Blog – February 2019

Welcome to the Yola Gray Antiques blog, where we talk about all that is relevant in the antiques world, as well as taking you behind the scenes to show you the intriguing and interesting aspects of the antique furniture business.

Millennials are turning to antique furniture - here's why

In today’s world, daily life is being influenced more and more by a desire and a need to be more environmentally conscious.  As a result of this, an interesting trend has arisen amongst millennials, who are increasingly furnishing their homes with antique furniture, according to an article published by The Daily Telegraph. This trend is not only as a result of a drive to be more ecologically-minded, but also people aged 18-45 are part of a growing culture of people who express appreciation for unique and interesting items as a means of self expression, and an

admiration for the quality and longevity that can be found with antique items. The vintage aesthetic, that many posters on social media aspire to, has been a further influence on the sale of antiques. As a result of all these factors, major auction houses such as Christie’s have reported an increase in sales from the 18-45 year old demographic in recent years. This is, no doubt, fantastic news to anyone in the antique business, knowing that a fresh generation is here to carry forward the demand for antiques.

Curious Finds

During the process of photographing the various items of furniture that have been through the restoration process and are ready to be listed for sale, there is the opportunity to discover interesting and unique features incorporated into various items. A recent find was the chiming mechanism on this Mandalay box. The mechanism is operated when the key is turned in the lock:

The reason this box includes a chiming mechanism to the lock stems from the item’s historical use: during the time of the British Raj, when affluent Colonial British families were living in the Far East, tea was a rarer and much more valuable commodity. Therefore, it was necessary for tea to be kept securely within the household, giving rise to sturdy, lockable tea chests and boxes. The servants would have a key to access the chest. Any time the box would have been opened to serve tea, the chiming lock would have alerted the rest of the household. The knowledge that the box chimed every time it was unlocked would dissuade any would-be thieves and untrustworthy servants from stealing the contents, as it could not be surreptitiously done.

This box provides further interest, too, in the two secret compartments that it possesses. The first is found by lifting the central tray out, to reveal the space beneath; the second is found by sliding the floor of the bottom-right compartment:

Discoveries like this certainly add character and inrigue to an item, and are always bound to generate plenty of curiosity.

In the Pipeline

Here is a quick peek of ongoing restoration projects, showing you items that are going to be gracing the front page of the website in the not-too-distant future, including a chaise longue, couch and an office chair that are pending restoration, a set of 12 balloon back dining chairs that are undergoing a polishing process, and a rolltop desk for which we have created some brand new drawer labels, to replace the damaged and missing old ones: