10 Apr 2021
September 8, 2010 - Filed under: Antiques on TV — Richard

An article recently in The Independent pointed out the extremes that programme staging has to go to in order to get sets exactly right. According to the article, Mad Men, which is set in the 1960s, attributes much of its following to the show’s accurate rendering of what times were like back then, even to getting the ice-cubes right. With more of us watching antiques programmes now than ever before, and period dramas becoming increasingly popular, again programmers are under increasing pressure not to fob the British public off with costumes and furniture on set that are not of the period. But how far does this slavishness to accuracy have to go and is it possible to get stage sets exactly right anyway?

Apparently in the 4th century BC, Greek theatre used painted backdrops, and it was only since the 19th century that staging became more naturalistic. Certainly everybody who watches films and dramatisations of anything by Jane Austen may not wish to see Mrs Bennet having an attack of the vapours on a Victorian pastiche of a Rococo day bed. It would be safer to have furniture of the period, which would be a Regency chaise, or certainly an accurate Victorian or modern reproduction of one. However, past generations’ tastes were more eclectic than we realise, and unless you were very wealthy and could afford a complete Neoclassical revamp by Robert Adam for example, most houses made do with both old and new furniture and many stately homes today have examples of fine furniture spanning hundreds of years.

Eclectic is often best when it comes to setting up home with antique furniture. When purchasing a Rococo or Regency chaise or a set of Chippendale antique dining chairs , Preston dealers can show you how to mix and match pieces effectively.

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