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.

Walnut, rosewood and marquetry centre table

09 August 1999

UK: DESPITE a catalogue entry which cited this walnut, rosewood and marquetry centre table, 3ft 1in (95cm) wide, as William and Mary and later and an estimate of £2500-3500, it was competed to £43,000 plus 15 per cent premium at Sotheby’s South in Billingshurst on July 20.

Distinctive early 18th century armchair

19 July 1999

UK: AT THE first sale in their new Norcote saleroom near Cirencester on July 9, Moore Allen & Innocent sold this distinctive walnut leather-seated early 18th century armchair for £21,000 (plus 10 per cent buyer’s premium).

17th century enclosed chest

12 July 1999

UK: THE FINAL lot offered by Cumbrian auctioneers Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd on June 30 was this scarce piece of English oak vernacular furniture – a 17th century enclosed chest, 3ft 71/2in (1.1m) wide, with moulded panel doors which open to reveal four plain long drawers.

Record for Louis XVI’s ‘lost’ throne

12 July 1999

UK: THIS rather battered French chair that the family dog used to curl up in had buyers leaping off their seats at Christie’s sale on June 23 when it more than doubled hopes, selling at £350,000.

Chests of drawers break Billingshurst record

24 May 1999

THE first of the new-format International Sales at Sotheby’s Sussex rooms could hardly have got off to a more successful launch – not only a premium-inclusive total of £750,000 from the 513 lots of ceramics and furniture on day one but also the highest price ever recorded for furniture at Billingshurst, when they sold at more than five times high estimate to a London dealer for £62,000 plus 15/10 per cent buyer’s premium.

Dog-eared tea table makes £13,400

17 May 1999

UK: A DOG had bitten one of the legs... and possibly worse, and two parts were knocked off by individuals at the viewing, but neither of these detractions put off Smith the Rink of Harrogate from bidding £13,400 plus 12 per cent buyer’s premium for this George III tea-table at Patrick Cheyne of Altrincham on May 8. Why?

Another decorative brick in the wall

17 May 1999

ARCHITECTURAL specialists Thomas William Gaze & Son (7.5 per cent buyer’s premium) included these 19th century decorative wallbricks, right, at their sale in Diss, Norfolk April 17.

£150,000 for a pair of George III card tables

10 May 1999

UK: WEST Country auctioneers Lawrence’s of Crewkerne posted a house record on May 6 when they sold this pair of George III marquetry inlaid rosewood and satinwood card tables to a New York dealer for £150,000 (plus 12.75 per cent premium).

£23,000 tables play their cards right to star in sale

03 May 1999

UK: THIS review of two of the higher-profile sales conducted by Bonhams from their Northern foothold in Stockport begins (in reverse chronological order) with an April catalogue comprising the contents of two Yorkshire manor houses.

A sleeper in Sussex

26 April 1999

UK: A George III Chippendale style giltwood wall mirror with a swan neck and cartouche pediment, 7ft 10in high by 3ft 5in wide (2.39 x 1.04m) was consigned to Gorringes’ sale in Lewes on April 21 with expectations of £2500-3000 and sold to a telephone bidder at £22,000 plus 10 per cent premium.

Lowboy tops day

26 April 1999

UK: A ROUTINE dispersal at the Ladybank salerooms was led by a Georgian oak lowboy of typical composition which attracted £13504.

A decorative attraction is shipshape and Bristol fashion

26 April 1999

UK: ALTHOUGH there were no real star entries at this monthly dispersal, around 727 lots managed to generate a total at £120,00 boosted by a silver section and some pieces of local interest.

Early oak fresh on the market attracts trade’s strongest bidding

19 April 1999

Carolean court cupboard emerges from Cumbrian chicken shed UK: EARLY oak furniture attracted the higher prices at the quarterly sale ‘Antiques and Collectors’ sale at the Skirsgill Salerooms in Cumbria where the most valuable lot was a James II one-piece oak court cupboard.

New Irish buyers arrive in Sussex to take top prizes

19 April 1999

UK: AT this two-day, 1112-lot sale in East Sussex auctioneer Mark Hudson was pleased to see a broader buying base than has been the case at many rooms of late saying: “Middle-range furniture featured at the beginning of the furniture section was easy to sell.”

Not just any old iron for display

05 April 1999

UK: IT HAD been forged as ecclesiastical strongchests for church treasure in medieval Europe and wrought in the form of bedsteads in 17th century Italian villas, but it was only with the rise of industrial manufacture and the growth of the middle-classes in the 19th century that iron became a commonplace element in the gardens, and then the houses of the British gentry.

£20,500 sparks more talk of Burges

05 April 1999

UK: IS this Gothic revival red walnut foldover card table, left, another rediscovered work by the great William Burges?

Bidders go Wilde

05 April 1999

UK: SIGNED cabinet photographs of Oscar and Constance Wilde flank one of their younger son, Vivian, which has been inscribed and dated 1891 to the reverse – although the well known portrait of Oscar is known to date from 1889.

From Zanzibar to the Cotswolds

05 April 1999

UK: FURNITURE from the East Coast of Africa is hardly common currency within the Cotswolds antiques trade but it was given unusual prominence last month with the appearance of this substantial 18th century hardwood chest with brass studwork decoration at the Gloucestershire rooms of Wotton Auction Rooms on March 23-24.

More money on the tables…

05 April 1999

£25,000 bid sees trade becoming less perfectionist in hunt for quality UK: FEW dealers will talk bullishly on the record and the auction scene in the provinces does remain patchy – but all the evidence is that there is still money around and auctioneer Guy Schwinge saw its effect at his latest Dorset sale.

Out of Africa and into the rich treasure house known as Sussex

05 April 1999

UK: AS two of the wealthiest and most densely populated of the Southern Counties – housing large communities of former expats, retired professionals and alpha-class commuters – it is hardly surprising that West and East Sussex have a multitude of salerooms.

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