Author Archives: Harriet Chavasse

Deportment chairs – The original naughty step!

  Invented by Sir Astley Paston Cooper (1768-1841), a surgeon and anatomist, deportment chairs were designed to correct poor posture in children. It was considered dignified for a child to have upright posture, with a straight back and the head held high. It was believed this was important not only for discipline, but also medical …

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WELLINGTON CHESTS: A GUIDE

Amongst new stock this month is this William IV mahogany Wellington chest. Dating from around 1830, it’s constructed in lovely quality mahogany, and consists of eight drawers, fitted with original turned wooden knobs. Named after the 1st duke of Wellington, The Wellington chest is one of the most famous pieces of campaign furniture (furniture specifically …

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DIVIDE AND RUIN: HOW TO SPOT A ‘DIVORCE’ IN FURNITURE

  It is relatively frequent to see ‘marriages’ within furniture of the 18th & 19th centuries (read more on our blog post on marriages and how to avoid them here) and much has been written about how to spot when an item has been ‘made up’ from two or more existing components. Less often, however, …

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Overmantel or Overmantle??

For many years at Thakeham Furniture, we referred to the large (often gilt, often landscape format) mirrors, that hang or stand over fireplaces as ‘overmantle mirrors’… until someone told us this was wrong. The correct, Oxford English dictionary spelling is in fact ‘overmantel’. So that meant we had been calling the mantelpiece the wrong thing …

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5 important steps in caring for your antique furniture

Furniture made during the Georgian and Victorian periods was built to last! Joints were constructed and glued – not stapled or nailed together like modern pieces. Timber was properly seasoned, so is less likely to warp; and the finish applied, designed to resist marks, hardens over time. With a little care and thought, caring for …

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10 Things To Look For When Buying Antique Furniture

Here’s our definitive guide to avoiding the most obvious pitfalls….. 1. Does the piece have its original finish, or has it been repolished – does it have a shiny plastic finish or the nice smooth patina of age? (Read more about finishes here) 2. Look underneath, study the back, check for loose joints – when …

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Chippendale And The Rules Of Classical Proportion.

Known as ‘The golden era of design’, there is no disputing the quality and refinement of Georgian furniture. Pieces ‘stand well’: mouldings and brassware perfectly balance aprons and legs. Many furniture historians believe this is because cabinet makers adhered to a strict geometric proportioning system, based on the five classical orders, which are evident throughout …

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Tunbridge Ware: A History

New in this week is this fantastic Tunbridge ware inkstand, circa. 1870. Rectangular in form, the two glass inkwells flank a stamp box and pen recess. It is of rosewood construction, with the top and sides decorated with a fine mosaic style inlay in holly, ebony, sycamore and boxwood. This intricate mosaic style inlay is …

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Dovetail Joints: What they can tell us about our Antique Furniture

  Dovetail joints, named due to their resemblance to the bird’s tail, were first used as far back as ancient Egyptian times where they are found on the furniture entombed with mummies. They were first used in English cabinet making in around 1650. Commonly used in woodwork joinery, they can act as a useful tool …

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