Antiques and Collectables
Judith Miller

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Fabulous Furniture Sells!

  • Judith Miller
  • 16 Nov 2008, 8:29 AM

After my post about the difficulties faced by the antique furniture market my attention was drawn to this piece that sold at my old friends Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh. On November 5 this Charles Voysey secretaire went way over its modest £3000-5000 estimate and sold for £70,000 in their Decorative Arts sale. Bought by specialist dealer Paul Reeves,  it was among the exhibits at the 1905 Arts and Crafts Exhibition. The original drawings remain at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

What does it tell us? There will always be pieces that are desirable and prized by collectors and we should always be aware that articles in the press and reports on our TV screens are often done by people with little knowledge of the detail of the subject they are reporting upon.

    Antique Furniture

    • Judith Miller
    • 15 Nov 2008, 3:31 PM

    There's an interesting article in today's Financial Times about the declining value of antique furniture. On Thursday Christie’s will be disposing of the stock of two of London’s leading dealers in antique furniture. Hotspur, founded in 1924, and Jeremy, which date back to1946, are both ceasing to trade. The official reason  is that the current owners, sons of the founding fathers and close neighbours in Lowndes Street, Belgravia, at 70 have no obvious successors. As the FT says, "it is difficult to ignore the fact that both dealers are giving up after almost a decade of declining fortunes for dealers in traditional English furniture. It is blatantly out of fashion."

      Furniture Prices at Auction

      • Judith Miller
      • 27 Aug 2008, 8:23 AM

      The Cotswold Auction Company has an auction today, so this will probably be too late notice for anyone to get along to their Cheltenham showroom, but the kinds of prices indicated in their catalogue just shows the opportunity to pick up some attractive pieces of furniture at very good prices. Take this late 19th century gothic revival library chair, signed "JAS Shoolbred and Co". They have a guide price of £30 - £50 (with a buyer's 17.5% premium). It's far rom the only interesting piece and their catalogue is online at their web site.


        • Judith Miller
        • 26 Aug 2008, 10:59 AM

        Many of the terms used in association with antiques can sometimes be difficult to fathom as to what they might mean; some use foreign words making it more difficult if you don’t speak the language, but some are very simple and obvious. Perhaps none more so than 'ladder-back' which is a type of chair. Unlike some terms it is not one that applies to a particular period or maker, as many different manufacturers over many years made ladder-back chairs.

        The chair back is made from horizontal slats or spindles between the two uprights; they first appeared in the Middle Ages and became commonplace in England during the 17th Century. They were also to be found in America and by the mid 17th Century chairs made out of walnut for more fashionable homes were introduced; hitherto ladder-backs were generally considered a more rustic furnishing. Over time their began to appear on the top slat, which was often slightly wider, designs. Sometimes these were simple holes to make the lifting and carrying of the chair easier. The ladder-back in the picture is an early 20th century Arts & Crafts chair.

          Lloyd George's Desk

          • Judith Miller
          • 02 Aug 2008, 7:33 AM

          Provenance is always helpful and there appears to be just such a useful piece of evidence that appeared, quite by chance, regarding a desk that is to go on sale this coming Friday.  A desk that is believed to have belonged to the last Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, is coming up at a Welshpool Town Hall on Friday, 8 August. Auctioneers Harry Ray & Co when clearing the house of a doctor discovered the George III drop leaf bureau. "Dr Williams's widow is convinced that her husband bought the desk at a North Wales auction many years ago as Lloyd George's former desk," according to a spokesman for the auctioneers. By coincidence a picture of Lloyd George, sat at what appears to be the very desk, is also for sale at the same auction included in an album of old postcards for sale by another vendor.