Rummaging around at Shepton Mallet

By Rosanna Holmes,
11th May 2010 - 09:14
Claire Randall, Roadshow reporter, Bletchley Park, July 2009
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 An unseasonally cold Sunday morning had me heading south for the delights of the IACF Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, in search of a piece of unmitigated old rubbish to transform into a thing of beauty for our restoration pages. The Bath & West Showground hosts two fantastic fairs – the IACF and the Cooper’s Giant Flea. For the purposes of picking up a real piece of junk, the Giant Flea is definitely the one to go to, but I missed the most recent one and had a deadline looming.
For something really lovely the IACF probably has the edge and I saw plenty that could have graced the homestead without a hint of a shellac varnish. However, this was business and I had to dig below the polished façades and unearth something in need of a little TLC. I searched, uhmed and aahed over a 1920s Anglo-Indian carved tray that need a bit of filling and tidying, an old French armchair – knackered but a very pretty shape and relatively easy to reupholster (and had I been buying for myself, that would have been the one). However, in the end I settled on a tired but functional trunk (£20), a perfect size for a coffee table and – inspired by the achingly trendy Merci at Liberty concession – just ripe to be transformed into an eye-catching piece of floral loveliness. I can see the result in my head, but can it be executed? Watch this space and (hopefully) September’s issue to see the ‘after’ shot and our step-by steps.