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The Antiques Roadshow Adventure

The Antiques Roadshow Adventure

Thursday the 28th July saw the Preses accompanied by Mrs Preses and three of our finest Managers (acting as bodyguards), head off to the World Heritage site of New Lanark. The plan was to get the General Society in front of the experts in the Antiques Roadshow. As the Society has just celebrated its 250th Anniversary we thought we could inject a bit more interest in our life and work around the Village of Kilbarchan.

Having been in touch earlier to “tell our story” the Preses was given VIP Guest access for himself and his group of guests. Upon arriving at the entrance and waving our VIP pass we were whisked past the already humongous queue to be fast tracked and triaged by the first line of experts. We were made very welcomed by Natalie Harris who made suitable and knowing noises as we produced the Preses Chain of Office and the painting of Habbie Simpson, having been taken down from his spot in the Ladies Room, to join us on our adventure.

Natalie called the show producer to show him our wares and see if our goods were worthy of airtime, our hearts skipped a beat. Could this be our big break into show biz? A day of filming with herself, the wonderful Fiona Bruce? Would the painting of Habbie feature on Fake or Fortune? Sadly our early hopes were cruelly dashed when the Producer informed us that they didn’t like to show a Chain of Office, as this did not belong to an individual. They knew that at every Roadshow the Mayoral Chain would make an appearance and so as not to offend anybody they had taken the decision not to feature any of these, no matter what the history.

Hopes slightly dashed, we were given tickets to see different experts in Jewellery and Paintings.

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Experts peruse our painting of Habbie Simpson

We were very quickly seen by jewellery expert Joanna Hardy who made very appreciative comments on the splendour of the chain and was fascinated by its history. First commissioned in 1932 the chain had been supplied by Edward and Son jewellers of Glasgow, the hallmarking showed this and the fact it was a solid 9 carat gold beauty. Joanna wanted to have her colleague Geoffrey Munn examine the chain and give further consideration to its worth. A wait for Geoffrey was expected as he was off filming something special. Having some time on our hands we decided to head off to see the painting expert and again were quickly seen by expert Grant Ford who proclaimed Habbie a fine looking chap with a spectacular nose. Dating was very tricky and fellow expert Dendy Easton was brought in for a further consultation. Both experts agreed that the painting was probably done in the late 1700’s by an unknown Scottish Contemporary Artist (code for ‘no idea’). What we did find out was that the original painting has been restored and placed onto another canvas and that it was not going to fetch a huge sum in a large auction of rare paintings. Nonetheless we have a bit more information now.

We headed back to the jewellery area and after a short wait were brought to see Geoffrey Munn. Geoffrey was extremely complimentary about the chain of office and noted the exceptional quality of not only the chain but the Medallion showing The Bruce’s sister Marjory who was tragically killed in a horse riding accident near Renfrew. Marjory’s offspring of course went on to found the Stewart dynasty and her son Bleary Eye himself became Monarch of Scotland, but that’s another story. Geoffrey was so taken with the chain nothing would have it that he insisted that the Preses wear the chain and that we set off in search of a roving camera.

Sadly the roving camera was in the hands of the show producer and he again reluctantly declined Geoffrey’s request to have the chain on film, repeating the story of “If we film one we will have to film them all for every show”. And so our Big Day Out came to an end.

We repaired to the tea tent for a scone and a tea to gird our loins for the trip home. Our day was truly at an end, and while we never got to rub shoulders with the famous Miss Bruce we all enjoyed meeting the experts who helped us appreciate a wee bit more just what treasures we have, and not just the Managers.

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Managers and Mrs Preses at New Lanark

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