Some buyers also appreciate the ability to browse a large number of cabinets at their leisure with no pressure from an overbearing salesperson. Here are two stories of buyers visiting centres and finding a special item for a special day.
On reflection, a good purchase
I have long wanted to recreate a 'hall of mirrors' in my home and bought my first convex mirror at auction at Battle auction house Burstow & Hewett a few years ago, writes Laura Chesters.
Since then I regularly have a look at other examples that I spot in antiques shops and centres. Recently I took a trip to the antiques centres in The Maltings in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. It is a collection of dealers across five large centres (plus an auction house) within a five-minute walk of each other and close to the railway station – and there I spotted a potential addition to my collection.
That day I was actually searching for a jardinière for my birthday but I came across a large convex mirror instead. It was a larger version of the one I already have.
We negotiated with the centre owner who called the dealer. Due to the mirror having some damage, we got it for £70, down from £100. I am planning a few repairs; I have the paint on order and we will hang it soon.
Convex mirrors first became popular in Europe in the Renaissance period and by the 18th century were highly decorative. They are also known as butler’s or banker’s mirrors due to the butler being able to oversee the progress of supper, while keeping a distance from the guests, or for the banker to keep an eye on people in the room where the money was stored.
They are also known as a witch’s eye or sorcerer’s mirror (oeil de sorcière) which was a popular name in Europe as the convex mirror was sometimes attributed with magical powers or the ability to ward off evil.
My example is a more modern reproduction and will look good in my hall of mirrors.
No present like the time
Great Grooms of Hungerford covers three floors of a Queen Anne townhouse, with many dealers offering stock at a range of price levels, writes Frances Allitt.
That made it a perfect hunting ground for a bride-to-be who came to look for a gift for her fiancé. She selected a gentleman’s English pair cased sterling silver pocket watch by Thos Brown of Cheapside, London, 1788. It was offered in “exceptional original condition” with two keys for £550.
The watch specialist who offered it had bought it from a friend and fellow dealer in Oxford who had owned it for years. The buyer plans to present it to her future husband on the day before their wedding.