An insider’s guide to Warwickshire’s antiques scen

PUBLISHED: 15:29 16 June 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 21 February 2013

The truly fine

The truly fine

Antique furniture ranges from the truly fine to the truly mediocre says Gerry Berwyn-Jones

Antique furniture ranges from the truly fine to the truly mediocre says Gerry Berwyn-Jones

Furniture designed between the 1830s and 1880s can be heavy, cumbersome and ungainly. This pair of George IV mahogany card tables obviously does not fall into that category. True pairs of these tables are rare and upon inspection, more often than not, one proves to be a later match. In the pair, up for auction this month, that is not the case. The quality is good, both having well figured mahogany tops crossbanded in satinwood and kingwood and further decorated with ebony and satinwood stringing. The friezes, classical designed lyre form supports, platform bases and sabre legs are all nicely inlaid with ebony stringing and dots in a manner that suggests a Scottish origin. Furthermore, they are in good, original condition, having largely escaped the ravages of time, whilst retaining a good patina and colour; essential pre-requisites for any discerning buyer. They are deservedly estimated at £8,000-£12,000.

The pair of cross frame stools dates to the late 19th century. Made on the continent they are good copies of French Renaissance stools are expected to achieve between £500 and £800.

Turning our attention from the late 19th century to the first half of the 18th century, and again illustrating the difference between the truly fine and mediocre is the George II 'red walnut' lowboy shown here. This lowboy has colour and patina in abundance, particularly as it has been made from 'red walnut', a more unusual wood than oak or mahogany. It has been very well designed and, possesses an elegance that is far from common. That combined with its sound, 'untouched' condition and original handles, means it should sell for between £3,000 and £5,000.

The flamboyant piece from the late Regency period is a rosewood library table. Its typically Regency features include pylon form supports, plain surfaces highlighted with gilding and motifs such as patera. At this time, there was a more architectural approach to design, as can be seen in this piece. Its form reflects the fascination with ancient Rome and Greece, as does the specimen marble top for which the base was undoubtedly made. The top was probably bought in Florence, the centre for pietre dure production in Italy. Owing to the condition of the top, it is expected to make between £1,500 and £2,000.

Fine Furniture and Paintings sale at Bonhams' salerooms in Knowle on 2nd September. Gerry Berwyn-Jones, BA(Hons), MRICS, is a senior valuer and auctioneer at Bonhams' saleroom in Knowle. Tel: 01564 776151 or email: gerry.berwynjones@bonhams.com

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