Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Victorian era is such an odd time period for antique furniture.  Many find the furniture horrid and ugly, while others love it.  And really, the interest in the period only seems to be growing, but it still has a LONG way to go in the respect and price departments when compared to Chippendale or Federal furniture (or pretty much ANY other time period). 

I was recently researching a set of Renaissance Revivial furniture for a client, and was really quite amazed at the vast difference in prices paid for such Victorian furniture.

There were many ebay sofas and chairs going for next to nothing, even several pieces for only a hundred dollars.  And then the more reasonably but still very low priced sets like these ($1300 for the set):

To a set sold at Sotheby's for $4375:

And a top-end set sold at Christies for $13,800:

And while I must agree with many that such furniture might not be the most beautiful ever produced, there really is a certain charm about these pieces.  And as everyone knows, I do enjoy reupholstering old furniture, and think such pieces would be so amazing redone.

And after browsing on 1st dibs a bit, I realized I was not the only one that felt they could revive such revival furniture by reupholstering and refinishing.  And WOW, the prices just skyrocket!

Check out this one (which is not a reproduction, it is a true Victorian chair that has been painted and reupholstered) listed at $3,600 for the one chair:

Or this fancy guy (also a true Victorian) for $2,800 which has been upholstered in black patent leather:

Thinking outside the box a bit with such furniture changes the game entirely and can create really contemporary fun furniture.  However, I can imagine we will one day look back on such alterations to this furniture with utter horror....just as we do now when looking back 100 years ago to our grandparents who refinished all their New England 17th century antiques!  I guess we never change...

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