A Lancashire antique shop can take you on a fascinating trip back in history; delve deeper into the antique chest or cabinet that you have your eye on, and you can even discover the drinking habits of its original owners.
According to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), antique chests, cabinets and even antique dining tables can have a close link to alcoholic beverages – at least according to the exhibition, Our Spirited Ancestors: The Decorative Art of Drink, which finishes on 21st October. Located at Old Salem in North Carolina, MESDA is dedicated to the social history and decorative artefacts of the early American South, with year-round displays of furniture, metalwork, textiles, paintings, ceramics and other pieces from the early 17th to early 19th centuries.
While Old Salem is a long way from Cumbria, the antique desks on display have a strong semblance to those made by English cabinetmakers. In fact, many of the finer pieces, such as an early 18th Century antique dining table in mahogany and cherry wood, were made by British migrants, in particular from Scotland.
In Our Spirited Ancestors, MESDA looks at antique furniture from a pre-Prohibition era, when antique chest-on-stands (called cellarets or bottle cases) were designed to fit the owner’s own liquor bottles, and antique dining tables had marble tops to keep the wine cool. Similar furniture can be found in Preston – which interestingly was the seat of the British Temperance Movement. Today, antique dealers in Lancashire have antique cabinets to suit every tipple, along with antique decanters and glasses. All that is needed are the bottles to fill them.
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