Furniture

Every piece of furniture has a practical purpose regardless of how simple or grand it is, even if some pieces were built more for display than function. Today, furniture remains one of the largest areas of the antiques market and items are categorised by type and period.

The term brown furniture refers to traditional pieces made from dark woods such as mahogany, while pieces made from native woods like oak and walnut are sometimes referred to as vernacular furniture.

Famous historical makers include Chippendale, Gillows, William Vile and John Cobb. More recent market trends have seen modern vintage pieces appearing in specialist design and ‘Interior’ auctions.

Themes and Variations on a Rondo Veneziano

12 July 2002

LONDON: NOTTING Hill specialists in 20th century and contemporary design Themes and Variations hold an exhibition of Italian furniture and glass design at their gallery at 231 Westbourne Grove, London W11 from September 27 to October 19.

A routine valuation unearths star bookcase

12 July 2002

THE success of the Regency mahogany bookcase, right, contributed a large chunk of the £86,000 hammer total taken at Hall’s (15% buyer’s premium) of Chester on May 31.

Passport from Pimlico…

12 July 2002

PIMLICO dealer Alexander von Moltke has formed a partnership with the Manhattan interior designers Robert Marinelli and Michael Reeves who operate as RMMR.

Quality gets the stamp of approval

12 July 2002

Size was certainly a feature of Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) mammoth gathering of furniture and works of art held on June 12, but so was variety.

Family history makes a sofa a different proposition

12 July 2002

It may not look like a particularly important piece of furniture, but this early 19th century mahogany framed sofa, right, played a crucial role in the dynastic history of Cleveland Lodge, North Yorkshire.

Midsummer stills brings out buyers

05 July 2002

THERE were few out and out stars at the Amersham Buckinghamshire rooms on 6 June but the buyers were keen enough to support the auctioneers’ contention that, with more widespread holidays and the Internet, it is only vendors who are cautious about midsummer sales.

George I burr walnut chest on stand

26 June 2002

Brown furniture has proved hard to shift at auction in recent months but the success of this George I burr walnut chest on stand offered at the Bristol Auction Rooms on June 18 may signal the tide is turning.

Return of the Goulden boy

19 June 2002

Jean Goulden (1878-1947) was another name restored to pre-eminence at the Tajan sale on 28 May. Goulden belonged to the Groupe Dunand–Goulden–Jouve–Schmied and himself underwrote the exhibitions the group staged annually at the Galerie Georges-Petit in Paris from 1921 to 1933.

Quality, age and original condition provide the right mix

14 June 2002

This rare Elizabethan oak draw leaf refectory table proved to be the chief atttraction at the sale of the late Clive Sherwood’s Collection offered by Sotheby’s Olympia (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on May 22, when it sold for a mid-estimate £55,000 to a London dealer.

I-i-i-i-i-i like it very much!

14 June 2002

BRITAIN’s leading furniture maker and designer John Makepeace calls this exotic and exquisitely crafted one-off piece of furniture English Fruits, and the circular table will be the centrepiece of a special Makepeace feature at the entrance of the Daily Telegraph/House and Garden Fair at Olympia from June 27 to 30.

Grosvenor, and the dealer who came in with the Coade

14 June 2002

TOP people’s favourite antiques event The Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair has been running since 1934, the age of Deco, and as an established part of the London Season is not the place that comes to mind when thinking of something for the decorators.

Riding the Marcel wave…

14 June 2002

Marcel Breuer is one of the major names in furniture associated with the Bauhaus design school. When examples of his distinctive take on modernist furniture design come up for auction they regularly make substantial sums, but it is rare for an entire collection to find its way under the hammer especially a collection of specially commissioned pieces from a named provenance.

Davenports are out of favour – but Jerusalem adds the golden touch

14 June 2002

William Blake did not manage to persuade his non-conformist followers to build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land, but a Victorian carpenter came close with this davenport, right. Consigned to the May 22-23 sale held at Winterton’s (10% buyer’s premium) in Lichfield, the davenport belongs to an interesting group of 19th century olivewood furniture bearing the logo Jerusalem, written in English or Hebrew.

Sledge sets puzzle with its £500 academic appeal

14 June 2002

THIS 438-lot Suffolk auction at Abbotts may not have been as strong as their last sale in March but this was more to do with the quality of consignments this time round than a reflection of the market.

Rug rings up £11,200 bonus

06 June 2002

A BONUS of the bona fide house clearance is the family rug – usually in a dishevelled condition but market-fresh, which surprises auctioneer and local trade alike by taking the top price of a sale from a mysterious overseas buyer.

Tea caddy market still looks on the boil

23 May 2002

With the bulk of the 377 lots at the Grantham rooms of Marilyn Swain (15% buyer’s premium) on April 10 being fairly mediocre, the late Victorian mahogany and satinwood Tous Les Louis Exhibition quality kneehole writing desk, right, was always going to shine out.

Shining out at £14,000, the desk saved from the sun...

23 May 2002

With the bulk of the 377 lots at the Grantham rooms of Marilyn Swain (15% buyer’s premium) on April 10 being fairly mediocre, the late Victorian mahogany and satinwood Tous Les Louis Exhibition quality kneehole writing desk, right, was always going to shine out.

Coming up in London.....

15 May 2002

The late Clive Sherwood bought this imposing Elizabethan oak tester bed at Sotheby’s in London in 1969. By all accounts he had to sell all his silver to raise the cash, but he was still buying early oak at a time when it was possible to buy in bulk and learn from your mistakes.

Preservation society – V&A pull off the Italian job

09 May 2002

SHOWING at the V&A until June 9 is ‘Milan in a Van’, the pick of some of the best work at the Milan Furniture Fair, one of the world’s top design trade fairs which was held from April 10 to 15.

Philip cracks the Coade

09 May 2002

Although all the other sales that used to be held at Sotheby’s Billingshurst have now moved to their Olympia rooms*, the one notable exception is their twice-yearly auctions of garden statuary and architectural items. These continue to be held in West Sussex where they can benefit from Billingshurst’s location for a stylish viewing in their country house grounds.

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