Tips on Buying Antique Furniture
Now is a good time to buy! Antique furniture is cheaper in real terms than it has been for many years. It is often the same price, or cheaper, than a modern piece which is worth next to nothing by the time you get it home.
There are several reasons for buying antique furniture. These include the fact that it is much better quality and it holds or increases its value. Antique furniture has generally been undervalued in relation to other arts, so if you’re buying antique furniture you love that is in good condition, the chances are it will be a good investment.
How to go about buying antique furniture? Firstly, and most importantly, only buy pieces you like: you will be living with them and enjoying them everyday! Trust your instincts and your “eye”, which will become more skilled with practice:. Stand back and look at the proportions – does it “stand” well? Examine the finish or “patina”. Has it been sanded down and repolished (which would devalue the piece to some extent)? Are there any loose joints or veneers?
Now probably the most frequently asked question is “What is patina?” It is one of the most difficult things to describe, and yet it is that extra ingredient which transforms the surface of a piece of furniture from the ordinary to the exceptional. Patina is the surface formed by a combination of the ageing processes caused by rubbing, dusting and waxing, coupled with oxidisation of the wood and the action of the sun’s rays, producing a bronze-like lustre, or “skin”.
Veneer of antique furniture is also need to be checked properly. Earlier the mahogany tree for “flame”, or the curly “burr” found near the roots of walnut trees, form especially beautiful grain. Wide planks of this type of wood tend to warp and curl, so the technique of veneering allows it to be glued to more stable wood with less attractive grain, for results that are beautiful and durable. Veneering consists of gluing down sheets of thinly cut decorative wood to a solid “carcase” timber. Before the introduction of machinery, all veneers were cut with a hand saw: the earlier the piece, the thicker the veneer.
The first veneered furniture used predominantly walnut, but also “oysters” of laburnam or mulberry wood. These were made from cutting cross sections of branch wood. During the 18th century “flame” or “curl” mahogany began to be used extensively as a veneer. Other exotic hardwoods were employed at this time, such as rosewood and satinwood, and veneers continued to be popular throughout the Edwardian period.
Where to buy? Quality antique fairs, auction houses and specialist antique dealers are the best sources. Don’t forget, when buying at auction that they add from 18% to 24% buyer’s premium to your bid, plus 20% VAT! There is also no guarantee that what you’re buying is what it pretends to be – does the top belong to the base, has it been cut down, is there woodworm under the upholstery?
If you buy from a dealer who is a member of LAPADA [The London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association] you will have peace of mind. Members adhere to a strict Code of Practice, ensuring accurate descriptions and proper documentation of any restoration work.
Thakeham Furniture are members of LAPADA and PAADA (Petworth Art and Antique Dealers Association). Petworth is the biggest antiques town in the South of England covering over thirty antique shops, all within easy walking distance. Petworth is only a short drive from London.
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Thakeham Furniture, one of the best shop to buy antique furniture in Petworth, UK, selling all kind of English antique furniture like Georgian furniture, Regency furniture, Victorian furniture and Edwardian furniture. Also have expertise in supplying antique mahogany furniture, antique upholstered furniture, satinwood antique furniture and rosewood antique furniture.
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