Boring brown? Appealingly antique!

A pair of George III mahogany hall chairs

A Somerset auction house said visitors to their recent sale had an “eagerness to buy” so-called brown furniture, with 87% of its furniture, including mainstream pieces such as davenports, better Georgian chests of drawers and sideboards, all finding buyers.

“The phrase `boring brown`, long used to dismiss a lot of Victorian furniture as out of fashion, may now be replaced with a feeling that some of it is `appealingly antique`,” said Neil Grenyer, furniture specialist at Lawrences Auctioneers. “Good pieces are durable, dependable, well designed and quite desirable once more.”

Some of the varied highlights of the sale included:

  • a pair of George III mahogany hall chairs. which sold for £3660
  • a Continental walnut and inlaid chest, possibly Italian, c.1800, was bid to £7320
  • a Georgian mahogany chest on chest, mid-18th Century, appealed to many before making £4880
Christopher Dresser style chair
The chair in the style of Christopher Dresser was the top lot

Elsewhere in the sale, a Louis XV style kingwood and brass mounted bureau plat went over estimate at £6700; and a Kashmiri silk carpet was bought for £1460.

Other key lots were:

  • a French gilt metal and enamel carriage clock made £4630
  • a two-day marine chronometer by Victor Kuhlberg made £3660 (image 1998)
  • a 17th/18th century carved, painted and gilded figure of the Madonna and Child, 39cm high, made £730.

The sale’s top price was paid for an Aesthetic-style armchair in the manner of Dr Christopher Dresser. Consigned for sale from a Dorset vendor, the chair made a very comfortable £13,400.

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