ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES

 







ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES








The past 20 years have seen an increased interest in putting architectural salvage to new use.




ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
 Con­tractors would not have bother to salvage any items from the buildings they flattened.
 They were unaware of the value and lacked time to remove fixtures and fittings carefully. Some great bargains were found by knowledgeable individuals who dodged the bulldozers to acquire anything from an old lavatory to a complete paneled room for, at the most, a few pounds.






The spectacular rise in property prices in the 1980s encouraged house owners to invest in renovations, using original materials for both the house and the garden. Old ceramic wall and floor tiles  for under £1 each were reinstated in kitchens and bath­rooms, and York stone paving bought for £30-£40 a square yard was laid on patios.



ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
Sadly, the rise in prices has resulted in an increase in thefts of architectural artifacts. Old empty buildings are easy prey to profes­sional thieves who rip out doors, floors and staircases, as well as the more traditional booty of lead from roofs. Fireplaces are an especially easy target, and have even been stolen with the owners asleep upstairs.


 
FIREPLACES




ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
The value of most fireplaces dropped follow­ing the slump in property prices that began in 1989, but the range is still from around £ 100 to an incredible £100,000 and upwards. It is worth remembering that the removal and installation of a fireplace - especially a marble one - is a skilled and expensive operation. Late Victorian black marble fireplaces, which were made in large numbers, are often not worth buying when the cost of installation is taken into account.


Fireplaces dating from the 18th century need to be examined with care, as both wood and marble examples have often been altered to fit a new location. In some cases, the marble slips - the flat panels that line the inside of the chimneypiece - have deteriorated and crumbled because of exposure to heat.


ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
From the 16th century onwards, firebacks were used to reflect the heat into the room and to prevent damage to the brick or stonework behind the grate. Early firebacks were made by casting molten iron in a we 11-compressed bed of sand, in which the shape and decoration of the object were created by pressing a carved wooden board with details such as twists of rope, an armorial and date. Authentic 16th to i8th-century firebacks fetch £20o-£8oo today, hut beware: many copies have been produced over the last 100









years, and they can he difficult to spot once blackened by smoke.


BATHROOM FITTINGS



ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
Old baths can often be picked up quite cheaply, but many require re-enamelling - an expensive job if done properly. A good Victorian roll-top bath with ball-and-claw feet can fetch £5oo-£8oo, however. Victorian 4 brass or nickel-plated taps fetch £50-£i00 today. Chromium plating, which gives a brighter finish and is more resistant to water, was introduced in the 1920s.


Alter the Prince of Wales almost died of typhoid in 1871 (as his father Prince Albert had done in 1861), a greater awareness of the need for sanitary reform brought about a revolution in lavatory design. Twyfords, Shanks and Don I ton all produced a wide range of sanitary ware in various colours, some decorated with relief moulding on the outside and transfer-printed patterns inside.



The use of some types of old lavatory is now Illegal, hut nonetheless they are still in demand, as are old seats and cistern chains. Mahogany seats sell for £80-£i20, and a lavatory chain with a ceramic handle, perhaps inscribed with a motto such as 'Pull and Let Go', can be picked up for£5o-£8o.



DECORATIVE FEATURES



ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
Many Victorian houses were decorated with carved wood features in a 'Jacobethan' 1 style, copying 16th and i7th-century decorative styles. These are still sought after for their decorative sculptural qualities. Oak panelling is also in demand, especially in the linenfold pattern that was used from the 15th century onwards. Most panelling that appears on the market is Victorian hut often in an earlier style.


 Good quality Victorian mahogany doors fetch less than £100 each; even Geor­gian examples are often less than £200 as they tend to be too large for modern homes. Victorian brass door handles and locks are still fairly plentiful and will cost around £50-£ 100 for each door. Old oak beams, taken from demolished barns and houses, sell for around £20 per cubic foot (roughly  or more for particularly large beams.



Decorative plasterwork has been used in British homes since the 16th century. Vic­torian plaster ceiling roses cost about £60- £100 today, but several firms still produce plaster fittings, sometimes using original 18th and 19th-century moulds.

ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
















With the demolition or conversion of many Victorian churches and chapels, large amounts of stained glass have appeared on the market. Ecclesiastical glass is usually cheap, although Victorian and Edwardian domestic stained glass is more popular, especially the rarer, naturalistic panels of birds, animals and Pre-Raphaelite maidens.



EXTERIOR FITTINGS




ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES
Gas street lighting was introduced into Britain in 1807 and thousands of lamps were made. An original cast-iron lamppost with a sheet-iron or copper lantern will fetch £300- £500, the lantern alone £100-£ 150.

The simplest weather vanes were made of sheet iron or tin plate. More solid examples were constructed from two sheets of copper riveted or soldered together in three dimen­sions. Prices vary according to age and subject matter - British and French examples are often in the form of a cockerel.



Wrought-iron gates are also very popular, especially pairs which have an overall width of 10 ft (3 m) or more. Many 18th and 19th- century gates, which were made for carriages, are too narrow for modern driveways.




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