Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cabinet Making in New Zealand

In the 1930's, my father-in-law was an apprentice in a cabinet making shop in Ponsonby Auckland. He completed his own personal design for marquetry in the form of a coffee table as part of this appenticeship.

Before then, it seems just about every town in New Zealand had its own cabinet making shop building furniture for local people.

For a long time, the appreciation of their work/art went largely unnoticed as people coveted the English imported antiques. 

But one man's work was always sort after, incredibly unique and very expensive. Anton Seuffert was born in Austria (or Bohemia, now part of the Czech republic), and came to New Zealand in the late 1850's. He was already an expert artiste and after he arrived he made fantastic pieces with a New Zealand theme. It was nothing for one desk to take him a year to complete. These items of furniture are more likely to appreciate in value than gold these days.

Some months back, Brian Peet published a book on this family and their achievements called "The Seufflot Legacy" which is still available for sale (but its only a short run so I'm told, - be in quick). Another 'must have' book on New Zealand furniture makers is Northcote Bade's Colonial Furniture in New Zealand (1971).

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