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.

Dealer’s choice ‘outranks Leverhulme treasure’

31 August 2001

UK: DEVON dealer in early furniture and works of art Michael Dann of Hatherleigh Antiques holds another of his splendid exhibitions of very special pieces from September 12 to October 13.

Is ebony the new black?

20 August 2001

Ebony furniture is not to everyone’s taste, but a fished-out brown furniture market and a couple of colonial sleepers in the regional salerooms recently has prompted speculation that the black stuff could be due for a revival.

£9600 sideboard bid tips balance in North/South divide

14 August 2001

FURNITURE brought the biggest money at the Northern and Southern branches of (at this point) Phillips’ provincial empire with Leeds taking the honours netting £146,000 from 250 lots against a Sevenoaks total of £100,545 from 886 lots.

Thomas Lynch Window

06 August 2001

The demand for the best of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s studio glass continued apace at Christie’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) 86-lot Important 20th century Decorative Arts including Works by Tiffany Studios, June 7.

Favrile glass and bronze dogwood cone chandelier

06 August 2001

Tiffany Favrile glass brought the biggest money at Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) 407-lot 20th Century Works of Art, June 5. Foremost was a privately consigned Favrile glass and bronze dogwood cone chandelier, 3ft 4in (1m), with chains, ceiling cap and verdigris patina.

Rare 18th century mahogany candlestand

03 August 2001

UK: The rarity of an object such as this 18th century mahogany candlestand usually points to a high estimate, but the £1000-1500 range put on this example by Henry Adams of Chichester at their sale on July 25 had the desired effect of encouraging healthy competition among bidders.

Food for thought in butcher’s bill

03 August 2001

Not quite in the same league as Dutch Old Master fish stalls, Victorian butchers’ models still elicit the same puzzled question in our squeamish age – why did anyone go to elaborate lengths to compose such a gris(t)ly display?

George II chest-on-stand leads Leicester day at £3500

19 July 2001

Furniture took the only four-figure bids at this 858-lot Heathcote Ball Leicester sale on June 21 with a George II oak chest-on-stand leading the way.

Maltese rivals recognise their island treasure

19 July 2001

With the dearth of fresh-to-the-market quality antiques, the zeal with which dealers seek out sleepers ensures that few lie dormant. Such was the case at Leominster where an 18th century walnut and marquetry commode, 5ft 10in (1.78m) wide, sailed past its £2000-3000 estimate and sold at £11,800 to a Maltese buyer.

Supper table at £2450 heads a feast of furniture on a budget

11 July 2001

MAINTAINING their policy of high-content, budget priced sales, the Norfolk auctioneers Keys put up a bumper June offering with a 1540-lot antique sale on June 26 and 27 following a 1236-lot collectors’ sale on June 14. Occasionally there emerges a high-priced star at these antiques offerings but in the quieter days of summer the best bid came for a Georgian-style pedestal birdcage supper table, 3ft 1in (94cm) which sold at £2450.

How a desire to play the game cost one bidder $1.2m

09 July 2001

USA: A Philadelphia mahogany Chippendale games table, that represented the discovery of a lifetime for a small Massachusetts auction house, was bought by New York City firm Israel Sack Inc. for a massive $1.2m ($1.32m including the 10 per cent buyer’s premium) on June 4.

Trade focus on four-figure furniture which will sell on easily

06 July 2001

UK: STANDING out from all the three-figure bids at this 412-lot dispersal at D.M Nesbit & Company on June 13, the £1000-plus results again underlined the trade’s willingness to fork out only on what dealers believe will sell quickly.

Cape Cod ‘in the rough’

28 June 2001

US: ROBERT Eldred’s March 30-31 sale of Americana in East Dennis (Massachusetts) included what they first saw as a 2ft 11in (89cm) wide “mahogany Sheraton-style one-drawer console table”, consigned from a local, Cape Cod estate and valued at $250-350.

Cabinet’s puzzle resolved by dealer’s £3400 bid

27 June 2001

UK: QUALITY items eagerly contested, patchy bidding on low to middle-range entries – a familiar countrywide pattern was evident at Bristol but it was a very unfamiliar piece which led the day.

Georgian chinoiserie framed mirror painting

21 June 2001

UK: THIS Georgian chinoiserie framed mirror painting of c.1760 took the top slot at Sotheby’s June 13 English furniture sale when it sold to an American private buyer for £280,000.

Cobb and Vile side tables

21 June 2001

UK: TOPPING Christie’s June 14 English furniture sale at £420,000 was this pair of marble-topped side tables attributed to the Cobb and Vile partnership.

Dijon cuts the mustard, again

16 June 2001

FRANCE: DIJON’S trio of auction firms like to cash in on the presence of antiques collectors at the Dijon fair (see Fairs Sales Analysis, "Dijon cuts the mustard") and one of the highlights at the Vregille-Bizoüard sale on May 20 was this pair of early 18th century Italian engraved rococo mirrors, 3ft 11in (1.20m) tall, that tripled estimate on Fr142,000 (£13,100).

Perennial favourites get away easily

13 June 2001

UK: A TAKE-UP of 70 per cent at this Locke & England Midlands sale on May 3 was evidence of the selectivity of buyers when it comes to furniture in the lower price ranges but there were some sound enough individual sales.

The irresistible rise of Italian table tops

12 June 2001

UK: Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) have been making something of a habit recently of successfully selling highly elaborate inlaid marble Italian table tops.

A giltwood settee of antique inspiration

12 June 2001

UK: This 3ft 81/2in (1.13m) wide giltwood settee of antique inspiration, based on a design in Thomas Hope’s Household Furniture and Interior Decoration of 1807, went under the hammer at Gorringes’ sale in Lewes on June 6.

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