TOP Sheraton satinwoodpolescreen, from Mallett & Son (Antiques). RIGHT Painted leather screen depicting a late-sixteenth-century view of Exeter, sold by Bonhams for £3, 000 ANTIQUES LEFT Nineteenth-century Japanese paper screen, from Spink & Son. BELOW George IVcheval screen bookcase, after a design by George Smith, sold by Christie ‘sfor £4, 830 piece is incomplete, especially if lost panels interfere with the overall design.Nevertheless, ' says Edward Lennox-Boyd of Christie's, screens are tremendous survivors, and the basic message is that they may be chipped or restored but if they look good they tend to sell well. A prime example of the seductive power of decorative appeal' was a pretty, but much restored, Victorian decoupage screen which came up for sale in a castle in County Durham a few months ago.
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It was realistically estimated to sell for £1, 000 to £1, 500, but more than one bidder yearned for it, and it went for £6,900. Screens remained popular in the early years of this century and sales of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century decorative arts often include unusual, modestly priced examples. Three Art Nouveau-style screens in the manner of Aubrey Beardsley' (in other words, made well after his time but imitating his work) were on offer recently at Phillips with price tags of between £150 and £200, while a striking fourfold screen decorated with panels of machine-woven silk that was reputed to have belonged to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and to have been won by his sister the Grand Duchess Olga in a bet, made £1, 320 at Christie's South Kensington not long ago.