News from Harvey's
Good news and Summer Exhibition
Posted by David Harvey, Sunday 19 May 2013
I decided to give some prominence to this extraordinary Charles II Oak Snakewood Yewwood and Ebony Mule Chest which will be shown in my forthcoming Summer Exhibition because it is just such a wonderful piece. It must have been made for a quite exceptional manor house possibly with a great entrance hall or a gallery. The longer I look at this, the more I see and appreciate the sophistication of this example dating to about 1670.
I am sure you will recall after my Spring visit to the USA I reported that the US economy did actually seem to be recovering from the depths of the past few years with the NY Stock Exchange going over 14,000 for the first time ever and my hope that similar signs would be seen here in the UK soon. Last week there were several important indicators published with New York hitting new highs over 15,000 and the FTSE 100 index now approaching the pre 2008 levels again. There was also a report in the Daily Telegraph here that headlined "Property prices rise steadily as buyers confidence returns" revealing that "conditions improved to levels not seen since 2007" with Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire recording price increases of 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. This is all very good news not only for the construction industry but for our World of Antiques and furnishing. London prices just keep on climbing but a more general improvement is very welcome. This comes at a time when the retiring Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, has also signified that he too can see the signs of economic recovery here in the UK.
A headline from the Chicago Tribune also caught my eye: "Luxury home sellers feeling rich again." Whilst I always urge caution, this has to be seen against a backdrop of other indices as well and highlights the recovery in the housing market in America as well albeit at the top end.
With less than 2 weeks to go until the opening of my summer exhibition, "A Midsummer's Day - Sunrise to Sunset in a Georgian Home" there is just so much to do but this is a really exciting period with the last strands of months of work all coming together at one time. I attached an e-invitation for you to my last e-mail and hope you will be able to come to the opening on Friday 31st. of May. It will be a jolly evening with lots of friends enjoying the exhibition and seeing antiques in a different light. The catalogue is being printed as I write this and will be available this coming week. Everyone here at Harvey's has been busy making lists of things still to be done, things to be ordered, pieces to be transported etc.
There are many reasons to be optimistic but when I think of all the economic indicators and the opening of my exhibition coming up so quickly, I really am excited at the prospects for a good Summer.
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
We'll be at: Annual Summer Exhibition, "A Midsummer's Day, Sunrise to Sunset in a Georgian Home", Harveys Showrooms, 86 Corn Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, UK (Friday 31st May preview 5 - 9pm and then daily 10 to 5 until 23rd. June 2013)
Summer Exhibition, Elections , Warm Weather.
Posted by David Harvey, Sunday 5 May 2013
Preview invitations for our Summer Exhibition, "A Midsummer's Day - Sunrise to Sunset in a Georgian Home" have been sent out and should be with you shortly. If you are not on our mailing list or e-mail round robin list, just let us know and we will send you an invitation. The preview is on May 31st in the evening and the exhibition will run from June 1st to 30th. here at our showrooms in Witney. I have selected this picture for my news page as it is one of the sumptuous room settings you will be able to see here in June and is taken from the Catalogue which is currently in production.
Imagine you are a wealthy Gentleman in the Georgian Period and you have been into town this evening firstly to the theatre then on to your club before inviting an old chum to join you at home for a nightcap, a pipe of tobacco and a game of cards whilst the rest of the family sleeps. That is what this room is all about. As you will be aware, we have been gathering pieces for this exhibition for many months and it will all be coming to fruition soon.
The thought of "A Midsummer's Day" in June reminds me of just what a beautiful week it has been weatherwise last week. Great weather for an election and I caught a little of the sun last Thursday, on Council Election day whilst going around telling at polling stations and knocking on doors. I might have developed a healthy tan but sadly lost my seat on the County Council which means I can devote even more time now to being an Antique Dealer and putting on spectacular exhibitions such as this one.
Another interesting phone call from overseas has led me to re-acquiring a super George III Period Mahogany D-end Dining Table with Pembroke Center Section which I originally sold some 30 years ago when we were located in Chalk Farm in London. What goes around comes around!
I know I speak for everyone here at Harvey's when I say how very much we are all looking forward to seeing you here soon.
CADA & A Midsummer's Day
Posted by David Harvey, Sunday 14 April 2013
This last week has been so very exciting with everything coming together for the CADA Antiques Fair at Blenheim Palace starting Thursday April 18th. combined with the photo shoot for our forthcoming Summer Exhibition. If you would like an e-ticket for the Blenheim Palace Fair, please let us know. I have mentioned our good luck in finding so many excellent pieces for our exhibition which will be from June 1st to 30th. with the title "A Midsummer's Day, Sunrise to Sunset in a Georgian Home" and have included above a small foretaste of one of the room shots we have just taken. Please bear in mind that this is just my amateur snap and the professionally taken example which will be in the exhibition catalogue is far superior but I think you can get the general idea from this.
Working on this fabulous Four Poster Bed attributed to Gillows of Lancaster has been a privilege and at every stage of the conservation process, the sheer quality has radiated from it. It seems scarcely possible that such an exciting item can survive in such original condition for over two and a quarter centuries. We also have a terrific provenance for this linking the previous owner who was given it as a wedding present by Lord and Lady Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire.
Amongst other pieces which will be on display are two of the most desirable Child's Chairs I have seen in years along with a wonderful Rosewood Crib. We have also just acquired a rare Regency Carved Rosewood reclining Armchair -the very height of comfort for sitting and reading a good book. Another bookcase has come into stock along with a couple of Chests of Drawers. The work we have done this past week will all come to fruition in due course and if you would like one of the Exhibition Catalogues, please let us know.
One of the room settings we pictured depicts a breakfast room ready for those members of a family to sit and break their fast. This involves using fresh breads, muffins, meats, pies, cheeses, preserves, fruits and heaven knows what else along with a traditional ale to accompany this. By the time we had prepared all the furniture and decorated the table, sideboard, chiffonier etc. with all the above, we were ravenous and enjoyed some of the fruits of our labours! I think we got a great kick out of doing the photo shoot and we can re-create these scenes all over again for the month of June.
We have been holding themed exhibitions over the past 35 years starting back in 1978 in Chalk Farm in London, then at 5 Old Bond Street in Mayfair and latterly here in Witney. They are such fun and it really is like travelling back in time to Downton Abbey or even earlier. If you get the opportunity to visit us here during June, I can promise you will not be disappointed.
Good, Better, Best.
Posted by David Harvey, Thursday 28 March 2013
As time goes by and the days lengthen Spring must be just around the corner. After all this coming weekend is Easter Weekend with home made Hot Cross Buns by the open fire promised for tomorrow and traditional roast lamb with all the trimmings for Easter Sunday Lunch. It is also a time for a couple of days off and I have to say, since I returned from my visit to the USA 3 weeks ago, it has been manic here in Witney. The restoration of the four poster bed is proceeding brilliantly and the decorated frieze has cleaned up brilliantly showing subtleties of colour and touch we couldn't discern previously.
Numerous other pieces are being worked on as I write this and everything is looking so exciting. The weather has been bitterly cold with snow abounding for the last week but I guess that is global warming or Climate Change as we should really call it and the forecast is for it to last for another week. I have ordered a further delivery of logs for the fire and hope my current supply lasts till the new delivery.
On my return from America I was very encouraged by the positive signs of recovery in the US markets and economy. Despite sequestration and reduction of AAA status, the faith in the American economy was reflected by a surge of activity in the housing market calling for more new homes to be built and a substantial rise in the NY Stock Exchange to new high levels. This shows an underlying belief in the direction of travel.
Here in the UK the pound had devalued against the Dollar by somewhere over 10 per cent of late and over 25 % since the highs of a few years ago. The levelling off of Antiques prices here in the UK have meant that Fine English Furniture is unbelievably good value. I have just seen an announcement that house prices here in the UK have risen for the first time across the board and when you take into account the other prevailing economic factors such as low unemployment rates, high numbers of new jobs being created and continuing low interest rates, there is every reason to believe in a recovery of the market here in Great Britain for Antiques as well.
The latest Budget was aimed at returning the economy to some measure of growth though there is controversy as to whether the measures put forward to provide some impetus to house building will work. All in all and despite the icy weather conditions, I perceive the possible turning point in the fate of the Antiques market here in England and, as matters improve elsewhere as well, the reduction in numbers of dealers will mean those left standing will reap the rewards of their tenacity.
In the mean time I wanted to highlight the wonderful interior of this quite exceptional Oak and Inlaid Bureau which came my way a little while ago. Sometimes even a provincial piece has something of the best about it so whilst the trading conditions should be improving and getting better here is something of the best to go with it. If you want to come by and visit, we will be here all over the Easter Weekend, just call and let us know for Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Monday, open as usual all day Saturday.
Stock treats and so to bed!
Posted by David Harvey, Tuesday 12 February 2013
What a start to the year! We have had local flooding, loads of snow (in a UK context that means several inches not feet or metres) and yet life goes on. Wonderful pieces are still coming my way and proving to be ever more exciting. I have just bought the most exquisite George III Period Mahogany Four Poster Bed and what a find this is. The carving on the front posts is identical to the Gillows examples illustrated in Susan Stuart's wonderful 2 volumes on the Lancaster family and the bed has the most fantastic decorated cornice to finish off the whole effect. I could not resist the temptation to show a small section of this here before any cleaning or conservation has been attempted.
In the few days since I acquired this my staff have been busy tracing the provenance of this and it is proving to be extremely exciting and may well link to a rather grand house. The size of the bed implies that it was made for a very good home in about 1780 and the family history certainly goes back that far and further. We had the fun of assembling this here in Witney last week in order to measure for the hangings etc. and that is the first time I have seen the bed completely put together. I am delighted that my insticts about the quality of this have been proven correct. Somehow, and especially in this day and age, quality always stands out from the crowd.
This bed is going to be one of the important items which will be featured in my Summer Exhibition which I hope will also have a fully illustrated catalogue to accompany it. I will be publishing more details of this in due course and hope you will be able to attend when it is on here at my showrooms in Witney. The last bed I had of this quality was back in 1988 when it was one of the focal points of my exhibition "Morning, Noon and Night" and I wonder how many readers of this news page can remember that. It was of course in our showrooms at No.5 Old Bond Street, in London's Mayfair. If you were there, do let me know so I can ensure I send you an invitation to the forthcoming event.