Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Table for the Season

So folks its that time of year again.... Tis the season to deck the halls with bells & holly and all that palaver, but hows the epicentre of all your festivities looking??
Nope not the tree, the roaring log fire, decorations or even the colour scheme, all very important components in making it gel together I know.

But I'm talking dining tables and all the trimmings !!
(Above & Below) A Boston Classical Mahogany "Banquet"  Pedestal Dining Table, with an amazing 8 extra  leaves; Offered By; antiquariovc.com

A Set of 8 English Chippendale Style Dining Chairs, circa 1920's. Offered By;

If your home is anything like ours life is busy, and Christmas is one of the very few times of the year our family and friends get a chance to sit around the table without having to rush off to do life.

Large Spanish Dining Table with with 12 Chairs, circa 1800. Offered By;

(Above & Below) A Superb Quality French Dining Suite circa 1870. Offered by;

A Kurt Ostervig Scandinavian Teak Dining Table & 6 Chairs circa 1960. Offered  by;
So why not dine in style once in a while ??

A Set of 6 Swedish Flame Birch Dining Chairs circa 1940. Offered By;
A Large Italian Walnut Trestle Dining Table circa 1900. Offered By;

A good dining table and chairs or complete suite can be quite the heafty investment initially, but bought wisely a good antique or custom made dining suite will last many years, hold endless cherished memories and also make a good family heirloom or investment.

An English 19th Century "Demi Lune" Sideboard. Offered By;

A Spectacular English Oak Dining Table circa 1850. Offered By;

An American Stack Laminated Table & Chairs, circa 1970. Offered by;

Monday, November 14, 2011

Screen Time

The first time I ever remember seeing a screen was in the 1970's at the home of my late grandfather.
 As I recall it was a torrid grey affair not at all stylish or glamorous. However the thing that made it fascinating to me was its turreted shape at the top and the way I could shape it into a castle tower, much to the despair of my Grandfathers antique loving wife.
Since then screens have always intrigued me a little, I'm not talking about fire screens, pole screens or window screens (that's a whole bunch of other subjects) but room divider screens.

A Large Chinese 8 Panel Screen, circa 1810. Offered By;
Colourful Italian Painted Screen by Dedalo Montali (signed) . Offered By;

A Little History

The screen appears to have originated in China and historic evidence show they date back as far as the second century, some of the earliest screens from the eighth century are still in existence today.
The Japanese became the decorators of the time and really went to work on their screens using ornate woods and fine delicate papers for in their construction, these were then highly decorated and painted with famous landscapes and symbols.
Around the beginning of the 15th century screens began to appear in Europe often being brought home by traders returning from far away Asian voyages. Very slowly their popularity grew and by the 19th century the Europeans and North Americans had established their own style of screen, decorated to their own tastes in rich fabrics and tapestry. 

A Chinoiserie Polychrome Decorated Three Panel Folding Screen. Offered By;


Screens are a great way of temporarily dividing a large room or office, adding some colour or layering to a more conservative decorated room or.... Just because..

Botanical Screen USA 1970's. Offered By;
A Modern Glazed Maple & Bronze Four Fold Screen. Offered By;
A  Decorative American Bronze Screen, circa 1920's. Offered By;
 And finally, I couldn't sign off without sharing this beauty.... Have a good one !!
Union Jack 3 Fold Screen. Offered By;

Friday, October 21, 2011

Antiques, Interiors & Social Networking

The posting today is slightly different to my usual trough of useful (and not so useful) information.
    Yesterday once again I had the opportunity to log on to an interior designers “Tweet Chat”.
Now for those of you that either don't have the faintest idea what I'm rambling on about or kinda know something about them here's how it goes;
We're talking about Twitter and a spin off which is basically an hour long online interactive chatroom about a subject that interests you and the majority of people you follow.
Obviously my interest being in all things antiques, interiors or furniture orientated.. There is an absolute wealth of knowledge shared on a trade orientated Tweet chat and also the rare opportunity to interact and gain advice along with the opinions of people at the very top of their chosen interest or profession, something you would have a tough time arranging in the real world...

I have logged in and interacted on a number of these now and learnt a great deal,  not so much about my own trade of antiques but far more importantly about the professions and highly talented people that surround it and without who my trade and livelihood would struggle greatly.
In the UK antiques trade that I've been involved in through thick and thin for the past couple of decades, we've sometimes sighed, tutted (like us Brits do) and not given the surrounding trades the respect they deserve. I'm learning fast that here it has to be different to succeed and the crossover between respective trades do seem far smoother than back home.
 Business relationships really do need to be built on mutual respect and social networking has the great ability to do this quickly.
 I was reminded of this at the end of the chat yesterday by leading Canadian interior designer Meredith Heron at  www.meredithheron.com , when after a tongue in cheek comment I made about interior designers driving a hard deal with dealers, she tweeted me back  “We all have to work together”.

So folk like it or not, social networking is the future of many businesses, without it the likelihood of me being able to reinvent myself 5000 miles from where I actually started my business would be pretty much impossible.. Some of the people I interact with daily or at the very least weekly in my Twitter world, I hope to at some stage be more than just contacts and online friends but real life clients.. 

If your not on Twitter yet give it a go and look out for the many trade Tweet chat "hash tags" 2 of my favourites are; #designtv  & #interiordesignchat.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Style of Chinoiserie

A Queen Anne Red Lacquered Chinoiserie Mirrored Cabinet on Chest circa 1710. Offered  By;

The interior and furniture style known as “Chinoiserie” (French for “In the Chinese taste”) has always fascinated me, the delicate hand painted work involved in producing each piece of furniture was and is a sign of the craftsmanship around both then and today.

An English Chinoiserie Painted Chest circa 1900's. Offered By;
An Early George III Oak Lacquered Chest on Chest in the style of Thomas Chippendale. Offered By;

A Little History

The fine art of Chinoiserie dates to around the early 1700's when throughout Europe there was a huge interest in all things Asian & Oriental. The wealthier of European artists travelled to the Orient to paint watercolours and record the colours they'd seen. These were in turn brought back to Europe and allowed people to see the unknown scenes and structures along with a wide range of colours. It didn't take the Oriental people very long to realise there was money to be made in Europe and by around the 1730's finely hand painted wallpaper was being exported from China.
English "Chinoiserie" Lacquered & Parcel Gilt  Tall Case Clock. Offered  By;

Very quickly Chinese interiors became vogue and most important residences in Europe had them in at least one room to display the treasures they had gathered from decadent trips to the Far East.
Soon furniture was being finely decorated throughout Europe and some of the most prestigious furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale were producing “Chinoiserie” style furniture for clients. Surprisingly the vast majority of Chinoiserie decoration was applied within Europe rather than in the Far East.

(Above & Below)  A Very Fine English Red Papier Mache Tray on Stand  circa 1840. Offered  By;


After being slightly out of fashion for a few years at last Chinoiserie seems to be making some what of a comeback, and its great to see. It is also fantastic to see new styles of an old classic being tastefully designed .... 
A Pair of Red Tea Tin Lamps c1890. Offered By;
Winged Chinoiserie Wallpaper, Available from;

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Who says Antiques & Kids don't mix ??

A Two Seater English School Desk c1840, Offered By;

Sharing a house with 5 growing boys and 2 boisterous dogs I can totally understand it when I hear the common statement “Antiques & kids don't mix”... Well that's true to a certain extent, obviously you wouldn't want your darling son running his toy car across the top of your Fine Regency rosewood dinning table or seeing the damage your little princess's nail polish remover has done to the inlaid Victorian dresser you so painstakingly sourced for her bedroom.

The Answer in my opinion is (unless your intending on sending them to boarding school until their old enough to care about the finer things!!)..... 
                                                                           Go Pine, Oak or Painted;

A Dutch Two Drawer Stripped Pine Linen Press circa 1880, Offered By;


Okay so maybe its not quite as glamorous as the finer woods but its hardy and forgiving. I always love how the look of pine just get better the more worn and used it gets. There is still a great deal of old pine furniture around both stripped and painted. Its also easy, maintenance wise, very fixable and good coat of wax once or twice a year is all it takes to keep it looking good. Then when the time comes to off load the kids it will still be a desirable piece of furniture and bought sensibly a good antique piece of pine should hold its price, leaving you to exchange it for the finer style if you so desire.. My guess is your either love it so much your want to keep it, or reluctantly pass it down to the kids !! 

A 19th Century English Work Table, perfect for the family kitchen. Offered By;

A Hard Wearing Oak Extending Dinning Table from Denmark circa1910, Offered By;

Having refinished 100's of pieces of oak furniture over the years, I've learnt that oak can be finished in numerous ways. Typically late 19th century English & European oak furniture was heavily stained and lacquered this was reduced somewhat during the Art Noveau period (1910) but then continued through the 1930's/40's.
So today there are many options, the popular one seems to be having the the wood stripped of all it old lacquer finishes to the bare wood, then oiled or wax polished. For kid friendly I always recommend oiled or lightly lacquered as this will give the wood some protection from spills etc but will allowed the full beauty of the wood to be shown. The thing to remember is if you opt for a heavier lacquer finish provided its applied correctly its always removable, however obviously sealed the colour of the oak doesn't age just the finish will.

A Painted Chest of Drawers from Ontario, Canada, circa 1870. Offered By;
A 19th Century Eastern European (Later) Painted Pine Bench, Offered By;

Painted furniture really has come into its own in the last few years and is a great way to freshen up a tired piece or to colour coordinate a kids room. There are some great professionals out there that will paint vintage furniture, also some great teachers to show you the best techniques, such as Cait Whitson a painter and teacher (check out her very educational blog at http://decoratescotland.blogspot.com/ )

An Antique Romanian Chest of Drawer circa 1899, with later paintwork. Offered By;

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Antiques Are Not Just Brown Furniture !!

A Gorgeous French Gold Leaf Sunburst Frame circa 1780. Offered By;

Generally when you talk to people about Antiques, the picture that comes to mind is that of a big old chest of drawers, grandfather clock or even grandma's prized china cabinet.. Although all great pieces thankfully antique furniture is so much more than just that.
Naturally there is a great deal of what the trade like to refer as “Brown furniture” around, but with some searching and a little open mindedness it is reasonably easy to find colourful interesting pieces within a sensible budget.
An 18th Century Commode decoratively painted in the early 20th century. Offered by;

Over the last 100 years and certainly within the past few decades people have really taken enhancing antique and older furniture to heart using various finishes including paint effects and bright upholstery. Done well, some of this work is superb and really works.

An 18th century Canadian Pine Settle/Bench painted in an old blue paint. Offered By;
A Regency Lyre Tall Case "Block & Shell" Clock. Offered By;

A Vintage Driftwood side table, Offered By:

Obviously to the purist and antique collector enhancing or adjusting antiques to suit a room is seen as sacrilege, some even have a problem with even any amount of restoration no matter how sympathetic. Personally I think it has its place, I enjoy seeing old & new together, an antique chair or sofa well upholstered in a bright modern fabric or a refinished painted dresser that was previously unusable. However I do  feel the finer antiques should be left alone, their our history and need to be shared and enjoyed by future generations. 

A Superb quality William & Mary Marquetry Chest circa 1680. Offered By;

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

By the Sea

Having spent the majority of my life living near the coast and at times pretty much on the beach, one of the things I now dearly miss are those tranquil walks along the sand gathering my thoughts, breathing in the smell and tasting that salty sea air.
 I even had the pleasure to live in a 19th century yachtsmen's cottage for a short time..

These delightful items so typify for me some of those chilled out beach days.. 

Good Times !!
An English Seaside would just look empty without them.. "The Southsea Deckchair" is just one style of a large range hand made in England by;
I Absolutely adore the look and warmth of this Old Farmhouse Table, its relaxed washed out colour just makes it the perfect place to have that first cup of coffee and check the forecast for another day of beachcombing.
Offered By; www.bardinpalomo.com  
I Think these are great, luxury recycling at its best..These cushions are just one item in a range of goods made from recycled yacht sails, I'm not sure of the delivery details to North America but I'm sure they'd be delighted to help you.
See More at www.buoysandgirls.com 
A Pair of vintage Ships Pulleys, a perfect decoration for the beach house.
Offered By www.uniquities.ca
A Roped Coffee Table by Tommaso Barbi (Italy 1970's)
Offered By www.darrelldeanantiques.com
A Wonderful Old Captains Sea Chest (USA 1900's)
Offered By; www.redticking.com

An Antique Rowing boat (USA1950's)
Offered By wwwnovecento.1stdibs.com

And finally I couldn't finish this posting without the obvious;

The "Union Jack" Pond Yacht
Offered By www.buythesea-bymail.co.uk

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hole in One !!

Heck.. Where does the time go, it seems like an age since I last posted..

To be totally honest I've been somewhat overwhelmed and caught a little off guard by the amazing response my blog has been receiving, something that started as a way of filling my time until my residency here is completed has now ballooned into something far beyond my comprehension..
                                                 So thank you !!

Okay I also have to admit a great deal of my time recently has been indulging in a another great passion of mine...Golf , which in turn has led me to thinking about the amount of interest there is in golfing antiques and decoration.

A French Golf Poster circa 1948, Offered by;

A Very Brief History of Golf

Golf has been played for around the past 600 years throughout Europe and maybe longer in Asia. The most famous and renowned golf club in the world is undoubtedly St Andrews in Scotland, and worldwide is known as the home of golf. The old course there has been played upon since the 15th century and still is today.
Wooden balls were used at first until around the early 1800's when a leather ball was made stuffed with feathers and painted, this ball changed the whole feature of the game. Today one of these balls known as a “Feathery” can sell for anything up to $40,000.

An Early 18th century "Feathery" Golf Ball. (Pic courtesy of Martonmere)

The game of golf gradually grew in popularity and by the 19th century was a common sport among the upper classes.
A Pair of Iron "Tee Box" Markers from Scotland circa 1940, Offered by;

A large industry has been built today in rare and collectable golfing artefacts, here's some of the more unusual pieces that have come onto the market in recent weeks.
A Pair of Very Unusual Director style chairs constructed with Golf  Clubs USA circa 1940, Offered by;

A 1930's Golf motif Cocktail Stand; Offered by,
A Vintage monogrammed Louis Vuitton Golf Bag, France circa 1970's, Offered by;

A Rare Silverplate Art Deco Golf themed Cocktail Shaker, Offered By;