‘Marriage’ means many things to many people but is almost an ‘f’ word in the Antiques Trade.
A marriage can be defined as a decision by two halves to make public a happy relationship.
In the Antiques Trade just the opposite applies, ‘marriages’ are contrived to deceive !
‘Marriages’ in the Antiques Trade take place when two separate and individual items are joined together to create a much more valuable whole.
Most encountered ‘marriages’ are when a bookcase top and a base are brought together to form one unit. Look always at the backboards, top and base must conform, including nails/screws, the most obvious giveaway and easiest to spot. Timber quality and grain, top, base and sides, must also conform.
For tallboys or highboys, offer up a drawer from the base to a drawer in the top and examine linings and dovetailing, both should have been created by the same hand.
Trays married to bases to form ‘genuine tripod tables’ are everywhere. Beware of the finest trays, piecrusts, galleried rims etc…, joined in unholy matrimony. Look for tell tale signs of a relocation under the tray where the column locates. The rarer and most desirable the result, the more care needs to be taken. Be particularly on guard against ‘kettle stands’, 90% of which you may be sure are marriages. “Associated’ is an oft used euphemism used by many in an attempt to fudge what is in effect a marriage, let the use of this word be a warning to all.