Patina is the gradual build up of colour on a piece of furniture over hundreds of years. No two pieces of antique furniture will ever have the same patina because they will have been handled differently and been exposed to different levels of light. This what makes antique furniture unique. With dusting and use pieces will build up highlights on exposed areas and dirt and wax will gather in carved recesses and corners. This proces greatly enhances the natural colour of the wood and makes well patinated pieces highly sought after by collectors. A piece of antique furniture with a good patina will always command a premium.

A well patinated Chippendale period piecrust tripod table.

The presence of a good patination is also a strong indication that the antique is original and uanaltered. It is extremely difficult for a faker to imitate the natural wear and tear that an antique will have acquired through use. When looking at an antique the collector should pay particular attention to the unpolished surfaces. The opening and closing of a tilt-top table will leave an unmistakable mark on the table's bearers. Similarly the picking up of a tripod table will gradually leave a shiny ring underneath the table top. Both these signs of wear and tear can be seen in this photograph of a tripod table. It is this sense of security that also explains why collectors seek out well patinated pieces of English Furniture.

The underneath of a Chippendale piecrust tripod table showing signs of wear and tear

For some beautifully patinated pieces of antique English furniture please take a look at our website:


September 14, 2009 — Peter Alexander