Antiques dealer, Edd Thomas
Antiques dealer Edd Thomas is one of a new breed of young experts who are revitalising the industry. In a new new column he contemplates the future of ‘brown’ in a 21st-century world
In the distance I hear the slow peel of hardly-audible bells. Funeral or celebration, it’s hard to discern. All but the selectively deaf must have heard the steady ringing for some time – a decade or more – but none has been able to understand its true meaning. Is it mourning the dying breaths of a long and noble tradition of antique furniture in this country, or heralding the arrival of a new wave of interest? Every day I hear both sides of the story. On the one hand: “Brown is finally dead,” on the other “Brown is starting to make a comeback.”… View the full post
The findings of our recent 2015 ACC Antique Furniture Price Index highlighted the persistent decline in the value of antique furniture, sparking Halls Fine Art Director, Jeremy Lamond, to launch an online campaign in the social sphere to Bring Back Brown Furniture, with the hashtag #BringBackBrownFurniture on twitter.
Here, Jeremy (left) shares his top ten reasons why dealers, collectors and antique lovers should be purchasing now to pep up the market.
1 Stop telling everyone what it used to sell for and start to actually sell it
2 Forget the ‘good old days’
3 Extol the eco-friendly virtues of antique furniture from its low carbon footprint to its enduring quality throughout the ages. Reference everything from Wolf Hall to Downton Abbey when you sell it-make it relevant and popular by association
4 Compare it pound for pound with the modern… View the full post
Since 1968, John Andrews has tracked the price of antique furniture against house prices in the South East, the retail rate of inflation and the FTSE 250. Eagerly awaited throughout the industry, he presents his 46th annual Antique Furniture Price Index
Although there were some signs of recovery late in the year, in 2014 the ACC Antique Furniture Price Index fell by another four percent. A decline in antique furniture prices has persisted almost every year since a peak around the year 2001. For this collapse the collector can blame whomsoever he or she chooses, from skyscraper-smashing Islamists to greedy bankers, modernist interior evangelists or domestic décor fashion gurus – take your pick. Better news is that the Index fell almost entirely because just two indices – those for both oak and country furniture – slipped badly from grace. This… View the full post
This month sees the magazine focus its unrepentant gaze once again upon antique furniture. The ACC Index figures for last year are available, detailed in this issue’s special article, with regrets that the news is not better – the Index is down four percent. It is not much of a drop but as John Fiske of the New England Antiques Journal put it succinctly, tongue in cheek, not so long ago: ‘Every year John Andrews publishes these figures and I wish he wouldn’t.’ What he means is that he wishes I wouldn’t as long as the news is of a further decline in prices, even if it is a small one. If the news recorded an increase, publication would be welcome. It is rather like the economy generally: up is always better than down. An Italian colleague once said to… View the full post
A Happy New Year, once again, to all our readers. We wish you every success if you have made New Year Resolutions and are keeping to them, however moderately. If kindness and charity are involved as well as personal improvement, always remember Gore Vidal’s dictum that no good deed ever goes unpunished; an epigram worthy of Somerset Maugham.
A foreign acquaintance who has come to live in London and is an antiques enthusiast, starts the year by expressing bewilderment at the words currently used in catalogue descriptions, both by auctioneers and by retail trade on the Internet. He says that his English dictionary does not provide suitable translations since some words have become professional jargon. So, in response to him and in a desire to update previous translations, I offer the following brief dictionary of current antiques trade terminology, mostly… View the full post
Following last year’s precedent, we are combining the November and December months in this issue. We will produce a separate January issue early in the New Year. The combined months help to deal more satisfactorily with the looming prospect of Christmas as a final shopping event stimulating antiques as gifts. A January magazine provides a fresh, clean start to the next year. It has been a very active period for collectors and heartening to observe that the underlying impulse to accumulate better and rarer examples of each individual’s particular interest shows no sign of abating. Some of the year’s TV programmes on the subject have shown amazing collections of artefacts housed in unlikely locations, with the proud owner or owners not in the least dismayed by the extent to which their home or premises are jammed with ranks of the… View the full post
The late Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, collected first editions and manuscripts of social and technical importance – ‘books that made things happen’ – with the help of the dealer Percy Muir of Elkin Mathews. It was an appealing idea in which he invested time and money, but recently it came indirectly under fire from Germaine Greer. In an interview with Howard Jacobson in one of his TV programmes on four Australian intellectuals in England, Jacobson was admiring Greer’s book, The Female Eunuch. He said it was an impressive and original stimulus to feminist thinking, a landmark initiating new attitudes and thus, though he did not mention it, qualifying as a book that would have met Fleming’s criterion of making things happen.
No, replied Germaine Greer positively, books do not make things happen. Things happen and they lead to… View the full post
My local junk dealer takes a gloomy view of the younger generation. He says that rather than buy his excellent second hand furnishings when setting up home, they buy new things on hire purchase. They get into long-term debt for the sake of new domestic possessions. Unlike the older generation to which we both belong, they will not set up their homes by buying what they can afford, making do with old stuff before income and bank balance can cope with expenditure on new interior decor.
I tend to agree with him in cowardly fashion as I wince at the sight of some of his stock, but I have to agree that it is perfectly usable. When I was first married we started with two armchairs for a pound each and then, one afternoon in the Chalk Farm Road, came… View the full post