Antiques and the Stately Homes
It has been given to few people to have the privilege of working for 25 years in such a large variety of Britain's stately homes. For that person then to get to know well so many members of the aristocracy whilst surrounded by a galaxy of the finest antiques is unique. Robert Soper, and his wife Stephanie, fell upon the opportunity of revamping the antiques trade as it was then, at the same time being instrumental in dragging the reluctant aristocracy into the real world of commerce, using their most important assets - their estates - to generate real money for once. Far from it being an easy ride, soon after they began they encountered severe and hostile opposition resulting into a diversification that generated some of Britain's biggest shows under canvas. How they franchised the business is discussed with the stories of their biggest triumphs and worst disasters given equal prominence. Part two is a series of anecdotes and amusing happenings when ordinary people mix with the great and the good including how the author had to gently evict Lord Spencer, Princess Diana's father, out of one stately home, ghosts we encountered and what happens when you get the advertising wrong. Part three is a personal view of Fakes and Forgeries circulating through both industries, the minefield of authenticating antiques, the hidden stately homes, how much your antiques may be actually worth right through to how the 'ring' works at auctions. A fascinating insight into two mysterious worlds. The book is well illustrated and has a foreword written by the good friend of the author, The Duke of Richmond in whose home, Goodwood House, he spent over one whole year during the period.