All artists like to sign their work and Yorkshire's finest cabinet makers are no different. We are known as the "Yorkshire Critters"... Beavers, acorns, vikings, Robert Mousey Thompson, and the Seahorsemen of Hessay! The carved figure, sometimes obvious, sometimes hidden, is a mark of quality by its creator.
A question is often asked of why the presence of a Yorkshire critters mark adds so significantly to value.
A large number of good quality pieces were made, lacking a symbol, and make far less in the auction rooms. An answer comes down to confidence; a critter mark denotes superb quality. People are confident a piece of furniture they buy with that mark is worth what they pay for it and will not decrease in value.
"Sebastian" the seahorse features on every piece of bespoke cabinetry we produce; whether he's carved inside a door or discretely hidden on a piece of paper and tucked inside the oak structure of a church font, the final embellishment is the craftsman's signature, marking the hours of love and care he has spent creating that one piece.
The seahorse was the suggestion of Frank's mother who suggested it to her young, newly qualified cabinet maker son, knowing his love of diving around the coast of the UK. The anchor outside our showroom door was actually dived from the sea bed by Frank.
Seb is an integral part of the Shaw & Riley team, and will continue watching over every piece of Shaw & Riley bespoke furniture as they become the antiques and heirlooms of the future.