Did you know that the fishing vessel known as a smack takes its name from the Old Dutch word smak, which means a sharp noise or slapping sound? According to nautical lore, smacks were given their name for the sound the ochre colored sails made when the slack was taken up by the wind. Did you also know why British smacks had the ochre colored sails? This particular color was the result of a waterproofing that was applied to the cotton fabric used for sail making.
The image of fleets of these fishing smacks with their ochre colored sails must have been a sight to behold. So too is this 19th century model. Expertly constructed and outfitted with the tiniest of details, this model not only captures the uniqueness of these vessels but can also be discovered only at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
Did you know that French Morbier clocks strike twice on the hour? If you are not familiar with them, Morbier clocks were provincial clocks that had many hands in its manufacture. Various parts were often made by village farmers or idol workers during the long cold winter months and then assembled by a local clocksmith.
Though common in their origin, Morbier clocks had the unique quality of striking twice on the hour. Some say it was so that a person could catch the exact time on the second striking. Another reason put forward was to remind people of prayers. The story, which is far from religious or practical, is the double strike reminded lovers that they had just a few minutes to get dressed before the arrival of the spouse.
Whichever reason you prefer, you can also have your preference of Morbiers like these two fine examples at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
Do you know the difference between a tea table and a game table?
Quite simply, the tea table has a polished surface on the interior and a game table has a baize surface. With the fashion of taking tea and other refreshments, the folding side table became quite common in 18th century homes. While the tables with baize interiors were used for the most part as game tables, tea tables with their polished interiors were certainly more functional.
Take these simple, yet elegant tables. Which do you think is a game table and which is a tea table?
Not sure, discover the answer for yourself at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
While our 17 showrooms are complete with the finest European antiques assembled in one place, it is also our workshop that has helped establish Mill House as destination for over 50 years and differentiates us.
We don’t just remove a piece from a container and put it on the floor. Au contraire, every antique is thoroughly examined by our own craftsmen, who employ the same fine techniques pioneered centuries ago to conserve and restore each piece. And when an antique is sold, it goes back through the workshop for the same thorough inspection. Not one antique leaves Mill House unless it meets our high standards as we believe an antique should not only decorate a home but be used.
So when you purchase an antique from Mill House, you can be confident that it will endure for another lifetime or two.
Did you know that Welsh dressers were not only for displaying one’s plates, but in some cases, chickens too?
Some ingenious cabinet maker probably under the direction of a mad cook tired of tramping outside to gather the day’s dinner made what is simply known as a chicken coop dresser. All the cook had to do is lift one of its gates, grab a hold of a sure to be squawking bird, plop it down on the work table, and grab the cleaver. Well, you know the rest of the story.
Not many of these dressers survived, as their popularity was not widespread. However, this fine example exhibits all the wonderful peculiarities of a coop dresser with its duplex structure and plate rack on the top. While rare, it can be discovered only at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
Did you know that joint stools were also referred to as coffin stools? Due to their sturdy nature, these stools were used in the home to support the deceased’s coffin as friends and family gathered to pay their respect.
Of course, unless you were wealthy in the 17th century, there was not much else for the common folk to sit on except a stool, which is why they were quite plentiful. Certainly a very functional piece of furniture, the joint stool remained popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
With the Jacobean Revival of the 1880s, the joint stool also enjoyed a return to the limelight. Take this Jacobean Revival stool with its handsomely carved legs and apron. With its distinctive carving and drawer incorporated into the apron, it is not only unusual, but only at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
Did you know that a cheval derives its name from old French for horse? Known as horse dressing glasses, these large, free-standing mirrors did not come into existence until the early 1800s when producing large sheets of glass became possible.
The reason for this association with the horse is that these mirrors were held by large frames or horses and not because of their “use by sartorially conscious cavalry officers”. No doubt this handsome cheval was the possession of a well-heeled gentleman, or even an officer. Made of the finest burl walnut and detailed with ebonized accents, a cheval of this quality is a rare find today and only at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.
Prior to the advent of matches, spill vases were placed on mantels from which a stick or rolled paper would be lit from the fireplace and used to light candles, lamps or even pipes. Spill is derived from the Middle English word spille or small piece of wood. The earliest example of a spill vase goes back to the 1500s and they were commonly found in English homes in the 18th and 19th centuries.
While utilitarian in nature, spill vases were often highly decorative and made in various materials, including, brass, porcelain and pottery. Take this wonderful Staffordshire spill vase with its quaint country theme. The wonderful metaphorical composition of the cow and the calf next to the dead tree, which serves as the vase, is an excellent example of Victorian ornamental design. This and other fine spill vases can be found only at Mill House Antiques.
More than an ordinary experience.
It’s January 2015. It’s freezing outside, which means customers are not in a mood to be running here and there looking for antiques. So here I sit looking at the the snow falling and gazing at our three dogs curled up together (I guess the forecaster was not wrong when she said it was going to be a three-dog week!). As I sit, I wonder what 2015 will be? Will modern and mid-century furniture still preoccupy the design world? Will Downton Abbey trump Mad Men and will we see a renaissance of fine, hand crafted antiques–better known as “brown furniture” as a result?
I have heard lots of predictions; and of course, I am slightly prejudice but I am rooting for Downton Abbey. I am hoping we will see more blending of the modern with the antique, the grey with the brown, the plastic and steel with the rich patina of mahogany and brass.
Let’s revisit in 2016 and see what transpired. Right now the three furry friends need some ambulatory exercise. – William
Mill House Antiques
Did you know that a housekeeper’s cupboard was more than a place to store linens? These large and imposing pieces of furniture with drawers below and cabinets on top also stored the best china and glass, and occasionally, the more valuable staples, such as tea and coffee. Generally under lock and key, it was the head housekeeper, much like Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey, who oversaw the contents.
While most of these cupboards were utilitarian in their appearance, some were crafted to reflect the status of the household. Take this superb housekeeper’s cupboard with such fine details as mahogany crown moulding and banding, as well as a fusee clock. It must have come from a rather well-to-do manor house, but can only be found now at Mill House Antiques. More than an ordinary experience.