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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Shell out for unusual furniture

30 March 2020

As a young man in the 1960s, British architect Anthony Redmile (b.1945) took the London interior design scene by storm. Although his work was hugely eclectic, he became best known for his quirky designs taken from the animal kingdom.

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Chairs ‘from the Black Isle’

16 March 2020

A pair of Chinese carved officials’ chairs offered at Ramsay Cornish (20% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh were typical of the furniture made at the end of the Qing period, some of it for local use, much of it for export.

Johann Marti Levien table

Victorian table, Duleep Singh’s hawking bell and Ottoman portrait miniature – five auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes

13 March 2020

ATG’s selection of hammer highlights this week includes an occasional table by Johan Marti Levien made from exotic New Zealand woods that made six-times estimate in Newbury.

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Pick of the week: House clearance chairs are £16,500 Voysey Arts & Crafts originals

09 March 2020

Arts & Crafts enthusiasts who hoped to buy a pair of Voysey chairs at something close to their £20-40 estimate at an auction in the Cotswolds were to be disappointed.

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Miniature terrestrial pocket globe offered in Massachusetts

09 March 2020

This English miniature terrestrial pocket globe complete with a shagreen case, its interior lined with a celestial map, will feature in the spring sale at CRN Auctions in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 15.

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Modest but marvellous Mouseman

09 March 2020

This set of table and chairs by the ever-popular Mouseman had been bought from the Kilburn workshops in the 1970s by the vendor’s parents.

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Tunbridge sewing table made for young princess Victoria emerges in US

09 March 2020

Cottone’s latest auction, in Geneseo, New York, on March 28, includes around 60 items from the collection of Dr Ronald and Krista Reed of Reed Eye Associates, of Rochester.

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Marquetry appeal of a tired chest

09 March 2020

Frankly catalogued as in need of restoration and ‘sold as seen’, a late-17th century walnut and marquetry chest had the inherent quality to attract phone and internet bidders from across the UK to the Carlisle rooms of Thomson Roddick (17.5% buyer’s premium).

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ATG letter: Two letters about Bonhams' Oak Interior auction

09 March 2020

MADAM – Re: Hornby Castle Chair in the Bonhams Oak Interior sale (ATG No 2431). I have just returned from holiday to see ‘my’ old armchair staring out at me from the ATG front page. I thought you might be interested in a bit of its missing history.

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Juhl serves up a £6000 salad surprise

09 March 2020

The near dominance of Scandinavians among mid-20th century designers of wood furniture and artefacts was underlined at two sales at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) in February.

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Bell to announce ships in Ceylon stands proud in Scotland

02 March 2020

This 14in (25cm) diameter bronze bell shown here bears the insignia of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (the Dutch East India Company or VOC), the date 1747 and the name Jaffanapatnam. It is suspended in a wrought iron frame and mounted to a large stone mill wheel.

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Pick of the week: Exceptional shodana shows super details

02 March 2020

David Lay’s (18% buyer's premium) second stand-alone Asian art sale held in Penzance was topped at £65,500 (estimate £3000-5000) by this shodana made in Meiji period Japan, c.1890.

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The seat of history: Hornby Castle Chair sells for £35,000 at Bonhams Oxford

24 February 2020

The so-called Hornby Castle Chair, a 4ft 7in (1.38m) high oak open armchair c.1580-1600, sold for £35,000 plus premium at the latest Oak Interior sale at Bonhams in Oxford.

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Miniature chair and huge ox add up to big prices

24 February 2020

The Gentleman’s Library Sale at Bonhams on February 12-13 included a miniature William and Mary or Queen Anne walnut armchair standing 21in (53cm) high).

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The web shop window: Asprey dressing case

24 February 2020

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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Whiskey mirrors galore reflect high demand

17 February 2020

The first specialist pub memorabilia sale of the year held by Co Cavan auction house Victor Mee (19% buyer’s premium) showed no drying up of demand in a lively market niche.

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Nelson bust sails high to top sale

17 February 2020

While furniture and books fully justified its title, The Oxford Library Sale at Mallams (22.5% buyer’s premium) was led by a surprise star: a rather lowly regarded gesso bust of the sort that would have been a minor decoration to such a room.

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Modern design delights from husband-and-wife architects behind the new British Library

17 February 2020

The recent auction of 20th century design at Sworders (25% buyer’s premium) in Stansted Mountfitchet was underpinned by more than 60 consignments from the estate of MJ Long.

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The web shop window: Victorian walnut davenport

17 February 2020

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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Portrait miniature marking naval battle bravery sold in Yorkshire

03 February 2020

This early 19th century portrait miniature offered for sale at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) in Leyburn is widely believed to depict the Irish naval officer Sir Henry D’Esterre Darby (1749-1823). To the reverse is a crystal retaining a lock of hair.

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