There should be no shortage of Victorian mahogany pedestal desks for the town councillors of Bury St Edmunds. After all, the borough has almost £6m worth of art and antiques. The trouble is most of it is in storage.
Bury St Edmunds is the main town and administrative centre of St Edmondsbury borough council in West Suffolk, where it was revealed there are several million pounds worth of historical artefacts, either in storage or otherwise hidden away. They include portraits, period costumes, antique cabinets and a large number of antique timepieces. Until recently, the bulk of the collection could be seen at the Manor House and Moyse’s Hall museums, but the Manor House was closed in 2006, halving the number of objects on public display.
Following a Freedom of Information request by councillor David Nettleton, it has been revealed that almost 80 per cent of the collection – more than 220 objects – is currently in storage. Cllr Nettleton has now asked for these to either be put on display or sold. However, many objects have been bequeathed to the council, with covenants preventing their sale. This includes a portrait by James Tissot, valued at almost £2m, and the Gershom Parkington clock collection, which is worth up to £10m. Currently, only a small number of artworks and clocks can be displayed at any one time, but space isn’t the only problem. According to the borough collections officer, security issues and the possibility of light damage also have to be taken into account.
When buying fine furniture such as antique mahogany partners desks in Lancashire, ask the antique dealer for advice on caring for them at home.
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