15 Sep 2019
October 3, 2011 - Filed under: Antique Desks — David

A folding Chippendale antique dining table , worth £500,000, was one of 14 items recovered in two police raids on lock-up garages in Yorkshire.

The antiques, worth £5m in total, were stolen from Firle Place, East Sussex, and Newby Hall and Sion Hill in North Yorkshire. They were recovered following a year-long police investigation which resulted in the arrests of two men. However, it is thought many more pieces may already have found their way to mainland Europe.

The table was a rare piece of antique marquetry furniture which Lancashire visitors will recognise had they visited Newby Hall prior to June 2007, when the theft took place. The antique dining table was almost certainly commissioned by the ancestor of the present Estate owner in 1775, and probably stolen for its rarity. Worth at least £500,000 on the open market, it was the only piece of antique furniture recovered in the raids. Other items included a £1.3million Meissen porcelain collection stolen from Firle Place.

Newby Hall was the setting for the TV drama Mansfield Park, and a popular attraction for visitors from Lancashire. Its antique desks and other Chippendale originals attract scores of people each year. The theft occurred after the thieves drilled through security shutters – a technique used at other stately homes in Yorkshire. However, the fact Firle Place was also targeted makes investigators fear this is only the tip of a sophisticated nationwide operation.

It’s important to realise criminal “spotters” are always on the prowl. Antique dealers in Lancashire know that Victorian balloon back dining chairs in Preston are just as attractive as Chippendale antique desks in Ripon, and take measures appropriately.

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