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Antique PATINA

While furniture patina has long inspired generations of antique enthusiasts, it has recently had to make way for a plethora of trendy imitation finishes, such as stripping, liming, painting, marbling, shabby chic-ing, bleaching, and lacquering. The industry is currently seeing a fresh surge of interest that not only values the integrity of an unaltered finish but also exploits it to highlight the uniqueness of the object. Patina is indeed “the value age places on an object…it comes from a life lived.”

A particularly radical source of inspiration can be found in antiques. At their core, antiques are still contemporary items from the past, sharing the same DNA with their gleaming new offspring. But even the most basic antique can, through its patina, talk of a life in service and its natural degradation through time, unlike modern objects that can only speak of their production (and so give only half the story).

Patination is all about the flaws, uniqueness, and fragility that we all experience as we become older as people. Old things continue to evoke stronger emotions than new ones, and in my opinion, the question of an antique’s financial value should never come up until it has had a chance to tell its particular story.

Names from a variety of fields, such as country, folk, architectural, and Victorian, are included in the expanding group of antique dealers who are savouring a love of patination. Spencer Swaffer, Rob Hall, Doe and Hope, Robert Young, Puckhaber Daniel Larsson, and Drew Pritchard are just a few of the names on it. The greatest dealers interpret the patination to give each piece a particular sense of personality comparable to a persona, rather than simply employing the chipped and worn finish as a sales pitch. Uninspiring things are successfully brought to life on the screen with gothic undertones, rustic purity, or antique playfulness through meticulous lighting, staging, and up-close photography.

Beyond our prior level of comprehension, the value of patina has developed to encompass a new theatrical aspect ideal for the contemporary house decorator. Theatricality, which is not limited to patination alone, is a wider trend that stands in stark contrast to the sterile white backgrounds that have long served as the foundation of vintage advertisements. Additionally, the appearance meets our growing expectations for an immediate aesthetic appeal online.

For everyone, a return to genuine patination in antiques is a positive development. It not only breathes new life into a piece that may have otherwise been discarded because it lacked a noble pedigree, but it also starts to distinguish antiques once more from the infinite sea of contemporary “weathered” replicas that are currently clogging the market. Anyone who has experimented will know that patina can only be removed. And this openness not only gives the buyer more confidence, but it also serves as a reminder of the commitment required to own antiques over the long term.

For the time being, rather than the more subtle depth of patina that mahogany and early oak fans continue to value, the revived interest is still focused on more dramatic patination, such as chipped paint and exposed wood. It’s inevitable that this traditional interpretation of patina will one again be in style, but as the name implies, it will take some time and fresh layers of intrigue to get there.

Not all antiques have their original finishes or even look better when they do. It must be acknowledged that some disappointed the majority of the object and may merit praise. But if more and more vendors are proud to retain an item’s original patina, maybe it will cause one or two individuals to pause and reconsider before picking up sandpaper and a brush.


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