Chantal Fortune is the Proprietor of Fortune’s Antiques and Interiors. She has a great passion for all things old and beautiful and was the first Irish member of The Antiques Young Guns. Chantal is an Arklow pottery collector and also owns a collection of antique lace, including important Irish pieces. Her goal in life is to open an antique Irish lace museum. She is a member of The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, and runs the annual Antiques Fair, September 16 to 17 in the beautiful Wells House and Gardens, County Wexford, Ireland.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
Gold. Gold jewellery, such as earrings and lockets. Vintage Sunglasses. Fine china, mix-match china cups and saucers. Taxidermy. There’s a great trend of unique interiors and young people are really mixing stuff up and creating beautiful spaces with new and old. The annual Antiques Fair I promote has gained a great response and I’m really looking forward to it – I’m putting a bit of Flair into this new Fair!
What do you think are the current ‘good investment’ items – ones to watch?
Good quality brown furniture. Furniture that was made a hundred years ago will last another hundred years! We must stop buying so much new and invest in buying old, quality, well-made furniture that has a charm and uniqueness in its essence. Full dinner services or fine china tea sets painted and decorated beautifully.
What antiques do you have at home?
I collect Blue and White, willow pattern, Arklow pottery, old stapled/riveted china. I live with old world charm interiors in every room; plates hanging all over the walls with old rose prints and gold gilt-framed paintings. I have two sons who are four and nine, so our house is fun and homely and full of curiosities.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
Studio pottery; we live in such a disposable society that I believe that handmade crafts of today will gain a great appreciation in the future. Anything that was actually made by human hands will be cherished and appreciated.
How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?
I hope with all my heart that we will move away from flat-packed and mass produced to buying old and renew and reuse what is out there. I also think the meaning of the word ‘collector’ is changing. This generation, who are interested in vintage, shall grow to appreciate antiques. I see for the future a great want for individuality in people’s style and their homes.
Tell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying antiques?
The classic – buy what you love! It’s just so true, if you love something and can appreciate it, then that object will bring joy to hold or feel or look at. Material things around us must bring a sense of purpose and enjoyment. Top tip: train your eye to look and hunt for what you want.
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
Firstly, I would buy a crumbling old Irish County House and then go about buying beautiful old and curious things to fill it with. I would buy mirrors, carpets, Irish furniture and a 101 rosy tea sets!
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
With my last 50 quid I’d buy a blue and white willow pattern tea set – always able to sell it at a profit and a customer wanting to buy it!
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations?
Auction houses! I love going and seeing such a great amount and varied stock each week or month. If you have a good eye you’ll get a good buy. I prefer the provincial auction houses in Ireland. And the local church and school fete’s – they are brilliant (but top secret spots!)
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
Not going to an auction; just leaving a bid in. Or not looking at the piece properly when buying at auction. You must pick it up or turn it over or take it down and really examine it. Another mistake is not impulse purchasing straight at a fair or market, because if it’s good, it’s probably not going to be there when you go back.
How does the industry encourage younger buyers?
Social media is amazing, such as Instagram and Facebook. Antiques Young Guns is a great platform for promoting young dealers. We are the next generation of antique dealers so it’s in our best interest that we promote and encourage the younger buyers as they are our future.