While reading the October 23, 2020 issue of the Financial Times we came across their article “The World’s Best Antique Stores” which made us think about some of our favorite antique shops from around the globe. Keep reading to learn more about some of the best treasure troves we’ve discovered.
Owned by couple Charlotte Freemantle and Will Fischer, the pair scours the planet for 17th to 19th-century lighting and furniture. Their personal point of pride is the most outstanding selection of chimneypieces ever to have been on the open market. While they have their own space on Pimlico Road, their stock of 300 items are also spread across showrooms in West Hollywood and Atlanta. A favorite find is a late 1700s neoclassical marble chimneypiece carved by British sculptor John Bacon to commemorate peace between Great Britain and the US after the American War of Independence.
Alex MacArthur, Sussex
This shop is set in a 14th century former Augustinian monetary in the town of Rye, on the East Sussex coast. The proprietor, Alex MacArthur, indulges her passion for grand architectural pieces from the 17th century onwards, from an 1890s French spiral iron staircase or a bronze bull from Turin. The shop’s trademark is lighting, an example of the offerings include 1960s Parisian Holophane streetlights revamped for domestic use.
Galerie Du Passage, Paris
This treasure trove is tucked away into the glass-roofed Galerie Véro-Dodat and has been visited by Princess Caroline of Monaco and Christian Louboutin. The vintage items found here are sourced from private collections. Proprieter Pierre Passebon puts on exhibitions devoted to renowned furniture designers such as Jean Royère and Guy de Rougemont. He then pairs the pieces with fetishistic photographs by filmmaker David Lynch or images of Marlene Dietrich from his own collection. A special find here is a likely one of a kind lidded Gio Ponti majolica vase, made by Richard Ginori in 1923.
Original in Berlin, Berlin
Lars Triesch started collecting mid-century modern furniture 10 years ago, prompted by a fascination with old cars and 50s music. He now owns a 10,000 square foot showroom frequented by clients such as gallerist Johann König and musician Paul Simon. Some of the most treasured items that have passed through include armchairs by Hans J Wegner, Gio Ponti lamps, and Jean Prouvé credenzas. Though he usually does not get attached to pieces in his collection of over 2,000 items, he regrets parting with a hand-carved door by American sculptor Harold Balazs.
Stacked floor to ceiling with rugs, this carpet shop is hidden away on the top floor of an old Roman Catholic church inside Marrakech’s warren-like medina. Hailed as the best carpet shop in Morocco, one can find both new and antique pieces, handcrafted by Berber weavers. Ismail Bassidi took over his father’s business 17 years ago. Some of his most memorable finds include a rug from Boujaad, in central Morocco, woven in a faded mix of butterscotch, burgundy, and peach pink, and a midcentury piece handmade by the Beni-Mguild tribe in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Luca Workshop, Florence
Luca Rafanelli’s shop is located just south of the Arno and Ponte Alla Carraia and resembles what you would imagine the Hollywood set of an Italian antique shop to be. This is the spot to find Italian architectural salvage including giant clock faces, ornate mirrors, and late 18th-century wig cabinets. Rafanelli focuses on the original patina of his finds which often end up in country villas and Manhattan lofts.
A fifth-generation art dealer, Michikazu Mizutani is an expert on Japanese history. He is known for the rare bamboo flower baskets he sells from a 125-year-old townhouse in Kyoto’s antiques rich Ohto area. Sekisen also sells green tea and kaiseki sets, many of which date from the Edo period (17th – 19th centuries). Mizutani’s sons Yuichiro and Masaya work with their father to serve global clients which include New York’s Met and the British Museum.
Specializing in early colonial Australian antiques, dealer Andrew Simpson has procured antiques since 1978. He sells his items from his home in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore, while also writing books on Australian furniture and art pottery. Some of the pieces he has sold include a late 18th century set of cedar drawers with original brass plate handles and escutcheon and a star veneered Oyster Bay circular table sold to the Australian fund which is now used for the swearing-in of prime ministers at Government House in Canberra.