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Antiques Considered - August 29, 2012

 

This pair of French beds has belonged to a family for many years, having been acquired in France.  The wood has a gesso overlayment, upon which the painting has been applied.  They have a few scratches and dings, but are in generally good condition.  The owners do not know what the wood under the finish is.  The owners are questioning whether to have the surfaces of the beds restored.

These beds date from the nineteenth century, and are typical of the style of that era, which corresponds with what we should term Sheraton, but probably are from the period of the Second Empire or early Third Republic.  The lines are good, and the few nicks do not affect the value appreciably.  

French furniture remains popular, as I noted in last week's column about the semainier.  It sells well on the auction market, and in shops.  These are especially nice examples, but I caution that they might require custom-made mattresses and springs due to the difference in measurements coming from French cabinetmakers following the metric system.  They also might require custom-made spreads and sheets.

The pair of beds is worth $1,200., and should sell well in an upper end antiques shop.  I suggest not attempting to touch up the evidence of normal wear, lest the original patina be lost in the process.  I have known decorators who specifically had more modern pieces stressed to give the appearance that these beds have come to have naturally.

The market for quality antiques remains strong, but not quite as vibrant as before the current recession.  Museum-quality pieces continue to be unaffected by economic conditions, and are selling for record prices in the New York and London auction venues.  

These beds are not of that level, but are fine pieces, representative of excellent craftsmanship capably executed.

Happy Antiquing! Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc., at 5150 Jesse DuPont Hwy.,  P. O. Box 35, Wicomico Church VA 22570.

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