Join us in celebrating World Earth Day on 22 April! Sustainability is of the utmost importance right now, ensuring that we put less strain on the planet's precious and dwindling resources and protect them for future generations.
Decorating our homes stylishly whilst also seeking more conscientious ways to reduce our impact on the planet can seem like an impossible task, but buying antiques is by its very nature a recycling of resources. Auctions provide a surprisingly compelling buying experience and are one of the best ways to ensure that you not only discover brilliantly original pieces to suit your needs beautifully, but also helping the planet too.
With everything fully illustrated online including detailed images and condition reports, welcome to the many feel-good joys and benefits of sourcing your next style statement at auction!
From our collaboration with Charles Benjamin at Kirtlington Park
A study conducted by Carbon Clear, commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs (IACF), found that the carbon footprint of a modern chest of drawers is 16 times higher than that of its antique equivalent.
Ashley Matthews, Head of Dreweatts Interiors sales, comments, "Wooden furniture is a form of long-term carbon capture, it has been estimated that half an oak tree’s dry weight is carbon. This carbon obviously then remains locked in to any furniture that is created from it. Furniture made before the industrial revolution in the 18th century is even more carbon-friendly, as no fossil fuel power was used to manufacture it. A Charles II oak chest of drawers, dating to the late 17th century therefore is almost as sustainable as furniture can get – manmade from readily available native timber, locking in a hefty amount of carbon, lasted 350 years and would probably cost you just over £1 for every year it has been on the market. Seems like a remarkable deal!"
A Charles II oak chest of drawers
Buying antiques also results in owning an item with a longer life expectancy and more style and originality to outlive any modern counterpart. They also come with a far richer history, having often been passed down through generations or come from important collections. We have seen a renewed interest in traditional tastes, with good provenance and a compelling narrative capturing people’s attention.
In November 2021, Dreweatts held the auction of ‘Weston Hall and the Sitwells: A Family Legacy’, a seat of the Sitwell family since the early twentieth century and their ancestors since the eighteenth century. This spectacular sale charted the history of an eminent family of esteemed writers, eccentrics, pioneers and creatives through the centuries, offering a once in a lifetime’s chance to capture a piece of literary history, the like of which had not been seen on the market for some time.
Weston Hall, seat of the Sitwell family and their ancestors since the eighteenth century
Today’s trends see a move away from minimalist interiors, focusing more on adding warmth to a home, with pieces rich in character and style. At Dreweatts, we frequently invite guest curators for our pre-sale exhibitions to help present collections and inspire our clients. With collaborators such as Nina Campbell it emphasises how authoritative designers are using antiques in their designs.
A room set at Dreweatts Donnington Priory salerooms from our collaboration with Nina Campbell
When choosing her favourite pieces from our sale, Nina picked out a William & Mary burr walnut cabinet on chest, circa 1695, commenting, "I love this little cabinet; it is really useful. Some people think that this sort of furniture is no longer desirable… I totally disagree, I think it is absolutely wonderful. I think it gives every room a central point."
A William & Mary burr walnut cabinet on chest, circa 1695 | From our collaboration with Nina Campbell
In 2022, we were also pleased to have Henriette von Stockhausen as Guest Editor for one of our monthly newsletters. Henriette is known for her deep knowledge and appreciation for antique furniture and textiles which she always introduces to her schemes for clients. Here, she offered an insight into decorating with antiques.
"I’ve been considering the pivotal role that antiques play in my designs. Every house has a distinct feeling and personality based on its age, its owners and how they use the space. It’s my job to take clues from the house to build a scheme. But something you’ll always find in my work are antiques, antique fabrics and decorative objects - I incorporate a lot of them. I love the impact they have in any environment be that a traditional English country house, a home in London or one overseas. Not only that, but as we examine ever more closely the impact of our lifestyles on the environment and the earth’s natural resources, the need to re-use, rather than throwing away and buying new, is becoming ever stronger. When it comes to decorating homes, using antique furniture and textiles is the most sustainable way forward."
Henriette also highlighted how antiques can be adapted for a certain purpose, picking out a George III mahogany mule chest we were offering in one of our Interiors auctions, "I would choose this to adapt to a double vanity wash stand. This is something we often do rather than have new vanities made - its so much nicer to adapt such a characterful piece with a story."
A George III mahogany mule chest, circa 1770
It's not just choosing to buy antique furniture that can reduce the environmental impact of our purchases, as Dreweatts International Head of Jewellery, Silver and Watches, James Nicholson explains, "By purchasing estate, period and antique jewellery, you know you're not contributing to modern deep mining, extraction, pollution and damage to the environment, or to the exploitation of local workforces with dangerous working practices."
A Georgian gold and flat cut garnet fringe necklace, circa 1780
Jewellery described as either antique or period in style might imply that it is somehow old-fashioned - but this perception couldn't be further from the truth. With unique designs and brilliant, lively coloured stones, antique jewellery can add a certain unique sophistication to any style or occasion. From big statement yellow gold and chunky 18th and 19th century silver pieces, to the light and airy designs of the Edwardian period, all of which have stood the test of time.
A selection of late Victorian and Edwardian bangles
Pictures: Ready to Hang Art
Auctions also provide a fantastic place to find that unique piece of art – and give something beautiful a much deserved second home! Dreweatts regular Art Online auctions showcase artwork from the 17th century through to the contemporary, with prices ranging from £10-10,000 (+ fees). The majority of the pieces are already framed, and ready to hang without the added expense to your purse and the planet of sourcing a frame.
Circle of Cornelis Johannes de Bruyn, 'Still Life, a Bee and Butterfly on Flowers'
Dreweatts offer a diverse and exciting calendar of over 70 auctions per year (all with free online bidding available), be sure to keep an eye on our website or sign up to our auction email alerts to ensure you don't miss out.
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