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. It’s amazing the things that turn up stuffed at the back of drawers or hidden away in cupboards. Things we have stumbled across over the years include: sewing kits, hair nets, old newspapers, money, pin cushions, postcards, love letters , a set of decanters, quills, portrait miniatures, stamps, semi precious stones, smelly old tights, pen nibs…the list is endless!
Once we even found a mummified mouse inside a long case clock (!) Another favourite was a perfectly preserved dragon fly in a desk drawer.
Something we do come across a lot is sewing kits. There is nothing more exciting than opening a work table drawer to discover it complete with a well loved collection of needles, threads and thimbles etc, sometimes untouched from as far back as the nineteenth century! The colours of the threads against the shine of the needles, all perfectly neatly aligned, make a beautiful sight.
Once or twice we have found bundles of cash strapped to the back of a desk, or in secret compartments. For more on secret compartments see ‘secret compartments in antique furniture’. (This has, of course, been returned to the owner/auction house)
Something we do keep, and have quite an expansive collection of, is newspapers. A great place to find old newspapers is behind mirrors, they were placed there to protect the glass. The oldest newspaper we have found to date is from 1892! We have also found papers from key dates in history such as the Queens Coronation.