July 06 2011
So you’ve moved into your long-desired Georgian property. Now where do you find appropriate furniture to sit alongside your cherished antiques? The starting point could well be a chat with Max Rollitt.
Rollitt wears three hats: he is a trained cabinetmaker who makes classically inspired bespoke furniture; he creates and fits internal architecture (cornices, mouldings, window details) for interior projects; and he has been dealing in top-quality antique furniture since 1993, when he set up his own antiques business after undergoing an eight-year apprenticeship in antiques restoration.
Clients single him out, he says, because, “I have a good understanding of classical form and have developed a particular focus on finish and patina that give the furniture its depth. I make things that are hard to source as antiques – size-specific dining tables, sofas, coffee tables, full sets of dining chairs and four-poster beds – and I understand the scale of furniture that will work within a room’s proportions.”
Rollitt’s bespoke designs are often inspired by past masters. One client commissioned a study whose internal architecture reflects their interest in Sir John Soane (about £60,000). Another ordered a four-poster based on a Hepplewhite design (from £7,800, excluding mattress). His Howard armchair, with its sprung back and floating feather cushion (second picture, from £3,480), is an exact replica of a Victorian design by Howard & Son, while his camelback sofa with beech frame, traditional mortise and tenon joints and walnut legs (first picture, from £11,040) is popular with clients looking for classic yet site-specific comfort.
“I recently made a circular, 5.5ft-diameter dining table using antique veneers that I took from an 18th-century table’s leaves,” he says. “An antique that size would cost around £120,000. Mine was £19,000 and really looks the part.”