Look back 50 years and it’s a marvel to think that our parents’ and grandparents’ generations thought nothing of heading to their local auction rooms when furnishing their homes.
In those days, the local chattels auctioneer, livestock auctioneer and estate agent were often part of the same firm. It made sense; when someone died, it meant that their family could dispose of everything via a sort of one-stop shop rather than having to look around for several different firms to provide the service.
Furniture, silver, glass, ceramics and pictures from one home in the district would be recycled to others and so families built up their own collections of heirlooms and invested in chairs, tables, sofas and beds that would last a lifetime, before being handed on to someone else.
Tastes may have changed, but this tradition of making things last that predated the throwaway society we became is ripe for revival now we have become so concerned with the adverse effects of plastic and other disposable materials. It also explains why quality is as important from a practical point of view as it is from an appreciation of aesthetics. Well-made pieces built to last that are pleasing to the eye may not be the ideal for today’s manufacturer’s relying on repeat sales, but you’ll often find them at auction and they are keystones to a sustainable future, just as our parents and grandparents knew. Now it’s time for the next generation to find this out.