Welsh (and English) Dressers

Welsh (and English) Dressers

When I was growing up, a dresser was the piece of furniture in your bedroom that held your clothes, basically a bank of drawers raised on feet or a low plinth. When I began working for Jayne, fresh out of college, I had to re-learn some of my vocabulary. What I once called a “dresser,” I now know as a chest of drawers. In the world of antique British furniture, a “dresser” is the ancestor to and country cousin of the formal sideboard. It is called a dresser because the serving surface was used to dress the food. Since they were created for more modest homes, dressers are not as deep as sideboards which had to accommodate the more elaborate serving apparatus of a formal dinner service. These proportions—long, but shallow and of serving height—are what make dressers so useful and versatile in a modern interior. Many of our clients still use them as sideboards in dining rooms, but they also work well in long hallways, behind sofas, as focal pieces in living spaces below art or with a rack filled with colorful porcelain or whatever collection you might wish to display.


Dressers are one of our favorite forms. Within their basic framework can be found a world of variety. Commonly known as Welsh Dressers, many of them were indeed created in Wales, and possibly originated there. However, they were created throughout England as well and certain forms are associated with certain counties. While many of them (not all) began life with racks to store plates and hang cups, the racks and bases were often separated over the course of their lifetime. See below for several examples from our stock both past and present.


Dressers can be solid to the ground or "enclosed" to maximize storage:

Lots of them stand on legs of differing types such as cabriole legs:


Or straight, square stock legs:

Or sometimes silhouette legs:

Turned legs are some of the most common type (although it is unusual to see the back legs also turned as in this example):

Sometimes those turned legs are connected by a shelf, known as a potboard:

The more refined ones might have adornments such as a shaped apron and cross-banding:

Or maybe a bit of inlay

Some of them have been dressed up with interesting architectural features:

Some enclosed dressers have an opening in the center charmingly referred to as a dogpen:

While the overwhelming majority of dressers are built of oak, it is exciting to find others in more unusual timber. We currently have this gem in fruitwood (possibly pear?):

This primitive dresser from our sold archive was particularly unusual for it’s yew timber:

And this one in highly figured ash will always remain one of our favorites:

We have a continuously rotating stock of dressers in inventory or on the way. They seem to be as popular with our clients as they are with us, so if you see one you like, be sure to contact us before it's gone.

March 29, 2024 by Mark Finke
Southern Living Idea House 2023

Southern Living Idea House 2023

We were honored to be asked to participate in the Southern Living Idea House 2023 in Franklin, TN just outside of Nashville. This marks three consecutive years that we have loaned furniture for the project. Laura Hodges designed a relaxed and welcoming interior. She always keeps an eye on sustainability, an ethos that utilizes lots of antique and vintage furniture, including several pieces from our inventory.


Click here to see a scanned version of the print article


Can you spot the following pieces from our stock? All the items are now back in the shop, so if you want to own a piece of the Idea House, give us a call.

A provincial tripod table with burr oak veneered top


A Charles II period oak side table


A sycamore "cheese top" cricket table



December 14, 2023 by Mark Finke
House Beautiful's Best Home Stores

House Beautiful's Best Home Stores

Thank you, thank you, thank you to House Beautiful for listing us as one of the best home stores in America in their October/November 2022 issue. Wow! We are so honored!

March 03, 2023 by Mark Finke
Southern Living Idea House 2022

Southern Living Idea House 2022

We are so grateful to Charlotte Harris Lucas for including us in the Southern Living Idea House 2022, a relaxed getaway in River Dunes, NC. For this house, we contributed six pieces, including the Anglo-Indian satinwood chest of drawers in the foyer.


Click here to read the full article:


Some of the other pieces we loaned were:

A pair of French fruitwood console tables:


An Anglo-Indian teak occasional table:

A pair of Sheraton period card tables:


And a provincial mahogany serving table with Greek key motif:

March 03, 2023 by Mark Finke
In Case You Missed It

In Case You Missed It

In case you aren't on our mailing list or didn't pick them up at one of our recent shows, here are digital versions of our last two catalogs published in 2022. We have lots of new merchandise arriving all the time, so keep your eyes open for another catalog coming in the spring of 2023.

Click to view:


Click to view:

March 03, 2023 by Mark Finke
Southern Living Idea House 2021

Southern Living Idea House 2021

Oops! We did it again. We went almost half a year without updating our blog. But seriously, if you want to keep up with our day-to-day (week-to-week?) activities, you should follow Lori on Instagram. If you're more of the "old fashioned" type who prefers blogs, here is a little catch-up on some flattering press we've received over the past couple years.


First up: we were thrilled to be invited by our design crush Sarah Bartholomew to participate in the Southern Living Idea House 2021. Located just up the road on a beautiful lot overlooking the Ohio River, Colonial Greek Revival never felt so fresh and modern. We loaned twenty-two pieces from our inventory which were interspersed among lots of cozy upholstery and contemporary art.


As Sarah says: "Bring one piece of old into every room." Or more is fine, too, if you feel so inclined. The finished product was inviting and imminently livable, perfect for either a young family or empty nesters looking for the feel of a pastoral setting yet just minutes from downtown Louisville. Read the full article here.


Many of our favorite pieces were selected, some of which are still available. If you'd like to bring a little piece of the Idea House into your own home, have a look at the items below.

 A rare 18th Century Windsor settee


 Bastiaan Stoopendaal buffalo print


Pair of Sheraton period bedside cupboards


Painted step commode


Unusual primitive three-legged chair/stool


March 03, 2023 by Mark Finke
Why We Do Shows

Why We Do Shows

"Why do you do antique shows?" It's a question we get asked a lot, and to be honest, it's one we ask ourselves over and over too. Shows require a lot of effort and cost. There is the physical labor of loading and unloading a truckload of furniture; boxing up all the smalls and supplies; converting a bare space bordered with plywood walls into an inviting showroom; the long drives which can sometimes stretch to multiple days. There are hours upon hours of prep work: planning what to bring and how to arrange it; contacting clients from the area; sending out tickets, postcards, and personal letters. There are all the various expenses involved: booth rent (yes! we have to pay for our space, which we've discovered some clients weren't aware of); lodging and meals; fuel; wages for employees and contracted porters who help with the heavy lifting. It can be enough for us to question our own sanity when we pause to think that all of this work goes into every show, each of which may only last 3-5 days.


Well, the easy answer to the question is that it remains the best way to make new clients; the primary reasons for that are they can really get to know our merchandise and us. Photos are great. The internet is great. Websites are great. But there is no substitute for seeing and touching a piece of furniture in person. There are thousands of examples we can recount of being disappointed (or less frequently, pleasantly surprised) when viewing a piece in person that we had previously seen in a photograph. It is impossible (or very nearly so) to judge density of timber, quality of construction, color and patina in a photo. Certain repairs and restorations show up only in the proper light. Shows offer buyers the opportunity to touch a piece, open the drawer, sit in it, flip it upside down (please ask first, though!). Similar pieces from the same booth or different ones can be compared when weighing which one to buy. It is a truly special experience for a buyer to see such a wide selection of antiques gathered from all over the globe.


Probably equally as important as getting to know the merchandise up close and personal is getting to know the dealer. We find the stereotype of the snooty, stand-offish antique dealer to be a thing of the past. Most every dealer we know is happy to spend time with potential new clients or just the curiously inclined. We consider it an important part of the job to educate new clients. That is why we are at the show: to meet new people or reconnect with those we know to discuss what we brought and why we love it. Don't be afraid to ask "stupid questions." It only makes us feel smarter!


Shows also present a wonderful opportunity for fortune to strike. You may find and fall in love with something you weren't even looking for. Most dealers spend a great deal of time seeking out special pieces and for one weekend, dozens of them will bring those treasures directly to you.


Most shows are also fun social events with other attractions beyond the antiques being sold. Special events we've found at shows include lavish preview parties for the benefit of local charities, luncheons, lectures by well-known designers and authors, special culinary events, wine tastings, booth talks where dealers spend time sharing their expertise, and many others. We see friends and family every year at each show that make it a point to come in together to peruse and catch up with other local friends as well as the dealers who may also become friends over many years of participating in a show. Hugs and smiles and kisses abound. We meet people in every city where we exhibit who mark their calendars every year to make sure they can attend. It is truly like an annual reunion.


So if you want to see what all the fun is about, come visit us at one of our FOUR fall shows (did we mention we question our sanity sometimes?). We'll be hitting three coasts plus the great Midwest. Click on our show schedule to learn more.

 **Cover Photo Credit to San Francisco Fall Show – Photograph by Drew Altizer 

September 20, 2022 by Mark Finke
What We've Been Up To

What We've Been Up To

Well, in spite of our best intentions, we've once again been negligent in keeping our blog updated. I see it's been 8 months since our last post. For those of you interested in keeping tabs on us, Lori is much more diligent about posting to our Instagram account, so that is always the best way to see our latest news and finds.


For those of you not on Instagram, here is a quick catch-up. Since all of our antique shows for the past year were cancelled, we pivoted to marketing our new pieces through a couple print catalogs which we distributed in the last quarter of 2020. In case you missed them, digital versions can be found here:

and here:

If you'd like hard copies of these catalogs, feel free to drop us a line.


We do try to keep our website as current as our schedule allows. To see the most recently added stock, check our New Stock page from time to time.


On the personal front, we took advantage of the extended time off the road to finish a portion of our home's basement. It has been a much appreciated space for the family to partake of all the additional media viewing we've been doing since being stuck at home. It seems a number of our designer-clients and private clients have also been similarly busy. Quarantine has brought on a desire to make the home a true refuge of peace and joy. We've been happy to help on several re-models, re-vamps, and new builds over the past months. If you have an itch to upgrade some pieces or re-do a particular space, just give us a call to see how we can help.


Now that the vaccine distribution is in full swing, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. That means a return to the antique shows which have been such a huge part of our business for the past 30 years. While The Philadelphia Show will be an online-only affair this year, we're happy to add to our calendar the returns of the Lauritzen Gardens Show in Omaha and the San Francisco Fall Antique Show as our first in-person shows since the pandemic began a year ago.


We look forward to seeing you all again very soon whether it be in your own hometown or here at our shop.

March 08, 2021 by Mark Finke
Return to Sender

Return to Sender

Think back to May 2019. It seems a lifetime ago, but I think more than a few of us would love to time-warp back to that moment. No one had ever heard of COVID-19. News outlets were cooing over the birth of Prince Archie. In our trade, the antique show circuit was rolling along as always. In preparation for the Merchandise Mart show in Chicago, we were mailing tickets to our clients in the area. Well, fast forward to the present. We were reminded of that simpler time and all the water that has passed under the bridge since when we receive the letter pictured above in our mailbox.



Check out that postmark! May 2019! This letter was just returned to us after 14 months in postal purgatory! We must apologize to the intended recipient who never received their complimentary ticket to the show. You missed a beautiful event.


We must say we love the USPS. The typical service provided is remarkable value. However, at times, it can be just a little too easy to poke a little fun. The imagination runs wild trying to picture what this poor little letter must have gone through over the past year.


We hope all our clients and colleagues are staying safe and healthy out there. Until we meet again....



July 21, 2020 by Mark Finke
18th Century Seats for 21st Century Butts

18th Century Seats for 21st Century Butts

Christine Coulson draws on her 25-year career at the Met for her new book Metropolitan Stories. An excerpt that can be found in a recent NPR story is told from the perspective of an 18th Century fauteil. The dent in the original fabric created by "an 18th Century butt" serves as a jumping off point for Coulson's imagination. As a "museum piece," the chair no longer fulfills its original purpose: to support butts. In the linked excerpt, the chair wistfully yearns for anyone (!) to come sit and give its life meaning once again. While we here at JTA certainly understand the desire to preserve the original upholstery on such a special piece, we also realize that chairs were built to be sat in. It can be a fun exercise to sit in a 300 year-old chair and let the imagination run wild with thoughts of who else's seat might have graced that seat over the course of centuries.

We currently have a large selection of seating still able to accommodate the backsides of the 21st Century. Click on the link below to see a wide variety of stools, sofas, settles, settees, Windsors, wing chairs, side chairs, ottomans, and on and on. Take a look and feel free to plop down in any of these (but do so respectfully, please!).

Our Seating Collection Found Here

October 17, 2019 by Mark Finke