5 Questions with our shop manager Brian Bailie

Welcome back to The Vintage Club
Justin & Brian have been busy delivering some BIG items the past few weeks and that means more room NEW PIECES!

We’ve had some really special antique pieces come through the door recently – Plan chest, beautiful Partner Desk & a stunning Irish Georgia Armoire. Read about the armoire’s backstory below.

Also managed to pin down Brian to give us some of his backstory! and how he got into furniture for our ‘5 QS’ chat below….

GEORGIAN IRISH ARMOIRE

This Irish armoire dates from between 1815 – 1820, made by the craftsmen of Robert Strahan,Dublin. One of Ireland’s leading cabinetmakers of the era.

Each section is clearly stamped with the maker’s mark, and it bears the early trade label proudly positioned centrally inside the cupboard.

Strahan exhibited their cabinetry at the Dublin Great Exhibition of 1862 and supplied fine furniture to many prestigious Irish country houses.
Measures 211cm high, 105cm wide, and 56cm deep.

A very handsome piece of Irish furniture with a good few generations of use to offer yet!

£1,500

5 Questions with our shop manager Brian Bailie

And a multi-talented manager at that!

A furniture maker himself, Brian has been enticing On The Square customers with his social media antics for the past 2 years. Designer, maker, writer, joker… read on to hear about how he got interested in this world of antiques.

You’ve been a furniture maker for a long time Brian, what got you started?

My family were fine cabinetmakers from about the 1840’s with workshops in Newtownards and Bangor; I got into it because my kids needed furniture and I couldn’t see any that was fun or well-made in the shops, so I designed and made some myself! It was good enough to be the best-selling furniture of all time at Harrod’s department store in London in the 1990’s.  My furniture designs have sold all over the world, from New York and Cape Town to Singapore and Sydney; and private commissions for British nobility, Holywood movie stars, international pop stars, and my mum.

From Kitchens to street signs, and even Chinese furniture export… is there anything that you wouldn’t tackle?

Before I tried furniture, I owned a commercial art business (that became obsolete when they invented computer graphics); I had clients from all the top advertising agencies in the UK. They used me as I had a reputation for tackling jobs that were too weird & off-the-wall for any other art contractors. We created a 25ft high cartoon characters, cartoon street signs, airbrush artwork for vehicles etc.  Just to keep it interesting, I later started a small business exporting from in China. We also taught modern manufacturing techniques to small factories there to get them up to Western export standards. We sourced a very wide range of products from teddy bears to ocean-going oil tankers!

What attracted to you towards working with antiques and furniture again?

I do a thing until I’ve done it to the best I possibly can and then I find something else to do. Engineering, farming, commercial art, furniture design, manufacturing and export; occasional non-fiction author and ghost-writer…..  I enjoy variety a challenge and working in this place is all that!

What is your current favourite in the store?

I love finding little treasures like newspaper cuttings inside books and lining the bottom of suitcases; and the Afghan rugs. They are works of art that represent months of work by their makers. I enjoy a good piece of antique Irish furniture… it must be in the blood.

 OnTheSquare Emporium – 02890 434290 OR EMAIL US 
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Some of Brian’s past & present creations:

A graphic plaque of 1950’s Dan Dare & John Powers Whiskey box – turned coffee table

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