As people in Cumbria know, antique marquetry furniture is rarely seen on Antiques Roadshow, but on 25th November an exquisite inlaid dining table was a feature of the show.
In the second of two programmes from Falmouth, furniture expert Penny Brittain appraised a magnificent Victorian marquetry antique dining table . In daily use for 50 years, it was purchased for the princely sum of ‘ten bob’ – about 50p in today’s money – as part of a job lot of “old junk” from a country sale. Despite suffering from a wonky leg (remedied with a well-placed book) and woodworm, it served the family well, eventually being passed on to the farmer’s son. He had had it properly restored before – in a move that would horrify collectors of antique marquetry furniture in Lancashire – continuing to use it on a daily basis.
However, Penny Brittain was over the moon to find a piece of fine furniture being used for its intended purpose, especially something as stunning as this. Decorated with rosewood and sycamore cartouches, with elaborately carved pedestal, feet and undulating top, it was similar to a table in a Pre-Raphaelite painting by Holman Hunt, dating it to the mid-1850s.
Ten years ago, an antique dining table of this quality would have sold for £3,000 – 4,000. Today it would be nearer £1,500, which relieved the brothers, who had no wish to stop using their favourite heirloom. Now is obviously the time to invest in antique marquetry furniture and Lancashire antique dealers have a good selection.
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