Welcome to Freshfords Fine Antiques – Simon Powell, Owner
Freshfords Fine Antiques is a family business started by my father, Alan, in 1987 in the City of Bath where he traded for 10 years as Beau Nash House Antiques. I joined my father in 1997 when we renamed the business Freshfords Fine Antiques. My father retired in 2005 and the business is now located in a purpose-built showroom 7 miles south of Bath.
We have been exhibiting at antique fairs since as far back as the early 90s and also at prestigious London events, held by BADA, at the Duke of York’s on the Kings Road, Chelsea as well as various other national fairs. Our stock is of the highest quality and is always chosen for its originality, design and of course style. Each carefully selected piece is extensively researched and illustrated online using superb photographic images together with detailed information and provenance, allowing our customers to buy with complete confidence.
Our reputation has been built on sourcing quality pieces of furniture by all the leading makers and designers such as Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton, and Gillow of Lancaster and London. Freshfords have been members of BADA, LAPADA and we are currently members of ‘The Cotswold Antique Dealers Association’ (CADA).
At Freshfords we pride ourselves not only in our stock but also in our knowledge, integrity and attention to detail thus providing our customers with the best possible service. The pieces we sell are genuine articles, as described, and have been strictly vetted by both myself and my restorer; between us we have over 60 years of experience in 18th and 19th century English furniture.
Freshfords Fine Antiques operates from a custom built showroom situated seven miles south of Bath near the village of Freshford.
As can be seen from these images, we have room settings for viewing the antiques which is by appointment only.
Ingrid Nilson, who organizes luxury antique and fine art three-day events around the country, was delighted to receive an approach on behalf of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, who paid an official visit to the Luxury Antiques Weekend at Tortworth Court at the end of February 2014. The Duchess spent nearly two hours talking to exhibitors and admiring their stock.
Freshfords Fine Antiques was one of the leading exhibitors at the Tortworth Court Fair and, as you can see from the photograph, I had the privilege of discussing some of the pieces on display with the Duchess.
Freshfords Fine Antiques would like to thank HRH The Duchess of Gloucester for visiting the fair and spending some time with me to talk about the art and antiques trade.
Freshfords has, over the last 30 years, been dealing in English antique furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries and during this time has developed an international reputation for sourcing Gillow furniture. In 2008 Freshfords was a major sponsor, alongside Apter Fredericks, for the Gillow drawings for Susan E. Stuart’s book on GILLOWS OF LANCASTER AND LONDON 1730-1840, which are held by Westminster Archive Centre. Freshfords has over a dozen colour illustrated pieces of Gillow furniture published in Susan E. Stuart’s book, ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840′, including the front cover for Volume II. The images on this page represent past and present stock items attributable to Gillow & Co.
The history of the Gillow family can be traced back to medieval days. Among early forerunners was Paulyn Gillow, Mayor of York, whose grandson married Ann Allan, sister of Cardinal Allan. They were a strict Catholic family and continue to hold their beliefs to this day. Richard Gillow, who died in 1717, had married Alice Swarbrick and lived at Singleton in the Fylde. He spent some time in Lancaster gaol as a consequence of harbouring priests in his house. His son, Robert, was born in 1704 and with him begins the history of the furniture making firm of Gillow.
As a young man Robert came to Lancaster to serve his time with a joiner. This was probably in 1718 as he obtained his freemanship in 1727/28. Five apprentices in joinery, all of them Roman Catholics, became freemen in the same year. Unfortunately it is not known to whom any of them were indentured. Robert and another, George Haresnape, set up a joint business together which lasted for about five years. With Robert begins the series of records of the firm and there is no evidence for the date 1695 so often quoted for the firm’s beginning, nor to substantiate the belief that some early records were lost in a fire. The first entry in Robert Gillow’s notebook is for a gun barrel in 1729, the year following his freemanship.
Robert married Agnes Fell in 1730 and his two sons, Richard and Robert, were admitted Freemen of Lancaster in 1754-5 and 1766-7 respectively. London premises were taken in 1769 at 176 Oxford Road, now called Oxford Street, where the firm of Waring and Gillow is still to be found though no longer connected with the family.