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Surrey Antiques Scene with The Packhouse's Alison Hougham

PUBLISHED: 16:19 12 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:51 20 February 2013

Surrey Antiques Scene with The Packhouse's Alison Hougham

Surrey Antiques Scene with The Packhouse's Alison Hougham

Your monthly antiques page, featuring everything from the latest trends and best bargains to the essential dates for your diary, with Surrey Life's own antiques expert Alison Hougham

Your monthly antiques page, featuring everything from the latest trends and best bargains to the essential dates for your diary, with Surrey Lifes own antiques expert Alison Hougham. Abridged sections from the column follow...


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  • Alison Hougham is the owner of The Packhouse antiques and lifestyle centre near Farnham (www.packhouse.com) and lives in a Victorian apartment in Surrey. Otherwise, she can often be seen flying her hot air balloon over the Surrey Hills.


Originally published in Surrey Life magazineAugust 2012


Trend highlights: Art Deco



  • The art deco style was made popular in the 1920s and 1930s and was originally dubbed style moderne, which defined the contemporary times enjoyed by post war America.

  • The new trend banished design traditions of the past as too austere and was seen as the perfect partnership of function and luxury in a simple design.

  • The style was not known universally as art deco until the late 1960s, when retrospectively modern became known as art deco.

  • Depicted by clean sparse lines, usually in black, white and silver, occasionally with touches of red, the elegant art deco style had no underlying philosophy; it was simply all about luxury a symbol of the jazz age and the days before the great stock market crash and subsequent depression.

  • There have been seven films made of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and with each there has been a brief resurgence of interest in art deco.

  • The Art Market Poll Center (AMPC) measures market-buying intentions and over the last 12 months has shown an 11 per cent increase in art deco items.

  • Whatever the reason for its resurgence, it is a good time to buy bronzes and art deco furniture as both an investment and a style statement.


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Farnham

  • Sheryls Art Deco Emporium, Warlingham

  • Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers, Woking



Originally published in Surrey Life magazineJuly 2012


Trend highlights: vintage garden rooms



  • In recent years, there has been a great emphasis on creating garden rooms that are seen as extensions of our homes, with the focus as much on the decorative as it is on the horticultural.

  • Mix antique and vintage discoveries with flea market finds to create an eclectic look. Anything goes and there are no formal room restrictions to limit ideas.

  • Search antique shops and markets for treasures that can be used to add drama to your garden.

  • Take indoor furniture outdoors sofas, armchairs, tables and consoles can all work brilliantly if set within an outdoor pavilion or tent.

  • Use an eclectic collection of vintage containers for your floral displays anything from antique terracotta pots to stone troughs, chimney pots and teapots.

  • Give old antique shop finds a new lease of life cover old tabletops with floaty tablecloths, unify odd pieces of furniture with a coat of paint and re-cover old deckchairs with new canvas.

  • Bring your garden to life at night with vintage chandeliers, candela-bras, tea lights, fairy lights and mirrors for a touch of glamour.


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Runfold, Farnham

  • Haus-interiors, Haslemere

  • The Corner House, Dorking



Originally published in Surrey Life magazineJune 2012


Trend highlights: architectural reclamation



  • Architectural reclamation, also known as architectural salvage, refers to pieces of deconstructed materials or artefacts that were once permanent fixtures on or in a particular building.

  • Salvage can be acquired from many types of building, including hospitals, farms, stately homes, schools and houses.

  • Typical examples include fireplaces from a former stately home, bricks from an old warehouse, beams from an ancient barn, chandeliers from a grand chateaux or a simple Georgian doorknob.

  • Many salvaged materials are actually comparable in price to new equivalents.

  • The provenance of a piece is often of great importance to those interested in preserving history.

  • After the Second World War, the regeneration programme of the 1950s saw a huge rise in the architectural reclamation trade. Grand country houses that had been used as hospitals and barracks were returned to their owners, but were often in need of expensive repairs, with the result that period features were sold off and thousands of Georgian and Victorian houses were demolished.

  • Antique dealers took the opportunity to save important historical pieces and opened warehouses to retail these new-found treasures.

  • The architectural salvage trade has remained prosperous today and is very much in keeping with the trend for reclaiming, recycling and repurposing old materials.


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Farnham

  • Drummonds, Hindhead

  • The Barn, Epsom



Originally published in Surrey Life magazineMay 2012


Trend highlights: Natural History Curiosities



  • There is a growing trend among collectors to seek out natural history objects to create striking decorative displays with pieces such as antlers, skulls, vintage coral, shells, quartz, semi-precious stones and fossils.

  • It is a look that is very current and used prolifically by stylists such as Sibella Court and Atlanta Bartlett. Online lifestyle shops such as Pale and Interesting and Ben Pentreath are also advocates and the trend is very current within the home interiors press.

  • Displays and styling hark back to the aesthetic historical appeal of the Renaissance wonder cabinets. A simple shelf or table filled with natural objects has for many an undeniable romantic appeal and emphasises our relationship with the natural world.

  • Pieces dont need to be expensive and collections can be formed affordably over a period of time.

  • To highlight a key piece and enhance its precious quality, collectors will often display it under a glass bell.


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Farnham

  • The Kingston Antiques Centre

  • Sunbury Antiques Market, Kempton Park Racecourse



Originally published in Surrey Life magazineApril 2012


Trend highlights: Royal Collectibles



  • When buying collectable royal pieces, a portrait is considered by collectors to be an important feature. Of equal importance is an inscription with the name of the royal, date, and special occasion or event.

  • Glassware, food tins and items of pottery have proved the most collectable of royal souvenirs over time and as such have the greatest chance of appreciating in value.

  • Increasingly popular are royalty themed commemorative postcards, programmes, magazines and newspapers marking royal events.

  • Look out for memorabilia linked to King George III and the early reign of Queen Victoria, as only a few pieces were produced to commemorate Queen Victorias coronation and the royal births. A Queen Victoria coronation mug can fetch easily up to 800 if in good condition.

  • Royal commemoratives can also be a great reflection of the mood of a particular era. Pieces from one reign, gathered over time, can help to build a very interesting historical framework as to how society has changed.

  • Look out for royal memorabilia in junk shops, car boot sales, antiques fairs and at auction. eBay is also a good source. You may also be surprised what your family may have stored away at home and how things from our own childhood may suddenly start to rise in value. Charles and Diana items from 1981 are an example of this and are worth preserving.

  • Many royal souvenirs are now being bought for alternative uses. For example, teacups transformed into candle-holders; plates turned into cake stands; old flags used to create decorative quilts; and commemorative coins as decorative embellishments for cushions, clothing and artwork.


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Farnham

  • Talbot House Antique Centre, Dorking

  • Tudor Rose Antiques, Woking



Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2012


Trend highlights: Old master paintings



  • An old master is a term for a skilled European painter who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. In theory, an old master should be an artist who was fully trained, was a master of his local artists guild and someone who worked independently, though in practice, paintings produced by pupils are often included.

  • Art historians tend to avoid the term as they consider it too vague, especially when discussing paintings.

  • Within the art trade though the term remains relevant. Auction houses will usually classify their sales, for example, Old Master Paintings.

  • Old masters are seen as a good investment as old art is a mature, stable and solid market, which has survived the test of time.

  • In recent years, many auction houses have seen sales of old masters overtake more contemporary alternatives. In times of crisis, people tend to revert to buying more traditional categories of art.


Recommended sources:



  • Lincoln Joyce Fine Art, Great Bookham (tel: 01372 458481)

  • The Packhouse, Farnham (tel: 01252 781010)

  • Godalming Salerooms, Godalming (tel: 01483 423567)



Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2012


Trend highlights: Antique silverware


Antique silver has certainly seen a resurgence in popularity over recent years. As the value of silver continues to rise, customers are choosing pieces not only for their aesthetic qualities but also as investments for the future. Whether you choose to collect sterling silver or silver plate, heres a few tips to help get you started...



  • When it comes to cutlery, mix and match patterns. This can be an affordable way to put together a set large enough for entertaining and the look can be particularly striking.

  • Signs of wear do not necessarily detract from the value and buying tarnished pieces at flea markets etc may well be a cheaper option. Do check carefully for damage though.

  • Many collectors view old, elaborate monograms as a lost art form and of historical importance. Most pieces are more valuable though without.

  • Learn how to determine if a piece has been modified (i.e. a new knife blade) and avoid buying.

  • New forgeries appear for sale regularly on the internet. Learn as much as you can before investing to avoid mistakes.


Recommended sources:



  • Desire Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair, Queen Charlotte Hall, Parkshot, Richmond TW9 2RE: 01622 747325 (Friday March 2 to Sunday March 4)

  • The Packhouse, Hewetts Kilns, Tongham Road, Runfold, Farnham GU10 1PJ: 01252 781010.

  • Cry For The Moon, 17 Tunsgate, Guildford GU1 3QT: 01483 306600



Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2012


Trend highlights: Statement furniture


Interior trends come and go, but the desire for more impactful pieces of statement furniture looks like its here to stay. Heres our 5 top tips for getting it right



  • Vintage pieces are being sourced to sit amongst other antique pieces as well as to accompany more contemporary homes. Enjoy mixing periods and styles; it is the aesthetic that counts

  • The quality of the materials and finish is increasingly important. If it is painted then it must be beautifully finished shabby chic is becoming less popular

  • The Scandinavian influence is still very in vogue. This look fulfils a desire for simple, calm interiors that create relaxed and comfortable homes

  • Statement pieces increasingly define the overall design of a room, rather than being added as an afterthought

  • Less is certainly more fewer statement pieces have more impact


Recommended sources:



  • The Packhouse, Farnham. Tel: 01252 781010

  • Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers, Send. Tel: 01483 223101

  • Haus, Haslemere. Tel: 01428 653336

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