Furniture

Every piece of furniture has a practical purpose regardless of how simple or grand it is, even if some pieces were built more for display than function. Today, furniture remains one of the largest areas of the antiques market and items are categorised by type and period.

The term brown furniture refers to traditional pieces made from dark woods such as mahogany, while pieces made from native woods like oak and walnut are sometimes referred to as vernacular furniture.

Famous historical makers include Chippendale, Gillows, William Vile and John Cobb. More recent market trends have seen modern vintage pieces appearing in specialist design and ‘Interior’ auctions.


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Howard furniture keeps on a high at auction

11 March 2019

Never wholly out of demand since top Victorian upholsterer Howard & Sons began producing furniture from its Soho premises, these built-for-comfort sofas and armchairs continue to excel whenever offered at auction.

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Basic quality shines through in Ely

11 March 2019

This early 18th century walnut chest of drawers offered at Rowley’s (22.5% buyer’s premium) Ely rooms on February 16 had plenty going for it including small size at 2ft 8in (81cm) wide, a crossbanded top and a brushing slide.

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Previews: £30,000 plus

11 March 2019

Our weekly selection from salerooms and dealerships.

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Stuart needlework adds rarity to mirror at Vogel sale

25 February 2019

This 2ft (60cm) high Charles II needlework looking glass worked with figures and fantastical beasts emblematic of the seasons was estimated at $10,000-15,000 but sold at $80,000 (£61,500) in the Vogel collection auction at Sotheby's New York.

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Welsh antiques dealer enhances contemporary art show with loan of traditional furniture

20 February 2019

A 19th century Welsh oak bureau is among the furniture that Carmarthenshire dealer Tim Bowen has lent to enhance a local exhibition on creativity.

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Fontainebleau auction to offer Napoleonic chair

18 February 2019

This Empire-period gilt throne or ceremonial chair, measuring 3ft 11in (1.2m) high and 2ft 3in (76cm) wide, is one of the highlights of an April 7 sale of historic artefacts and memorabilia titled l’Empire à Fontainebleau.

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Revived auction house Hutchinson Scott powers forward

18 February 2019

After re-booting the moribund firm of Hutchinson Scott (20% buyer’s premium) in 2016, former dealers Michael Scott and Paul Hodson have now bought their premises at Embsay Mill at Skipton.

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Furniture takes centre stage at annual Cotswolds event

14 February 2019

A William and Mary period oyster veneered laburnum and chest of drawers is among the huge selection of furniture on offer in the Cotswolds next week.

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Mirror on offer in Stuttgart is looking good in ornate gilt frame

11 February 2019

Among the many decorative works of art in Nagel’s sale in Stuttgart on February 27-28 is this 3ft 8in (1.12m) high mirror in an ornately carved gilt frame.

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Thonet furniture takes mixed response at Cologne auction

11 February 2019

Comprehensive collection amassed over 30 years attracts very choosy buyers at auction.

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Rare Dresser armchair made for Art Furnishers’ Alliance makes 70-times estimate at auction

28 January 2019

This Aesthetic movement X-frame armchair took £11,000 against an estimate of just £100-150 at Lawrences of Crewkerne.

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Family art and antiques collection offered at Childress Gaffney auctions in South Carolina

28 January 2019

The sale of a family collection of British and American art and antiques assembled by three successive generations of South Carolina enthusiasts will go under the hammer through Childress Gaffney auctions in Greenville on February 9.

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Oxford’s Bodleian Library buys 500-year-old book-box from Paris dealer

24 January 2019

The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries has acquired a rare 15th-century French Gothic coffer – one of the largest-surviving examples of a late medieval box used for transporting precious books.

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Gem from Old Sodbury

21 January 2019

The traditionally ‘dead’ period between Christmas and New Year was enlivened by the December 28 sale at Wotton Auction Rooms (17.5% buyer’s premium) in Gloucestershire – to the extent that more than 20,000 people suffering withdrawal symptoms worldwide viewed it online and 1360 of them registered to bid.

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Antique dealer's son to auction extensive collection of oak furniture and delftware at Bonhams

09 January 2019

A fine collection of antique oak furniture, treen and delftware owned by Pelham Olive, the son of dealer and co-founder of the Regional Furniture Society Gabriel Olive, is to be sold at Bonhams.

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Thonet furniture from international expert's collection emerges in Cologne auction

07 January 2019

Since the early 1990s Wolfgang Thillmann, a German and philosophy teacher, has devoted himself to collecting Thonet bentwood furniture and become an internationally acknowledged expert in the process.

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Pick of the week: Rare Louis Vuitton travel trunk full of interest

21 December 2018

“Every specialist has an object that they dream of having in their sales,” says Matthew Rubinger, Christie’s head of handbags and accessories. “For me, it’s the aluminium Explorer trunk by Louis Vuitton. The market is full of silver-coloured metal trunks, but this piece is their inspiration.”

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No sign of Mouseman demand tailing off

21 December 2018

Never out of fashion, the best furniture by Robert Thompson is going through one of its periodic surges – as evident at Wilkinson’s Doncaster rooms last month (ATG No 2369) and at Sworders of Stansted Mountfichet (ATG No 2363) in October.

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Pick of the week: Precocious Pugin showcased by Windsor Castle work aged 15

17 December 2018

A table designed by a teenaged Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52) for Windsor Castle sold for £23,500 (plus 21% buyer’s premium) at Gorringe’s of Lewes on December 4.

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Pick of the Week: Rare 1920s Robert Thompson dining suite with early features shines at Doncaster sale

03 December 2018

Capping a vintage year for prime-period Mouseman furniture, a dining suite attracted huge interest when offered for sale in Yorkshire recently.

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