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Antique furniture: Touch of class

15 May 2021 By HUBERT VAZ

Rare 19th century European furniture will be put on sale at the Art and Soul Gallery in Muscat this weekend


If you dig antique furniture crafted in mahogany, satinwood, and walnut, which have weathered nearly a couple of centuries and each of which have interesting stories associated with their existence, a unique opportunity awaits you right here in Muscat.

Richwood Antiques – a European company with over 25 years experience in sourcing and restoring exquisite 19th century antique furniture and decorative objects -in association with Art and Soul Gallery, in Water Front mall, Shatti al Qurm, has organised a display of rare nineteenth century European furniture in Muscat from 7pm on May 20 till June 6. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary trading in Oman and on the international stage, Richwood Antiques offer a bespoke service finding high-value, original nineteenth century European furniture, and decorative items for both commercial and private projects.   

Its entrepreneurial founder, Rosemary Whelan, originally from Ireland and a resident in Oman for more than a decade, is the only International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers’ Associations (CINOA) purveyor of fine antiques in the Middle East.  This gold-standard membership guarantees the highest standards of quality, expertise and integrity. Rosemary is also an active member of the Irish Antique Dealers Association and had a seat on its council for many years.

Following the unprecedented success of her first exhibition at Bait Al Zubair Museum in 2011 and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Richwood Antiques in Oman, Whelan has joined hands with Art and Soul Gallery to provide a rare opportunity for the public to view a number of impressive nineteenth century furniture pieces sourced from the UK, Ireland, and the finest that the European market has to offer. 

“I am genuinely delighted to have this opportunity to show some beautiful, classic pieces of furniture for the Omani and expatriate communities to enjoy.  I take great pride in the work I do in Oman, with individuals, families and organisations, providing bespoke statement pieces which are so well-received and appreciated by our diverse client base.This public exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for those new to the personalised service we offer to find out more about the work we do and how we take such pride in helping our customers here in the sultanate,” Whelan said.

Visitors will have the pleasure of seeing exquisite, skillfully hand-crafted pieces, constructed in exotic timbers such as mahogany, satinwood and walnut, which have been expertly carved to incorporate intricate inlays and fine brass-work.  The public are encouraged to browse through the sought-after selection of delightful French gilded mirrors, console tables, mahogany framed sofas, inlaid chairs and decorative polished brass lamps. 

Some notable mahogany items not to be missed include a magnificent English hand-polished dining room table constructed in 1850 from the finest South American wood, an impressive Victorian cabinet stamped by renowned British furniture makers – Lamb of Manchester and a unique 19th century Irish carved exhibition-quality sideboard by Robert Strahan of Dublin.

Passion and profession


How many pieces will be on display, are all on sale?

This exhibition will display for sale more than 100 very rare and unique items of antique furniture and decorative gilded mirrors.

How different will this exhibition be from the previous?

This exhibition will include much of the very latest collection of items all sourced and handpicked from Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Italy. Items which have never been offered to the Omani market before.

In the current scenario, do you expect a subdued interest?

The feedback and response to our initial announcement has been extremely positive. An exhibition of this calibre is always received with great enthusiasm and interest.High quality and rare antiques, regardless of economic climate have a strong history of maintaining and increasing value. In an environment where properties, stocks, shares and financial investments are unpredictable it is quite common that astute buyers look to antiques and fine art as an alternative investment to other financial based options.

If you purchase a beautiful antique and place it in your home or office it will make a statement. It is there to be used, enjoyed and admired. Your investment remains safely displayed in your home. It is not a piece of paper or a document to be secured and hidden away in your safe and never to be enjoyed.

Advice I received many years ago – Buy chairs, not shares – has not let me down.

What arrangements are in place for ensuring safe visits of those interested?

All pandemic protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of all our visitors and will be carried out as per the permission of the competent authorities.

What is about antique furniture that you like the most that it has become, shall we say, ‘an obsession’?

That is a tough question to answer in brief but I will try. There are so many things not to simply like, but to love! I can’t help but respect the history behind every item. The story it can tell. The craftsmanship and quality of its construction. The uniqueness and beauty. A simple chair can tell you its life story by the wear on its arm rests, the patina of the wood or the fabric on its seat. Once you understand, you’re hooked! I’m lucky that my passion for antiques at an early age became my profession and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and appreciation with those who are interested.



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