A Short History of Antique Games Tables

Antique games and card tables are some of the most diversely styled tables. Often their designs draw from the most favoured styles of that period – and we have several in stock which show this variety.

Earlier examples like this Georgian mahogany triple-top games table from circa 1760, have a simple solid mahogany top with curved edges, over cabriole legs. It opens to two playing surfaces; one with an inlaid backgammon board, and the other which is felt-lined for card playing.

Pair of Card Tables in the Manner of Bruce and Burns

In contrast, there are exceptionally decorative examples of Georgian games tables, like the pair you can see here. They have striking radial veneers, and finely inlaid mahogany and penwork to their tops, friezes and legs. This pair of tables have a provenance of Coul House, Perthshire and by family repute, they may have originally been owned by the Earls of Cork, or the Mulocks, of County Offaly, Ireland.

Nearly 60 years later, we see many new design features of games tables, including brass mounts, shaped bases and combined uses – with games surfaces to the tops and work (sewing) boxes beneath. Regency games/work tables like this one were neat-sized and readily moveable, and were used by women for games as well as embroidery.

There’s been a surge in the popularity of indoor games over the past few months for obvious reasons!

Antique Regency Scumbled Games Table

Antique games tables come in such a variety of sizes, styles and prices that they would make a fantastic addition to any home, and could even be used as side or hall tables.

This post was originally from our weekly newsletter – which you can subscribe to here.

Festive Opening Hours 2020

Following the latest Scottish Government guidelines, we will be closing our warehouse doors on Thursday 24th December (Christmas Eve) at 1pm until further notice.

However, we will continue trading online, and will be regularly updating our website. Our couriers will also be operating as normal, so we can deliver our antiques near and far! If you have any enquiries (trade or private) over this period please don’t hesitate to email us, or John will be available on 07836 283 669.

We look forward to seeing you all soon, and wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year – from the team at Georgian Antiques.

Iconic Designs: Boulle Furniture

The term ‘Boulle’ was taken from the surname of it’s most skilled artisan André Charles Boulle (1642–1732). Boulle was a cabinetmaker, sculptor and gilder to King Louis XIV of France, and from 1672 he was granted the royal privilege of living in the Palais du Louvre.

‘Boulle’ work refers to the practice of overlaying furniture with a thin layer or tortoiseshell that is inlaid with brass and pewter in opulent patterns and elaborate designs, as shown in the Louis XV style boulle clock, circa 1870 (above). Boulle work, although requiring great skill and expense, became such a fashionable means of finishing furniture that its use continued through to the 18th and 19th centuries. Whilst Boulle’s original work resides in the most important international collections and museums (including the Royal Collection, Chateau de Versailles, and the Rijksmuseum) you can still find pieces of Boulle work by later cabinet-makers which are often of similar quality (especially as so many copied Boulle’s technique and style).

19th century pieces like this serpentine front games table capture the essence of André Charles Boulle’s work perfectly; with classical designs in brass inlay to the top and on the exhibition quality figurehead ormolu mounts. The red tortoiseshell background is accentuated by ebonised sections of the exterior, and it opens to a baize-lined interior.

You can see our range of Boulle furniture here.

Iconic Designs: Whytock and Reid

Established in 1807 by Edinburgh businessman Richard Whytock, the furniture-making firm became ‘Whytock and Reid’ when he formed a partnership with John Reid in 1876. If you’ve lived in Edinburgh, you might have seen their workshop based in Sunbury House, Belford Mews (near Dean Village).

Whytock earned his first warrant from Queen Victoria in 1838 (similar to the one seen above), and the recognition of their craftsmanship continued until their doors closed in 2004. Their clients were from various walks of life; from the Royal Family and some of the largest public projects across Scotland, to country houses and family homes.

Whytock and Reid also collaborated with prolific architect and furniture designer Sir Robert Lorimer for over 30 years – you can find out more about the Lorimer influence here.

This marble top secretaire a abbatant by Whytock and Reid has all of their classic qualities and is one of the finest examples we have in our warehouse. Circa 1900, it is made in the Louis XVI style and retains the original Whytock & Reid locks by Langebearg & Co, Birmingham, and has a receipt for alterations from Whytock & Reid on 25 October 1955.

We are proud to have one of the biggest collections of Whytock and Reid furniture in the UK. You can see their full range in our dedicated category.

A Short History of Mirrors

[The original version of this post was from our newsletter – 12 June 2020]

The mirror is not a modern invention but has instead been used since ancient times, from Egyptian mirrors in polished bronze (2900BC), to Chinese bronze mirrors dating as early as 2000BCE. The complete history of mirror production is fascinating but incredibly complex, and so for brevity we will start at the 15th and 16th century.

At that time, there was a large divide between mirrors of quality versus quantity – from the expensive and competitive pursuit of ‘crystalline’ glass between Germany and the Venetian Republic, to the cheaper, inferior small steel ‘mirrors’ which could be purchased from street vendors.

Throughout the 16th century, the Venetian mirror was considered the epitome of (costly!) fashion, especially in France – and King Francois I purchased several adorned with gold and precious stones. This Venetian technique used glass with a metallic backing and it became a practice adopted by craftsmen in London and Paris by the middle of the 17th century. These mirrors were a popular addition to room furnishings by this time – and their frame also became an important consideration. These ranged from painted, carved, gilded and ornament decorated.

Certain types of mirrors were also designed to suit the architecture of homes of the time, especially overmantel mirrors – created to fill the empty space between the mantelpiece and the ceiling. Girandole mirrors (like the one on the right) emerged in the 19th century and served a double purpose: with a convex sheet of glass in a circular frame, and candle arms attached, the candlelight would be reflected and illuminate the room.

We keep in stock as much variety as possible with these mirrors – and lately the more ornate, gilt overmantels have proved a popular choice.

For those wanting something a little smaller and narrower, we also have pier mirrors which were designed to fit on a ‘pier’ space (for example, a wall between two windows), and often above pier cabinets.

The Mirror: A History, Sabine Melchior-Bonnet, 1 February 2002
‘Mirror (Optics)’, Encyclopaedia Britannica, (https://www.britannica.com/technology/mirror-optics)


Easter Opening Hours 2019

It’s been a busy lead up to the Easter break this year for us at Georgian Antiques, but rest assured we will be open as usual!

Feel free to drop us an email or call in if you have any further queries!

Festive Opening Hours 2018

Planning on visiting us over Christmas and New Year? We’ll be closing for a brief break, but you can visit our warehouse on the following dates, or email through any enquiries as usual:

Monday 24 December (Christmas Eve): 8:30am – 1pm

CLOSED from Tuesday 25 December – Friday 28 December

Saturday 29 December: 10am – 2pm

CLOSED from Sunday 30 December – Tuesday 1 January

Wednesday 2 January: 10am – 2pm

Thursday 3 January: normal opening hours resume

Phyllis M. Bone: Animal Sculptor

Phyllis M Bone: Animal Sculptor

3-27 August 2018

Georgian Antiques celebrates 40 years in business by proudly presenting the first major exhibition of work by the sculptor Phyllis Bone RSA (1894-1972). Trained in Edinburgh and Paris, she is now remembered principally for her architectural sculpture of the 1920s, including the Scottish National War Memorial. An exceptional ‘animalier’, she earned her livelihood by exhibiting finely modelled pieces cast in bronze or plaster. In 1944 the quality of her work was acknowledged officially when she became the first woman elected a Royal Scottish Academician.

Remarkably, this exhibition is the first ever retrospective of her work. Collected over a 35 year period, it includes 36 display pieces in bronze and plaster covering a long and productive career from 1918 to the late 1960s. Also included are 9 works on paper made after she had moved from Edinburgh to Kirkcudbright, her home for her last 23 years. All works are from a private collection, so this will be the first time they are shown in one venue.

The exhibition will run as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018, at Georgian Antiques (10 Pattison Street, Leith EH6 7HF), viewing Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm. A fully illustrated 64-page catalogue by art historian Elizabeth Cumming has been published to accompany the exhibition. You can purchase a catalogue (£10) via email: info@georgianantiques.net

1978-2018 The First Forty Years of Georgian Antiques

We’re excited to announce that as a big thank you for all of your support over the past 40 years we are having a sale!

All stock will be 20% off (excluding sale stock) for only 40 days.

It will run from 2 April to the 12 May 2018 and the discount will be on any antiques purchased from us in the warehouse or online.

This is only the 3rd time in the last 40 years that we have had a sale, so make sure to take advantage of the deal!

If you have any further queries don’t hesitate to drop us an email or give us a call. All prices displayed on the website are pre-sale and the discount will be applied on enquiry.


Easter Opening Hours 2018

Whilst the weather might be trying to keep the Easter Bunny away, we will be open as usual this long weekend. If you can’t make it to our warehouse feel free to email any enquiries over to us (via the contact form here) and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We hope you have a happy and safe Easter break!