Posted by Chris on 01/09/2023
As the UK emerges from the slumber of another tragically average summer, the antiques and collectables market starts to get back into gear again.
Explore what’s hot right now in the antiques and collectables market with our take on some of the themes that are expected to gain traction over the next quarter.
So what sort of trends are collectors and buyers waking up to ahead of autumn 2023? Although they’re generally considered an evergreen investment, antiques themselves are starting to become extremely fashionable amongst interior designers – with many heading to notable antiques and interiors fairs. The trends this autumn are – unsurprisingly – being spearheaded by younger collectors and designers.
The ‘vogue’ for mid-century modern reached its peak around three years ago, and whilst it still retains much popularity, we’re seeing that emerging from their ashes are younger collectors. This tribe are interested in ‘ultimate plurality’ via social media: they’re primed to appreciate colours, patterns and complexity. And they appreciate that antiques have never been more affordable than they are today; unmatched for quality of construction, and completely sustainable.
According to author Michael Diaz-Griffith in an interview with 1st Dibs, younger people are going against the grain, mixing pieces in a near unconscious freedom, without rules: “They’re collecting old things but treating each object as an object and not as part of the scheme — there’s more negative space” (you’ll be interested in Diaz-Griffith’s book, Antiquarians, which explores the styles and themes of 22 young collectors).
Collectors often want their purchase to fill a hole emotionally or design-wise – and often collect from a place of pure emotion. And the new trend is... that this is ok.
In practice, this might look like a 17th century rug hanging on the wall behind a 1970s Danish sofa, and accented by a surreal pop-culture lamp. Rules are there to be broken in the young collector mob, where disparate elements come together in surprising and compelling ways.
In this sense, it’s the concept of matching old with new that looks to be on trend: a 1940s dresser complemented by a piece of modern art hung above it. Or a French 1830s marquetry cabinet next to a mid-century standard lamp. Dark wood pieces of furniture against a sumptuously dark wall in your living room, contrasting with a pop of colour from a Scandinavian armchair. You can get creative.
But you don’t even have to get your shoes on to explore what’s hot right now. Here are some of the themes that are expected to gain traction over the next quarter.
Federal mahogany pieces can add a wonderful hue to a study or living space, whilst retaining some playfulness. With the gold detailing and castors, this 18th Century American Federal Mahogany Inlaid Card Table (pictured) could be paired by the new antiquarians with anything from modern art to kitsch table lamps or desktop clocks.
This 19th Century Dutch Marquetry Inlaid Mahogany Circular Snap Top Table is a stunning central decorative piece.
Like people, the best rooms have a sense of playfulness and humour. Introduce a fun piece like this 1960s Murano Paolo Venini Design Teardrop Glass Chandelier (pictured) to add levity to a space. Or this 1960s Brass Carl Fagerlund for Orrefors sculptural vintage wall light.
Alternatively, this 1900 bronze and glass table lamp in the form of a rooster (pictured at the start of this article) could peck your interest.
Biedermeier – an era in Central Europe from 1815-1848 which saw the growth of the middle classes and art sensibilities – has very much swung back into the forefront of collectors’ tastes. It’s generally characterised by simple and practical forms, restrained elegance, geometric shapes and designs, lighter wood tones, intricate wood grain, refined ornamentation and little to no ormolu or gilt work.
They are well loved for being sleek and quirky with beautiful veneers and ebonizing: The character of the veneers and inlaid wood makes a difference because it is not only craftsmanship, but true artistry like making a painting or drawing.
Adding little touches of colour into your space against the darker hues of mahogany or the Biedermeier pieces can be achieved relatively easily with planters, vases and jardinieres.
Tableware can sometimes be an afterthought when you're buying for the home, but when you have guests coming round, it’s often these small touches that make all the difference. Look for something playful or genuinely intriguing, like this Art Deco Polychrome Amphora Ceramic Pitcher, or an exquisite Clarice Cliff Art Deco ‘Bonjour’ jug (pictured above).
These are making a complete resurgence, having been out of fashion for some time. Perhaps becoming a lost art, some of the detailing and workmanship on these pieces is beyond stunning – and could bring style and texture to any room.
According to the website Chairish, there’s been a recent increase in sales of antique blanket chests, especially those with painted detail – and the more ornamentation, the better. on the heels of a “pronounced resurgence” in traditional furniture over the last year, with everything from Chippendale to federal, American Colonial Revival pieces and original English and Continental antiques.
We love this Antique Oak blanket chest which features a lifting top over six dummy drawers – crossbanded in mahogany and fitted with brass swan neck handles; and this simple 1820s Stripped Pine Blanket Box (pictured).
Unusual colours like ivory, pale blues, soft yellows, greens, even chocolate browns, especially in the larger Turkish rugs – dealers across the pond are starting to go for these and why not? They’re attractive and can be hung for added texture – especially powerful behind other period furniture and fixtures.
We love this extra-large Original Mid to Late 20th Century Aubusson Style Tapestry (pictured above).
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