There has been renewed interest in antique bookcases, Georgian chests and Victorian dining chairs , since Preston and Cumbria residents began seeing the sense in solid investment for their homes. This has been helped by the celebrity contingent. Laurence-Llewellyn Bowen’s new show, House Gift, has lifted the lid on using vintage furnishings to beautify your home, and when Kirstie Allsopp was seen browsing the antique desks at an Ardingly fair, sales shot up overnight.
The renewed interest in antiques started a couple of years back, when interior designers began seeing the value of vintage toys and Gustavian painted furniture in modern homes. This expanded to fine art, ceramics, and furniture such as early Victorian dining chairs. Lancashire dealers attending last year’s LAPADA fair in London reported a 15% rise in visitors.
Much of the interest has focussed on fine arts and decorative ceramics. Asian – especially Chinese – pieces are selling at an all-time high. This includes those made for export. Recently, an 18th century Chinese export porcelain bowl, estimated at £10,000-15,000, sold for £58,000 in Lewes, Sussex. While this is small potatoes compared to the £53 million paid for the Pinner vase, it puts paid to the argument that only heritage pieces stolen from their country of origin are of value.
In Cumbria, antique desks and similar furniture have turned out to be the trade’s best-kept secret. Simple Georgian and early Victorian furnishings, such as 1830s Victorian dining chairs and antique chests, are proving popular with the trendy young set – and liable to increase in value. Visit your local antique dealer in Preston, and you’ll find fabulous examples, currently still keenly priced.
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