Why buy Reproduction Furniture?

When looking for furniture of real character and quality, more often than not the first thing people think of is Antiques. However, many notable Antique furniture designs have been reproduced since the start of the early 1800’s, and are still copied today. Whilst occasionally not always of the highest quality, many excellent examples of reproduction furniture do exist and are available for a range of budgets, and although not being an original 18th or 19th Century piece of furniture, what are the reasons to choose a Reproduction?

Choice

When looking for a specific piece of Antique Furniture, it can be hard to look for something that’s just right. The more particular the piece in either style, material or size, the harder it is to find. After all, Antiques have gone through a lot to survive to this day, from changes in fashions to world wars, they become rarer with each passing day. This is where it can sometimes be easier to find the piece you are looking for as a reproduction. As mentioned before, furniture is being produced all the time replicating that of historically important periods, thus giving consumers more choice.

Condition

(Left) Original 19th Century French furniture can be hard to find in good condition. (Right) A modern French Reproduction.

(Left) Original 19th Century French furniture can be hard to find in good condition. (Right) A modern French Reproduction.

After surviving for at least over a century, the condition of Antique furniture can vary heavily, with some pristine pieces having already had time and money spent on them for restoration. Un restored furniture will usually feature some form of wear and tear or damage, depending on previous ownership and storage. For instance, a common area amongst Victorian furniture would be the lifting or losses of veneer on Chests of Drawers or Linen Press, something which is not easily replaceable. Antique Oak furniture tends to suffer from splits or gaps opening up across top or side surfaces, as when used in Kitchen, Hall or Centre tables, Oak was fixed in separate panels and over time would expand creating distance between each side. As there is an abundance of reproduction furniture available it is easier to find a piece in excellent or as new condition.

 

 

 

Quality

You would be hard pressed to tell which of these two chairs is Victorian and which is a Reproduction in the Victorian style.

You would be hard pressed to tell which of these two chairs is Victorian and which is a Reproduction in the Victorian style.

You would not be alone in thinking that having the tag of being reproduction would mean a compromise in quality. However, you would be mistaken, as many reproductions are produced using the same quality of woods and veneers, to mimic the same design from centuries previous. Although a lot of the traditional handmade techniques in furniture making have now been lost due to the growth in technology, the end product still remains as closer match as possible to the original. You could argue in some respects that modern furniture is more sturdy and rugged due to the advances in construction. For instance, stronger adhesives and fixings. Unfortunately, not all reproduction pieces have these marks of quality, with many cheap copies of Georgian furniture being produced in the 1990’s. However, don’t let this detract from the quality pieces that have been made throughout the 20th and 21st century, with well known reproduction furniture companies such as Bevan and Funnell who specialise in Regency style furniture, and Old Charm who replicate the Tudor period and 17th Century style.

Price

When it comes to price, Antique furniture can’t compete with Reproduction pieces. This is something which often from a customer’s point of view, decides which style of furniture to choose. Antiques are often at the very minimum double the price of any good reproduction in the same condition, due to rareity and the fact that older pieces of furniture are not usually in the same condition. For instance, a Mahogany George III twin pedestal desk would be in excess of £1,000+. Compare this to exactly the same style of desk but produced in the last 40 years and the price would be well below £500. This difference in price is most notable with French and Oriental furniture, with certain original examples and styles of this type, reaching extraordinary prices compared to their reproduction counterparts.

I hope this post has convinced you that choosing a reproduction over an antique is not always a bad thing, and that they can be just as good when on a lower budget or looking for a piece in a certain condition. Obviously nothing can compare to a piece that is centuries old, but a reproduction is always a firm alternative.

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