The furniture market in English has recorded a significant growth since 1990. It has developed in line with styles prevalent in the rest of Northern Europe region. English furniture has, however, been interpreted as having a distinctive fashion compared to others in the region. The history of English furniture is well understood in terms of styles and periods. The earliest period is during the English renaissance, which was characterized by Tudor Furniture.
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The Tudor era began in 1485, when King Henry VII took power. The era ended in 1558 with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The furniture in this period were distinguished from those of the preceding periods, the medieval and the gothic periods.
The poor possessed very little of it and even the wealthy only had beds, benches, tables, stools and some few others. The chairs those days were only given to the home owners, especially when they had the obligations of presiding over meals in the hall. The guests in the homes during meals used stools. Furniture in this era was made of oak.
From the Tudor era, there have been major developments in the English furniture market through the periods that followed such as Baroque (restoration period), Rocco & Classical (Georgian period), Eclectic (Early Victorian Era), Country & Colonial, Antiques & Reproductions and Decorating period1.
All these periods marks the changes that have taken place in the furniture market and industry in English. In this case, we are concerned with Analyzing English furniture market since 1990 till nowadays (for furniture generally), then analyze chair market generally and afterwards, the particular example. We will also assess if it is worth investing in English Furniture market as well as considering other financial factors.
An analysis of English Furniture market since 1990
The developments in the furniture market that have taken place since 1900 could be traced from the late Victorian Era. They lasted from 1860s to the end of the 19th century5. The period was characterized by two movements namely: the Arts and Crafts movement and the Aesthetic or Art Furniture movement.
Globalization has affected all markets globally. Manufacturers of furniture in English markets have not escaped the effects of globalization on the furniture market. Most of the markets that were previously held by these countries have been taken by emerging countries. This is mainly because of the low production costs on the side of these emerging countries.
Due to these changes in the global market, manufacturers of furniture in English markets have been trying to come up with unique designs which are able to remain relevant, even with the changes in the furniture industry globally7. As a result, they are able to have promising investments for the future.
Globalization has created a wide gap between furniture production in countries with developed economies and those whose economies are still emerging, which are mainly low-cost. Generally, the impacts of globalization are beneficial to many industries8. Nevertheless, the impacts may be negative in the short run, particularly for English furniture markets.
The opening of furniture trade to other countries internationally has brought a lot of changes in the English market since 19906. For instance, prior to these trends in globalization, the production centers were in the English speaking countries. However, due to high production costs, the production centers are mostly based in Asian countries such as China. These Asian countries have now become the major importers of furniture globally.
Since furniture trade was opened to an international scale due to globalization, the English market has continued to experience a growing deficit in the furniture industry. The rate of production of furniture in English markets has been slower than the demand of furniture internationally. This has made it hard for the English markets to cope with the ever rising demands globally. Consequently, markets such as the Asian market have emerged to help deal with this challenge.
In the United States, manufacturing of furniture mainly took place in three regions. They include the Midwest, the South and the Southwest. Most of the furniture produced was created by twelve states only. However, between 1997 and 2005, things were not very good in this sector. Most of the people who were working for the furniture industry lost their jobs. Globalization has exposed the English furniture market to a lot of competition globally.
China has been a major competitor in the English furniture market3. Consequently, most of the manufacturers have had to shut down their businesses. This has resulted to the laying off of many workers4. The competition from these markets is still felt to date. Therefore, the English furniture market has invented new ways of coping with this competition in order to remain relevant.
Analysis of English chair market
Chairs made during this period have employed various techniques such as innovation, originality as well as newness of ideas. Most of the artists sought to deviate from what the past artists had created and came up with designs that would be relevant both in the present and future2. Innovative materials were used in the construction of these chairs.
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They include materials such as metal and plastic being used to make various designs of chairs. For instance, metal folding and recliner chairs were made using these materials. There were also metal-legged chairs that were made during this period.
Material such as steel was also used in various forms during the construction of chairs. During this period, construction of chairs involved the blending of both technology and art.
The furniture industry is a very important sector in the English market. For instance, it contributes over 8.3 million dollars to the U.K’s GDP. It is also among the largest employers of people in the U.K. Chairs and seats account for the majority of imports in the English markets.
The main consumers of these products include the U.S and Ireland. Furniture manufacturing industry, particularly the chair industry, has continued to experience major challenges but has been very resilient. However, the industry continues to face major challenges, especially from emerging economies such as China.
An example of a specific chair from lot61
Carved Giltwood Armchairs
The pair of Carved Giltwood Armchairs is attributed to William Kent. It is a property from Porterhouse College Oxford. The catalogue entry number is 61. The chair does not have any signature, stamps or inscriptions on it. The chairs are located in the Richmond Room, Porterhouse. Basically, the chair is made from wood.
There is only one edition of this chair. In terms of the size of this chair, the width is 75cm/30” and the height: is 107cm/42”. It was first constructed in the year 1735. In the year 1981, the value of the chair was estimated to be 300,000 dollars. The gift price was estimated to be 75,000 dollars.
The chairs have been in the college for a long time. The college received the Carved Giltwood Armchairs from Charles Lennox 2nd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny between 1701 and1750 for Richmond House, Whitehall, around 1735. Presentation of the chairs to the college was done by Charles Lennox 3rd Duke of Richmond Lennox and Aubigny in 1785.
Charles Lennox was the son of William Kent. The backs of the chairs are rectangular in shape and are padded. The arms are also padded. The chairs have cushions placed above the beaded seat rails. The legs of the chairs are not straight as it is the case with many conventional chairs.
Another example of Giltwood armchairs is a pair of George III Giltwood armchairs attributed to John Linnell. The chairs were constructed between 1765 and 1770. The chairs are over 500 years old. They are decorated using Decorative arts Europe, which includes oriental carpets. The chairs were auctioned on 23 November 2010. The estimated price prior to the auction was between 70,000 and 110,000 dollars. The realized price was within the range of the estimated price. The realized price was 80,500 dollars.
Investing in English Furniture market and other financial factors
From the information given in the valuation research report for porterhouse catalogue entry number 61, a pair of carved Giltwood armchairs was valued 300,000 dollars previously. However, the proposed value for the same chair is 75,000 dollars.
A fine pair of early George III carved mahogany Library Open Armchairs in the manner of Thomas Chippendale was auctioned under the title Fine English Furniture and Works of Art on 11th March 2009. The estimated price was between 30,000 and 50,000 dollars. However, the realized price was much higher than the estimated price. After auction, the realized price was 93,600 dollars.
A pair of George III Giltwood armchairs attributed to John Linnell was auctioned on 23rd November 2010 under the title 500 years: Decorative Arts Europe, Including Oriental Carpets. The estimated price was between 70,000 and 110,000 dollars. The realized price was within the range of the estimated price. The chairs were sold at 80,500 dollars.
The velvet-upholstered mahogany stools constructed around 1750 were auctioned by Sotheby’s Auction House. This took place in 12th October 2007. They were auctioned under the title English Furniture. The estimated price was between 150,000 and 200,000 dollars. The realized price was higher than the estimated price. The stools were auctioned at 565,000 dollars. This was a very high price compared to the estimated price.
From the valuation report, the English furniture seems to be a good market to invest in. most of these chairs and stools auctioned have their realized price within the range of their estimated prices or even far above the estimated price. Therefore, investing in the English market would be a profitable venture.
The English furniture market is a dynamic one. It has undergone numerous changes throughout history, particularly between 1990 and the present day. Although the furniture industry is among the largest employers of the English population, it has not received the necessary support from the relevant authorities.
Consequently, this market has been affected by various market forces. Globalization has, particularly, been a major challenge in the English furniture market due to increased global competition. The competition has been from emerging economies such as China. Dealing with such challenges has been very hard for the English furniture market and some of the companies have been forced to shut down.
The ones that have not shut down have adopted other survival mechanisms such as laying workers off, mergers and development of innovative products. They have done this in an attempt to remain relevant in the competitive global market.
There have been major developments in the furniture industry in general and the chair market in particular. For instance, due to advanced technology, sophisticated furniture such as the massage chair has been developed and they are being sold in the English market. Modern technology has helped in the production of high quality chairs and other furniture.
The quantity of furniture produced is more than the quantity that was produced in the past when there was no advanced technology. This has helped in increasing efficiency during production as well as minimize on the waste.
Baker, Malcolm & Richardson, Brenda. The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: World of Art Series, 1997.
Interiordezine. Com. Styles and Periods of Interior Design. Interiordezine. Com: Dezine Holdings Ltd, 2012. Web.
International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO and International Tropical Timber Organization. International Wooden Furniture Markets A review. Geneva: International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO and International Tropical Timber Organization, 2005.
Linley, David. Extraordinary Furniture. London: Mitchell Beazeley, 1996.
Lucie-Smith, Edward. The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms. London: The Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Lucie-Smith, Edward. Furniture, A Concise History. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005.
Morley, John. Furniture, the Western Tradition, History Style Design, London: The Thames and Hudson, 1999.
The Furniture Industry in 2016. The effects of globalization on the furniture industry. Spain: AIDIMA, 2008.
1 Malcolm Baker & Brenda Richardson, The Art of the Victoria andAlbert Museum. (London: World of Art Series, 1997).
5, Edward Lucie-Smith. The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms. (London: The Thames and Hudson, 1995).
7 John Morley. Furniture, the Western Tradition, History Style Design, (London: The Thames and Hudson,1999)
8 The Furniture Industry in 2016. The effects of globalization on the furniture industry. Spain: AIDIMA, 2008
6 Edward Lucie-Smith. Furniture, A Concise History. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005).
3 International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO and International Tropical Timber Organization. International Wooden Furniture Markets A review. Geneva: International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO and International Tropical Timber Organization, 2005.
4David Linley. Extraordinary Furniture. (London: Mitchell Beazeley, 1996).
2 Interiordezine. Com. Styles and Periods of Interior Design. Interiordezine. Com: Dezine Holdings Ltd, 2012.