Eric Moller's years as a collector began in 1943, when he and his new bride moved to Thorncombe Park in Surrey, which he lovingly restored, filling the interiors with the outstanding collection of furniture and clocks that bears his name. From the outset, advice was sought from the leading furniture historian Robery Wemyss Symonds. Symonds devoted the greater part of his life to the study of English furniture, establishing himself as perhaps the greatest living authority on the subject. The author of some 600 books and articles, with a personal archive of several thousand photographs, he was widely consulted by private collectors and museums. In addition to Eric Moller and his brother Ralph, Symonds advised such celebrated collectors as Percival Griffiths, J. S. Sykes, Geoffrey Blackwell, Jim Joel, Samuel Messer and Lord Plender, also working in the United States, where he played a vital consultative role in the formation of the collection at Colonial Williamsburg. A chair belonging to both Griffiths and Sykes in the earlier part of this century is being sold as lot 142 in the sale.
With his background in architecture, Symonds was able to advise on the arrangement of furniture, as well as the selection of individual pieces, and took an almost curatorial approach to the collections he helped to form, carefully guiding their development and display. It is clear that he took particular pride in the Moller collection, for he used it as the basis for his classic study Furniture-Making in 17th and 18th Century England of 1955.