Thakeham Furniture Ltd.
Golden Square Petworth West Sussex
UK GU28 0AP 01798 342 333
Welcome to our shop, Thakeham Furniture in Petworth, West Sussex, UK.
Established in 1989, a small family firm of antique dealers specialising in fine English antique furniture.
18th and 19th century antique furniture with an emphasis on originality, good colour and patina.
Dovetail Joints: What they can tell us about our Antique Furniture
Dovetail joints, named due to their resemblance to the bird’s tail, were first used as far back as ancient Egyptian times where they are found on the furniture entombed with mummies. They were first used in English cabinet making in around 1650. Commonly used in woodwork joinery, they can act as a useful tool while dating our furniture. Until the 1880s, all furniture dovetails were cut by hand using a chisel and hammer. With the industrial revolution came the advent of the machine, and from the late 19th century onwards, dovetails were often cut by machine. These are easy to spot as they are not nearly as fine as the hand cut dovetails.
Dovetails act as a fine display of skilled craftsmanship by cabinetmakers. A thing of beauty, they are also one of the strongest joints in cabinetmaking. The ‘tail’ and ‘pins’ are cut using small precision saws and chisels. Small angled cuts were made, followed by careful cleaning down by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering. A little glue is added to cement the connection. A well-crafted dovetail will last for centuries.
The first dovetails, as used on early walnut furniture, were fairly large and crude. As cabinet makers refined their skills the joints became smaller and neater. Look at the joints on the drawer of this Georgian dressing table for example. The ‘tails’ are so narrow at the base that they are almost imperceptible. A fine join became a signature for killed craftsman
As well as acting as a guide in dating our furniture, the dovetail can also tell us lots about the origin of the piece. Continental furniture is known for having much cruder, larger dovetails; the tails are at a much steeper angle. Simpler country furniture also often had larger dovetails, or even a single tail and pin.
We stock fine quality antique furniture from the 18th century & 19th century. We sell traditional Georgian furniture, Regency furniture, Victorian furniture and Edwardian furniture. Browse our online antique furniture store or come and visit our large friendly showrooms to view a fine collection of rare and important items along with practical and useful pieces. We have a big range of furniture including pieces for formal settings to more country house antiques, through to individual pieces to fit in with decorative interiors.
Thakeham Furniture was established by Tim and Belinda Chavasse in 1989, prior to which we were both trained and worked as antique restorers. We still have our own antiques workshop on the premises at Petworth, and all pieces are thoroughly checked over before being offered for sale in the showroom. Thakeham Furniture are members of LAPADA [The London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association], so you can purchase with confidence, as we follow a strict code of practise. Petworth has become, in recent years, the biggest antiques town in the South of England. It is a small, pretty market town boasting over thirty antique shops, all within easy walking distance. Petworth is only one hour from London.
We sell Dining room furniture, including antique dining tables and sets of antique dining chairs, for the living room, we stock sofas and armchairs, many useful small antique lamp tables, also perhaps for the office or study we supply antique desks and antique mahogany bookcases. For upstairs amongst our varied stock we have pairs of small washstands or commodes perfect as antique bedside tables or cupboards, or larger items such as Georgian mahogany chest of drawers of antique wardrobes. You will also find in our shop, antique clocks, mirrors and decorative items. In addition to mahogany antique furniture we also have rosewood antique furniture, satinwood antique furniture, and people looking for a range of antique country furniture will find antique oak furniture, walnut and fruitwood.