If it's chipped, cracked or peeling, all the better for Appley Hoare, who takes pride in selling 18th- and 19th-century French country furnishings and architectural ornaments—as is. "We like to leave things in the state we find them in," says Zoe Hoare, who helps her mother, Appley, in the London-based business on Pimlico Road. "We're called the delabre girls by our Italian friends because we have things that are distressed or damaged."
To coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, Appley Hoare has organized the Summer Garden Antiques Collection starting May 20, and this year's theme is antique painted wrought-iron furniture from the south of France. There are bistro tables and chairs in many different styles, terra cotta planters, zinc vases, stone vases, pots and urns. "We have quite decorative things for conservatories, like iron plant stands," says Hoare. "I found a rare pair of wrought-iron plant stands made in the 1940s in England, near Bath, in the form of a spiral staircase [below left]."
On her frequent buying trips Hoare has located a number of pieces of designer wrought-iron furniture from Arras, a historic town in the north of France where there are a number of factories that make metal products. "The Arras furniture—benches and seats—is sturdy and can last another 200 years. And it's very comfortable because it's made of round bars, as opposed to flat ones," says Hoare, noting that a pair of Arras chairs might sell for almost $10,000. In addition to a few pieces of furniture she is showing stellar examples of Arras rose arbors, gazebos and plant stands this month.
For the first time this year, the Pimlico Road dealers, Hoare included, will on Tuesday, May 21, have exhibits on the theme of flowers and gardens to coincide with the Chelsea event, which draws visitors from around the world.