16 November 2017

A pen (and paint brush) made by William Morris

In 2012, when the Brandon-Jones collection was acquired by the Nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, Red House in Bexleyheath (designed by Philip Webb for William Morris) was allocated several personal items that had belonged to Morris’s close associate…

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1 October 2017

PAD London, 4-8 October 2017

Thanks to some careful planning, and expert technical assistance from Aston Spinks (logistics) and Nicky Aubury (lighting), the set up for PAD 2017 was completed speedily, and with remarkable ease. By 8 am Berkeley Square was lined with trucks grabbing…

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3 August 2017

An anonymous workshop Daybook, 1851-1885

While considerable evidence, such as insurance records, bills (perhaps matched to surviving furniture), letters, rate books and, sometimes, personal accounts, exists for the activities of larger cabinet-making firms, day-to-day records for smaller, more general workshops are far scarcer. Thus, it…

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12 July 2017

Circle of George Bullock: a Regency sarcophagus-form strong box?

Although, for now, the precise origins of this remarkable and perhaps unique masterpiece remain unknown, it is clearly an exceptional work by a talented designer and maker, and was surely commissioned for the grandest of interiors.  Since this seemingly unique…

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21 June 2017

Pair of chairs for Walter Morrison (1836-1921): a new discovery

Walter Morrison, the ninth (of eleven) children born to James Morrison (1789-1857) and his wife Mary (1795-1887) was just twenty-one when his father died leaving him £300,000 (a fortune that today would be the equivalent of £28m) and the Malham…

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29 March 2017

Expertise and enthusiasm: present and future appreciation of the decorative arts

For many years now, there has been a perception that so-called ‘traditional areas’ under the umbrella of the ‘decorative arts’ have fallen from favour.  But what does this mean?  Is this a reference to the market, or to public appreciation?…

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6 March 2017

TEFAF, Maastricht, 2017: still the best

We spent an enjoyable weekend unpacking a truck-full of crates, each revealing a piece of furniture, an object or a picture, soon to be placed or hung on our expanded Maastricht stand.  Thanks as ever to Aston Spinks (see below)…

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18 January 2017

The Winter Antiques Show: ready to go

On Tuesday morning, so far spared the traditional Winter Antiques Show snow, we arrived at the nonetheless frigid Armory. Our shippers battled the mêlée of ‘troublesome trucks’ jockeying for position on a gridlocked Lexington Avenue. But, without the slightest hint…

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12 December 2016

Sitting comfortably, on chairs designed by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

During a recent visit to Salisbury, I took some time to enjoy the magnificent cathedral.  Walking past the north transept, my eye was caught by a life-size seated figure.  On inspection this turned out to be a funerary monument to…

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10 November 2016

Variations on a theme: two armchairs designed by C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941)

C.F.A Voysey’s armchair, with a heart-shape in the back, is one of his most recognisable designs. The armchair with rush seat (above) is a close variant of this widely published model, which is itself known in various forms; see, for…

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7 November 2016

Charles Lepec: two recently identified works

As was acknowledged during their lifetimes, the crucial relationship between the fabulously wealthy patron and collector Alfred Morrison (1821-97), and the supremely talented enamel artist Charles Lepec (1830-90), led to much of Lepec’s artistic output, during the 1860s, finding a…

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2 October 2016

PAD London 5-9 October 2016

By the time we arrived on Saturday morning, Berkeley Square was knee-deep in trucks and vans jostling gently for position.  Inside the elegant temporary gallery constructed for PAD, exhibitors maneuvered cooperatively around the stand builders completing their tasks.  And by…

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26 June 2016

Masterpiece, London: a return to Regency

At the end of a week that has seen the United Kingdom head off into uncharted territory, we have all had to continue going about our daily activities.  For us, this has meant setting up our stand at Masterpiece: the…

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27 May 2016

Ivory: what is the latest?

According to the entirely justified headline to an online article in Apollo, ‘Antique ivory poses no threat to elephant conservation: in fact, it needs protection itself’ (see here). We all love elephants, and who brought up on Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar (below)…

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17 May 2016

Summer is coming, so we are told…

Just back from Chicago, where I was kindly invited to speak to the Antiquarians at the Art Institute of Chicago, on ‘Alfred Morrison (1821-97): an overlooked patron and collector of decorative arts’.  This remarkable maecenas lived in Carlton House Terrace,…

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19 April 2016

William Shakespeare: a table incorporating part of his mulberry tree

23 April 2016 marks the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Shakespeare (1564-1616) is revered as the greatest figure in English literature.  Although long admired, it was not until the Great Shakespeare Jubilee arranged in 1769 by the actor…

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