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Five loveliest antiques for your garden and conservatory

Garden antiques at Hemswell Antique Centres


Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was common for people to leave all their garden furniture behind when they moved house. It’s only recently - thanks to news spreading about sculptures selling for millions - that we’re more aware of the value those unconsidered antique planters and pots may have. Taking a closer look at some of our favourite garden and architectural antiques may paint a clearer picture of what’s valuable and what’s not...

1. Antique garden chairs 
Most antique garden chairs came from French or British foundries - look for the name Coalbrookdale. Established in Ironbridge in Shropshire in 1708, this UK foundry produced a wide range of outdoor furniture: antique garden chairs, tables, urns, architectural fittings and fountains. To put it into perspective, a Coalbrookdale cast-iron seat with a Lily of the Valley pattern can fetch between £2,500 to £3,500, while an early 19th-century reeded wrought-iron seat crafted by local village blacksmiths can sell for up to £1,500 at auction. Regency tree seats can go for good money, too - up to £3,000 if made from wrought iron.

2. Antique garden tables
As with chairs, Coalbrookdale is an iconic maker to have in your sights. However, do be aware that some of these examples aren’t what they seem. Many pieces are immersed in sea water to speed up rusting and give the appearance of genuine antique garden tables. If it’s a copy, it’s likely the foundry and registration stamps are also copied - so these can’t prove anything. What’s best to examine is the finishing touches - reproductions often have roughly finished casting seam marks and poor brass nuts. 

3. Statues antiques
Still a relatively new field for collectors, it’s important to distinguish the new from the genuinely antique when it comes to statues antiques. Statues can be made from various kinds of local stone, but the synthetic types were much easier to work with. One that might attract your eye is Coade stone, made at the Coade factory in Lambeth, London from the 1760s onwards. This material is resistant to water and therefore frost, making it one of the most durable for statues. Antiques made from Coade stone are valuable, even old copies. A model of the Townley Vase from 1840 can reach up to £4,000.

4. Antique planters
Unlike pandered-over planters in the home, antique planters for the garden are exposed to the elements. Come rain or shine, the weather only makes their patinas shine stronger. For a proper statement piece, antique planters deliver a weathered, one-of-a-kind aesthetic. Even reputable dealers with antique planters for sale can miss delicate cracks, so make sure you’ve examined pieces with your own eyes before buying. 

5. Antique jardinieres
Very similar to urns, antique jardinieres can make your outdoor space a delight to spend time in. They can provide versatile design solutions for awkward garden spaces, such as flower beds or borders. Fill them up with tropical Hibiscus for a vibrant, eye-catching element. Antique jardinieres can be made out of cast-iron, stone or even marble. Again, inspect the materials yourself in person - even contemporary pieces in garden centres can fool you into thinking they’re ancient if ‘weathered’ with layers of manure, or even, sometimes, yoghurt.

Here at Hemswell Antiques Centres, we’ve seen a growing interest in garden antiques from both collectors and designers in recent years. From antique jardinieres to old-world statues, antiques in this arena have everything the discerning are attracted to: history, geography, craft, engineering, makers' marks trademarks and rare examples. Our architectural and garden collection is full of fancy alfresco pieces, guaranteed to add depth, history and character to your outdoor space. Explore it yourself at our centres in Lincoln and enjoy picking treasures from the past for your own green haven.

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