Show not tell
Our sleek, new website is a source of great pride, but one thing’s been missing… our precious archive of sold antiques was lost in the move!
Each lantern, tack cabinet, prep table, pier ball and Sibon pot had to be resized and placed back into the archive one by one.
Our tenacious design assistant Eszter finally completed this titanic task this week, and as the archive was restored piece by piece, it prompted a retelling of stories. tales of mud-bath fields, lanterns found by torchlight, and tables tediously stripped back from years of gluey abuse. The joy of antiques is that provenance or no provenance every piece has a story to tell.
As a whole, the archive is a useful shorthand for Matthew’s aesthetic. Matthew’s style may be recognisable, but it’s still hilariously awkward to distil during party small talk, as I have witnessed over the years.
Here’s the question, “Ah Matthew, I hear you’re an antique dealer. What do you specialise in?”
The answer people want is “the Arts and Crafts movement.”, “English scientific instruments, 1780 to 1880”, or even better, “Chippendale chairs”. A subject as entertaining as a Mastermind specialist subject, but ideally something vaguely understood which allows for an interested and informed follow-up question.
Instead, Matthew says, “I don’t really specialise in any particular era” and will sympathetically try to come up with a counter-question before he’s shown a blurred iPhone photograph of an inherited Victorian sideboard*.
The archive answers the unanswerable. Alas, it’s not a complete record of Matthew’s finds. Some customers prefer that pieces are removed from the archive, and some photographs are MIA, but there is a good representation across lighting, tables, seating, storage, garden and other objects.
The photographs are an education for our team and also a useful resource for clients showing the kind of bespoke furniture we’re happy to recreate in our workshop.
In fact, Matthew’s archive is why we're making furniture at all. One client spied an antique table he’d sold and asked if it could be reproduced. Matthew said yes, and the rest is becoming history!
See the full archive here.
*Matthew is always obliging when it comes to questions about inherited furniture. Expect a journal on the subject in the coming weeks.