Harry Lauder / Sticks and Canes
Over the course of three days in May 1966 the entire contents of Harry Lauder's home were sold by the auctioneers "Morrison & McChlery" of Glasgow. The auction took place under a large tent in the garden at Lauder Ha', Harry's estate near Strathaven. 

Sir Harry had passed away sixteen years earlier, in February 1950.  Before he died Harry bequeathed his property and possessions to his niece and care-giver, Greta Lauder, to prevent her from having to pay burdensome taxes upon his death. Unmarried and without children, Greta continued to live at Lauder Ha' for another 15 years after Harry's demise. 

Greta was advised by her solicitors that she, too, should transfer ownership of the property during her lifetime, perhaps to one of her cousins.  Greta neglected to do so -- vindictively, some suggest -- and consequently, upon her death, the home and its contents were sold at public auction.

Among the auctioned items were a collection of approximately eighty-five crooked sticks and canes.  Their significance did not go unnoticed, as they were the final items to be sold on the final day of the auction.

Since then, very few of Harry's sticks and canes have resurfaced.  One example is the "lion" cane, left, which was offered in August 2006 by Bonhams auctioneers, Edinburgh (it did not sell).  The cane was described as having originally been purchased from the Lauder Ha' auction in May 1966, although I have not been able to find any photographic or written evidence to support this claim. 

In fact, therein lies the dilemma. How does one determine if a "Lauder" stick is authentic?

This web-page is an attempt at identifying as many of Harry Lauder's sticks as possible. Hopefully these photographs will assist in authenticating future auction offerings.
An excerpt from the Lauder Ha' auction catalogue, May 1966.

While lacking descriptive detail, the Lauder Ha' catalogue is still useful in helping to identify the quantity of sticks, canes, crops, crooks and batons that were auctioned.
A "Morrison and McChlery" employee sorts through Harry's sticks and canes at Lauder Ha', May 1966.
This photo (above) appears on page 36 of Harry Lauder's 1928 auto-biography, "Roamin in The Gloamin".  The photo is credited to "Hayne, Tooting Broadway", and was likely taken in the back garden of Lauder's Tooting home between 1903 and 1911.

In 2006 I purchased one of these sticks (high-lighted in yellow) from a woman in Australia.  Her mother's uncle acquired it from J. T. Picken, an Australian businessman of Scottish origin and a good friend of Lauder's.  There's a gold engraved band on the stick which reads: "JT Picken, gifted by Sir Harry Lauder at his home in Strathaven, February 1949".
My Lauder stick >
Click on the image above to view a short video clip of Harry Lauder in the Trophy Room at Lauder Ha', with his collection of crooked sticks on the wall behind.
Sir Harry (right) in the Trophy Room at Lauder Ha', about 1949. 

This photo is from the collection of Gregory Lauder-Frost.
Another photo of the "wall of sticks" at Lauder Ha'.
The three sticks above were offered by Bonhams auctioneers, Edinburgh, on August 23, 2006.  The estimated price was £600 each. None of the sticks sold.

The first stick is said to have been gifted by Sir Harry Lauder to his friend and fellow entertainer Harry Gordon. The second stick is said to have been used by Sir Harry during his 1936 "White Heather" tour. The third stick is said to have been used by Sir Harry during his "Three Cheers" revue at the Shaftsbury Theatre in London in 1916.

All three sticks were offered for sale by Harry Gordon's grandson.  While I don't doubt his word as to their provenance, I was unable find any photographic evidence supporting the sticks' authenticity.

The two images (right) show the same stick, photographed from slightly different angles.  This illustrates one of the difficulties in trying to identify sticks from photographs, as the same stick can present several different profiles.
This stick (see two photographs directly above) was sold on July 2, 2009 by T.W. Gaze auctioneers in Diss, Norfolk.  It sold for £340. The stick was described in the auction catalogue as follows: "Sir Harry Lauder walking stick. Reported to belong to the great music hall star who used it when singing such song's as 'Roamin' in the Gloamin', 'The End of the Road' and 'I Love a Lassie. It was given by him to Iris d'Augigne, since passed on to Roy Hudd who has used it in his stage performances".

I've been unable to find any photographic evidence linking this stick to Harry Lauder.

The two sticks (above and left) were sold in September 2002 by Shapes Fine Arts Auctioneers, Edinburgh. The larger stick sold for £440, the smaller stick for £240.

They were again sold on June 24, 2009 by Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers, Edinburgh.  Estimated at £800-£1,200 for the pair, they went for £3,250.

Here is the syndicated news story that accompanied the second sale of the sticks:

"A fan of Scots entertainer Sir Harry Lauder has paid £3,250 for a pair of walking sticks once owned by the singer at auction. The crooked briar walking sticks - taken all over the world by the kilt-clad music hall star - were bought at the auction as a 40th wedding anniversary gift. The woman behind the winning bid - almost three times the top estimate for the sticks - said she and her husband were determined they should stay in Scotland."

Despite the buyer's apparent confidence, I've not seen any photographic or documentary evidence to verify the authenticity of these sticks.

The stick directly above was sold on October 31, 2006 by McTears auctioneers, Glasgow, for £170. For many decades it was displayed in the Dundas Street pub owned by Mathew Reid, who was renowned for his collection of unusual sticks. I've not found any photographic evidence linking this stick to Harry Lauder.

The stick, above left (only the hand-grip is shown) was sold by Bonhams auctioneers, Edinburgh, on March 13, 2009.  Estimated at £200-£300, it sold for £36.  It was described as "a hawthorn walking stick, given by Harry Lauder to the Wardrop sisters of Galston and subsequently passed to Mr. Carruthers of Dunlop." I've not found any photographic evidence to verify the authenticity of this stick.

This stick (above and above-left) was sold on eBay in November 2007.   It was described as "a genuine Sir Harry Lauder owned walking stick, which was given to Rob Murray, World Juggling Champion in the late 1940's by Sir Harry Lauder himself, after one of his very last performances."

While it certainly "looks the part" (it resembles Sir Harry's most famous crooked stick), I've not found any photographic evidence linking this particular stick to Harry Lauder.

The above stick was offered by Dickins Auctioneers, Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire, on March 7, 2009 and again on April 4, 2009.  The pre-auction estimate was £30-£50, but it did not sell on either occasion.  The stick was described as follows: "An old walking stick ... given to my mother Alice Wilson by her mother who was ... Eva Grace and part of the musical act The Two Graces". I've not found any photographic evidence linking this stick to Harry Lauder.

The above stick was sold by Bonhams Auctioneers, Edinburgh, on August 18, 2004 for £750.  It was described as "a painted thorn Walking Stick belonging to the late Sir Harry Lauder, of crooked line and with projecting knots along the length, 86cm, together with two photographs of Lauder Hall, Strathaven, a signed photograph of Harry Lauder's niece, Greta, a photograph of Harry Lauder and a label inscribed "Stick used by Sir Harry Lauder in 'Roaming in the Gloaming'."  I've not found any photographic evidence linking this stick to Harry Lauder.
1. Crooked Sticks
This stick first appeared in Lauder promo photographs circa 1902. Decades later it can still be seen in photos taken at Lauder Ha', circa 1948-49. 

There's no doubt this was Lauder's "number one" stick.
Some twisted and curly sticks, (next four photos)
Edward, Prince of Wales, about 1930, in Japan, with a crooked stick that he purchased and later presented to Harry Lauder. 

Edward became king briefly, but abdicated in 1936 to marry divorcee Wallace Simpson.
Harry Lauder and American comedian Danny Kaye, about 1948.
2. Twig and Branch Sticks
From an early photo session, circa 1902. The two photos (right) show the same stick, and also a detail of the handle.
Left: Harry Lauder, from the 1927 film "Huntingtower".

Right: jeweller Arnold Rhodes
with one of Lauder's sticks.
Near photo: Harry Lauder and Charlie Chaplin, at Chaplin's film studio in Los Angeles, 1918. 

This is the same stick Harry is holding in the photo near the top of this page (circa 1949).
3. Heavy Sticks
These two photos (right) show the same stick.
4. Canes and Walking Sticks
When performing on stage Lauder always used a crooked walking stick.  However, when he went about his daily business as a "civilian", he carried a cane.

The two photographs (right) show the same cane, circa 1935.  The inlaid bands are most likely silver (see auction catalogue item 992).

This was Lauder's "number one" cane, and he was seldom without it.
The photo (immediate right, and above) shows a silver mounted cane which came into the possession of Harry Vallance (Lauder's chauffeur). It was eventually passed to his grandson who sold it at McTears Auction in Edinburgh, March 2010. I attended the auction but was unaware of the cane due to its absence in the paper catalogue.  However, it did appear in the online catalogue (unbeknownst to me) and was purchased over the phone by another bidder.

Far right, Harry Lauder visits with British officers in France, 1918.
5. Crops, Crooks and Miscellaneous
The photo on the far right is a "still" from the unreleased 1920 film "All For The Sake Of Mary"
Harry Lauder and American comedian Jimmy Durante. Lauder with a long crop, and Durante with Lauder's "number one" stick.