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Sniffing out the stories behind antique treasure

b11-1379 Kathryn Holloway and her partner Andy Watts have become the first French antique dealers in the county after giving up jobs in journalism to set up a new antique business at Woburn Abbey.

b11-1379 Kathryn Holloway and her partner Andy Watts have become the first French antique dealers in the county after giving up jobs in journalism to set up a new antique business at Woburn Abbey.

A JOURNALISTIC couple from Ravensden have taken their love of a good story to whole new level, by opening an antiques dealership with a difference.

Andy Watts and Kathryn Holloway met on the eve of the first Gulf War waiting for the last flight out of Riyadh to arrive at Heathrow Airport so they could cover the dramatic events. Andy as a photographer for the Times newspaper and Kathryn as a television news reporter.

The couple fell in love and had two children, but after glittering careers in the media it is their shared love of French antiques which has led them to open Bon Chic Bon Genre at the Antiques Centre in the grounds of Woburn Abbey.

Kathryn said: “When I was little I used to spend all my holidays in France and Andy and I spent our first holiday in Paris.

“We walked around the famous antiques markets in Paris and said ‘one day we are going to do this’. And then we realised that Bedfordshire does not have a French antiques shop and knew we had to make it happen.”

But the pair knew that their shop had to reflect their passion for a great story using their skills to source interesting pieces with fascinating histories.

Stock currently on sale in the shop includes a rose silk damask pelmet for curtains dating back to the 1800s which was once owned by the film director Stanley Kubrick. There are also framed watercolour scenes painted by an unknown aristocratic gentleman on his grand tour of France, which was a customary way of recording what you had seen before photography was widespread.

Kathryn, who has worked for Sky News and alongside presenter Lorraine Kelly on TVam, said: “Our shop must have the most detailed labels ever because coming for a journalism background I love to tell the stories behind the items. We don’t buy things that we wouldn’t put in our own home and we are fascinated by the history surrounding our items and vintage and antique fabrics.

“We have also learned that you do not have to go outside Bedfordshire to find excellent craftsmen. All of the furniture is restored in Bedfordshire and our pictures are framed in Bedford.”

To find out more visit www.woburn.co.uk/antiques

 

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