+44 (0)20 8964 3457

Rebecca Hughes
INTERIORS
rhi-squarespace-10.jpg

Blog

Opening the Doors to Mallett Antiques

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting May Geolot who gave me a guided tour of Ely House, the home of Mallett Antiques. Mallett Antiques are dealers in rare English and Continental furniture, paintings and decorative objects.

I was encouraged to visit Mallet Antiques after one of my client's visited the 'Harry Benson: 50 Years Behind the Lens' exhibition. Harry was present at the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; he photographed the Berlin Wall as it was built, and he photographed it being torn down. During my tour, I was captivated by a number of his photographs (pictured below), if you are looking for a powerful piece of artwork, full of raw emotion, history and beauty then look no further.

Sir Winston Churchill, Harrow School, England, 1964 by Harry Benson

Sir Winston Churchill, Harrow School, England, 1964 by Harry Benson

May and I talked about her role and how one might go about finding those unique pieces for your home.

May Geolot

May Geolot

[RH]

1. What is your role at Mallett?

[MG]

I am the gallery assistant at Mallett and I help with research, exhibitions, and clients.  

[RH]

2. How did you become an expert in furniture & antiques?

[MG]

I did my undergraduate degree at Princeton University in Art History, and I wrote my senior thesis on three Robert Adam country houses, which I researched while spending a semester abroad at the Courtauld Institute of Art.  I continued my studies with a Masters degree in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors at the Wallace Collection through the University of Buckingham.

Dining Room, Ely House

Dining Room, Ely House

[RH]

3. What does a typical day look like?

[MG]

A typical day involves researching pieces in the collection, showing clients around the gallery, and preparing for upcoming exhibitions and art fairs.  The spring is very exciting time for the gallery because we publish our Spring catalogue and prepare for Masterpiece London, which takes place in June.

[RH]

4. Please can you tell us one of the highlights of your role?

[MG]

The best part about working with Mallett is working so closely with the furniture and objects in the collection.  I love learning about a particular object’s history and construction by opening drawers, crawling under cabinets, and in the best cases, finding a label or mark by the craftsmen. 

[RH]

5. One of the things I enjoyed at Ely House was how you have carefully curated and displayed a wide variety of items pieces from different periods. Are you currently drawn to a particular period?

My background is in 18th and 19th century antiques, but I have come to appreciate and admire 20th century design.  We published a catalogue on 20th century furniture and decorative arts in our collection a few months ago (the link is http://issuu.com/mallett/docs/mallett__20th_century_catalogue_201), and I love seeing how so many pieces of modern design reflect a continuation of styles, materials, and techniques from the earlier centuries.  I find Jean-Michel Frank’s work is particularly evocative.   

Venetian Room, Ely House

Venetian Room, Ely House

[RH]

6. Do you have any favourite pieces at the moment?

[MG]

We have recently acquired some lovely Canton export furniture and objects, including a miniature lacquer cabinet on stand and an enamel shaving set.  The lacquer cabinet is a piece of pure theatre complete with a miniature garden balcony behind the cabinet doors.  The shaving set consists of a basin and an urn, and the basin is in the shape of a shell to evoke its aquatic function.  Both the basin and the urn are richly decorated with floral motifs in vibrant colours.

[RH]

7. What advice would you give to someone looking to purchase investment pieces?

[MG]

Decorative arts are wonderful because they have both aesthetic and functional qualities.  The ideal piece of furniture for someone looking to invest in antiques is one that he/she can incorporate into the home both to use and to admire for its style. 

[RH]

8. Please tell us about any exciting upcoming events at Mallett

[MG]

We will be publishing our Spring catalogue at the beginning of May, and it has some exquisite pieces of furniture that we have recently acquired.  We have also completely redesigned our website, and we will be launching it in May as well.  And of course, we are looking forward to exhibiting at Masterpiece London this year in June.

Mallett Antiques

W: www.mallettantiques.com

Harry Benson

W: www.harrybenson.com

Simon LuntComment