A magnificent Boulle marquetry chessboard attributed to Johannes Mann and Emanuel Eichel realised £445,250 in a recent Sotheby’s auction that (more…)
There’s no denying the financial sense of investing in fine furniture like antique balloon backed dining chairs , although Lancashire residents may be forced to sell their assets when (more…)
It was the restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, and grand ideas on fashions that he brought back from court of Louis XIV of France, that saw the introduction of walnut as the favoured wood of cabinet makers in Britain.
Oak was strong and robust, where walnut was light and pretty and ideal for veneering and marquetry furniture. The use of walnut coincided with the arrival of Protestant Huguenot cabinet makers, who not only brought with them their cabinetry skills but the new Baroque style which was soon adopted in Britain. The ‘barley-sugar’ twist leg also became very popular during Charles’ reign and the ‘new wood’ meant that antique chairs were now elaborately carved and turned. Carving became simpler during the reign of William and Mary (1689-1702) but chairs were (more…)
Although mahogany as a wood of choice for cabinet makers had been introduced into Britain quite early on in the 18th century, walnut also continued to be used. However, severe shortages due to overuse of walnut by cabinet makers in Britain, and severe blights in France, resulted in French embargoes on exports to Britain, and by 1750 mahogany was being used as a fine alternative to walnut for the best cabinetry.
One of the main advantages of mahogany was its close grain, its durability, colouration and fine patina. The girth of trees were wide which allowed for large flat surfaces used for tables and wardrobes, plus ‘flame’ and other attractive figurations made it ideal for decorative veneering. There were two main varieties used, called ‘Spanish’ and ‘Jamaican’, which came from the West Indies and Cuba.
Satinwood, imported from Puerto Rico from 1760 onwards, provided a much lighter alternative to mahogany and other woods such as kingwood, rosewood, purplewood and ebony were imported to create exquisite antique marquetry furniture decorations on the (more…)
The exuberance of Rococo styling has yo-yoed in and out of fashion over the years. From French influences in its Louis XIV hey day, a brief flowering in the mid 18th century, to a serious adoption of the style in the Victorian era, in antique furniture design terms it was always perhaps a little too ostentatious to be taken too seriously. (more…)