Author Archives: Michael Allen

Antique Desks Available

Recent events have made many of us realize the value having a beautiful and functional work space at home. If you are looking for something special for your home office, we have a number of beautiful desks in our storeroom and our workshop is fully operational.

Conceivably, by this time next week, you could be fully set up with a beautiful and long lasting antique desk!

The pictured desk was purchased at Christie’s (London) and saw many years of service in a fine office. A true partners desk, it has matching banks of drawers on both sides and lift up flaps to provide even more storage.

It is in good functional condition and could certainly be used “as is” or if a more finished look is required we would be happy to assist. The leather top is showing signs of wear but it is a relatively simple job to replace in our workshop.

While the shop is closed at this time, we are still working every day and can send photographs and details of the available options.

Brownie Downing Collection

We currently have a great range of items designed by Viola Edith (Brownie) Downing in stock.

They are all original pieces from the 1950’s and 60’s and include medium and large plates, figural plaques and a rare original illustration.

If you are interested, please stop by the shop or get in touch for photographs, measurements and prices.

All SOLD, similar items always purchased.

Original Pine Shop Counter

We’re excited to have recently purchased an original, painted pine, shop counter. These are hard to find and work well in a variety of spaces including home kitchens, shops, cafes and offices.

The counter is 4000mm long x 930mm high and could be used exactly as it is. Alternately, we’re happy to work with you to make it perfect for your space by carefully rejointing and refinishing the top, selectively fitting shelves etc. to the rear or retouching the painted finish.

The counter will be not be on display in the shop so please make an appointment to view it in our storeroom.

SOLD, similar items sought.

Robert Prenzel

We’ve just arrived home from a four week trip to the UK and France buying stock for a container which will arrive in September.

We set off for the airport at 11pm, the afternoon prior was spent sealing the deal on this amazing carved wooden panel by Robert Prenzel dated 1926.

Robert Prenzel was born in Prussia in 1866. After completing his apprenticeship he migrated to Australia, arriving in Melbourne in 1888.

We’ve always had an interest in Australian crafts and carvings so we’ll be keeping this piece for a while.

Simple Decorating Advice

These days, when deciding on furniture and decorative items, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by conflicting advice and seduced by the latest “cheap and cheerful” fashion. In 1948, Millicent Fenwick, associate editor of Vogue, gave the following advice on decoration.

When good articles on decorating urge the abolition of junk, they don’t mean, “throw away that Victorian table; this is a French room”.  They mean “throw away those tables and chairs made without integrity and honesty, those pretentious and badly made objects that make the room look as though it were trying to seem more valuable and more beautiful than it is.”

To my mind, it’s advice that has withstood the test of time!

Antiques are Green

It makes perfect sense for us all to consume less and recycle more.  An entertaining and interesting way to do this is to collect antiques for your home.

Antiques were made mostly by hand before the use of machines or even electricity and are finished in environmentally sound finishes such shellac and wax.  A wisely chosen antique will resist constant changes in fashion and last your whole life.  Should it not be to the taste of the next generation, it can usually be resold (often at a profit).

It is tragic that so much of the new furniture sold in Australia is made from the irreplaceable rainforests of Asia when the furniture itself will only last a few years.  Check the link for more information on the “Antiques Are Green” movement.

Chinese Gaming Counters

These Chinese Mother of Pearl gaming counters were introduced to England by the captains of the East India Trading Company.  They immediately caused a sensation, with the wealthy paying small small fortunes to secure a set.  They remained popular until about 1840 when new card games such as whist (which did not require counters) began to replace quadrille and Pope Joan.

We recently obtained a small collection of counters in many different shapes and designs including a couple of the rarest kind, those with a family coat of arms.

In the day, procuring these special counters was difficult. A servant carrying a copy of the desired crest would be dispatched to London to make contact with a sea captain who would then take the order to Canton and commission counters from the local craftsmen.  A year later the order would be collected and transported to the waiting customer.