Fiona Bruce and the Antiques Roadshow team were at Stowe House on Sunday 6th January, with a particularly good selection of furniture to assess – including two diminutive antique dining tables that had once belonged to the owner of Stowe House himself.
Possibly the grandest seat of learning in the country, Stowe House is a magnificent 17th century Grade 1 listed mansion and the seat of the Temple-Grenville family. Although it was taken over by Stowe School in the 1920s, the magnificent interiors have been restored, and are managed by, the Stowe House Preservation Trust. However, visitors making the trip down from Cumbria won’t see the Victorian balloon back dining chairs and antique cabinets which once graced rooms like the library and the music room, as the palace was gutted of anything that was removable when it was sold in 1921.
The Preservation Trust has embarked on a quest to discover the whereabouts of the Lost Treasures of Stowe. Viewers who tuned in to Antiques Roadshow were able to see two of these treasures for themselves: a pair of exquisite 18th century Portuguese marquetry coaching tables. Created for the first duke circa 1760, these fine pieces of antique marquetry furniture were valued at £8,000 for insurance purposes.
The most valuable piece of furniture was also the most uninspiring – a simple modernist stool, purchased in 1930. The reason was that the designer was artist Francis Bacon, who had sold it to the buyer at a studio sale. It was valued at £10,000 – 15,000, but residents in Lancashire can find antique desks and chairs at far lower prices by visiting an antique dealer.
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