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Inspired by the past, custom-made today

Made to order – hand-crafted furniture ‘classics’

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Inspired by the past, custom-made today

August 13 2011
Nicole Swengley

Soaring prices and the difficulty of sourcing original pieces by revered English makers such as Thomas Chippendale, Robert Adam, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Hope frustrate many antiques-seekers. Happily, anyone wishing to furnish their interiors with historically inspired designs can turn to a small firm called English Georgian, which specialises in hand-carved mirrors, furniture and architectural fittings such as wall brackets.

All the designs are inspired by historical pieces and made by craftsmen employing the same techniques as those used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Crucially, commissioning a hand-crafted “classic” means that it can be size-specific, and designs are easily duplicated as matching pairs – a virtually impossible quest when looking for originals. Meanwhile, finishes can be adapted for different interiors – gilt-wood in formal rooms or painted finishes for more relaxed areas. “Our pieces fit comfortably with most antiques, especially as we can tone the gilding and age the timber to match antiques already in situ,” says William Gulliver, the company’s owner and creative director.

Mirrors and side tables are the most frequent bespoke requests. “We recently made a gilded, carved-wood overmantel mirror in the style of Chippendale [£25,000] and a pair of Adam-style side tables in polished mahogany, sized to fit two alcoves [£10,000 per pair],” says Gulliver. Clients often order custom-made adaptations of stock designs, which include a rococo-style Chippendale guitar-shaped carved giltwood mirror (third picture, £2,916), leaf-decorated, Adam-style Border Glass (£5,784) and Regency convex mirror with star decoration (second picture, £2,874). The Hope Crossover stool (£2,527), taken directly from a Thomas Hope design, a mahogany Regency X-frame stool (first picture, £1,276) and a two-seater Chippendale roll-arm settee (£4,212), are also popular.

English Georgian has a Chelsea Harbour Design Centre showroom and will exhibit at the interiors show Decorex, in September 2011.