M. Markley Antiques
281.748.2266
















 

The Story of M. Markley Antiques

Once upon a time…

Vaux-le-Vicomte

Meril and Michael enjoying a romantic interlude
in the gardens of the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte
 

Two newlyweds, Meril and Michael Markley, were transferred to Paris.  After renting a  “furnished” apartment, they quickly came to realize that they needed some pieces of their own to make their flat seem like a home.  But when it came to new furniture, everything looked ultra modern and sterile (albeit stylish, in a way only the French can convey).  What they wanted was to live with antiques – sturdy, hand-made furniture of solid wood with decorative flair yet evoking sensuality and comfort.  Once they began looking, they soon came to appreciate why French furniture makers have innovated and influenced for centuries, as the pinnacle of achievement in style, design, craftsmanship and sheer beauty.

To their relief and delight, they learned that the world’s largest antique market lay just across the ring-road from Paris in an industrial suburb called Saint Ouen.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that Michael was on his own, with limited French, since Meril was at work all day while he awaited his work visa.
 

Views from Meril's office window of the Opéra Garnier and the Eiffel Tower..

Opera


Eiffel 

So, learning the French language by studying French antiques became Michael’s mission, with the dream that one day he might actually become a dealer importing antique French furniture into the U.S.  In the meantime, he could acquire some very interesting furniture for their own apartment while honing his international business skills.

Views of Saint Ouen, the world's largest antiques market, just outside the Paris city limits and adjacent to the Flea Market at Clignancourt...

Rosiers
 

Dauphine

As Michael’s abilities to speak French progressed, he got to know the antique dealers in Saint Ouen.  They were happy to share their expertise with him, while helping him to improve his French vocabulary and grammar.  Above all, they inspired him with their passion for rediscovering and preserving France’s rich stylistic heritage.

 Many of these dealers, along with ones we have met since then, are trusted partenaires who help seek out the unique and the beautiful for M. Markley Antiques.
 

Antiek Tijdloos
Evy & Roderic at Antiek Tijdloos
 

Belgian Antique Exporters
Vincent at Belgium Antique Exporters
 

Nord Antique
Laetitia and Tonino at Nord Antique
 

What started as the acquisition of a few pieces for their apartment grew, over the course of the next decade, into a business based on finding unusual, well-preserved and distinctive pieces for the American marketplace.  M. Markley Antiques, now based in Texas, lives by the notion that French craftsmen of earlier centuries were not just journeymen, they were artists whose works merit the admiration otherwise reserved for painters and sculptors.

This reverence for the craft led M. Markley Antiques to specialize in pieces from the 19th century and before, made of solid wood, chiefly walnut and oak.  The Markleys are always on the look-out for pieces dating from the 19th century revival of interest in Gothic and Renaissance furniture, particularly pieces in walnut whose fine grain lent itself to virtuosic carving and exuberance of decoration.  Focusing primarily on styles known as Henri II, Louis XIII, Louis XIV and Louis XV (sometimes referred to in the American market as “country French”), they select pieces in the best condition and, where necessary, arrange for restoration using Old World methods.  These styles of furniture integrate well into modern American homes and businesses where the emphasis is on comfort and gracious elegance, but without the elevated formality and golden finish of the styles named after later reigns such as Louis XVI and Empire.

Finding these pieces has become more and more challenging over the years as collectors have snapped them up and prices have soared.  But through a combination of close ties with their French partenaires and their own frequent trips all over France, the Markleys’ business has continued to grow and has contributed to the popularity of these styles of furniture in the U.S.  On their regular forays through Europe, whether the sunny plains of Provence or the rainy market towns of the Loire Valley, they are relentless in their quest for eye-catching and utterly unique masterpieces of the furniture maker’s art.

 

Meril and Michael Markley outside EDET International, their agent in Europe, at Marché Biron in Saint Ouen...

Markleys - Edet International