Archive for Antique

Antique Oak and Country Furniture

‘Have been lucky this week with some Oak and Country Furniture having purchased a Walnut fret mirror with untouched surface and original plate. Also purchased were two stools a Charles I Oak Joined Stool and a rare Charles II circular stool which needs re-upholstering, consequently it will be a while before it is exhibited on the web site.

What goes on four legs is good; What goes on two is bad

What goes on four legs is good

What goes on two is bad

Obviously when the visionary author George Orwell wrote these lines he wasn’t talking about furniture. My personal preference lies somewhere between these digits, about three. A lot of early vernacular furniture was made with three legs because three legs will sit comfortably on uneven floors.

George Orwell’s vision would also extend beyond 1984 and he would see in the future that a prominent politician would bring his real name (Eric Blair) into disrepute and so he decided to change it to something with no aggressive connotations. He chose something serene and tranquil and named himself after a river.

It is quite incredible the amount of writers down the ages who have chosen pseudonyms for themselves. In Elizabethan times if one was putting quill to parchment discussing current affairs and one wanted to keep one’s head it was almost essential to have a pseudonym.

Of course the name of the world’s most successful writer William Shake-speare is a pseudonym and on most of his early publications it appeared with the hyphen as Shake-speare. Unsurprisingly for a man with such dexterity and wit in regard to the English language his personal pseudonym turned out to be one of the very cleverest.

The Christian name William and the surname Shake-speare both relate to the Goddess of Greek myth Pallas Athena who among other things was the Goddess of literature and drama. A literal definition of the name William or to take its Germanic root Will-Helm means golden helmet.. The name Shake-speare means literally that – to shake a spear, because when Pallas Athena was born from the head of Zeus that was exactly what she was doing. She was born fully armed wearing a golden helmet and in war like mode shaking a spear.

In Elizabethan times writing wasn’t regarded as it is today as high art, in fact it was frowned upon. It would have been a common occurrence for Elizabethans to go to watch a play at one of the new theatres which had recently sprung up in London, where the name of the writer of that play wasn’t even mentioned. It is not a commonly known fact but as a younger man Shakes-speare above all things wanted to be a military leader. So it was not only with dramatic insight but with ambitious verve that he aligned himself with the Goddess of war, wisdom and literature when he chose the name William Shakes-speare.

Cricket Tables

Sycamore Cricket TableMoving on to furniture history it is interesting to try and fathom out where the name cricket table originated. It is known that the sport of cricket was around by the 16th century and although Shakespeare did play real-tennis I am not sure he even mentions cricket. I am pretty certain that cricket tables were around a long time before this, but were they called cricket tables in the middle ages?

The old French word ‘criquet’ does mean stick as does the Middle Dutch word ‘kricke’ thus it follows that the term cricket table is a quite reasonable description of a table that has three stick legs.

From a solely sentimental perspective could small three legged tables have been used as stumps at the conception of the game of cricket? This does sound implausible, but could it be true!

Amongst a scattering of Antique country furniture we have a number of Sycamore cricket tables at home which are all greatly loved and which prove that in old age it is a timber which can develop a lovely patina and character.

Our kitchen has a very stout example, which was made at the end of the Georgian period and has now turned a lovely pale honey colour; this table has a triangular shelf or tier below. In its past it has entertained some woodworm who’s labours within have matured to manifest themselves as a labyrinth of grey coloured worm galleries scattered across it, which have left a very pleasant display upon its surface. It is a table which exudes great character and warmth.

Interestingly Sycamore also has a pseudonym because although it is a member of the Maple family it is in fact not closely related to the plane tree or other trees that may be called Sycamore. Because its leaves have a superficial similarity to other trees in the genus plantus it is known not only as Sycamore but also as pseudoplantus.


Shakespeare by Another Name by Mark Anderson

Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk

The Marginalia of Edward de Veres Geneva Bible by Dr Roger Stritmatter.

The Monument by Hank Whittimore.

British Folk Art Exhibition – Tate Briton

The-Hearty-Good-Fellow- British Folk Art

We wanted to bring to your attention the most exciting event (in our opinion) happening at the Tate Briton (London, UK) Gallery in 2014, the British Folk Art Exhibition.  From the 10th June to the 7th September the Tate gallery will have over 100 exhibits on display from paintings to sculptures to textiles including work from prominent individuals George Smart the tailor of Frant, eminent embroiderer Mary Linwood, ship carver and fairground artist Arthur Andersen and Cornish painter Alfred Wallis.

To quote the Tate Briton site – “Folk Art is an established subject in many countries; however in Britain the genre remains elusive. Rarely considered in the context of art history, ‘Folk art’ has been viewed as part of social history or folklore studies. This show unites an extraordinary selection of objects, exploring the threshold between art and artefact and challenging perceptions of ’high art’.”

We’re looking forward to June when we will be attending! Make sure you save the date and book your tickets when they become available.

In the mean time have a look at some of our English Folk Art here.

Donyatt Puzzle Jug

Although nobody knows when the first puzzle-jugs were produced, pottery has certainly been made in the Donyatt area since the middle ages.

At the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge where they have a substantial collection of Antique English Pottery there is a puzzle-jug of exactly the same form as ours but dated 1571.

If one considers the vast amount of puzzle- jugs that have been made over the centuries this fact in itself illustrates the affection in which they are held by an eccentric, carousing and gameful  English public.

Naïve pottery embellished with scraffito decoration of flowers, trees and birds is how we recognised ‘Donyatt’. Our pot continuing this tradition has not only paired tulips and a bird but its original spout too! It is further enhanced upon its shoulder with a favourite rhyme:-

When this you see remember me

And bear me in your mind

While I am seldom at your house

Speak of me as you find:


This jug was made for William Hurford of the historic Hurford family and is inscribed to its front in a square reserve

W. Hurford  – June 2nd –  1827

It has remained within that family its entire existence and been passed down by decent, until our purchase.

Antique Folk Art

We came to the decision to join Online Galleries as they seemed a bit short of dealers dealing in Folk Art! So I would like to thank Robert Bradley of Robert Bradley Antiques, Richard Gardner of Richard Gardner Antique and Graham Walpole of Walpoles Antiques for their help in this matter.