News

3 August 2017

An anonymous workshop Daybook, 1851-1885

While considerable evidence, such as insurance records, bills (perhaps matched to surviving furniture), letters, rate books and, sometimes, personal accounts, exists for the activities of larger cabinet-making firms, day-to-day records for smaller, more general workshops are far scarcer. Thus, it…

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12 July 2017

Circle of George Bullock: a Regency sarcophagus-form strong box?

Although, for now, the precise origins of this remarkable and perhaps unique masterpiece remain unknown, it is clearly an exceptional work by a talented designer and maker, and was surely commissioned for the grandest of interiors.  Since this seemingly unique…

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29 March 2017

Expertise and enthusiasm: present and future appreciation of the decorative arts

For many years now, there has been a perception that so-called ‘traditional areas’ under the umbrella of the ‘decorative arts’ have fallen from favour.  But what does this mean?  Is this a reference to the market, or to public appreciation?…

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6 March 2017

TEFAF, Maastricht, 2017: still the best

We spent an enjoyable weekend unpacking a truck-full of crates, each revealing a piece of furniture, an object or a picture, soon to be placed or hung on our expanded Maastricht stand.  Thanks as ever to Aston Spinks (see below)…

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18 January 2017

The Winter Antiques Show: ready to go

On Tuesday morning, so far spared the traditional Winter Antiques Show snow, we arrived at the nonetheless frigid Armory. Our shippers battled the mêlée of ‘troublesome trucks’ jockeying for position on a gridlocked Lexington Avenue. But, without the slightest hint…

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12 December 2016

Sitting comfortably, on chairs designed by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

During a recent visit to Salisbury, I took some time to enjoy the magnificent cathedral.  Walking past the north transept, my eye was caught by a life-size seated figure.  On inspection this turned out to be a funerary monument to…

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10 November 2016

Variations on a theme: two armchairs designed by C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941)

C.F.A Voysey’s armchair, with a heart-shape in the back, is one of his most recognisable designs. The armchair with rush seat (above) is a close variant of this widely published model, which is itself known in various forms; see, for…

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7 November 2016

Charles Lepec: two recently identified works

As was acknowledged during their lifetimes, the crucial relationship between the fabulously wealthy patron and collector Alfred Morrison (1821-97), and the supremely talented enamel artist Charles Lepec (1830-90), led to much of Lepec’s artistic output, during the 1860s, finding a…

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27 May 2016

Ivory: what is the latest?

According to the entirely justified headline to an online article in Apollo, ‘Antique ivory poses no threat to elephant conservation: in fact, it needs protection itself’ (see here). We all love elephants, and who brought up on Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar (below)…

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17 May 2016

Summer is coming, so we are told…

Just back from Chicago, where I was kindly invited to speak to the Antiquarians at the Art Institute of Chicago, on ‘Alfred Morrison (1821-97): an overlooked patron and collector of decorative arts’.  This remarkable maecenas lived in Carlton House Terrace,…

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19 April 2016

William Shakespeare: a table incorporating part of his mulberry tree

23 April 2016 marks the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Shakespeare (1564-1616) is revered as the greatest figure in English literature.  Although long admired, it was not until the Great Shakespeare Jubilee arranged in 1769 by the actor…

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7 March 2016

Local authority budget pressure threatening Lancaster’s Gillows collection at the Judges’ Lodgings

Time is rapidly running out to find a solution for the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, and its renowned collection of furniture by Gillows, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cabinet-maker. Against the brutal background of cuts to local authority budgets, Lancashire County…

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3 February 2016

News from New York: that was the WAS that was…

A long stay on the East Coast for the Winter Antiques Show began with a day in Washington.  It seems that fatigue is casting a shadow over many of the groups involved in the battle to retain the free movement…

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19 January 2016

The Winter Antiques Show 2016

The year is barely three weeks old, but here we all are, back in New York for the Winter Antiques Show.  This long running fair, established in 1955, supports the East Side House Settlement, which was itself founded in 1891….

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6 January 2016

Philip Blairman: some early memories, in his own words

Since 2013, Mark Westgarth, based at the University of Leeds, has been investigating ‘Antique Dealers: the British Antiques Trade in the 20th Century’.  This project grew out of his earlier work that culminated in A Biographical Dictionary of Nineteenth Century…

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19 November 2015

A Thomas Hope chandelier identified

Lost works of art are sometimes hidden in plain sight. Such is the case with a magnificent chandelier that undoubtedly once hung at Thomas Hope’s Duchess Street mansion in London, and later at his country house the Deepedene, Dorking, Surrey….

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