17 Apr 2021


July 22, 2013 - Filed under: Infographics — admin

The world of antiques can be very exciting, especially when you find that hidden gem which has been missed by everyone else. We’ve put together this infographic on some of the best finds of recent years, how much they cost and, most importantly, what they’re really worth! It also includes some handy hints and tips on finding antiques, what to look out for and what to avoid.

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Guide to Finding Antiques Infographic

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July 19, 2013 - Filed under: Antique Chests — Mandy

A rare Japanese antique chest has been sold at auction for £6.3 million after being used by a French engineer as a drinks cabinet and TV stand. The engineer purchased the wooden chest, which is five feet in length, for £100 when he moved to London. Following his death, his family discovered the chest while clearing out his home in France and found that the chest dated back to 1640 and had been lost since 1941, which was when the chest was last recorded.

The chest has an intriguing history, which has helped to increase the value. It was made by Kaomi Nagashige in 1640 for the Dutch East India Company. In 1658, it was sold to the chief minister of France before being handed down through his family. William Beckford, a British poet, purchased the chest in 1802 and it was passed to his daughter before being sold in 1882. The antique chest was then sold to a collector, Sir Clifford Cory, who died in 1941 – which is when it fell from the radar. A Polish doctor had bought the chest, then sold it on for £100 to the engineer.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam bought the Japanese chest at auction for the huge sum, although its expected value was £200,000. According to the curator, Menno Fitski, the antique box was the best when it was made and remains the best. He also said that the amazing history added to its uniqueness. If you have an antique chest lying around, a reputable antiques dealer in Lancashire or elsewhere may be able to tell you about its history.

- Filed under: Antique Harness Cupboard — Mandy

An antique harness cupboard is like a livery cupboard and they were used for holding and storing horse harnesses and equipment. Harness cupboards usually have wooden pegs in the top section and drawers to the lower section. Today, They are very useful pieces of antique furniture and today are mainly used as kitchen cupboards or hall cupboards.  Very useful for hanging coats and storing away shoes etc.



July 1, 2013 - Filed under: Gillows — Mandy

Lancashire is synonymous with antiques, being the home of one of the most famous names in the antique furniture business, Robert Gillow. Robert Gillow crafted antique cabinets in Lancashire around the 18th century. Much of his work has survived to this day, and antiques from Robert Gillow are highly prized in the antiques world.

Robert Gillow was born in Lancashire early in the 18th century, in 1704 in Singleton. With his furniture company Gillows he made many fine examples of Lancastrian antique cabinets and other forms of furniture. Gillow left Singleton to move to Lancaster because his father was in prison there, in Lancaster Castle.

Much of Gillow’s antique cabinets were manufactured from mahogany imported from the West Indies, where Gillow discovered the fine wood when he worked on a ship as a carpenter.

Many of Gillows Lancashire-made antiques were exported back to the West Indies, from where his source material came from, showing the reach of Lancashire’s antiques.

Gillows became a family business in Lancashire when Robert Gillow was joined by his sons and together they crafted fine antique furniture, and even invented the billiard table (or so legend has it).

The highlight of Gillow’s career came when he crafted fine Lancastrian furniture for Queen Victoria, as well as for more than one president of the United States of America.

June 28, 2013 - Filed under: Chinese Market — Mandy

The Chinese term huanghuali literally means “yellow flowering pear” wood. It is a member of the rosewood family and is botanically classified as Dalbergia odorifera. In premodern times the wood was know as huali or hualu. The modifier huang (yellowish-brown) was added in the early twentieth century to describe old huali wood whose surfaces had mellowed to a yellowish tone due to long exposure to light. The sweet fragrance of huali distinguishes it from the similar appearing but pungent-odored hongmu.

June 21, 2013 - Filed under: Chinese Market — Mandy

These tiny Chinese agate carvings jointly estimated at just £200-300 stole the show at a Salisbury saleroom when they sold for 500 times the top guide.

Consigned for sale by a UK dealer, the 2in (5cm) pieces, one of a boy beating a drum, the other with a cat, had been catalogued as ’19th/20th century’.

Several phones and a bidder  battled it out until it eventually sold for £150,000 to the latter, reported to be an anonymous buyer from China.

Together with the scarcity for agate carvings of boys and the tenacity of Asian buyers, many of whom were in attendance for the two-day series in Salisbury which included the Luís Esteves Fernandes collection of Asian art, the vast price has led the auction house to believe the pieces are far earlier than they had thought; probably 18th century.

June 14, 2013 - Filed under: Queen Anne Style Furniture — Mandy

 Queen Anne style furniture is a style of furniture design that developed during and around the reign of Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1702-1714). Queen Anne furniture is somewhat smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than its predecessors, and examples in common use include curving shapes, the cabriole leg, cushioned seats, wing-back chairs, and practical secretary desk bookcase pieces. Other elements characterizing the style include pad feet and an emphasis on line and form rather than ornament. In Britain, the style of Queen Anne’s reign is frequently described as “late Baroque” rather than “Queen Anne,” while in the United States the term “Queen Anne” describes decorative styles from the mid-1720s to around 1760, although Queen Anne reigned earlier.

The cabriole leg has been described as the most recognizable element of Queen Anne furniture. Cabriole legs were influenced by the designs of the French cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle  and the Rococo style from the French court of Louis XV . But the intricate ornamentation of post-Restoration furniture was abandoned in favor more conservative designs, possibly under the influence of the simple and elegant lines of imported Chinese furniture.

In addition to simple curvilinear lines and cabriole leg, Queen Anne chairs are characterized by vasiform splats and frequently featured a horseshoe shape. Other important decorative elements included carved shell and scroll motifs, often found on the crest and knees. Wingback chairs, variations on other Queen Anne-style chairs, are fully upholstered with the exception of the exposed wood legs and have sides folded inward to keep heat contained within the chair. All four of the cabriole legs legs sit on padded feet. The shoulders of the back droop slightly to give a more feminine look to the style, in contrast to the squared shoulders of the masculine King George wingback chair.

June 3, 2013 - Filed under: Looking After Antiques — Mandy

A patina on the surface, built up over many years and even with old marks and damage, is part of the character and value of a piece of furniture and should be preserved. If the surface is badly damaged and needs restoration, consult a specialist dealer for advice.
Waxing with a good quality polish based on beeswax (not spray polishes), brings out the colour and grain of the wood and provides protection. Put a small amount of polish on a soft cloth and rub the piece until the wax on the cloth shines.This will burnish the surface and evaporate any solvent. Then polish with a clean duster. If possible, apply the wax at night to allow it to nourish the wood and polish the following day. If the wood has become very dry, the wax will soak in rapidly and should be applied regularly until a good patina has developed. Normally, wax polish need not be used more than once every few months as too much wax will cause dullness and absorb dust. However, frequent dusting is important using a clean, dry, soft duster. This will encourage a hard skin to form which enhances the patina.
Brass mounts and handles should not be polished with metal cleaners which can harm the wood around them and remove any water gilding. A light burnishing while dusting should be enough to keep them bright. The gold finish on ormolu (gilded bronze) is very delicate and should not be polished. It should be handled as little as possible, as the acid in fingerprints can damage gilding, but it can be dusted gently with a soft brush.


- Filed under: George Jack — Mandy

George Washington Henry Jack (1855 – 1931) was an American-born architect and Arts and Crafts Furniture designer. He was the chief Arts & Crafts Furniture designer for William Morris. However, although many of Jack’s exquisitely carved chairs and antique cabinets were produced for the Morris company, he had a successful enterprise of his own, and his designs stand firmly on their own merits.

George Jack and English Arts and Crafts Furniture

George Jack was born on Long Island, New York, of Scottish parents. Upon his father’s death in 1860, he was brought back to Glasgow. Here, he was apprenticed to Horatio Bromhead before moving to London, where he eventually joined the office of Philip Webb in 1880.

Webb is considered the Father of Arts and Crafts Architecture. He was also a gifted furniture designer, collaborating with Morris and Burne-Jones from 1858 onwards. Buyers in Cumbria pay large sums for his Victorian dining chairs and antique cabinets, but George Jack is no less esteemed. His skills in woodcraft so impressed Webb that he introduced him to William Morris, and from1885 onwards George Jack was employed by Morris & Co as a furniture designer.

Arts & Crafts Furniture – or Art Nouveau?

George Jack’s elaborately carved Victorian dining chairs and settees were the perfect match for Morris’ colourful textile designs, leading some to suggest influence from the European Art Nouveau movement. Morris, Jack and Webb undoubtedly saw the potential of what was perceived as a passing fad by other English Arts and Crafts Furniture designers – though their style was resolutely their own.

In 1896, the Central School of Arts and Crafts was founded, aided by sponsorship from William Morris and John Ruskin (another important figure in Arts & Crafts Furniture, who lived in Cumbria.) Morris died the same year, and George Jack became a founding lecturer at the school. He later took over Philip Webb’s architectural practice, publishing his seminal work, “Woodcarving, Design and Workmanship” in 1903.

Arts & Crafts Furniture enthusiasts in Cumbria wanting something a little more decorative than normal should consider the carved antique cabinets and chairs of George Jack, who continued working up to and after WWI.


May 20, 2013 - Filed under: Antique Chests — Mandy

A bachelors chest  is a small, shallow and relatively low chest, English in origin, containing three to four drawers, usually graduated; in the first models, which date from the late 17th century, the top was hinged, and could fold out to become a writing surface, supported by runners or knobbed slides (lopers); later varieties, in the 18th century, had a brushing slide just underneath the top – a pull-out surface for writing or laying out of clothing; usually made of walnut, oak or elm; bun feet were most common on the early chests, but were replaced by the more fashionable bracket feet as the century progressed

Although the term came to mean any small chest of drawers, originally the bachelor’s chest was a multi-purpose piece of furniture, perfect for a single gentleman occupying a small bachelor’s pad or flat.

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