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.

Davenports out of favour but a fineexample sells

30 January 2002

NOT the top seller at this 653-lot Suffolk sale at Abbotts on 19 December but interesting in that it sold at all, was a burr walnut Victorian davenport.

Beauty before age as later craftsmen take the top prices

29 January 2002

CONTINUING the tradition of the old Phillips network, the Sevenoaks branch of new owners Bonhams moved to Ramster, the Surrey stately home for a winter event offering some of the better pieces consigned to the company’s various rooms in the South East.

Illuminating price for chandelier

23 January 2002

Villa Bombrini Sale: TWO days before their main mixed owner European furniture sale, Christie’s also offered a separate single owner auction – Furniture and Works of Art removed from Villa Bombrini, ‘Il Paradiso’, Genoa – on December 11. Just over 300 lots were offered, of which three quarters found buyers – selling to the tune of £1,134,280.

William IV Gillows mahogany library chairs

23 January 2002

Tattered and blackened, possibly by fire, this pair of William IV Gillows mahogany library chairs had been consigned by a local restorer to Willingham Auctions, near Cambridge, for sale on December 29.

Second Saturday proves new firm’s point

16 January 2002

THIS was the second sale for the West Midlands firm Fieldings Auctioneers who got off to a tough start by holding their first sale in October when the market was reacting to the September 11 attacks.

Tropical centre table

15 January 2002

Just the thing to lift the spirits in the cold, dark, stock-deprived days of winter, this spectacular whorl of a tropical centre table received a warm reception at the Salisbury salerooms of Woolley and Wallis on January 8.

Card table trebles expectations

11 January 2002

Good stock furniture dominated this dispersal at Crowe's Auction Gallery led by a Regency walnut foldover card table.

Sale success to celebrate with wine cooler and antique flagon

19 December 2001

IN DAYS when a 70 per cent selling rate is considered reasonable, a country auction enjoying a 90 per cent success rate obviously had something special going for it.

Cool £400k for Craven commodes

19 December 2001

Furniture of all nationalities has been much in evidence in London over the past few weeks as late November/early December is traditionally one of the two periods in the year when the London rooms offer their best English and Continental fare.

Cut steel centre table

19 December 2001

What is reckoned by the auctioneers to be a new auction record for Russian furniture was set at Christie’s December 13 Continental furniture sale in London when this 22in (56cm) wide silver- and ormolu- mounted faceted cut steel centre table, c.1785-90, sold for £620,000 to a European dealer after a battle between seven telephones.

A thing of Venetian beauty

13 December 2001

ITALY: Back on November 4, Semenzato (19 per cent buyer’s premium, including VAT) held a sale of furniture and works of art in Venice in which an 18th century Venetian painted chest of drawers, pictured right, produced the highest price of the day at Li160m (£52,460).

Wrought iron Armada chest

28 November 2001

This 17th century wrought iron Armada chest had stood unopened in the attic of an English country house for 180 years until it was finally unsealed earlier this year and found to contain a mass of papers relating to Dr William Harvey and his brother Eliab which had been deposited there by his descendants in 1821.

Exceptional Ruhlmann piece that proved the exception to the rule

21 November 2001

DECO & MODERNIST FURNITURE: While much of higher-end Deco struggled to find buyers prepared to match the bullish levels seen in recent seasons, there was still some interest in this field, and the odd exception to buck the trend.

Sycamore struts its stuff

21 November 2001

MACKINTOSH: One of the most dramatic results of the series cropped up in Christie’s Important Decorative Arts auction on November 8, and it was one that would appear to have little to do with fashion, economics, or shifts in buyers’ confidence.

Scarcity of quality pushes Regency table to £16,200

31 October 2001

WHILE it was worrying that Phillips’ main Midlands saleroom could find only 100 furniture lots worthy of their main autumn sale, and that only five of those took more than £3000, such is the drought of quality goods in the provinces at the moment that the trade were determined to make the best of any opportunity.

Five-figure lone stars prove the case for the provinces

22 October 2001

Fresh quality stock may be thin on the ground at present, but the early 19th century mahogany sideboard and the mid-18th century oak dresser, pictured, which provided the single highlights of their respective sales, were proof that hope should not yet be abandoned.

Survey boosts furniture’s standing

10 October 2001

A NEW survey has just been published showing how much better fine period furniture has proved as an investment compared to the stock market and property over the past 30 years.

Pine pair of bookcases bring puzzle over prices

02 October 2001

AUTUMN opened at Sotheby’s Sussex with a modest, but quite keenly bid for, furniture offering where the top sellers were two (7ft 6in (2.29m) William IV pine and oak bookcases.

Hope and a hunch

28 September 2001

When this walnut chair arrived at Shanklin Auction Rooms (10 per cent premium) on the Isle of Wight it was catalogued as Victorian and expected to fetch £400-600. However, specialist dealers who viewed it before the September 4 sale noted its clean, classical lines its ebony strung motifs and, most significantly, the wrap-around back.

Bidders pick odd rarities – a ‘Norse’ axe and a posy holder

17 September 2001

FAIRLY routine furniture and modest pictures predictably took most of the higher prices at this Brightwells 850-lot sale in Herefordshire on 15-16 August but a couple of unusual items among the silver and the objets d’art were the eye-catchers.

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