A recent sale at Christie’s of New York, titled: “A Trumbauer Estate on The Philadelphia Main Line,” saw an Italian Giltwood table sell for $116,500 (£70,300) against an upper estimate of $60,000 (£36,000.) Several antique chests (called commodes) also realised high prices, one fine marquetry example achieving (more…)
Thanks to Victorian advancements in mass production during the 19th century, we are left with a legacy of many attractive and well made chests of drawers. At this point of history, families generally had more choice of furniture than they had ever had before. Now everyone could choose the style they wanted. Whether Gothic, Queen Anne, Rococo, or Neoclassical, any previous style was revived for a growing domestic furniture market. Victorian furniture varied greatly in quality. Generally, (more…)
The chest of drawers is such a widespread piece of furniture in today’s modern homes that we tend to forget its origins.
The ‘chest’ of chest of drawers gives us a clue, as it was the chest that came first and the drawers later. Chests have been in existence in Britain since Medieval times. However the chest of drawers in its more modern form originated really from the 17th century. These were traditionally (more…)
When buying antique furniture, size is all important. A large Victorian sideboard, for example, can (more…)
For those of us who are planning to buy some antique furniture, here are just a few points to watch and remember.
- Chippendale was a designer, not a maker, so it is unlikely you will find a chair made by the great man
- Dining chairs in sets are usually numbered using Roman numerals
- Stuff over seats should be nailed onto rails made of beech, which is less likely to split
- Check the back legs for wear and weakness as this is where they go first
- Mortise and tenon joints should show on the outer surface of drawers
- Dressers tend to be rather plain – elaborate friezes may have been added later
- Marriages between tops and bases however are not (more…)
The mechanisation of furniture manufacture during the Victorian era resulted in a plethora of well made serviceable items such as chests of drawers being turned out for the emerging middle class Victorians in their thousands. This aspiring new market now wanted what the upper classes had had fifty or so years before and its new wealth meant that it was able to indulge itself in the purchase of large impressive pieces of furniture made of Honduras mahogany and other exotic hard woods. Their houses as well as their aspirations were expanding and these large pieces of furniture were representative of their success. A simple example of this was the increase in the size of a chest of drawers from four gradated drawers to five. (more…)
A legal battle is set to ensue where a firm of auctioneers is attempting to claw back a box of jewels and coins worth approximately £100,000 from successful bidder Jennifer Grant. The box was found in Agatha Christie’s mother’s trunk, which Ms Grant had bid for at auction in 2006. She realised that there was a locked box inside but the auctioneers did not have a key to open the box. Ms Grant only recently decided to have the box forced open. She had not bothered to open it before because she thought there was nothing in it.
It is not surprising now that the auction house wants the items returned saying that, as they weren’t catalogued, Ms Grant is not entitled to hold onto them.
Surely part of the thrill of going to auctions for most of us is the possibility of finding (more…)
The humble pine chest in all its many forms has been around since the Middle Ages and still remains a central part of home furniture. It has evolved from its beginnings purely as a storage chest, its metamorphosis into fine cabinetry as the chest of drawers, to its integral role as a piece of working furniture commonly known as a blanket chest during the Victorian period. Almost all servants, nurseries and work areas had solidly built examples of these antique chests and many fine honey coloured waxed Victorian and Edwardian examples can still be bought today.
It was most often the children’s nursery where many of these old chests ended up. Even in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, much older 18th century examples were being used to store all manner of things. Most were of a fairly basic rectangular frame construction. Some had stencil decoration and simulated oak graining and ebony inlay, other examples were smaller and covered with (more…)
The difference between a sideboard and chiffonier is often hard to determine where both were very popular during the Victorian era.
A sideboard during the Victorian period could often be (more…)
If one piece of furniture depicted the Victorian era, what would it be: a large bulbous mahogany sideboard, an elegant chaise longue, or perhaps the good old chest of drawers.
The onset of mass produced furniture in the Victorian era had meant that more families than any other time in British history now had a selection of reasonable furniture at their disposal to use in their homes. What mass production also meant was a proliferation of styles that furniture manufacturers could draw on from Elizabethan, through to Queen Anne, Georgian, Rococo and Regency. (more…)