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W. R. Harvey Celebrate Fifty Shades... of Brown

This Autumn, Witney-based antique furniture dealer, W. R. Harvey & Co. will be celebrating the return to fashion of classic English antique furniture in an exhibition, entitled "Fifty Shades of Brown - by George, We've Got It" which takes place from 4-12 November 2017.

Each year WR Harvey stage a different exhibition and this year's edition will highlight the range of designs, colours, forms and uses in English furniture dating from 1680 to 1850. 

Antiques News & Fairs - 50 Shades of Brown 

English cabinetmakers, craftsmen and artisan joiners through the years used a variety of woods sourced from all over the world, to produce the finest furniture in England’s history. Antique furniture is now back in vogue, desired for its fine, practical and decorative qualities, as well as its longevity and new affordability.

As David Harvey explains: "This is a very exciting time to be an antiques dealer. The leading Interior Design magazines are saying that minimalism is now dead and so all those who said this often bleak and reductionist way of living would kill the antiques trade are finding the resilience of antiques is strong. Many commentators are at last saying what many have known for the past year - good antique furniture is back in demand and enjoying a resurgence. Our exhibition will show just how many wonderful pieces in such a wide range of styles, designs and colour are now available."

Antiques News & Fairs - 50 Shades of Brown

C17th oak court cupboard, £2,650

Bookcases, cabinets, chests, coffers, tables, desks, four-poster beds, seating furniture and more will all be on sale, demonstrating the range of craftsmanship that continues to make the best antique furniture so appealing, practical and decorative.

David continued: “During the past twenty years, prices for period pieces of furniture and many other kinds of antiques and art have changed dramatically. Today, good Georgian pieces are available for less than their modern equivalents, with the reassurance that they can be used daily and are made in a way that makes restoration possible, which is why they have survived for 200 years. The same cannot be said for modern pieces assembled from medium density fibreboard and designed to be disposable within a few years.”

Among the pieces will be a Queen Anne burr walnut bureau bookcase in mellow yellow, pink and brown hues of the faded walnut, for sale for £16,950, and a fine early Chippendale period mahogany display cabinet, representative of a good mahogany patina with subtleties of red and yellow brown tones mixed with the darker, almost black, of the unreachable carved details.

Antiques News & Fairs - 50 Shades of Brown

Gainsborough armchair, £29,750

From an earlier time will be a C17th court cupboard, chosen to illustrate oak, which is a darker colour with flashes of yellow brown and red brown showing in many places.

The passage of time and original choices of timber give an array of colours in wood, illustrated greatly by a marvellous George III breakfront library bookcase made from tulipwood, kingwood, mahogany, satinwood, ebony, boxwood and more that give it a real ‘wow factor’.

The appearance of some woods have given rise to particular terms, such as “Plum Pudding” mahogany, due to its randomly occurring darker flashes, much like the inside of a traditional plum pudding. Demonstrating this will be a single drop-leaf table, or bedroom table, very similar to several found at Dumfries House, but this example is made by Alexander Peter, the Scottish cabinetmaker, rather than Thomas Chippendale.

Antiques News & Fairs - 50 Shades of Brown

Chippendale period mahogany display cabinet, £15,000

During the Chippendale Period, comfortable and large armchairs were made in both the traditional manner and the French carved manner and called burjeres. Commonly called the 'Gainsborough Armchair’, it is said that Gainsborough had one for his better sitters to repose on whilst having their portrait painted - hence the term.

Many more fine pieces will be on show, and a full colour catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

For more information, visit W. R. Harvey & Co.