Whittaker & Gray News
Our next show... September 14 2018It's Vintage Home Show time again, and on Sunday 21st October you can find us at the beautiful Victoria Baths for the Manchester Vintage Home Show. Full details of the show can be found here: https://www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk/events
Our next show... August 22 2018On Sunday 2nd September we'll be back once again at the epically good Vintage Furniture Flea in Bethnal Green. Full details can be found here: http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk/events/east-london-vintage-furniture-flea-8/
Our next show... June 02 2018
On Sunday 3rd June you can find us at the wonderful Vintage Home Show in Manchester, which takes place at the beautiful Victoria Baths between 10.30am and 4pm. For full details and to buy tickets click here.
Our Next Show... May 24 2018On Sunday 27th May we'll be back at the fab Leeds Vintage Home Show which takes place in Pudsey Civic Hall from 10.30am to 4pm. Full details of the show can be found here: http://www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk/leeds
Our Next Show... May 09 2018
We're delighted to be making our debut at the Modern Show's Mid-Century East event at Haggerston School in Hackney on Sunday 20th May. Full details of the show can be found here: http://modernshows.com/the-shows/haggerston-may-2018/
Our Next Show... April 16 2018Find us at the ever so fab Vintage Home Show in Coventry on Sunday 6th May! Full details of the show (including how to buy advance tickets) can be found here: https://www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk/midlands
Our Next Show... March 26 2018Find us at the wonderful East London Vintage Furniture Flea in Bethnal Green on Sunday 25th March. We'll have a fantastic selection of mid-century and vintage pieces in the bar area just off the main hall. Full details of the Flea can be found here: http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk/events/east-london-vintage-furniture-flea-6/
Our Next Show... March 13 2018Find us at the wonderful Leeds Vintage Home Show in Pudsey Civic Hall on Sunday 25th March with a fantastic selection of mid-century and vintage pieces. Don't miss out - book here: http://buytickets.at/
Our Next Show... March 06 2018
Find us at the wonderful Vintage Home Show in Manchester's Victoria Baths this weekend (Sunday 11th March, doors open 11am) with a fantastic selection of mid-century and vintage pieces. Don't miss out - book here: http://buytickets.at/
We're delighted to say that our lovely Bauhaus-inspired Bestlite BL1 Lamp features in the July edition of Homes & Antiques magazine as part of a feature called "Modern Classics"!
The feature, written by Ellie Tennant, styled by Ali Bradshaw and photgraphed by Katya De Grunwald, focuses on the growing interest in mid-century pieces and highlights the benefits of investing in original pieces over modern licensed versions. We couldn't agree more!
Ernest Race Barn Find! May 04 2016
It's rare to find a true design icon under a ton of junk in a barn, but sometimes it does happen, as in the case of this fabulous Ernest Race Antelope chair.
Although Race designed the chair for outdoor as well as indoor use at the Festival Of Britain in 1951, years of weather exposure and neglect had taken its toll on the steel rod frame and particularly the bent ply seat.
After much cleaning and sanding, some judicious welding and grinding and a replacement seat courtesy of Race Furniture (still very much in business), the Antelope was restored to its former glory and can now be found here.
Dipping Don't Dazzle! July 10 2015
The fastest way to remove an unwanted finish from a piece of furniture is to have it dipped in a caustic soda bath. This will quickly remove whatever's on the surface, but what seems like a quick fix can just as quickly lead to all manner of problems, as you can see from this poor Ercol rocking chair that we rescued recently...
Superficially the piece looked good, but in fact:
1. The glue in most of the joints had been weakened or disolved, so the arms were loose, the back spindles would fall out under the least pressure, and the rockers were only held in place by the weight of the chair.
2. The seat had suffered from shrinkage leading to cracks, and worst of all...
3. The stripping process had opened up the grain of the beech frame.
Problems 1 and 2 could be fixed by partially dismantling and re-gluing the chair structure, but all we could do for problem 3 was fill the surfaces and sand them smooth.
With the chair structurally sound but looking pretty ugly, it was over to our friends at Feather & Gray to get the chair primed and painted in gorgeous Autentico Scandinavian Blue, and we're delighted with the finished piece!
Danish Cord Seat Replacement June 22 2015
When we came across a lovely set of Danish dining chairs designed by Arne Hovmand Olsen, we knew we had to have them, despite the fact that their seats were all but gone.
The existing seats were made of split cane, and we could have replaced these like-for-like, but instead we decided to use the traditional seat covering for Danish-made dining chairs: Danish cord. Danish cord looks like a form of thin rope, but it's actually made from twisted paper, which means it's very strong and doesn't fray.
The cord is attached to the frame using "L" shaped nails. If replacing an existing cord seat it should be possible to re-use most of the existing nails, but as our chairs were previously caned, our first job was to hammer new nails into position.
Once the frame was nailed up, we began by stretching parallel cords from the front to the back of the chair.
The spacing between each row is determined by the position of the nails. It is then held in place by winding the appropriate number of lines of cord between the rows.
With the front-to-back rows in place, we then wove in the seat by running a continuous line of cord side-to-side across the chair.
The closer to the back you come, the tighter everything gets and the harder it becomes to weave... but eventually we got all the lines in place and secured, giving us a beautiful new seat.
If you have chairs with seats that need replacing, please contact us and we'll be happy to assess and quote to re-weave them with Danish cord.
What is Danish style? February 24 2015
Think of Danish furniture, and I bet you're picturing something gloriously contoured in rich teak with exquisite detailing that oozes style - something a bit like this gorgeous mirror perhaps?
But there is another side to Danish design which also uses glorious contours and exquisite detailing, but which combines them with a much more utilitarian material to create an entirely different aesthetic, like this...
Both pieces take a simple shape, add subtle curves and use functionality to create a unique style, but they couldn't be more different - or more quintessentially Danish!
Danish Wall Mirror Reflects Well on Whittaker & Gray! January 18 2015
Following last weekend's Vintage Village event, we're delighted that our Danish wall mirror was selected as one of the Finds Of The Fair! See what the judge Adam Rodgers liked about it (and admire his impeccably dressed reflection) and check out his other selections here. If the mirror takes your fancy full details are here. Enjoy!
Happy Birthday Series 7! January 06 2015
This year is the 60th birthday of the world's best selling chair - Arne Jacobsen's iconic Series 7 Butterfly. Manufactured since 1955 by Denmark's Fritz Hansen, the Series 7 has also become one of the most counterfeited products ever created, and the company dedicates huge resources to tracking down and destroying fakes (you can check out how they do this on their website http://www.fritzhansen.com/en/fritz-hansen/the-republic/Fighting-Copies).
If you fancy owning a Fritz Hansen original, you could push the boat out and go for one of their special anniversary editions (which include a pink one with gold plated legs) for about £500 a piece - see the left hand photo (copyright Fritz Hansen); or you could play down the bling a bit and go for one of our super-stylish original 1960s pieces, which have the added benefit of not costing quite so much either - see the right hand photo (copyright me!) Decisions decisions!
When Ercol goes bad, and is made good again! November 16 2014
Hard to believe, but the two pieces above are one and the same! We found this piece covered in gunky brown nastiness which had to be stripped off before we could refinish the beautiful wood beneath. It took a bit of time, but we think you'll agree it was well worth it!
Rosewood Beauty In A 2m Beast! October 31 2014
Collected today was this lovely 1970s sideboard by Skovby Mobelfabrik of Denmark. At just over 2m long it's a bit of a beast, but the deep beauty of its rosewood veneer makes it worth all the effort of getting it into the van! Should be on the website later this week...
The Grebe Says... October 16 2014
The two latest pieces to be listed on the W&G site are both from the iconic G-Plan Brandon range. We can look at them now and contemplate their simple lines and stylish good looks, but it's easy to forget that when these pieces were launched in 1953 they were revolutionary! Before E Gomme invented G-Plan and created Brandon, Britain was stuck with bland utility furniture and overstuffed three piece suites - style wasn't even a consideration, never mind an option! All that changed with G-Plan, and new era of creativity and innovation dawned - and the products of this era were so well made that 60 years later we can still enjoy them today. Which is great for me, because it's always handy to have something nice and solid on which to build one's nest - and so Brandon, I salute you!
The Old and the New September 30 2014
Two great Ercol finds this week:
1. Some classic kitchen chairs designed by Lucian Ercolani, and
2. a pair of less well known 1970s Easy Chairs designed by Mike Pengelly for the Ercol Posture range.
Both types are as comfortable and sturdy now as they were when they were first made, and both are design classics (even if people are more familiar with Ercolani's designs than Pengelly's!) Look out for them on the site soon...
Whittaker & Gray are a "find of the fair" again! September 22 2014
Whittaker & Gray are delighted to have been selected as a "find of the fair" following our second appearance at The Vintage Village in Stockport's lovely market hall! The piece that caught the finder's eye this time was our lovely 1960s teak five drawer chest with lime green drawer fronts. You can see what the finder thought about this piece (and some other great items from our fellow stall holders) here, and check it out for yourself here.
The Grebe says.. September 08 2014
...Down with brown goo!!! I've just spent the last several hours washing it out of my feathers following an unfortunate altercation with a G-Plan "Astro" coffee table. Now sitting pretty in the Whittaker & Gray New In collection, this poor beauty arrived covered in the nastiest gunk it's been my misfortune to encounter in many years, and it did not want to come off! We set upon it vigorously with much gusto and enough wire wool to make a lifetime's worth of nests for me and all of my relatives, and eventually uncovered the gem we all knew must be in there somewhere. However, by the end of the process the entire Whittaker & Gray team looked like they'd been caught in a North Sea oil spill (that's probably in poor taste, but I'm a Grebe so it's OK) but of course only yours truly had a thousand feathers to clean up! The good news is it was definitely worth it - check out the snap below or view the finished piece here and see what you think...
Plastic fantastic! August 26 2014
Who says things made of plastic never last? These amazing chairs were made by Keron of London fifty odd years ago, but with a bit of TLC the plastic ladder backs now glow in the sunlight and look like they could be made of amber! It's really unusual to find solid plastic pieces that have lasted this well, so we at Whittaker & Gray are chuffed to say the least - check them out for yourself here...
Whittaker & Gray are a "find of the fair"! August 20 2014
We're delighted to have had the two pieces pictured selected as "Finds of the Fair" at The Vintage Village on 10th August! It's always nice when people recognise the quality of your stock, and to get such a compliment from fellow traders is lovely. You can find out why the pieces were selected here, where you can also see some fantastic items from other traders and get a sense of what a great event Vintage Village is. Even better, you can now visit our very own Whittaker & Gray trader's page on the Vintage Village website here!
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