About Us

Visit our showroom in Kent:
Starborough Farm, Marsh Green, near Edenbridge TN8 5RB. We also ship worldwide

The Design Gallery was launched in 2002 to specialise in progressive design movements of the 19th and 20th Century. We met whilst studying at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and discovered that we shared a passion for design, especially Art Deco, Art Nouveau and the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Our first gallery was established in the historic town of Westerham, Kent, UK where we traded successfully for 18 years, attracting clients who fell in love with the aesthetics of the periods we represented. From scarce pieces of Arts & Crafts furniture and metalware by luminaries such as William Morris and Archibald Knox, to top-level British Art Deco by Epstein and Maurice Adams and French glass by the masters of Art Nouveau and Art Deco including Rene Lalique, Galle and Daum, we celebrated each and every discovery, whatever the price range.

We added designer costume jewellery to the mix – Chrissie had previously been a fashion editor – and our customers added unique pieces of style to their own collections.

The 3000 sq.ft. showroom and warehouse moved in 2019 to Starborough Farm, a peaceful, rural location set between Edenbridge and Lingfield at Marsh Green. Historic properties and gardens in the area include Chartwell, Standen, Hever Castle and Gravetye Manor. You can visit by exclusive appointment as well as on the days when we are fully open, no appointment needed.

Our clientele includes internationally famous interior and fashion designers, pop stars and historians. We are as delighted to serve a customer with a £20 pair of earrings as we are to ship a rare Art Deco dining suite to New York. We have always said that design is democratic and we aim to serve our customers in the same spirit.

Expertise and Customer Service

We have written widely on these fascinating periods of design, including being invited to authenticate the decorative arts sections of the Antiques Price Guide, edited by Judith Miller and contributing the chapters Art Deco Furniture and Art Deco Ceramics to Judith’s book 20th Century Design.

John, whose career was formerly as a Treasurer for international banks, became the Honorary Treasurer of the Decorative Arts Society for 8 years.

Roger Shuff Yatol, a widely-respected research historian and manager at The Design Gallery, was first introduced to us as a client when we first opened our doors. Roger has contributed greatly across many fields, working on the provenance of many pieces and developing the Knowledge Base, where we enjoy sharing the information about the pieces we are privileged to deal in.

It has always been important to us that pieces are described accurately and that attributions are carefully researched. We have invested in archives of photographs of interior schemes, trade catalogues, copies of contemporary magazines and periodicals such as The Studio, Architectural Digest and The Artist, along with a library of perhaps a thousand books. Where we can’t be 100% certain of a designer or a manufacturer, we will describe a piece as “possibly by”. Where there is a strong likelihood that an item is by a particular hand we write “attributed to”.  These attributions are based on years of experience in handling similar pieces, as well as studying the construction and design attributes.

If you are looking for a particular piece, please ask to be added to our Wants List. We will do our best to locate rare pieces for you.

Restoration and Condition

It is equally important to us that the condition of pieces is precisely described. You can be assured that our descriptions are carefully considered and that where pieces are described as “original”, they are of the period.

For restoration, where required, our highly skilled craftsmen use traditional techniques and materials. We never over-restore or use quick fixes such as sprayed lacquer finishes.

Large range of stock

We always keep a wide choice of both restored and unrestored furniture stock. The prices quoted include restoration, although you are welcome to ask for a price “as is”.

The majority of our stock is from the Arts & Crafts and Art Deco eras. You will also find a selection of Gothic Revival, Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau and usually some interesting finds from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Jewellery stock is constantly changing, ranging from delicate, late 19th and early 20th Century designs through to dramatic 1980s catwalk pieces. We make an exception for jewellery stock, in that we keep a selection that combines period elements with modern fittings – these pieces are created by jewellery designers and offer the opportunity to purchase the Art Deco and Art Nouveau look without breaking the bank.

Malcolm Appleby MBE, the world-renowned Silversmith-Engraver, met us early on (he grew up and studied in Kent). We are proud to represent his beautiful, limited editions jewellery and one-off works of art.

We launched and trademarked our Suffragette ® Jewellery Collection and are currently working with a number of jewellery designers to produce exciting necklace, bracelet and earring designs that celebrate the empowerment of women.

Bespoke Furniture by Period Designs

The Art Deco Contemporary Collection was designed by John in 2016 and launched to acclaim by interior designers and clients at the international trade fair, Decorex. The pieces are manufactured by a small Sussex workshop, which has restored our original furniture for many years. You can also design and order your own furniture from Period Designs.

Visit our showroom in Kent:
Starborough Farm, Marsh Green, near Edenbridge TN8 5RB. We also ship worldwide