Lancashire TV viewers don’t often see expert John Foster of Antiques Roadshow lose his cool, but he got perilously close in Antiques to the Rescue – a brand new series in which he tries to save historic houses from struggling by persuading the owners to sell their family heirlooms.
A hybrid of Country House Rescue and Cash In The Attic, the BBC2 production made its debut on Wednesday 19th September, with John going to the aid of Morgan and Sara Kavanagh of Borris House, their family seat in Ireland’s County Carlow. The striking 50-room mansion has a fascinating history, but time and the elements have taken their toll. One wing has already been abandoned, and the rest of the house could follow suit unless £20,000 is found to aid the opening of a visitor centre and offset some of the £200,000 a year maintenance costs.
When John first entered the magnificent state rooms, furnished with antique cabinets, Victorian balloon back dining chairs and other heirlooms, the task seemed straightforward – but he had reckoned without Morgan’s reluctance to part with family treasures. A massive antique dining table (actually an Irish Wake Table) had to stay, as did the paintings, Persian rugs, porcelain and contents of the antique bookshelves. John eventually managed to forage enough antiques to make around 23,000 Euros – although commission charges brought this down to 21,250 Euros. Luckily, the Kavanaghs were also awarded an enhanced heritage grant, helping to make their visitor centre a reality.
If you want to sell your antique dining table, a Preston antique dealer will offer you a better deal than you’d get at auction.
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