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.

North Indian Agra carpet

07 February 2000

UK: THE north Indian Agra carpet that topped Christie's South Kensington's two-day sale of the contents of Le Bois Muralt on January 18–19 at £66,000.

Oil on copper panel of the Madonna and Child with angels

31 January 2000

UK: Christie's South Kensington chalked up their highest ever London sale total last week when they raised £2.25m net for the contents of a Swiss summer residence, Le Bois Muralt, on January 18-19.

An ode to Burns - carved oak shrine sells for £2600

24 January 2000

UK: Come Burns Night on January 25, someone will be paying homage to the Scottish poet with more than haggis and a dram.

Giant 19th Century breakfront bookcase makes a stately £46,000

24 January 2000

UK: Giant bookcases from stately homes rarely appear at provincial auctions these days, so there was justifiable interest in this early 19th century breakfront example from dealers with showrooms large enough to accommodate its 18ft 51/2in by 9ft 51/2in (5.63 x 2.88m) proportions.

William and Mary cabinet

10 January 2000

UK: THE William and Mary cabinet on stand which, because of cleaning and restoration went at £8500 at Ewbanks' Surrey sale on December 9.

Victorian oak dining table

10 January 2000

UK: SEVEN telephone bidders swooped on this Victorian oak dining table, 6ft 6in by 3ft 7in (2.00 x 1.10m) offered with an estimate of £1800-2200 at Phillips Edinburgh on December 17.

Scottish delight

03 January 2000

UK: THE Scottish art market has been given a boost of confidence over the past few weeks by the strong performance of three sales in Edinburgh, that turned over £1.5m of antiques from Scottish sources.

For babies or bottles?

22 November 1999

UK: IT MAY have been a mahogany wine cooler, but did its massive proportions and one-time residence in St Alban’s Cathedral suggest that it had formerly been used as a christening bath for babies rather than for beverages?

Set of five Chippendale chairs

15 November 1999

UK: TWO from a set of five Chippendale mahogany dining chairs sold for £120,000 (plus 15 per cent premium) as part of the sale of objects from Hever Castle, Kent conducted ‘on the premises’ by Weller King on November 9.

George III demi-lune commode

20 September 1999

UK: THE autumn sale season got properly under way last week with three sales in the ‘Country House’ vein. Offered from Vost’s at Tattersalls in Newmarket on September 16 were the contents of Badlington Manor, the property of the retired stock broker Mr Keith Heathcote.

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.

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