SCOTS are being given the chance to bag a tiny bit of the aristocratic Downton Abbey lifestyle for themselves thanks to a stately home “car boot sale” next month.
Antique furniture, vintage clothing from top hats to ball gowns, pictures, linen, books and an eclectic range of collectables, toys and curios are going on sale in the grounds of Dalkeith Palace, outside Edinburgh.
‘There’s a chance for punters to buy a bit of Scottish history’
The upmarket jamboree is the result of more than 60 owners of castles, stately homes and large houses across Scotland joining forces to clear unwanted “knick-knacks” cluttering up their attics and basements.
The Stately Homes Attic Sale on Sunday, 17 May, the first of its kind in Scotland, will raise funds for the Elizabeth Finn Care charity which supports people in financial need. Organisers said stallholders – from Kelburn Castle in Ayrshire to Duns Castle in Berwickshire – would be loading their horseboxes to transport items to be displayed on trestle tables in the palace grounds.
Built in 1702, the former seat of the Duke of Buccleuch played host to Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and Queen Victoria in 1842.
Stallholder Lucy Wood, who lives near Peebles, is selling a range of objects including her grandmother’s vintage paste necklace, a China tea service and a 19th-century Hussar’s sword. She said: “These things are just in a cupboard and I don’t use them. In a way I’m sorry to see them go but you can’t hang on to everything.
“I do hope they go to a good home. I do feel that things ‘go round’, that people are more aware of old things now and love old things. Fashions come and go and everyone has their own style.”
Tamara Whitson, one of the organisers, said those invited to sell items had been carefully screened.
“There’s a committee who mailed out to stallholders. They are contacts, friends, and friends of friends, selected by invitation only.
“On the day itself there’s the chance for punters to come in and buy a bit of Scottish history which has been squirrelled away in someone’s attic.
“The beauty is that there is the opportunity to find items which you wouldn’t necessarily come by in shops with no mark-up by antique dealers. The prices will not be extortionate and unlike eBay you can check the condition of things before you buy and then take them home that day.”
Whitson added that while antique dealers would check the prices were appropriate they would not get “first dibs” at the cash-only sale.
“Just before the gates open a number of antique dealers will go around and check the prices are right, so that no-one is spending too much, and make sure a Rembrandt hasn’t been overlooked.”
Sarah Dawnay, chairwoman of the sale, said: “There has been nothing on this scale before. I am very grateful to all those taking part. It should be a wonderful day out for both sellers and buyers.”
The Stately Homes Attic Sale, 17 May, Dalkeith Palace, 10.30am-3.30pm. Adults £5, children free.