Author Archives: Harriet Chavasse

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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Flame, Burr and Birdseye: A Guide to Figures in Timber

  While ‘grain’ refers to the orientation of the fibres within timber, ‘figure’ describes the various distinctive patterns that result from this. More simply put, it is the surface pattern. Many things create and shape a wood’s figure, from the difference in density between earlywood and latewood cells, natural pigments and the number of growth …

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Things Found in Antique Furniture

  Here at Thakeham Furniture we love how every item of antique furniture tells its own unique story; initials carved into the underside of a table, the faint outline of a pair of Victorian sewing scissors on a work table. Every now and then a piece comes into our workshop which conceals a hidden surprise. …

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Gentleman’s Drinks Cabinet

The term ‘cellaret’ came into use in c. 1750 to describe cases and receptacles to contain wine. Originally, they were placed under sideboards, which back then were in the form of side tables (lacking the cupboards below). The earliest form is the octagon shape, which were lined with lead, with partitions for bottles. Later sideboards …

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Secret compartments in antique furniture

Nowadays most of us keep our money in the safety of bank accounts and our valuables in safety deposit boxes, however these only came into existence at the turn of the nineteenth century. Up until this point, people had to make do with concealing their money and valuables within their furniture. Items such as desks, …

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When ‘Faux’ equals ‘fine’

Faux bamboo first made an appearance in England in the 1750’s, however it reached the height of its popularity with The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, built in three stages from 1787 for Prince Regent (who became King George IV in 1820). Designed by John Nash, the Royal Pavillion stands as a testament to true Regency …

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