In Lancashire, antique dining tables and Victorian dining chairs are once more coming into vogue as people rediscover the beauty and craftsmanship of antique dining furniture, a subject covered in depth on 2nd May in a new BBC series, Antiques Uncovered.
Presented by historian Lucy Worsley and antiques expert Mark Hill, the series takes a refreshingly different approach by looking at antique dining chairs, Georgian silverware and other antiques in their social and historical context. The first episode, titled Entertainment, was of particular interest to owners of antique tableware and antique balloon backed dining chairs in Preston, covering all aspects of entertaining at home.
Starting at Woburn Abbey, we learned why crockery is referred to as “china” (the first porcelain tea cups came from that country, along with the tea). Later, Lucy reclined on a rococo chaise longue while Mark explained how daybeds made the transition from bedroom to sitting room, becoming the sofa (from the Arabic word suffah). The rococo style flourished from around 1700 to 1780 and was characterised by seashells, C-shaped back-to-back scrolls, carved cabriole legs and light feminine contours. This led us to the subject of Thomas Chippendale and his famous Furniture Director, which coined the phrase “household furniture”. Having seen the magnificent Chippendale antique dining chairs of Dumfries House, Lucy visited a workshop near Edinburgh where Chippendale chairs are still made by hand and had a go herself.
During the programme, Mark explained how silver-plated tableware and glassware can be purchased at low cost from antique dealers. In Preston, nothing sets off an antique cabinet like a piece of Georgian “bling”.
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