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But Gill Jessop and her partner Roger Etheridge, as Etheridge & Jessop, are not among them.

The couple have spent the past 30 years rescuing clapped-out chests of drawers and cupboards in various states of dilapidation from fairs and auctions and restoring them to a very high quality at their home and workshop in Derbyshire.

They source unrestored stock mainly from fairs and auctions; IACF Newark and Runway, Arthur Swallow at Lincoln and B2B at Malvern being “favourite calls”.

“The best fun is actually being on the road finding the stuff,” said Jessop. “Five years ago at auction there would be a load of antique chests of drawers to pick from. These days we are lucky if we see one.”

She added: “We buy antique English pine as that’s the stuff we’re happiest with. Most of our stock is bought in the condition it leaves the house or barn it has lived in for many years – layers of old gloss paint from the bedroom and kitchen or full of garage tools.”

Restoration process

Original paintwork on pine furniture can vary from “plain drab earth colours for the servants’ rooms to the highly decorated items in many important country houses”.

Pine is traditionally thought of as plain and functional but it has historic value and a story of its own to tell

“It was rarely left unpainted – the stripped pine vogue of the ’70s and ’80s did irreparable damage to some fine pieces of work,” Jessop added.

She said that in the restoration process – which is labour-intensive work – “we retain any remaining old paint and work with it to produce something which looks right.

“I have learned over the years how things were originally painted, and line and decorate paintwork freehand using much the same techniques used in the past.”

The couple sell 95% of the restored furniture to the trade.

“Pine is traditionally thought of as plain and functional but it has historic value and a story of its own to tell,” said Jessop.

“When we uncover a line or scroll, I know that someone painted that by hand more than 150 years ago and I feel a connection to that work, to their skill and imagination.”

paintedpine.co.uk