The hunt for good pieces is certainly part of the lure of antiquing, but I don't have to own, looking is just as good. The patina of age gives old furniture a soulfulness that I appreciate. I suppose it appeals to the history buff in me.
Aside from the unique aesthetics and beautiful craftsmanship I like to imagine the journey the piece has taken. Who sat in the Windsor chair or slept in the tester bed? How did a corner cabinet make it from France to a small store in Texas? Imagine the stories a 300 year old dining table could tell?
When it comes to using antiques in my home I select a few stand out pieces to combine with contemporary furniture. Sort of like functional art. The juxtaposition of color, texture and form creates a compelling composition.
I also like to bring antique garden ornaments indoors to use as focal points or as an element of surprise. They are often over scaled, which creates drama.
Speaking of dramatic antiques, I recently attended what I'd call the grandest antique show I've seen in some time. The Masterpiece London Antique Fair was held on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea this past June and boy what display. Most of what was offered was English and Continental furniture, art and decorative arts. Not the best place for me to make many purchases because most of what I collect is American, but it was joy to look around!
I was immediately impressed with the tent that housed the event. It was enormous and disguised to match the surrounding buildings. I wish I could do that for some of the events at the farm.
I also enjoyed browsing through book dealers' booths. The collections of gardening books were amazing.
I was most taken with the edgy floral displays, which were quite the contrast to the traditional piece of furniture and art. It was interesting to see contemporary accenting antique, which is the reverse of what I do in my home.