Author Archives: Harriet Chavasse

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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Georgian Plate Warmers

Nothing beats having your favourite dish served up on a lovely warm plate. This desire for a hot plate is nothing new to British diners, and there are artefacts from the 18th and 19th centuries that suggest we were once even more preoccupied by a ‘hot plate’. And this makes sense if we consider how …

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Woods and their scents

Every timber has its own unique scent; the crisp freshness of pine to the acidic tang of green oak. Some timbers have smells very like every day scents. Over the 25 years we have had our workshops at Thakeham Furniture, we have had in various examples of timber on items of furniture spanning the 17th …

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What is a Ho Ho Bird?

The Ho ho bird comes from the mythical Japanese version of the Phoenix. Although most commonly referred to as the Ho ho, the mysterious creature, with a long beak and curving neck, flowing tail, claws and crest takes on many other names, including hoo, foo, ho-wo, hobo, howo, ho and sacred river! Originally appearing as …

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Cracking The Tambour

A tambour is a sliding door consisting of a series of narrow mouldings or reeds of wood glued side by side to a stout canvas backing. Once dry, the tambour is the then ‘cracked’, whereby the glue between between each reed is loosened in the hands, to allow it to curve into shape. One end …

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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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