21 Apr 2021


June 25, 2012 - Filed under: Antique Bureau Plat — Mandy

A Bureau Plat (French for Writing Table) usually has drawers directly underneath the writing surface to store writing implements, so the table could be used as a desk. 

Antique Bureau Plat’s usually have divisions for inkwells, the powder tray and blotters in the drawers and the surface is usually leather or baize which was less hostile to the quill or fountain pen than a hard wood top would have been.

The bureau plat is supported on four legs usually with ormolu detail throughout  and was often placed in the library, where the gentlemen would do the business transactions.




- Filed under: Zebra-wood — Mandy

Zebra-wood is a very striking timber known by its bright yellow bands alternating with dull brown and black stripes, giving it a zebra-stripe appearance. The bands follow the general run of the annual rings, down the length of each log.

Zebra-wood grows in Cameroon and neighbouring states of West Africa, around or on the Equator. They are small trees rarely taller that 65 feet or bigger than 8 feet round. The leaves are compound with about 8 pairs of leaflets. The flowers resemble that of a sweet pea but are larger and orange coloured. The seeds ripen in broad flat pods.

The brilliant colouration of zebra-wood gives a challenge to designer’s of fine cabinet work and joinery, as it must be used skillfully to show and artistic effect. Popular in America and Europe for shop fittings, panels in restaurant fittings, usually used as a veneer. Carvers use it for exceptional effects

Examples of Zebra-wood

June 19, 2012 - Filed under: Etageres/Wotnots — Mandy

The French “etagere” is a piece of light furniture, which was largely made in France during the latter part of the 18th Century. It consists of a series of shelves to hold small articles or ornaments. The best Louis XVI examples are exceedingly graceful and elegant and made in exotic woods.

The Wot-Not is a piece of English furniture derived from the “French Etagere”, exceedingly popular in the 1st three quarters of the 19th Century, consisting of slender uprights and pillars, also to hold ornaments or china. A beautiful piece of drawing room furniture, graceful in their simplicity




- Filed under: Purple Heart Wood — Mandy

Purple Heart cannot be mistaken for any other timber, for its whole surface is a bright clear purple colour. This is due to a remarkable natural pigment, found only in the heart-wood, the sap is whitish with purple streaks and remains so. When the heart-wood is first exposed by cutting, it is horn coloured. Exposure to the air causes it to turn, within a few days, bright purple on the surface. But this colour is only about a twentieth of an inch deep, and further cutting will expose pale surfaces, which become purple in their turn. Long exposure to sun and rain renders the surface black, but it is constant enough when used indoors.

Purple heart is  remarkable heavy, strong and tough weighing 54lb to the cubic foot. It grows in Central American rain forests and shows no marked features of annual rings, rays or pores. Figured wood is rare and correspondingly valuable. In Europe small quantities of Purple heart are used for fine turning and cabinet work, but the main demand is for veneers and inlays.

Purple heart is cut from several species of tall trees that belong to the genus Peltogyne, the commonest being Porphyrocardia. They grow along river banks and lake shores in central and South America, from Panama to Venezuela, Trinidad, Surinam, Guyana and Northern Brazil. Some have heights of 125 feet and girths of 12 feet. The leaves are leathery in texture, the bark is smooth and grey, and the trunk is round without buttresses.



Edwards & Roberts were founded in 1845. Their premises were 21 Wardour Street, London. They occupied more than a dozen buildings in Wardour Street by 1892, and successfully continued to trade there until the end of the Century.

Edwards & Roberts became one of the most leading  cabinet makers and retailers in London, with a variety of styles including modern and revivalist. They also restored furniture on the premises. They specialised in marquetry inlay and ormolu, and there are many examples of their earlier furniture with later embellishments bearing their stamp “Edwards & Roberts”.

Wardour Street became an important furniture retailing area in the second half of the 19th Century. The firm carried a fine and complete library of the old desigers i.e Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Adam.



Chrstian Davies Antiques have many examples of Edwards & Roberts furniture in stock


- Filed under: Desks — Mandy

Antique pedestal desks are usually free standing, with a rectangular working surface, upon two pedestals or small cabinets of drawers, supported on plinth bases. There is usually a large central drawer above the knees of the user. Sometimes in the 19th Century a “modesty panel” was put between the pedestals to hide the legs or knees of the user. Smaller and older pedestal desks with modesty panels were sometimes called knee hole desks and were usually placed against a wall.

From the mid 18th Century onwards pedestal desks had inset leather or baize writing surfaces, within a cross banded border. If the desk top were just wood, it may of had a pull out lined writing drawer.

The pedestal desk appeared in England in the 18th Century but became popular in the 19th and 20th, overtaking the variants of the secretary desk and the writing table in sheer numbers. When a pedestal desk is double in size to form a nearly square working surface, and drawers are put on both sides to accommodate two users at the same time, it becomes a partners desks. Thomas Chippendale gave designs for such tables, which were generally used in libraries.

Examples of a Victorian Mahogany pedestal desk and a Victorian ladies writing desk with a pull out writing surface



June 11, 2012 - Filed under: Antique Seating — Mandy

Although mostly for convenience, the porters chair was made to be reasonably comfortable as opposed to hall chairs. Where as hall chairs offered a rock like resistance to the posterior and no comfort to the back and usually came in pairs or sets. The porters chair on the other hand was made to protect him from the rigours of a job which condemned him to draughts, and could be both comfortable and desirable.

A Fine example of a Deep Buttoned Leather Porters Chair


- Filed under: Dining Chairs — Mandy

Windsor Chairs appeared at the beginning of the 18th Century, but most were made during the 19th.  The chairs were a cheap and comfortable form of seating made in the country for kitchen, tavern and general use by the public.  As a  result of parish records, census and trade directories the main indication of area of manufacture is to be found in the shape of the arm supports, legs from different areas often having similar designs. The North Midlands used turned arm supports, East Anglia tended to used a shaped front arm support cut from solid wood, while in the Thames Valley two methods were used. The seats are nearly always in elm, even the finest examples. Cabriole legs help the value considerably as do some special shapes of splat. Early comb-backs and original designs also command higher prices.

Fine Examples of  a stick back windsor, a comb-back windsor and a wheelback windsor

June 3, 2012 - Filed under: Arts and Crafts — Mandy

Wylie & Lochhead was a Scottish cabinetmaking firm who became famous for their high level of craftsmanship in their furniture, which followed the Glasgow School style of design. Admirers of Wylie & Lochhead Arts& Crafts furniture in Preston will find their antique cabinets, antique dining chairs and other furniture in high quality antique shops and showrooms. The designs are usually attributed to E.A Taylor – sometimes wrongly, as John Ednie designed for them too, though his work was often attributed to Taylor.

Wylie & Lochhead was formed by young cabinetmakers Robert Wylie and William Lochhead in 1829. They became highly successful, with a string of workshops, showrooms and warehouses in Glasgow employing over 1700 workers. By the 1900s they were a household name across Scotland, renowned for their artistic designs and high levels of craftsmanship.

Antique dining chairs by the finest craftsmen

With branches established in London and Manchester, the fame of Wylie & Lochhead spread. The popularity of designs by George Walton, and Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries at the Glasgow School, had a huge influence on the firm’s own designs. The success of Mackintosh’s famous Cranston tea rooms placed them under great pressure to satisfy demand for the Glasgow Style, but the size of the firm, and its marketing and manufacturing skills, made the style available to a huge market, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Wylie & Lochhead employed the best talent in the area, developing close links with the Glasgow colleges and keeping abreast with the latest designs. Their three main designers were E.A Taylor, John Ednie and George Logan. In 1902, their Arts & Crafts Furniture designs were considered of such high quality they were displayed at the Turin International Exhibition alongside those of Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four.

Wylie & Lochhead often incorporated other designers’ styles into their antique dining chairs and antique cabinets. Preston buyers will see motifs and other design elements borrowed from, among others, Rennie Mackintosh and Baillie Scott – who also designed Arts & Crafts furniture for the company. In 1957, the company was purchased by House of Fraser.

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