Now in its eleventh series, Flog It! often turns up vernacular country pieces that pre-date the Arts & Crafts furniture period.
This was proven in the sixth episode of ‘Series 8 Reversions’, which visited Blackburn in Lancashire. A large industrial town nestling on the edge of the Ribble Valley, antique dining chairs made here often reflect the industrial heritage of the area, as Paul Martin pointed out on a Macclesfield ladder-back chair with a rush seat. The property of a 92-year old former antique dealer and his wife, the piece had originally stood in the hall, where it was in danger of damage by overuse until it was moved.
The honest, rustic style of the chair belied its18th century origins, making it potentially valuable. However, furniture expert Paul pointed out the well-used piece had been repaired several times in the past, reducing its value. As well as two reglued splits in the back-rail, one of the feet had been retoed during the Victorian period. This was to make the chair level after 100 years of constant use had worn down one of the feet.
Paul was nonetheless delighted with the piece, pointing out that one rail had borne so many feet it was completely worn flat in places. The bobbin turning – reflecting its mill-town origins – marked this as a fine piece of vernacular furniture, yet it failed to meet its reserve at auction, leading Paul to comment that bidders lack appreciation for good regional furniture.
The appreciation is there – it’s just that discerning buyers know that to find locally-made furniture such as Victorian balloon back dining chairs in Lancashire, a local antique dealer is best.
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