25 Sep A Georgian Gem
Lassco at Brunswick House, purveyor of reclamation, ornament and curiosities, is housed in a Georgian mansion by Vauxhall Cross. It’s surrounded by two fast lanes of traffic – front and back – and backed by the St George’s Wharf development, which dwarfs it. Against such a backdrop of modernity and fast track activity the magnificent double fronted house certainly stands out. It has a stature and pride reflective of the time in which it was built and I’ve often whizzed past it in a car and made a mental note to visit.
So, last week that’s exactly what I did and what I found was a charming treasure trove. There are architectural pieces from columns to chimney pieces, furniture, flooring, door furniture and lighting. There’s even old street signs and clothes (bought from the English National Opera). You name it and it’s here. The stock spans the ages from Georgian through to the 1960s.
I asked Director Ferrous Auger what was the key difference between Lassco and an antiques dealer and he said that he simply doesn’t like the classification of an antique – i.e that an item has to be over 100 years old. If something is re-sellable and fashionable then Lassco will have it. As a result Georgian hob grates nestle amongst English National Opera cast offs and 1960s wooden toys. They also sell most of their stock in the condition they found it with only a few pieces having been restored where it will significantly improve the chances of a sale or the value of the piece.
Lassco get the majority of their stock from private sales – just people ‘selling stuff’ but they also get contacted by museums or institutions that are changing interiors and have stuff they want to get rid of.
In Auger’s expert opinion, the market for architectural salvage, or “particularly well-made furniture”, is growing, possibly because people are encouraged by the fact a product has lasted for so long. It’s also because “people are realising that they can pick up well-made Georgian furniture for a fraction of what you would be paying for new,” says Auger
Rooms in Lassco are hired out for private functions and I can imagine would make a charming ‘Jane Austen meets Austen Powers style’ venue for a dinner party.
A few of the items I found of particular interest, as I meandered through the characterful wood panelled rooms are pictured below.
Late 19th century English gilt wood framed canape in the French Louis Revival style
Pair of Regency mirrors
Brass chandelier hooks
A Hepplewhite period overmantle mirror with the original mercurial plate, early 19th century – £3250 and an 18th century pine and gesso printed fire surround – £1800
A 19th century George II style elbow chair – £2250
A pair of gilded boudoir chairs – £260 for the pair and a neo-classical pine and gesso chimney piece – £4000
A pair of Ionic Capital columns – £1000
19th century French gilt wood pelmet, centred by an ornate shield with leaves, flowers and festoons – £600 and Cast iron hob grating in Georgian style- £700
There’s also a fabulously eclectic café restaurant furnished with an array of lights and furniture – which are for sale. So you may just pop in for a café latte and emerge, having fallen in love with the seat you were sat on, with a fine Regency chaise tucked under your arm. A stroke of genius by the owners of Lassco.