This Valentine’s Day, will you be romancing your loved one in some romantic restaurant – or comparing Victorian dining chairs in a Preston showroom? If it’s the latter, the BBC are looking for amateur antiques lovers for a new series of their popular quiz show, Antiques Master – but you’ll have to hurry, because the last date for application forms is Monday 14th February. Antiques Master has a particular significance for romancers of antique desks in Lancashire – because the series is filmed at Burnley’s Towneley Hall, the home of the Towneley family for over 500 years until it was sold to Burnley council in 1902, becoming an art gallery and museum in 1903.
Today, the hall (which has free entry) hosts arts and heritage events throughout the year, with displays of everything from natural history specimens, to locally made Arts & Crafts furniture. Cumbria and Lancashire residents flocked to Towneley in 2010, as all 12 episodes of the first series of Antiques Master were filmed there. Described as a cross between Mastermind and Going for a Song, the show is hosted by popular presenter Sandi Toksvig, and Antiques Roadshow stalwart Eric Knowles.
Although Antiques Master is aimed at amateurs, a keen interest in Gillow’s Victorian dining chairs might not be enough. There’s a lengthy general knowledge section to get through too, with the largest collection of antiques ever amassed on one TV show to test your mettle. Antique dealers in Preston know their antique desks and Victorian dining chairs in immaculate detail – so could it be a local who walks off with the title of 2011 Antiques Master of Britain?
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