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.


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The sound of a William and Mary spinet sold for £5500 in Islington

19 August 2019

Relatively few English spinets from the 17th century survive but one surfaced at a Criterion auction in Islington. Loosely catalogued and estimated at just £100-200, it made £5500 (plus premium).

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Wainscot chair with top quality

19 August 2019

Better by a distance than nine similar items, a mid-17th century wainscot chair offered by Lawrences (25% buyer’s premium) in Crewkerne demonstrated the yawning price gap between the acceptable and the desirable in the early oak market.

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William Morris Gallery launches Bauhaus exhibition fundraising campaign

08 August 2019

An exhibition exploring links between William Morris and Bauhaus, two of the most important names in the last 150 years of design, is set to launch in London provided enough money is raised.

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The web shop window: Chippendale-period partner’s desk

05 August 2019

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Lost to the nation: Newbattle Abbey casket and John Singer Sargent painting are among latest treasures cleared for export

26 July 2019

The Newbattle Abbey Kunstkammer is the latest work of art to be granted an export licence this year, despite the arts minister’s attempts to retain them for the nation.

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The web shop window: Ornate ash armoire with a mysterious past

22 July 2019

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Scandi style sweeps in to the third Cooper Cotswolds fair

22 July 2019

A prime example of mid-century Scandinavian furniture is offered at the Cotswolds Decorative, Antiques & Art Fair next month by dealer Roger Burgett of Scandinavian by Design.

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Italian 'wave' lounge chairs offered in Los Angeles

22 July 2019

This pair of c.1970s Italian Onda (Wave) lounge chairs in chrome and leather designed by Giovanni Offredi for Saporiti Italia will feature in the Downtown Los Angeles Collections and Estates auction to be held on Sunday, July 28, by the Andrew Jones auction house.

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Regions enjoy the fruits of solid English oak

22 July 2019

A 17th century oak panel marking the rebuilding of one of the best-known dwellings on the Chester Rows sold at auction last week for £4600.

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How a saleroom can get into the right groove to offer an amphibious vehicle and a 12m sofa

17 July 2019

As an auction house, what sale format do you squeeze an amphibious vehicle or a 12m long sofa into? When it comes to the ‘weird and wonderful’, auctioneers often face a challenge.

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Rising market for Mouseman as bookends sell for £10,000

15 July 2019

A rare pair of bookends by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson attracted huge interest and a remarkable £10,000 winning bid at Lawrences of Crewkerne.

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Palace of Versailles buys back €4m rococo commode from US collector

15 July 2019

A Louis XV period rococo commode made in 1744 for the Château de Versailles has returned home after more than 30 years out of France.

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Interview: Casting light on bicycle lamps

15 July 2019

Peter Card’s fascination with this niche area stretches to the joy of extensive research

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George II table takes £17,500 and Churchill letters get away

15 July 2019

As a reminder of the days when a piece of quality furniture could be expected to top a wide-ranging provincial sale, a George II giltwood and gesso occasional table led the way at Dawson’s (20% buyer’s premium) 550-lot event in Maidenhead.

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Glass birds and Mouseman sell in North Yorkshire

15 July 2019

The demand for 1960s Pulcini glass birds made by Alessandro Pianon (1931-64) for the Venetian company Vistosi has spiked in recent months.

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Paris auctions move back into action as Sotheby’s announce single-owner sale

08 July 2019

In September the Paris auction scene wakes up from its long summer slumber to get back into action for the approaching autumn and winter season.

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The web shop window: Victorian hall stand

08 July 2019

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Dealer serves up a loan to tea exhibition

08 July 2019

A Henry Clay polychrome tea caddy, c.1785, in the manner of Robert Adam is among the pieces lent by dealer Mark Goodger of Hampton Antiques to be featured in Compton Verney Art Gallery’s exhibition A Tea Journey: From the mountains to the table.

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Cohray’s handmade modernism

24 June 2019

In the 1950s French designer Raymond Cohen and his firm Cohray were producing a range of ultra-modern furniture that – although made for the machine age – were all put together by hand.

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Howard comfortably unearthed

24 June 2019

Featuring in the same two-day auction as a £7000 cache of Beatrix Potter ephemera found in a Cumbrian Victorian villa which had made national headlines, this less-heralded sofa impressed at 1818 Auctioneers (17.5% buyer’s premium).

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