06 May 2021


March 6, 2014 - Filed under: Edwards & Roberts Of London — Mandy

Edwards & Roberts was founded in 1845, and had premises at 21 Wardour Street London.  By 1892 they occupied more than a dozen buildings in Wardour Street, where they continued to trade until the end of the century.
They became one of the leading London cabinet makers and retailers working in a variety of styles, both modern and revivalist.  Their business also involved retailing, adapting and restoring the finest antique furniture and there are many examples of their earlier furniture with later embellishments bearing their stamp.
Edwards & Roberts specialized in Marquetry, inlay and Ormolu. Here at Christian Davies Antiques we carry a small selection of quality Edwards & Roberts furniture in our two storey showroom J4 M65 services, Darwen, Lancashire




- Filed under: Antique Davenports — Mandy

The Davenport, became fashionable in the Sheraton period (1780-1800). The name is thought to derive from a Captain Davenport who may have commisisioned the first example. An antique Davenport  has a sloping desk above a case of drawers; an early Davenport like the piece illustrated below has a desk that pulls forward to create a kneehole and an ink and pen drawer that pulls out. Later Nineteenth Century examples have a fixed writing slope and are known as piano top davenports.



- Filed under: Campaign Chests — Mandy

Any furniture specifically made to breakdown or fold for ease of travel can be described as campaign furniture. It was designed to be packed up and carried on the march. It has been used by traveling armies since at least the time of Julius Caesar but it is commonly associated with British Army Officers, many of whom had purchased their commissions. With the rise and expansion of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries the demand by the military, administrators and colonists increased. British officers of high social position in the Georgian and Victorian periods (1714–1901) often carried high quality portable furniture.

The most common item of campaign furniture is the chest of drawers, often referred to as a military chest or campaign chest. A standard campaign chest will be made of either mahogany or teak and break down into two sections with removable legs. The brass corners and strap work offer some protection and typify the distinctive ‘campaign look’.

Some items of campaign furniture are instantly recognisable as made to dismantle or fold. Brass caps to the tops of legs, hinges in unusual places, protruding bolts or X-frame legs all give clues to the functionality of the piece. However, some makers of campaign furniture were careful to ensure that their work was up to date and fashionable, thus making it more commercial. In such cases, as much of it looked like domestic furniture, it is harder to see how it dismantles. Ross and Co. of Dublin were innovators of campaign furniture design and much of their work is obviously Victorian in period. It only becomes apparent that their balloon back chairs dismantle when they are turned upside down and two locking bolts can be seen.

regency_period_mahogany_antique_campaign_chest_016See this campaign chest on our website under current stock/chests

February 27, 2014 - Filed under: London Bridge — Mandy


London Bridge wasn’t exactly falling down in the 1960s, but it was sinking under the weight of modern traffic. When London decided to build another bridge to replace it, the 1831 bridge was put up for sale. the winning bid was from Robert McCulloch, American entrepreneur and chairman of an oil company.

He paid $2,460,000 plus the shopping cost of around $240,000 to take the bridge to America piece by piece. He bought it as a tourist attraction to entice people to vacation and retire in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, a planned community he had established a few years earlier. It took three years and several million dollars more to rebuild the bridge!



February 23, 2014 - Filed under: Windsor chairs — Mandy

The Windsor chair is recognised as one of the classics of English country furniture. They were often made by village craftsmen to traditional designs in native woods like elm, ash, beech and yew.

The form emerged in the early 18th century, though the origin of the name is obscure. Chairs of this type were manufactured in large numbers in the Thames Valley in Buckinghamshire, and Windsor may have been a centre for distribution.

In practice Windsor refers not to the place of origin but to a design principle where the legs and the back are both socketed into a solid seat and this form of construction proved so practical and popular that it was widely adopted not only by country craftsmen, but for mass production in factories for schools and other institutions. More sophisticated examples were also produced by fashionable makers for wealthy clients.

Windsor chairs were made in a wide range of styles and there are distinct regional variations from all over Britain and the USA where the form was equally popular.

Windsor chairs are still being made in the traditional way today.

windsor chairs

- Filed under: Arts and Crafts — Mandy
Ernest and Sidney Barnsley were Arts and Crafts movement master builders, furniture designers and makers associated with Ernest Gimson. In the early 20th century they had workshops at Sapperton, Gloucestershire.

Sidney’s son, Edward continued the family tradition, making fine furniture according to his fathers philosophy and became a figure head in his own right.

They were also associated with the designers and makers Gordon Russell and the Dutchman Peter Waals,or van der Waals.

Sidney Barnsley rebuilt a church, formerly in Hagia Sophia in 1891 in the free Byzantine style. He used Red brick and stone in various patterns eg chequer work, herringbone and basketweave and a plain tile roof. He installed a single unit aisled nave and chancel; an east end with polygonal apses, the outer ones as angled bay windows; imposing west front; a large planked and studded door with scalloped metal framing under round arch with inscription; a stone dressed diocletion window above the narthex under a pent roof; round headed lancet windows on other façades and in the apses of the east end.

Interior features include: Arts and Crafts movement lectern, pulpit and reading desk, in ebony and holly with mother of pearl inlay, priests’ chairs with domed canopies, byzantine capitals from Constantinople and Ephesus decorating the aisles and west wall.

February 16, 2014 - Filed under: Black Forest Carvings — Mandy

In the 1800′s the wood carving industry of Switzerland started in the town of Brienz. By the end of the 1800′s it had become the driving force for this industry.

Swiss wood carvers became world renown and featured at many international exhibitions.
Here is a shortlist of the major exhibitions Black Forest Carvings were spotlighted.   Great Exhibition, London (1851) Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia (1876)Chicago Worlds Fair, Chicago (1893)Exposition Universelle, Paris (1900)

In Europe Black Forest carvings  became a symbol of luxury and wealth. The finest pieces of Black Forest carving was often found in Royal collection and elite collector’s homes (usually Victorian world travelers).
During the 1800-1900′s popularity was also growing in many overseas markets. There was a high demand for these carving especially depicting American Wildlife.

In the last 15 years this genre has seen some major changes.
Specialty auctions and dealers have been popping up world wide. Along with various books on the subject being published.
For the first time pieces showing up at auction are being attributed to Master Swiss carvers. The biggest misconception about Black Forest carvings is that they originated in Germany. However they are actually the creation of Swiss carvers.

Just like most antiques quality is very important when it comes to Black Forest carvings. The quality of a carving can vary from indifferent to first rate.
World class examples of Black Forest carving rarely hit the open market and when they do they are usually snatched up quickly.

The subject and detail of the piece also affect the value.
Bears are the most commonly depicted animal, this makes other animals such as dogs much more rare. These rarer animals can bring 2-3 times more at auction than the same piece depicting bears.


- Filed under: Wellington Chests — Mandy

Some collectors call chests of drawers such as this one “side-locking chests,” but others call them “Wellington chests,” after Arthur Wellesley, first duke of Wellington.

Wellesley was born in Ireland in 1769. He was part of a prominent family and was commissioned as an ensign in the British army in 1787. He had attained the rank of colonel by 1796, and in 1799, after distinguishing himself in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, he was made governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in India.

It is said by some that Wellesley carried a specific chest with him when in the field. It was a campaign style with swivel handles, brass angle pieces to protect the corners, short removable feet and a frame on the right-hand side that overlapped the drawer fronts. This strip of wood was fitted with a lock for security purposes.

These “Wellington” chests generally had six to 12 drawers, and they are also — and perhaps more correctly — called “side-locking chests.” Most of the side-locking chests found in this country are English in origin

 The side-locking mechanism was very important for securing one’s belongings in an establishment.  These are interesting pieces, and collectors seem to love them.



February 11, 2014 - Filed under: Antique Sideboards — Mandy

Holland & Sons was founded in 1803 by William Holland (1803-1843). From 1803 to 1843, they were carpenters and upholsterers, William Holland and Stephen Taprell were business partners. The company was called until 1835 “Taprell & Holland,” to 1843 “Taprell, Holland & Son” and from 1843 “Holland & Sons’. In 1851, the company employed more than 350 employees. In 1852, the renowned workshop of Thomas Dowbiggin (1788-1854) at the Mount Street in London taken over.

“Holland & Sons” received several orders for the interiors of many government buildings and clubs in the 19th Century in London, including the Athenaeum Club , the Reform Club , and the British Museum. The company received many royal orders, for example for the manufacture of furniture for Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle ,  Osbourne House and  Balmoral Castle. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 introduced Holland & Sons a bookshelf in front, for which they received a prize, and they participated in many other renowned exhibitions of the century.  They were named royal supplier. In 1877 they delivered furniture for a steam yacht of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

They became known for its Gothic Revival furniture, but they also featured furniture from other styles here, such as Louis XV and Louis XVI , the Renaissance and the Elizabethan age.  Holland & Sons were technical innovators who used the time from the beginning of modern machinery in their workshops.


February 9, 2014 - Filed under: Antique Tables — Mandy

Some very early tables were made and used by the Egyptians, and were little more than stone platforms used to keep objects off the floor. They were not used for seating people. Food and drinks were usually put on large plates deposed on a pedestal for eating. The Egyptians made use of various small tables and elevated playing boards. The Chinese also created very early tables in order to pursue the arts of writing and painting.

The Greeks and Romans made more frequent use of tables, notably for eating, although Greek tables were pushed under a bed after use. The Greeks invented a piece of furniture very similar to the guéridon. Tables were made of marble or wood and metal (typically bronze or silver alloys), sometimes with richly ornate legs. Later, the larger rectangular tables were made of separate platforms and pillars. The Romans also introduced a large, semicircular table to Italy, the mensa lunata.

Furniture during the Middle Ages is not as well known as that of earlier or later periods, and most sources show the types used by the nobility. In the Eastern Roman Empire, tables were made of metal or wood, usually with four feet and frequently linked by x-shaped stretchers. Tables for eating were large and often round or semicircular. A combination of a small round table and a lectern seemed very popular as a writing table. In western Europe, the invasions and internecine wars caused most of the knowledge inherited from the classical era to be lost. As a result of the necessary movability, most tables were simple trestle tables, although small round tables made from joinery reappeared during the 15th century and onward. In the Gothic era, the chest became widespread and was often used as a table.

Refectory tables first appeared at least as early as the 17th century, as an advancement of the trestle table; these tables were typically quite long and wide and capable of supporting a sizeable banquet in the great hall or other reception room of a castle.


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