Throughout history it has been a necessary feature in our homes and although fashions have changed with regularity, people have aspired to owning something made from the recent , or not so recent past to remind them principally of their heritage and the craftsmanship of a previous generation.
From the heavy, dark oak of the 17th century through to the wonderful age of walnut which became established during the reign of William and Mary and continued through Queen Anne’s reign into the early Georgian period, to the elegant Regency period in the early 19th century and then the more ornate Victorian era, before entering the 19th century and the flamboyant Edwardian period. On its way incorporating movements such as Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. All of these styles and fashions reflected the mood of the time as well as that of the designers and decorators.
The past has always been a source of great value and inspiration to designers. There will always be a natural drive for innovation and change but the best pieces of antique furniture will be able to weather the storm of faddish fashion and economics. It is a great option for contemporary homes with both formal and country styles providing unique pieces appreciated in decorating schemes today. A fine quality antique piece will make a statement in any home and such pieces are beyond hype and fashion.
Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the experience of the search and find process is hard work but fun, drawing on a multitude of relationships, places and events. This is why it is advisable to strike up a good relationship with a dealer whose expertise and eye you can trust to steer you towards what is right for your home or collection. Just one piece of antique furniture shown in a different light can pull a whole interior together and regardless of whether the home is modern or traditional, if well chosen, will work in any space.
Once you have established what period or style pleases you most in terms of design and wood, then the next step is to look for pieces which are well made and be guided by the craftsmanship, colour and patination. If the piece is aesthetically pleasing and you feel it will give you pleasure to look at every day then this is an excellent starting point as the pleasure you derive from it in the future will be your investment.
It does not matter if it is a piece of early carved oak, a simple piece of country furniture, an intricate ormulu mounted piece inlaid with marquetry or a fine museum quality piece (sometimes signed but usually defined by attribution) by a well known cabinet maker such as Chippendale, Adam, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Hope, Smith, Bullock or Pugin, if it pleases you and your pocket allows, then you can do no better than to acquire it.
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