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Guidance to buying antique furniture

Furniture that is designed to reflect the aesthetics of the time, creates a connection with the past, serves as a an evidence of the skill and craftsmanship of artisans and, more importantly is of sufficient quality to stand the years. An ode to the traditional methods of making The artist Helen Linfield, of fine antique dealers Wakelin & Linfield, posits: “The past has always been a source of immense value and inspiration for designers. There will always be a urge to be innovative and adaptable however, the most beautiful antique furniture are able to withstand the storm of style and economy.”

Antique furniture may be to be a complicated world where a myriad of styles and issues of provenance are entangled. To help navigate this fascinating yet sometimes challenging realm we sought out the advice of members of LAPADA LAPADA, the Association of Art & Antique dealers which are recognized by the sign of the golden chandelier which can be seen in their shops as well as on their merchandise at fairs. Today, the association has more than 555 members, each of which must adhere to strict and stringent standards of experience as well as the quality of their stock as well as knowledge of their area. Collectively, its members span from ancient to the latest styles.

1. Shop using your eyes and your heart

A prospective buyer seeking to buy a new home it is possible to be the temptation to choose furniture solely for investment reasons and not for personal taste. This means hedging your bets on a favorable change of the marketplace, and this is very risky – even experts can make predictions like this. To make sure you don’t regret making a purchase, it’s generally wise to buy furniture if you really like the style. Helen Linfield offers some sage tips on this subject: “Once you have established the style or period that appeals to you the most in terms of style and wood, your next task is to search for furniture that is well built and follow the quality of the craftsmanship, color and patination. If the piece is visually appealing and you believe it is enjoyable to see every day then it’s a good start point since the enjoyment you get from it over time will be your reward for your investment.”

2. If you are looking into the authenticity of an item Don’t be afraid to take a look

For the beginner collector, the most common (and legitimate) anxiety is the risk of committing a significant amount of money only to later find that the object of interest is an authentic imitation. If an item’s origins are not certain or even absent completely, buyers should not be afraid to give an in-depth examination of the object. A reputable antiques dealer understands that this is a part of the process and should be comfortable about doing it. any person who is reluctant without a valid reasons, on the contrary however, should be a cause for some questions. Harriet Chavasse, of Thakeham Furniture Ltd and Thakeham Furniture Ltd., provides the following guide for investigating:

Look first for any sign of a problem on the surface. Are the sides, the top or back comprised from plywood? Plywood was not utilized in furniture production up until the 1930s and could not have been included into an Georgian piece. Similar to staples, chipboard and Phillips screws can be a sign of later building. Antique chairs were built using mortice and tenon joints. So it is not a Georgian chair that is joined with dowels isn’t Georgian!

The next step is flip the piece upside down (where it is possible!). If it’s a big table, like one that serves food, I frequently suggest that people use an electric torch and have an uninitiated look beneath. The first thing you should look out for is the appearance of the “patina” that covers the top. If the table has been in use for more than two hundred years, or so , you will see an unctuous rim of wax at the bottom of the table that fingernails have come in contact with the table. This is almost impossible to replicate – especially when the surface isn’t clear, or if there are streaks of stain avoid it.
In the event that the item is veneered as a rule of thumb the more dense the veneer the more old the piece. Veneers were cut by hand until well until the end of the nineteenth century and had to be cut in a coarse manner. They were then glued down [usually using ‘Scotch’ or animal glue] then polished and sanded on site. Veneers got smaller and less brittle as the mechanisation progressed, and by the end of the 20th century, they were essentially ‘paper’ thin.
It is important to know the dates when it comes to nail and screws. Screws in the way we use are not widely used until about 1675, and they were made until the middle of the 19th century. The screw made by hand is not tapered at all and the slot in the head is rarely well aligned, and the handcrafted screw is much more shallow in its spiral than the machine produced version. Nails were square cut and round wire nails were not utilized until around 1900.
Lastly, rub your hands across the table’s surface and notice that a new tabletop has a brand new surface and won’t be as smooth and soft as it was with the original patination. the grain could be raised or the edges may be a bit sharp for a piece that is old. Like all aspects of antique purchasing the you have to be patient; however, take your time and a piece that feels wrong is often not a good buy, and your mind will be tuned in.

3. Recent pieces are equally useful.

Many would agree that a beautiful piece like a cabinet extravagantly decorated and thousands of years old is an impressive and highly sought-after item of furniture. It is important to have a wide-ranging view regardless of the space or even the category of furniture, such as

Alan Hatchwell of Hatchwell Antiques Alan Hatchwell of Hatchwell Antiques explains: ” ‘Mid-century’ has taken off, and with it the meteoric increase in curiosity in large-scale binoculars, both military and naval, as well as aeronautical marvels like propellers and wind tunnel models which are specialized, but thrilling and lively areas. Discover what to expect from a quality object: its design and use of well selected wood. This is because the Scandinavians were always top-of-the-line in their choice and usage of high-quality veneers and woods. the latest design to become sought-after, Danish, does not perform well in this field. Rosewood is a favourite for me, particularly when it is sun-bleached to an ethereal shade.”

4. The upholstery is all there.

When you’re looking into any upholstery make sure you inspect the item thoroughly, taking special time to determine what’s beneath the covers. Find signs that indicate it was reconstructed or restored The wool padding of a chair might have been replaced by contemporary, but less durable materials like foam. Harriet Chavasse of Thakeham Furniture Ltd is a fan of traditional craftsmanship:

“What matters is what’s underneath your couch!” When you look under the upholstery, vintage chairs and sofas could not be more different than modern pieces. A brand new sofa, even if it comes from an excellent manufacturer, will be made from chipboard that is stapled together and then covered with foam. The furniture is not made to last. Every joint is made by hand and the frame is expertly formed to accommodate the upholstery. Modern furniture makers discuss “ergonomics” The artisans of the 18th century were doing it!”

Meet new people

If you’re looking for the first time, go to several dealers, select one or two you love the most and begin to develop a relationship with them. They are productive, as they will learn your preferences and can prove to be to be a valuable advisor, and might even be able to help you source rare opportunities.

An overview of the major styles.
Tudor and Elizabethan

The Tudor period is the 200-year period in the history of which the Tudor monarchy reigned in England. Furniture of the time was Gothic in design It was distinguished by one characteristic being linenfold panelling where a skilled craftsman cut out a pattern which resembled folds in material. The era came conclusion with Elizabeth I’s accession to throne. This marked the dawn of the Golden Age. In terms of style, the influences of the Renaissance were more apparent thanks to the introduction to scrolls Tudor roses , and an improvement in the production of inlays made of different colours and decorated woods.
Restoration Period

The furniture made of oak remained in the 17th century. However, walnut was becoming more sought-after throughout the Restoration period (1660-1689). The period prior to the Commonwealth saw these pieces of solid oak with their intricate carvings, employing more and more traditional designs of the Renaissance becoming lighter and elongated from the bulbous designs that were popular in the preceding century. The same century also saw the reduction of furniture in the Puritan Commonwealth that was later reversed during the Restoration and the craftsmen from Europe who accompanied Charles I were the masters at veneering (using the very thin veneer of decorative grains on top of the carcass of another wood) in addition to marquetry. The arrival to William and Mary brought on with the influence and influence Continental Baroque.

18th Century

The 18th century brought the Rococo the style of a whimsical nature typically characterized by references nature and incorporating an asymmetrical element, the latter was born out of the more formal Baroque. The English reaction to the style is evident in the early work of the renowned Thomas Chippendale – who also featured, in addition to various styles the popular style of Chinoisserie. Mahogany, a exotic hardwood that came from the newly established British colonies of the West Indies, allowed for more precise carving than walnut and was the predominant material in the period between 1730. His later designs were influenced by the Neoclassicism that was systematically introduced into England through Robert Adam, and it could be the late Georgian period’s expertise in this design that is the most prominent on English furniture. Like its name implies the style was inspired by the the past of Greece in addition to Rome for its designs and decorative designs.

It’s important to remember the fact that “Regency fashion” is frequently used to refer to not only the period of Regency in itself (1811-1820) but as well George IV’s reign after (1820 to 1830) and was influenced to Greek, Egyptian and Gothic styles. The interest in this style was explored throughout Victorian time, with many Revivalist styles – such as Pugin’s stance in favor of the Gothic presented before an international audience at The Great Exhibition of 1851.

Arts and Crafts

The much-loved Arts and Crafts style was the result of a Victorian style that developed from c.1860 which had its most well-known exponent, William Morris, holding up the importance of handcraftsmanship against the backdrop of industrialisation. In the final days of the reign of Victoria, beautiful designs that are characteristic of Art Nouveau, more entirely evident throughout the Continent was introduced.

Art Deco

The sleek and elegant style in Art Deco is instantly associated with the post WW1 period. Jeroen Markies, of Jeroen Markies Art Deco, explains:

“Art Deco is a time of extravagant decadence, particularly during the 20’s and 30’s and furniture designs that were a perfect match for lavish lifestyles through the making use of gorgeous surfaces, sleek lines and attention to detail without compromising practicality. It’s a style that can be paired with many different styles of architecture and that is why it’s still a popular choice in the realm of furniture, mirrors and decorative art for interior design.”