SPRING has sprung at a Borders stately home as the venue prepares to reopen its doors after the restoration of an iconic piece of furniture.

Paxton House is to welcome visitors for the beginning of the 2024 season from March 29.

A lot goes on behind the scenes in Britain’s stately homes and Paxton is no exception.

Not only does the Pilgrim Trust exist to preserve the house and grounds for future generations, but also to look after its amazing collection of furniture and works of art.

One such is the hugely impressive, highly decorated “Hercules” cabinet, so called as the Greek hero appears in an exquisite ivory statuette at the heart of the cabinet, while his life and achievements are celebrated in a series of small incised plaques set into the drawers.

The cabinet is a particularly fine example of a type which was very fashionable with the aristocratic families of Central and Northern Italy in the Renaissance. Made from rosewood and ivory around the turn of the sixteenth century, it probably originates from Naples, which was a centre for this type of intricate work.

Not surprisingly over the 400 years since it was created it had suffered some damage and needed specialist treatment.

Thanks to the Pilgrim Trust and a generous anonymous donor, expert conservator Fergus Purdy has helped bring it back to its original glory.

Belinda Don, Paxton’s commercial development manager, said: “With infinite care and skill, Fergus was able to restore the piece to look as good as it did the day it was made. Why not take one of our renowned House Tours and see for yourself the amazing work that Fergus has done?

“Conservation is an integral part of the work of the Paxton Charitable Trust.  This summer, we will launch our 250th Anniversary Chippendale exhibition celebrating 250 years since the first of our internationally important Chippendale furniture collection was made for Paxton House.

“Many of these rare and unique pieces have never been seen before and are currently being conserved for display with the generous support of Museums Galleries Scotland, The Pilgrim Trust, and a donor.

“Not only do we celebrate the old at Paxton we very much want to encourage the young to come and enjoy everything we have to offer. We have a wide variety of events for families to enjoy, including our ever popular Easter Extravaganza on March 31, Arty Drop-Ins, Pond Dipping and our Spring Trail, not to mention delicious treats in our Stables Tearoom!”

Paxton House, five miles outside Berwick upon Tweed, is one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian architecture in Scotland. Built for the love of his life by Patrick Home, it was designed by John and James Adam and constructed between 1758 and 1763.

It is filled with exquisite furniture and art, including a Nationally Significant Recognised collection of Chippendale and Trotter furniture, paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland, amazing 18th century costumes and beautiful interiors designed by Robert Adam.  It was donated to the nation in 1988 by John and Catherine Home Robertson and is run by a charitable trust.