Author Archives: Belinda Chavasse

Sarcophagus Wine Cooler

  One of the most exceptional pieces we’ve had in recent months is this wonderful Georgian mahogany wine cooler that has just come in to the showroom. It is a classic piece of English cabinet work from the late Regency period – some might claim the peak era of furniture design. Pieces from this date …

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What Counts is Underneath the Upholstery!

  When you look underneath the upholstery, antique sofas and chairs could not be more different from modern pieces. A new sofa, even from a high quality supplier, will be constructed of chipboard, stapled together and covered in foam. They are not built to last. A piece such as this beautiful French “fauteuil”, or arm …

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This is Patina

  New in this week is this magnificent George III bureau bookcase. Featuring a graceful open fret swan neck pediment above beautifully shaped doors with flame mahogany panels, this piece dates from the 1770s. Everything about it speaks quality, from the beautifully matched veneers on the drawer fronts to the bureau interior with its harewood …

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Fruitwood: Where was it used and why?

During the 18th and 19th centuries fruitwood was widely used for the construction of vernacular or “country” furniture in France and England. The most commonly used fruitwood was the timber from the native or wild cherry, Prunus avium, which produced a decent sized trunk and fine, wide planks. The wood is of a close, firm …

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What are ‘Oysters’?

  This technique is thought to have been developed by English cabinet-makers in the 1660s, immediately after the Restoration of the monarchy. Many of the finest pieces of furniture during this time were ornamented with roundels or ‘Oysters’ of walnut or laburnum. Oysters, so called because of their resemblance to an oyster shell, are produced …

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Our Top 10 Pieces of 2014

  2014 saw some memorable pieces through the doors at Thakeham Furniture. We decided to take a look back and see which were the really exceptional. After much discussion and disagreement, we managed to narrow it down to 10! Many are sold but a couple are still available; in no particular order….       …

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A Guide To Campaign Chests

  Amongst new stock this month is this lovely small 19th century padouk chest of drawers. Dating from about 1830, it is a particularly fine example of campaign furniture, designed to be packed and carried on the march during military campaigns. The officers of the British army who bought and commissioned campaign furniture came from …

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Thomas Sheraton: A History

  Thomas Sheraton [1751 – 1806] was one of the “big three” furniture makers of the 18th century, along with Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite. He came from a poor background in Durham, and was trained as a ‘journeyman cabinet-maker’. He seems to have settled in London about 1790 in Davies Street, and then Wardour …

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The Traditional Art of Gilding

  The term ‘gilding’ covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as ‘gilt’. Where metal is gilded, it is traditionally known as ormolu, and was used for furniture mounts, mostly …

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The Skills of Veneer Laying

Veneering consists of gluing down sheets of thinly cut decorative wood to a solid “carcase” timber. Thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 3 mm (1/8 inch), are sawn from a high quality timber. Before the introduction of machinery, all veneers were cut with a hand saw: the earlier the piece, the thicker the veneer. …

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