The story of English furniture really begins in the sixteenth century, when crude medieval tables and stools gave way to more sophisticated, jointed designs. This Tudor furniture is the earliest to survive in any quantity, and it is where John Bly begins his history of English furniture. Changing fashions, influences, materials, and manufacturing techniques have all had an impact on English furniture, causing it to change over the decades, sometimes quite suddenly. Each of these changes is fully explained, as oak gives way to walnut, and then mahogany; as furniture becomes finer and more formal and the great names - Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite - emerge. This seminal work concludes with a masterclass in detecting the alterations and fakery that can significantly affect the value of a piece of furniture.
John Bly worked for four years at Sotheby's before joining the family firm in Tring, one of the oldest established antique dealers in Britain. John Bly is regular expert on BBC Television's Antiques Roadshow and has had his own ITV series, Heirloom. He lectures extensively in Britain and North America and has contributed to Antique Dealer and Collector's Guide, Antique Monthly and other specialist magazines. John Bly is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Eric Knowles began work at Bonhams, the London auctioneers, in 1976 and became head of the ceramics department in 1981. He became a director of Bonhams in 1985. Eric became a well known TV personality in the 1990s, as a regular expert on the Antiques Roadshow, and presenter or several programs including 'Going for a Song'. He retains his high profile on TV and is also a regular contributor to 'BBC Homes and Antiques', and 'Collect It!' magazines, and he is antiques expert for the Sunday Times. He is the author of several books on antiques and the decorative arts.