When buying antique desks in Lancashire and Cumbria, it’s important you are given accurate information as regards the period they were made, as this can have a big impact on the value. This is where it gets difficult, as the 19th century was a period when many copies were made. For example, you’d be lucky to find a genuine Chippendale antique mahogany pedestal desk in a Ribble Valley antique shop; more likely, it will be a Chippendale Revival piece.
Chippendale originals do occasionally come up at auction. In 2003, an antique mahogany pedestal desk, attributed to Thomas Chippendale, realized £111,000 at Christie’s in London. Even Chippendale-style antique desks can be worth tens of thousands – though generally only those of exhibition quality. More realistically, well made (as opposed to mass-produced) Chippendale Revival Victorian mahogany pedestal desks can be found in Preston for around £1500.
Chippendale was inspired by many other styles and periods. His antique balloon backed dining chairs , while typically associated with the French Rococo period, also included English gothic designs, featuring quatrefoils and other deeply carved motifs. His antique desks included both Louis XV and Chinese elements – though never in the same piece. His famous Gentlemen’s and Cabinet Maker´s Director was first published in 1754, but reprinted in the 1830s, and had a major influence on Victorian designers. Chippendale Revival antique desks may date anywhere from the 1850s to the Edwardian period.
Antique dealers in areas like the Ribble Valley often have antique desks in the Chippendale style. Avoid clumsy, overtly ornate factory-produced copies, and go for those which reflect the craftsmanship of the originals.
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