From 9th to 19th June, the winning entries for the Country Life LAPADA Object of the Year Awards will be on display at the Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair in London. Two-thirds of the 30-item shortlist comprises antique furniture – including a rare antique chest-on-chest, dated 1750.
This is the third year the competition has been running, but a first for general collectors of antique desks and Victorian dining chairs . Residents in Cumbria and Lancashire along with everyone else are being encouraged to cast a Peoples Vote on the OTY website. New for 2011, this allows members of the public to choose the item they find most aesthetically or historically pleasing, or would choose for their own homes.
The emphasis this year is on antique marquetry furniture and richly veneered, elegantly-styled classic English pieces. Several, including the above-mentioned antique chest have already had voters clicking eagerly on the plus buttons, no doubt.
At first glance the chest looks similar to many other items sold at auction in Cumbria – an antique chest-on-chest of simple, uncluttered design in mahogany and oak, with drop handles and bracket feet. However, it was chosen by the judges on two points of rarity: the oyster-cut veneers (rare for mahogany) and the maker’s provenance. The original label attributes the chest to James Brown Esq., a cabinet-maker and upholsterer who also owned an inn near St Paul’s Church Yard (1747 – 1796). Few of his works are known to exist, but a richly detailed trade card is kept at the British Museum.
You can find similar antique chests at many Lancashire antique dealers. Look in areas like Preston and the Ribble Valley for antique chests with rare provenance.
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