The 2014 LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair

‘The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London is this Autumn’s must-visit event for sourcing and buying fine art and antiques. Among the exceptional works on offer are furniture, jewellery, carpets, tapestries, antiquities, clocks, ceramics, silver and fine art. The Fair will take place from Wednesday 24th September until Sunday 28th September 2014.

The sixth annual LAPADA Fair follows the success of last year’s event, where approximately 20,000 visitors from around the world attended over the course of five days. Private collectors and art and antiques enthusiasts flocked to the Fair, where an expert committee of 50 specialists pre-vetted every piece on sale at the show.

This highly esteemed event in the art and antiques calendar continues to grow in popularity, as quality and authenticity underpin the works on offer. One hundred dealers and experts in their fields will participate in this year’s Fair, which is a ‘one stop shop’ for the most sought after pieces. Prices of works range from £500 up to £500,000 and beyond, offering the most discerning collector exceptional antiques and fine art to choose from and inviting first time collectors to develop exciting new interests.

LAPADA (The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers) is the largest society of professional art and antiques dealers in the UK. It is a trusted resource for private collectors and the art & antiques trade in the UK and 16 other countries around the world. Established in 1974 it boasts 600 worldwide members, who are experts in their fields, with specialities ranging from fine art, jewellery and furniture to contemporary works, sculpture and ceramics.

Due to the Association’s strict Code of Practice, clients are offered total reassurance when purchasing from a LAPADA member. LAPADA offers a referral service for any member of the public looking for a trusted dealer in a specific area, who is seeking quality and assurance of authenticity. It also offers industry advice and lobbies on issues affecting its members and good practice in the art and antiques trade.’


Jack Plane

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Ceramic Patterns

A couple of years ago, a reader enquired about the origins of the porcelain teawares I pictured in When Life Gives You Lemons…. It’s the Malay House pattern produced by the New Hall factory in Staffordshire in the late eighteenth-century (fig. 1).

14NH-MV-790-01_silver_shape_teapot_c1790_01cFig. 1. New Hall ‘silver shape’ teapot in the Malay House pattern, circa 1790.

Before any scholarly works were written on the enigmatic New Hall factory, identifying its hundreds of patterns; many of the patterns were known to antiques dealers and collectors by more familiar names.

When I began collecting New Hall wares, the Malay House pattern was commonly referred to as the Trench Mortar pattern due to what looks like a row of trench mortars alongside the house (fig. 2).

14NH-MV-795-01_teapot_c1795_01hFig. 2. New Hall ogee, spiral fluted teapot in the Malay House pattern, circa 1795.

The skies above eighteenth-century Staffordshire must have hung heavy with smoke from the thousands of pottery kilns: There were numerous potteries producing wares in imitation of the fashionable imports from the Far East. Factories such as Caughley, Coalport, Derby, Spode, Wedgwood and Worcester quickly became household names – some due to royal patronage.

Most factories developed a numerical system of cataloguing their patterns, though original records are frequently patchy or nonexistent. Despite manufacturers numbering their patterns, many of the common names endure (usually reflecting a principal feature) and are frequently comical or irreverent.

Worcester_milkmaid_at_the_gate_saucer_c1760_01aFig. 3. Worcester Milkmaid At The Gate pattern , circa 1760. (Juno Antiques)

Worcester_cannonball_saucer_c1762_01aFig. 4. Worcester Cannonball pattern saucer, circa 1762.

Chamberlain_Worcester_stag_hunt_plate_c1790_01aFig. 5. Worcester Stag Hunt plate, circa 1780.

New_Hall_knitting_wool_saucer_pat_195_c1790_01aFig. 6. New Hall Knitting Wool pattern (425) saucer, circa 1790.

Keeling_picture_postcard_saucer_c1790_01aFig. 7. Keeling Picture Postcard pattern (X131) saucer, circa 1790.

New_Hall_dolls_house_saucer_c1815_01aFig. 8. New Hall Doll’s House pattern (1084) saucer, circa 1815.

And then there’s a recurring one that I like to call the I Can See My House From Here pattern.

mid_18C_delf_plate_01aFig. 9. Mid-eighteenth-century tin-glazed dish.

Jack plane

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Picture This XXXIII

So popular was Admiral Nelson – in England, at least – that all manner of souvenirs and toys[i] were produced to commemorate his Naval victories and ultimately, his death.

The Staffordshire potteries churned out fairings, jugs, mugs and tea wares with rousing slogans and effigies of Nelson (figs. 1 & 2).

pearlware_bust_of_Nelson_c1800-10_01aFig. 1. Pearlware bust of Nelson, circa 1800-10. (Bonham’s)

creamware_Nelson_commemorative_jug_c1805-10_01aFig. 2. Staffordshire creamware Nelson commemorative jug, circa 1805-10. (Bonham’s)

Meanwhile the Birmingham toymakers set their presses to work stamping out brass handles. The brass drawer knob in figure 3 has a stamped face, spun onto a cast body. The legend reads “NELSON • LORD • OF • THE • NILE” and would have been produced following Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798.

Nelson_brass_knob_c1798_01aFig. 3. Stamped and cast brass drawer knob, circa 1800.

At 11:45 on October the 21st, 1805, off Cape Trafalgar, Nelson engaged the French and Spanish navies, famously signalling to his fleet: “England expects that every man will do his duty.” The brass backplate in figure 4 portrays Admiral Nelson in a central roundel within the legend “ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY • TRAFALGAR OCT: XXI MDCCCV”.

Nelson_backplate_19c_01aFig. 4. ‘Admiral Nelson’ brass backplate, circa 1805.

backplate_Trafalgar_Sacred_To_Nelson_02aFig. 5. ‘SACRED TO NELSON’ brass backplate, circa 1805. (Jason Clarke)

Trafalgar_pressed_backplate_c1806_01aFig. 6. ‘TRAFALGAR’ brass backplate, circa 1805.

The Greek key border around the backplates in figures 5 & 6 is also seen in furniture of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, either as inlay (fig. 7), or in the friezes of chest-on-chest and bookcase entablatures (fig. 8).

Regency_rosewood_table_c1820_01aFig. 7. Regency rosewood table with Greek key inlay, circa 1820. (Box House Antiques)

Geo_III_mahogany_linen_press_c1780_01aFig. 7. George III linen press with Greek key entablature, circa 1780. (Thakeham Antiques)

Jack Plane

[i] ‘Toy’ was a contemporary name for small personal and domestic metalwares such as buckles, buttons, commemorative medals, corkscrews, furniture handles and fittings, toasting forks, watch cases and in the nineteenth-century, pressed metal novelties and playthings for children.

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Picture This XXXII

“Yes…I’ll have a pound of glue please, and one of your finest four-foot long, 3-1/2″ wide London-pattern in-cannel gouges.”


Lot 166 in Christie’s Out of The Ordinary Sale (South Kensington, London, on the 3rd of September, 2014) is this rather large trade display model of a gouge.

Jack Plane

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Picture This XXXI

This chest is another example of the anomalous furniture that I talked about in In Which My Trousers Catch Alight. Lot 764 in Day 2 of Dreweatts’ The Summer Sale at the end of this month is ostensibly a fairly typical early eighteenth-century walnut-veneered chest of drawers.

Normally the entire chest would be walnut veneered on pine, but Dreweatts state the carcase ends are solid elm (though the drawers, at least, are constructed of pine).

Geo_II_elm_&_walnut_chest_c1735_01aGeorge II elm and walnut chest of drawers, circa 1735. (Dreweatts)

Chests with inconsistent timbers turn up periodically: ‘Walnut’ and ‘mahogany’ chests with visible pine and/or oak carcase ends are not unheard of. Figure 28 in In Which My Trousers Catch Alight is an example of an ‘oak’ chest with pine carcase ends painted to simulate the burr oak drawer fronts.

I may include something along these lines in the book.

Jack Plane

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Book News

I have several partially written books both in my head and on paper/hard drive. One of the reasons I have held back on furniture titles was the lack of a suitable space in which to photograph the various stages of furniture reproduction: The Lemon Studio, whilst wonderfully atmospheric to work in (weather permitting), was not a consistent or reliable theatre for shooting presentable photographs.

I now have a workshop with a roof and an area set aside within for photography, so all I need do now is garner the requisite camera skills and I’m in business!

I initially considered writing a series of books along the lines of this blog viz. detailing the history and construction of various items of furniture divided into the Age of Oak, the Age of Walnut and the Age of Mahogany (roughly 1660 to 1790).

A problem with that approach would be the inevitably lengthy preambles to build a sense of the social history behind the examples, and the technicalities involved in each piece (not that that would necessarily be a bad thing), but it might make for heavy reading for those cutting their teeth on furniture reproduction.

Chests of drawers are open books, which, through their dovetailed- and mortice and tenon construction, veneered surfaces, mouldings and turnings, can teach one the majority of  cabinetmaking skills required to produce not only case pieces, but tables and chairs too. What’s more, the timelines of construction methods, materials and brasses are more easily read in chests than any other furniture genre.

Therefore, I now believe a monograph on late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century chests of drawers would be a better introduction to those interested in making case pieces and all manner of furniture from this period.

The book’s contents may vary as I work my way through it, but the projected chapters are as follows:

  • The Development of the Chest of Drawers.
  • A William and Mary Walnut Veneered Chest, circa 1695.
  • A Queen Anne Walnut Veneered Chest, circa 1705.
  • A George I Virginia Walnut Chest, circa 1720.
  • A George II Mahogany Chest, circa 1740.
  • A George III Mahogany Chest, circa 1765.
  • Reproduction finishing.

I have carefully selected the dates of the chests to encompass as many different and historically appropriate construction methods as possible. Some of the areas and techniques covered in the book will include:

  • Through and lapped dovetails.
  • Through and lapped dustboards.
  • Feather- and cross-banding
  • Straight- and crossgrain mouldings.
  • Bun feet.
  • Plain and ogee bracket feet.
  • Dressing slides.
  • Plain, lapped and frame and panel backboards.
  • Hardware.

The chapter on finishing will provide the means to create a convincing antique finish, but a separate, comprehensive book on finishing and faking is in the offing.

I hope to get underway with the first chest shortly and will preview it here on the blog.


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Resembling Something like Normality

A very nice technician from the National Broadband Network turned up earlier this week and installed a new fixed wireless broadband dish and box of electrickery, so I now have an (albeit temporary) internet connection in the new workshop while I do battle with the insurers over the remains of our house.

The workshop was damaged in the storm too, but is, at least, useable and repairable.

Many thanks for the well wishes here and in the many emails I received. A big thank you also to the most excellent chap who suggested setting up a “Get Jack’s Arse back to Work” relief fund via PayPal donations – very thoughtful, but quite unnecessary.

Jack Plane

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The North Wind doth Blow…

… And We shall have Snow (according to the sixteenth-century rhyme).

In our case, however, it means our house blows away. We’ve had horrendous weather this week with record temperatures and howling winds.

Luckily I was out when the roof flew seventy-five metres up the yard (landing on the new workshop, damaging one corner of it and punching a gaping hole in the roof too) otherwise I may have been cleft in twain.

The house is in very poor shape and will most likely have to be demolished.

So, for the second time in ten months I will be without internet connectivity (I’m typing this on a thing called an ‘eye phone’), though this time I know not when I shall return to regular posting.



Jack Plane

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Chair-Back Settees

A popular form of mid- to late eighteenth-century seating was the chair-back settee, in double-, triple-, and quadruple-back formats.

O'Sullivan Antiques IncFig. 1. George II Irish mahogany double chair-back settee, circa 1740. (O’Sullivan Antiques)

Chair-back settees are constructed in much the same vein as their single side chair counterparts: The main differences being the long, continuous front and rear seat rails, to which the legs are morticed, bridled or half-lapped. It’s also not uncommon for there to be fewer rear legs than front legs and rear legs/stiles are often separate (fig. 2).

Geo_II_Irish_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1740_01c1Fig. 2. Rear legs and stiles separately joined to rear seat rail.

Whilst not the strongest configuration, early chair-back settees – modelled after fashionable chairs with outward spreading stiles – often employ paired stiles to connect the individual backs (fig. 3).

Geo_II_Irish_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1750_01aFig. 3. George II Irish mahogany double chair-back settee with paired central stile, circa 1750. (Moxhams)

A somewhat awkward remedy to counter the potential weakness of a paired-stile back (or other form where the crest rails wouldn’t naturally connect) is occasionally seen in the form of a continuous crest rail incorporating a carved motif or family crest (figs. 4 & 5).

Geo_II_Giles_Grendey_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1735_01aFig. 4. George II mahogany chair-back settee in the manner of Giles Grendey, circa 1735. (Millington Adams)

Geo_II_Irish_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1740_02bFig. 5. George II Irish mahogany chair-back settee, circa 1740. (Hyde Park Antiques)

The more prominent crest rails of side chairs with tapered backs permitted a much stronger arrangement to be routinely effected on commensurate chair-back settees by the use of a single continuous crest rail (figs. 1, 6 & 7).

Geo_II_Irish_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1740_01aFig. 6. George II Irish mahogany chair-back settee with continuous crest rail, circa 1740.

Geo_II_Irish_mahogany_chair-back_settee_c1740_01d1Fig. 7. Seamlessly flowing crest rail.

Chair-back settees remain popular, though their cost can be prohibitive for some. In the mid eighties, when I regularly did the auction rounds, a customer asked me to keep an eye out for a double chair-back settee for her. Given her budget, I didn’t fancy her chances, so I suggested an alternative: She had previously sent me a pair of rough Chippendale period mahogany side chairs to restore, which rather conveniently lent themselves to being converted into a settee. I grafted new wood onto the two crest rails and carved it in a way so as not to crowd the transition. I then made new front and rear seat rails and carried out the conversion in such a way that the whole appeared to be authentic.

I have since performed several settee conversions for customers and I have encountered several others’ less convincing attempts. For what ever reasons, others have simply joined the crest rails with no effort made to blend the transitions. On one conversion I was shown, the crest rails were simply connected with nails whose heads had been cut off and inserted into holes drilled into the interconnecting ends of the crest rails.

The settee in figures 8 and 9 has an unhappy back in which the heights of the unrealistically crammed crest rails don’t appear to correspond.

Geo_III_chair_back_setee_01a2Fig. 8. George III mahogany triple chair-back settee. (O’Sullivan Antiques)

Geo_III_chair_back_setee_01a1Fig. 9. Conjoined triplets? (O’Sullivan Antiques)

Jack Plane

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Robert Bakewell’s Chair

A somewhat uncommendable provincial chair in The Collection from The Royal Agricultural Society of England (fig. 1), auctioned by Dreweatts at Bloomsbury House, London on the 11th of July, sold for £9,000 ($16,370).

Robert_Bakewell_chair_c1750_01aFig. 1. Unusual country-made chair, circa 1750. (Dreweatts)

Lot 110 was a George II open armchair with an elm seat, oak armrest and – most rare in British furniture – a backrest made of willow.

The chair belonged to Robert Bakewell (1725-1795), an agriculturalist recognized as one of the most important figures in the British Agricultural Revolution. In addition to work in agronomy, Bakewell is particularly notable as the first to implement systematic selective breeding of livestock. His advancements not only led to specific improvements in sheep, cattle and horses, but contributed to the general knowledge of artificial selection.

On the back of Bakewell’s chair an inscription reads: ‘This chair was made under the direction of the Celebrated Robert Bakewell of Dishley out of a Willow Tree that grew on his Farm- It was his favourite seat and the Back which thus records his Memory, served as a Screen when seated by his Fireside, calculating on the Profits, or devising some Improvements on his Farm. – Thousands of Pounds have been known to exchange Hands in the same… Mr. Bakewell Died in 1795.’

Robert_Bakewell_chair_c1750_01bFig. 2. Willow back with dedication. (Dreweatts)

Jack Plane

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