An opportunity to buy good 17th and 18th century oak furniture has presented itself, as a private collection has been consigned for sale at Halls and will appear in the The Autumn Auction on the 15th September.
All of the pieces are well above average in terms of condition, colour and figuring; important criteria for vernacular/early ‘oak’ collectors.
They were all bought in the Cotswolds, but the owner is now downsizing and this gives someone else a chance to pick up the baton; inevitably another devotee of these traditional, but practical and good-looking pieces of furniture. Whilst much antique furniture is disparagingly referred to as ‘brown’ furniture, this term is both inaccurate and incorrect. Some ‘brown’ furniture has increased, such as campaign furniture, Howard & Sons armchairs and sofas and pale oak extending dining tables (an example of the latter sold for £1,800 recently at Halls, more than it would have made 20 years ago) to site just a few examples.
It is perfectly true that the majority of antiques, irrespective of discipline, are not fashionable and frequently prices have tumbled in value, but a better way to describe the ever-selective market over the last 15, or so years, is that in the main the general antique furnishing market has fallen out of favour, with a consequential fall in prices. In many cases this has been dramatic, such as unattributable, run-of-the-mill George III mahogany bureaux that now make £80-100, whereas 25 years ago they would have made ten times this amount!
This collection, however, includes several super 18th century dressers (£2,000-3,000 each), a commercial, 277cm long (over 9’ long) oak dining table, estimated at £3,000-4,000, and a harlequin set of 8 late 17th/early 18th century oak dining chairs (£2,000-3,000), all of which would grace any 16th- 19th century stone, or timber frame property, but hang on a minute. Much of this early, ‘country’ furniture can look really good in modern interiors too and for some time modernists/fashion conscious buyers have been mixing and matching this genre with modern and contemporary. This is one of the reasons naïve art and folk art are still very collectable. So, for all the cynics and trend-setters out there take a look at the pieces shown here and ask yourself not just whether they confer taste and kudos, but if they can be integrated into a modern lifestyle?
For further information on any of these lots, please contact:
Gerry Berwyn-Jones BA (HONS), MRICS, ASFAV
Head of Fine Art
T: +44 (0)1743 450 700