Furniture designer David Linley, son of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, has just produced a new book on how to spot a good antique. In the Daily Telegraph recently he listed some dos and don’ts on both looking after and buying antiques.
First on his list, particularly for the novice antiquer is to buy something that they like. Don’t be too clever about it initially.
Secondly, before going to the auctions set a ceiling figure because when the bidding starts it is difficult to stop. Plus remember the commission and VAT as it all gets added on at the end and plan how to get it home. Handle the items, carefully of course. This is the only way to get the ‘feel’ of a good antique and see if there has been any restoration. A small amount may be acceptable, where heavy restoration isn’t. Also check that any restoration hasn’t damaged the surface patina and that natural products like beeswax rather than chemical polishes have been used. Don’t worry too much about a little bit of woodworm. Again handle the piece and tap any holes. If sawdust comes out then the worm may still be active but it can be treated easily.
Buy antique furniture that is in as much of its original state as possible. This could be the webbing, upholstery, stuffing, and check for handmade rather than machine made nails, which is a good indication of whether the piece is period 18th century, Victorian revival or even more recent.
Good antiques dealers will always avail their customers of good sound advice when it comes to purchasing period and revival antique bookcases, desks, tables and antique chairs in Lancashire, Cumbria and across the country.
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