22 Apr 2021


August 31, 2014 - Filed under: Features — David

With a number of television programmes gracing the airwaves today being aimed at collectors and fans of antiques, viewers can sometimes be spoilt for choice.

From old favourites to (more…)

August 30, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Harriet

When it comes to looking at oneself, usually only the best frame will do. While perhaps a little vain, a quality antique mirror can do much more than just feed your ego; it can also help to act as a centrepiece for a room, especially when placed above a well-adorned mantelpiece or (more…)

- Filed under: Features — Harriet

As with many exciting historical periods, the Victorian age has left behind a wealth of fascinating objects. While some of these left-over antiques, such as the Bristol-docked SS Great Britain, won’t fit on the shelf of a vintage-style feature wall, there are many other historical curios to (more…)

August 29, 2014 - Filed under: Features — David

For the majority of the 19th Century, Queen Victoria sat on the throne (1837-1901) and Britain underwent a time of political and social change. This brought with it a greater diversity in the nation’s tastes and trends, with styles and inspirations drawn from across its vast empire, as well as (more…)

- Filed under: Features — Harriet

While some people like to collect teddy bears and others late Victorian furniture, others prefer their antiques to have a bit more of an edge.

A growing number of collectors are gathering an assortment of antique swords, with many hailing from the East. As such, let’s take a look at a few of the different types that are steadily being discovered in the British antique market to help cut through the matter:

The Mameluke

A curved sword made famous by the Mameluk soldiers of Egypt, after being witnessed by the Western powers during the Napoleonic Wars the Mameluke was adopted for use by European horseback warriors. This swiftly became the modern cavalry sabre that is still carried by soldiers today, even if just ceremonially.

Originally based on a Persian design, the style spread throughout the Middle East, as well as into Turkey, India and North Africa.

The talwar

Hailing from the northern regions of the subcontinent, this single-edged sword, which usually comes attached to an attractive hilt, grew in popularity during the Moghul period. It also appears to have influenced Western weapon design, with the 1796 British Pattern Light Cavalry Sabre sharing several of its characteristics.

Nowadays, they are perhaps best placed above antique coffee tables than warhorses, as they often come paired with intricately decorated scabbards.

The jian

This sword will be recognisable to some as the same sort of long, double-edged blades that were wielded by the heroes in the famous martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The jian has seen use in China for over 2,500 years, where it has become ingrained within the nation’s folklore. The sword is revered as one of the four major martial arms, along with the staff, spear and the sabre, where it is described as the Gentleman of Weapons.

The katana

Popular to many as the Samurai Sword, katanas have found their way into Western pop-culture through numerous movies and stories. Used by the feudal lords of Japan for numerous centuries, the long, distinctive blades have become imbued retrospectively with notions of honour and privilege.

While a number of restrictions remain in place on the katana, which can come afoul of the UK’s Offensive Weapons Order, any made in Japan before 1954 are still legal, as well as those made by traditional methods. While this means that antique collectors are in the clear, they can also be purchased by practitioners of the martial arts and historical re-enactors.

The pata

A straight, double-edged weapon that comes from Southern India, the pata is often referred to in English as a gauntlet sword. This is due to its distinctive design, which has the weapon’s handle encased in an armoured glove. This was designed to protect its user during the close-quarter fighting that categorised this period of Indian history.

Many patas have found their way into the hands of collectors, especially as many were decoratively designed for use by noblemen and Maratha officers. Perhaps, though, it would look best safely sheathed and stored within walnut bedroom furniture.

August 28, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Mark

In Britain, we are blessed by a history that has created many fascinating objects and curios, from Royal antique coffee tables to fine porcelain, although we can often be outdone in (more…)

May 31, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Harriet

Items from the Edwardian era can often be quite difficult to spot, and this is especially the case for antique furniture.

The period, which started in (more…)

May 29, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Mark

Antique furniture in the modern home is becoming an increasingly popular feature across the country. Rather than buying antique pieces to admire or purely as an investment, collectors are selecting items that will be functional in their daily lives. Although antique furniture was made to last for many years, it requires care and consideration to keep it looking its best.

Antique furniture and the atmosphere

Direct heat and humidity levels can affect vintage furniture, more often than not causing damage that may not always be repairable. When you consider where to place your piece of furniture, don’t position it too close to a radiator or fireplace. The heat may cause the wood to shrink and split, which may be worse with veneer. If antique furniture is suddenly placed into a centrally heated room following years of being stored in a cool room, the wood may split and damage could be caused to the surface.

The humidity of a space may also cause damage, especially if the air is particularly dry. Air dried timber was mainly used to make antique furniture and this has a high moisture content, unlike today’s modern furniture. The dry atmosphere draws the moisture away from the material and into the surrounding air, leaving the wood dry and prone to splitting. To counteract this problem, you could consider a humidifier, or even placing bowls of water around the room.

Many problems occur due to dry air, including joints becoming loose as the glues dry out, doors becoming warped, preventing them from closing, and drawers sticking.

To prevent some of these problems, place a barrier between a source of heat and the furniture.

The sunlight may be a welcome addition for most people, but it can cause damage to vintage items. Position your antique bedroom furniture, or other pieces, out of direct sunlight. Although gentle exposure to sun over a long period of time can result in a mellowing of the colour, harsh exposure will cause uneven fading and may even dry the wood out.

Polishing antique furniture

Spray polishes should never be used on antique furniture, as it contains silicon which, along with the spirit contained in the polish, can strip wood of its natural oils and create a sticky build-up of residue.

Most furniture, like walnut bedroom furniture, just needs buffing with a clean soft cloth on a regular basis. A couple of times a year, you should apply polish that is beeswax based to the furniture. Ideally, leave this overnight and then the following day use a soft cloth to polish the item.

General care of antique furniture

Care should be taken when moving pieces of antique furniture, especially heavy items like antique sofas, as dragging across a room could cause the legs or feet to become loose or to even damage the frame. Lift the item correctly, without holding the arm of a chair or any other place that may be delicate.

The correct care of antique furniture will ensure that it lasts in your home for many years.

May 26, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Harriet

Vintage furniture is becoming increasingly popular in modern homes, with the availability of various styles, fabrics and types of wood making antique sofas an ideal choice.

However, the addition of an (more…)

May 23, 2014 - Filed under: Features — David

Antique furniture has many benefits and remains popular with collectors throughout the world. An increasing number of people are considering buying antique items rather than modern furniture, for many reasons. (more…)

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