From Preston to Prestatyn, antique furniture has never been more popular, thanks in part for the coverage it gets TV. Once viewers in Lancashire have seen antique desks and Victorian balloon back dining chairs on mainstream television shows, they have the chance to see them all over again, on the digital and cable networks.
One of these networks is UKTV, host to the Home channel. Here, you can find a vast archive of past BBC antiques programs, which are now being repeated. The channel also has its own web page, where you will find some useful articles – including invaluable advice on how to tell the difference between genuine antique furniture and reproductions or fakes.
A repro and fake antique desk are not the same thing. One is a sympathetic copy of the original, and sold as such, while the other deliberately sets out to deceive, using clever tricks to make would-be buyers think it is the original. This includes using wood from low-value antiques of the same period; distressing and warping the surface to simulate hundreds of years of wear-and-tear, and using nails and glues authentic to the period.
This is where a fine line must be drawn, as some honest reproductions can be very skilful indeed. “Repro” antiques are nothing new. In Lancashire, antique mahogany partners desks in the Sheraton and Chippendale tradition (called Revival) were being made long after the original designers were dead; today, both are sold together. A good antique dealer in Preston will sell antique desks of both the Revival and authentic Chippendale periods. One may cost more than the other, but both will be affordable.
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