Antique Furniture Video – We are often asked… ‘So what makes that antique so special/such good quality/so valuable?

There are thousands of antiques in this world, and most are ordinary. Anyone with a few basic cabinetmaking skills can make a table, a chair or chest of drawers. What is it however, that takes a piece of furniture from ordinary to extraordinary? This week we took video of some of the antique furniture pieces in our collection that we believe to be extraordinary for some reason. We explain what it is that makes these pieces so unusual and so coveted…

This first table is an original 19th century French Empire Period centre table. While a much scarcer model than their later 1840’s counterparts, you do on occasion see them. What is unusual about this particular piece is that clearly the original owner had the table made for multiple very specific purposes. Still in original condition and not yet restored it, this video shows the multi-purpose tops that have been finely made to suit. We have never seen this on this model which lead us to query was it possible that the second top was not original and had been made at some later point in history? After taking the table carefully apart it was evident that the table tops were entirely original, constructed with incredible care and designed to sit perfectly into the dish-top marble. The first top is a beautiful hand-made dish-top marble for use as a centre-piece. The second top is of the finest flame mahogany with baize game playing surface which flips to reveal a beautiful original gilded leather writing surface, clearly original to the piece, so worn is the surface. The owner of this table undoubtedly had very specific intentions for the use of this table. Over time the polish has lost it’s opacity and the table needs careful restoration by hand and replacement baize and leather surfaces however it is lovely to see the table as it was. Made with care, detail and thought – so very clever. It would be a wonderful addition to a beautiful entry or living room.

Antique Furniture Video 1 – Don’t forget to increase your quality to 1080 in the settings button at the bottom of the video screen.

Below are a pair of fine 19th century serpentine cabinets. A very fine quality version of this model, they are unusual in that they’re a pair, and their scale and proportion is larger than the average Semainier. Significantly wider than usual, one of the cabinets opens to reveal a fall enclosing a writing compartment with the most intricately inlaid little drawers, the mind boggles to imagine the time this might have taken to inlay originally with every little individual piece of timber inlay done painstakingly by hand. The imperfection of the inlay on the the external drawers a wonderful indication that it was done by hand and not by machinery as happened later in the 19th century and through to today.

Antique Furniture Video 2Don’t forget to increase your quality to 1080 in the settings button at the bottom of the video screen.

This fine quality English bureau plat, made in the French design though using exceptional English construction techniques is a model of writing table that has been reproduced throughout the centuries since its first incarnation during the Louis XIV era. Many copies of this model are reproduced even today so popular has it been. What is exceptional about this particular table is it’s attention to correct design principles and the phenomenal quality of the satinwood used in the drawers.The rippled ribbon effect of the finely selected satinwood timber in the drawers is no accident, but rather a result of incredibly careful selection of the best cuts of satinwood to create this effect which are then highlighted by the beautiful cross-banded kingwood border around each. The proportion of the table is fabulous, with wonderful flowing movement in the legs. The metalwork is pierced (fretted) rather than pulled directly out of a mould and applied, thus requiring significantly more time in its production, labour and materials. The top of the table is shaped in a beautiful flowing serpentine form, a very difficult and expensive exercise.

Antique Furniture Video 3Don’t forget to increase your quality to 1080 in the settings button at the bottom of the video screen.