The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair Spring 2014 was a clear example of the vast range of tastes and interests of collectors in today’s art and antiques market. With exhibitors showing items including paintings, furniture and even the odd stuffed animal, they were really catering for everyone.
Something that caught mine and my colleague’s eyes while at the fair was the large amount of “miniature” furniture from a range of different dealers. Small scale furniture can come in a range of sizes, dolls house furniture being a well-known example, however it is the 1/8th scale furniture that is highly desired by collectors because of its beauty, intricacy and intrigue.
Although now bought to be admired and traded rather than for any functional purpose, these pieces have an interesting and obscured history. Often said to be the work of apprentices not yet fully qualified to work on full-sized projects, these pieces of small-scale furniture have other less-known uses.
They are known to have been used as window displays to lure rich passing clients into a cabinet makers workshop or taken by salesmen into the countryside as they were easy to transport and show remote clients the examples of their work. Also used by workshops to show clients their craftsmanship or used as a starting point for clients to suggest how they would like their commissioned piece finished different from the miniature example.
Whatever their use originally, these pieces have become hugely sought after and often command the same, if not higher, prices as their full size counterparts.
With a huge range of miniature furniture on display at the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, it seems that collectors seem to be seeking this niche selection of the furniture market, we shall be keeping our eyes on this over 2014 to see if the trend continues.
Header Image – Dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman, anoniem, c. 1686 – c. 1710 – Courtesy of Rijks Museum, Amsterdam