Antique pieces to buy for the modern home office

Sale at Adam’s ranges from useful bookcases to smart David Linley sofas

Adam’s of St Stephen’s Green’s At Home January sale is open for bidding. The timed online auction allows bidding from now up to the February 23rd deadline. Bidders will receive email notifications if they have been outbid and can also enter the maximum amount they are prepared to pay. In that instance the online system will automatically raise bids against other potential buyers up to a maximum set price.

The interesting sale of more than 400 lots includes jewellery, silver, a good selection of antique fire grates and fireside accessories, along with art and furniture.

Working from home saw the demand for office desks soar in 2020, and people are finding they now need furniture to accommodate all the accoutrements for their home workstations. The sale features a number of bookcases to suit these demands. Lot 264 is a large Victorian four-door breakfront bookcase which would happily house books and files as it is more than 1.8m wide, while printers and other equipment can happily live on top of the sturdy mahogany piece, (€1,000-€1,500). Lot 209, an earlier model from the 19th century would also work well for the same purpose, (€1,200-€1,800).

For smaller spaces there are pieces that could function well if repurposed, such as lot 367, a Victorian mahogany dumbwaiter. It has three solid shelves and the fact that it is on castors means it can be easily tidied away when not in use, (€200-€300). Even bedside chests such as lot 420, an Edwardian mahogany and walnut unit from 1900, provide a small tidy storage space, (€100-€200) as do a pair of dining room pedestals with three good-sized shelves behind their mahogany doors, (€200-€400).

An interesting piece is lot 398, a display unit by Liberty Superlative Shoes. While it will not accommodate a large selection of shoes it could well work in a hallway for children’s’ wellingtons and boots, (€400-€600). For larger families, if shoes and boots are clogging up a hallway there is a very old alms chest in the manner of AWN Pugin that could work well to hide a multitude of footwear. The fact that it is ironbound means it can take a lot of weight (€400-€600).

Another lot that would suit more compact spaces is a French, late 19th-century cherrywood armoire with fluted hour-glass style decoration. It would make a lovely – albeit compact – wardrobe for a guest bedroom as it is only 47cm (18 inches) deep, and an alternative to a fitted wardrobe (€800-€1,200).

Of interest is a pair of David Linley sofas. The deep, three seaters are upholstered in cream and gold damask with fluted apron sides, and appear to be in excellent condition – you can use the viewer on the Adam's website to zoom in and inspect the lots at close quarters. Linley's pieces are in demand on the auction circuit, as Queen Elizabeth's nephew has designed bespoke furniture for famous customers all over the world including designer Valentino and singer Elton John (€1,500-€2,500 each).


With St Valentine's Day approaching there are some nice pieces of jewellery too including a Tiffany silver bangle with matching earrings, (€400-€600), a pair of Georg Jensen carnival rings with a cabochon sapphire and moonstone, (€700-€900) and a pair of pink sapphire and diamond heart-shaped earrings, (€1,500-€2,000).

If you are in search of a whopper of a knuckle duster, lot 49 is a 5.5ct aquamarine and diamond ring, (€500-€700). As the birthstone for March, and said to absorb the atmosphere of young love, the ancient Romans had a peculiar use for the vivid blue gemstone, as they used it to treat overeating.

Read More