In auction house parlance, letting the hammer (or its more discreet cousin, the mallet) fall is something the antiques firm Mallett (212.249.8783, www.mallettantiques.com) has been doing since 1865. With galleries in London and New York, and a stock of more than 2,000 English and Continental antiques and artworks, Mallett has one of the broadest offerings in the business, matched in turn by the depth of knowledge of its experts (as clients such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art attest).
A case in point is a pair of 18th-century Chinese armchairs, priced at $106,000, which Mallett debuted at TEFAF this year. "What distinguishes these ‘throne’ chairs is the wonderful lacquer and their excellent state of condition," says the gallery’s Henry Neville. "They would have been used by a nobleman, ceremonially.
Last year, Mallett launched Meta, a contemporary-decorative-arts company, with the goal of combining 18th-century craftsmanship with a 21st-century aesthetic. Meta’s first collection of limited-edition pieces was commissioned from high-profile artists and ateliers such as Tord Boontje, BarberOsgerby, and Matali Crasset.