold of the three-storey building with the intention of creating a health and wellbeing hotel.

The Ways bought the contents as part of the deal. When Anne viewed the hotel for the first time, she commented that the hotel was “like the Marie Celeste”, with sheets still on the beds and the tables set in the restaurant.

Liz Chilcott from Chilcotts Auctioneers said: “Although Nigel and Anne are keeping several statement pieces, their plans are for a light, uncluttered interior to suit the ambiance of a wellbeing destination.

“The contents needed to be moved as soon as possible so the builders could make a start. We received a call from the Ways, visited Millers at The Anchor the very next day and collected everything just one week later to take to our Sale Room in Honiton - where we had a fascinating time looking through all the items.”

The assortment was gathered by entrepreneur and bon vivant, the late Martin Miller, who took the Anchor over in 2009 as part of his “Exmoor Collection”. Sometimes referred to as “the Richard Branson of the antiques world”, Mr Miller co-founded the highly successful Millers Antique Price Guides in 1979, a staple of antiques hunters everywhere. He went on to become a successful hotelier with hotels including Miller’s Hideaway in Herefordshire and Miller’s Residence, a boutique hotel in Notting Hill, both overflowing with antiques and curiosities.

The story was the same at Millers at The Anchor as the Chilcotts team discovered when they began clearing the building – it took two days and three van loads to move everything.

Auctioneer, Duncan Chilcott said: “Mr Miller was clearly a prodigious collector, buying regularly at auctions in London and around the country – in fact, some of the paintings still have their Christies lot labels attached.”

As well as antique furniture, paintings and ceramics, there are decorative items such as antique obelisks, lead urns, and large taxidermy animal heads.

The collection will be sold in two auctions: antique furniture, ceramics and decorative pieces on February 9, and pictures and taxidermy on March 2. There will be approximately 100 lots across both auctions, with estimates ranging from £50 to £500 per lot.

With a variety of interesting and unusual antiques and novelties to be sold, both auctions promise to be lively affairs.

Woo Gilchrist