Posts tagged ‘S.W. Wolsey’

December 31, 2020

More Antique Dealer Archives – S. W. Wolsey and Peter Luff

Happy New Year to everyone! We hope that 2021 proves to be a much, much better year than 2020.

I thought we’d end 2020 with a blog post on yet another exciting addition to the Antique Dealer archives – this one, like many of the bits and pieces of antique dealer related ephemera, was spotted by Mo (my wife) in her regular trawls through Ebay on my behalf (I never seem to have enough spare time to keep eyes on sites such as Ebay, so Mo is becoming a great ‘spotter’!). Anyway, it was a great ‘spot’ this time – a small cache of manuscript archive that seems to have escaped from the library/archive of the well-known antique furniture dealer S.W. Wolsey (c.1895-1980); Wolsey’s archive was, I understand, partially destroyed, but I also believe that some of the archive remains in a private collection?

The partial archive comprises a selection of typed draft articles, with MS corrections and edits, on antique oak furniture for publications such as Antique Collector written in the 1960s by the furniture historian R.W.P. (Peter) Luff. Also included are a number of fascinating letters exchanged between Samuel Wolsey and Peter Luff in which they discuss their views on the history of oak furniture; there are also some delicious insights into various visits to Country Houses, such as a visit to Longford Castle in September 1963 that was undertaken by Peter Luff and which includes the report of a wry comment by the then Lord Radnor about the restoration of an oak table for Lord Radnor’s father, undertaken by the antique dealers’ Mallett & Son, (‘….for whom he had few good words’)

  S.W. Wolsey was perhaps the leading dealer in antique oak furniture and related objects of the 20th century; the business was begun by Francis Wolsey in the early 20th century and continued by Samuel and his brother; Samuel retired from business in 1969, the year after Furniture in England was published.  The archive contains a small number letters from Wolsey concerning antique oak furniture that passed through the business, including some very well known pieces. For example, the famous ‘Shakespeare’s Chair’ – which Francis Wolsey purchased at Christie’s on 13th April 1947, paying 175gns (£183.15.0.) for the chair.

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