Category Archives: Antique Furniture

Antique Miniatures vs Apprentice pieces: What’s the difference?

  Here at Thakeham Furniture, we usually hold a stock of miniature antique furniture. Always popular, these charming pieces are often the subject of much discussion… why were they made? And for what purpose? People like to use the term ‘apprentice pieces’ when referring to these, but more often than not this isn’t the case. …

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Secrets of the Glue Pot

  When people come into our workshops here at Thakeham Furniture [visitors are always welcome], one of the things that astonishes them is the sight of a traditional ‘glue pot’ containing hide or ‘Scotch’ glue, such have been used in workshops since the 17th century! Scotch glue is an adhesive, similar to gelatin, that is …

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What Is a Bonheur Du Jour?

A bonheur du jour (in French, bonheur-du-jour, meaning “daytime delight”) is a type of lady’s writing desk. It was introduced in Paris by one of the interior decorators and purveyors of fashionable novelties called marchands-merciers about 1760, and speedily became intensely fashionable. The bonheur du jour is always very light and graceful, with a decorated …

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A History of Hall Chairs

Once a staple feature of stately homes throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, hall chairs occupied a prominent position in the home’s entryway. Placed to accommodate guests entering the home before they were invited into the more intimate inner rooms, they also provided a discreet resting place for waiting servants, the solid upright back prevented slouching! Thomas …

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Gillows of Lancaster: The long established cabinet makers renowned for the highest quality craftsmanship

  Gillows of Lancaster was established by Robert Gillow in 1728 and continued by his two sons. They were a unique firm: no other cabinet makers were in business for so long a period, and no other provincial firms had a showroom and workshop in 18th century London;  they were responsible for some of the …

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English Walnut: the Victorian Period

There are two periods of English furniture when walnut was the most popular cabinet timber. The first, known as the ‘Early Walnut’ period dates from 1680 to about 1740, or sometime during the reign of George II, when the newly imported mahogany began to gain in popularity. Much prized by cabinetmakers for its strength and …

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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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