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.

Fatigue proves deadly to Ming relic

12 June 2000

US: ONE OF the rarest chairs in the world has met with an unexpected fate at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A 17th century Chinese folding armchair, which had accomodated the highest dignitaries of the Imperial court, was unable to bear the weight of a weary museum visitor who had disregarded the ‘do not touch’ sign and sat down to rest his feet.

Patriotic reliefs identify Royal dressing table

12 June 2000

Memories of high royal days on the Cowes riviera were recalled on the Isle of Wight when a relatively plain Victorian mahogany dressing table surfaced at Shanklin Auction Rooms on June 6.

George II Irish mahogany centre table

23 May 2000

UK: A George II Irish mahogany centre table, 2ft 8in (81cm) wide, which featured at Bristol Auction Rooms on May 16, attracted interest from an Irish dealer who went to £25,000 (plus 10 per cent buyer’s premium), despite speculation by the auctioneer that the edging may have been altered and the top re-finished.

A rare and unusual George II carved gilt-wood console table

22 May 2000

UK: THIS rare and unusual George II carved giltwood console table in the manner of William Kent modelled with an owl and probably carved by John Bonson of Savile Row sold for £520,000 (plus premium) – some ten times its estimate.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh stained birch day bed

01 May 2000

UK: THE designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are normally associated with stellar prices in the salerooms, but this stained birch day bed struggled to get away at Lyon and Turnbull’s Glasgow sale of Decorative Arts on April 18 and indeed had experienced a fair degree of ignorance or neglect in the course of its history.

Pair of George IV giltwood sofas c.1825

17 April 2000

The Berkshire auctioneers Dreweatt Neate led the table of provincial auctioneers who were prepared to reveal their turnover for 1999.

Early 18th century Welsh oak dresser

03 April 2000

UK: This early 18th century Welsh oak dresser had everything collectors of vernacular furniture want – clean unaltered condition, good colour, watertight provenance and extraordinary size.

The bread and cheese cupboard which generated immense interest

03 April 2000

UK: IN THE primitive pantheon of vernacular furniture, the bread and cheese cupboard is an unusually specialised form, hence the immense interest from country furniture buffs in the oak example here which was consigned to the Colwyn Bay rooms of Rogers Jones and Co. for sale on February 29.

A pair of gilt and cedarwood girandoles in the neoclassical manner

20 March 2000

UK: A pair of gilt and cedarwood girandoles in the neoclassical manner, 5ft 9in high by 3ft wide (1.75m x 91cm), from the contents of Barnby Moor House, near Retford offered by Neales of Nottingham on February 24.

Weaving a tale

20 March 2000

UK: THE Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland and England has been well documented both in commercial salerooms and academic exhibitions, and indeed the value of work designed by the likes of William Morris and Robert Lorimar has never been more popular.<b

Classic Art Deco

27 February 2000

UK: This pair of 8ft 2in (2.5m) high polished steel gates inset with Lalique glass segments were bid to £13,000 at Christie's South Kensington on February 9.

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.

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