As the new year continues apace, our thoughts turn to the objects, designers and eras that will be seducing antiques hunters in 2016.
2015 was the year of folk style furniture and textiles, championing craftsmanship, all things mid-century and softened industrial looks. Scandinavian furniture of the 60s and 70s was also highly desired and informed many new high-street collections, while a trend for painting less important, older pieces of furniture to update them was almost as big as the fashion for shiny metals – with copper, in particular, enjoying a renaissance. And we just couldn’t get enough of the pineapple motif, seen in everything from wall sconces to ice buckets to porcelain sugar bowls.
So what can we expect to see in the coming year? Will 2016 at last be when that the oft-predicted return of brown furniture finally takes shape? What will be the textile of choice, and will any of us be brave enough to recreate the Horniman Museum in our living rooms, as fossils and minerals rise to the surface?
Here antiques dealers and experts give us their predictions for 2016’s most covetable objects and trends.
‘The trend is for everything symmetrical and geometrical as it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I am seeing it in Portmeirion tableware from that period, which is becoming increasingly popular. The tall shape known as ‘Cylinder’ was key to the look of Portmeirion in the 1960s as it was very structural. Any ceramics and tableware along that line will be popular, along with Verner Panton-style circles, op art, black and white and playing with circles and squares. Look for very bold uses of colour. All of this is very much part of the retro trend that continues. This is because our interiors are still quite white so we are looking for colour to liven them up. I was in Scandinavia recently and all the kitchens there are white but are lifted by bright and colourful accessories.’
‘People are mixing and matching in their homes and can have an Old Master and a bright contemporary print next to each other on the wall. One no longer walks into a ‘Regency room’ or ‘art deco-style room’. My tip is to buy a piece of antique oak furniture and put a modern British picture next to it. They go incredibly well together. There is a trend for placing lots of different paintings on one large wall – it is so homely. I say, just be bold with your decorating.’
‘I particularly like architectural fragments as an ornament either on the wall or, for larger pieces, on a plinth or the floor. It’s hard to beat a good Corinthian capital. Chimneypiece tablets and carved panels in marble or more ornate larger reliefs in plaster are often used by good interior designers. It’s certainly not a new trend, but it is back again. Just visit the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London to see how to do it obsessively.’
‘From a buyer point of view more people are bearing in mind the green credential of antiques. Whereas some flimsy modern drawers get thrown out, we are seeing more people purchasing brown furniture to last. It has been through a slump for the last ten year but is now going up and while not flying in value, there is an increase in the amount being traded. Although I am not a dealer I have observed more of it being sold than in the previous decade. Shabby chic is no longer in, so get buying the classics instead.’
‘There is a trend for 18th-century revival antiques, whether Egyptian or Greek-inspired. Classical and neoclassical design and arts heavily influenced the period and the quality of materials is exquisite. It is these materials, designs and patterns you find emulated today, but the revival styles are more enticing than today’s adaptations – and worth saving up for.’
‘Over the past few years we have witnessed a growth of interest in fossils and minerals and this trend will continue long term. Interest in the natural world has grown enormously and the two are surely related. Admiration for minerals and fossils is not based on an academic or collector’s viewpoint but rather it stems from their use as decoration. The fact that they can work in traditional and contemporary decors makes them so universal. In today’s marketplace more and more astonishing fossils are appearing as preparation techniques continue to improve. Similarly with the shrinking of the planet in terms of trade and travel, rare minerals that were once fabulously rare, while still uncommon, are available to a much wider audience.’
‘I love blue-and-white Kraak porcelain, which is still relatively affordable. It was the first Chinese porcelain to be imported to Europe in mass quantities and one can really see the variation of the painter’s brush stroke. Although the pieces were created at speed, they were still hand produced. Blue-and-white porcelain has always been in fashion to some degree, but I find Kraak porcelain particularly charming at the moment. There is still enough to be found today and I think it is fun to hunt for something you can recognise from a Dutch still life painting.’