Oxford Restoration LLC (owned and operated by Brian Stair) is a fine antique restoration and
conservation company of the highest quality and integrity. Central to our mission is the idea of
maintaining existing objects and structures so that they can continuously function in the way that
they were originally intended. We are composed of highly skilled and experienced people
whose aim is to conserve and restore antique furniture and architectural spaces to the highest
possible standards. To achieve this it is important that we carry out our restoration using many of
the same traditional techniques and materials that are specific to the period and origin of the object.
Established in 2002 by Brian Stair, Oxford Restoration was formed after the disintegration of the
Sotheby’s Restoration Department of which he formally headed. Going back four generations, Mr.
Stair’s family has been prominent in the antique and restoration trade. The immersion in antique
furniture from an early age has given Brian exceptional expertise in identification of antiques and
fine decorative arts and therefore makes Oxford Restoration one of the premier resources
for restoration and conservation.
From antique furniture to finished mill work, paneled rooms to elevator cabs, Oxford Restoration
thrives on the premise that we help make works of art appear to the observer as they were
originally intended to by the artist. Restoration and conservation is one of the oldest recycling
businesses in the world and here at Oxford Restoration we are proud of our time- tested,
environmentally friendly methods and our superior product.
100 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: THE STAIR FAMILY HISTORY 1911-2012
Brian Stair, Owner and Director of Oxford Restoration, comes from a long and distinguished line of
English antique dealers and furniture restorers. A century ago, Brian's great grandfather founded
Stair & Andrew, Ltd., a firm specializing in fine antique English furniture and paneled rooms. One of
the initial exhibitors at the inaugural Grosvernor House Fair in 1934, this prestigious company was
the first London antiques firm to establish branch offices overseas.
Arthur C. Stair and his partner, Valentine S. Andrew, established their antiques business in 1911 in
the heart of London's fashionable Soho Square. Patronized by English aristocracy, American
industrialists and private European collectors, the firm offered rare and highly prized items for
clients with discriminating tastes. These richly crafted pieces were created by the funest designers
and craftsman of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Thomas Chippendale, Robert Adam,
Thomas Hope and George Smith. Furniture sold by the firm was not only utilitarian, but also
provided great aesthetic pleasure to grace and elegant interior. In many instances, the pieces
elevated the status of the satisfies client.
During the Great Depression, the celebrated English designer Lady Sybil Colefax began her
business in a small area of one floor of Stair & Andrew. At the time, the gallery was located in a
fashionable area in London at 24 Bruton Street, in the former townhouse of Lord Islington. The
company quickly evolved into a thriving business spanning two continents, with branch offices in
four cities. At the peak of their success, the firm had galleries in London, Manhattan, Palm Beach
and Williamsburg, VA. The firm also had a fully staffed restoration division, Oxford Restoration,
which serviced all facets of conserving high end antique furniture and decorations.
The New York gallery, which opened in 1912, included a decorating department selling architectural
woodwork from historical English interiors. Entire rooms with wood paneling were installed in many
significant American houses built during the early 20th century. These included installing paneling
removed from Hook Hall into Alfred G. Vanderbilt's home, and working with venerable architect John
Russell Pope to install a paneled room for Joseph J. Kerrigan. Other paneled rooms were
purchased under the direction of Delano & Aldrich and Treanor & Fatio. Both the New York and
London galleries specialized in early oak and 18th C walnut furniture which was popular throughout
Alastair Arthur Stair, Brain's grandfather, joined the firm in 1931, transferring to the New York
branch in 1935 to work with Mr. Andrew. A year later, when Mr. Andrew retired, Alastair bought the
business, named it Stair & Company, and ran it in a beautifully restored townhouse at 59 E. 57th St.
until 1986. Stair & Company sold important pieces and formed numerous private collections in
America and abroad for clients including Nelson Rockefeller, Paul Mellon, Judge Irwin Untermeyer
(who ultimately donated his collection to the English Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Claus
and Martha von Bulow, Harvey Van Cliburn, Benjamin Sonnenberg, and Dr. Jules Stein. While
serving with elite clients as the Whitney, Vanderbilt, Ford and Chrysler familes, Alastair's founded
the Antique and Art Dealer's Association of America and the Winter Antiques Show in Manhattan.
After 50 years, Alastair sold the firm to David Murdoch, a Los Angeles financier, and joined
Sotheby's New York as a consultant.
Alastair John Stair, Brian's father, was born and raised in New York. In the early 1960's, he served
as a US Marine in Vietnam, relocating to London after his tour of duty to work at Sotheby's un the
tutelage of the great master-mind Peter C. Wilson. He was invited to join Sotheby's Board of
Directors with the understanding that he would eventually return to New York. When Sotheby's
purchased Parke-Bernet in 1964, John Stair, working with Louis and John Marion, spearheaded the
effort to make Sotheby's an international presence. In the process, they created the largest fine art
auction house in the United States.
After working briefly for his father at Stair & Co. John formed a gallery with Ward Landrigan, a
former Sotheby's colleague who currently owns the iconic jeweler, Verdura. John the reunited with
Sotheby's in the late 1970s, launching the company's Restoration Division. The expanded division
had a staff of highly skilled cabinetmakers, polishers, gilders and lacquer specialists. Working
together with both Brian and Colin Stair under John's supervision, the department achieved a
national reputation for excellence in historic restoration and preservation. Brian Stair, John’s son,
continues the family tradition in this specialty. In 2001, Brian purchased the remaining contents of
Sotheby’s Restorations Division and set up shop as Oxford Restoration, reviving his grandfather’s
firm in name and quality tradition. Brian brought with him 13 years of experience with Sotheby’s and
many of its finest restorers. At Sotheby’s under his father’s tutelage Brian honed his expertise in
object and wood identification as well as the restoration and conservation of thousands of important
objects. Brian brings to every project 100 years of family pride and excellence in workmanship.
PHONE (212) 860-0410 FAX (212) 860-0140
|Alastair John Stair,
|Alastair Arthur Stair,
LOCATION 315 East 91 Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10128