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A few years ago, with a drive to know more about antiques, I stumbled on this course and decided to tackle it. Now, when I read the ATG, see antiques programmes on television or go to fairs, I am delighted with how much I know.

The first year gives a grounding on historical styles and decorations, and stresses how much antiques are the product of their time – looking at items such as tea caddies, chairs and cutlery (who knew cutlery was so interesting?).

We had assignments on curating an exhibition and writing a catalogue (in my case, bottles), and another comparing similar items (plates!).

Some students were concentrating on jewellery with eyes in, or Masonic furniture, or items connected with the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s: a fascinating and important range of expertise.

My second-year dissertation was on Brynmawr furniture, which I’d looked at while writing my PhD some years earlier, and the links between Brynmawr in southern Wales, First World War internment on the Isle of Man, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Wenman Bassett-Lowke, and 78 Derngate, Northampton.

The MA experience was much enriched by my tutor, Clive Taylor. The studying had such a positive effect on my life. I was coming at it as a rookie, but others were working in the trade in one capacity or another. Their expertise was drawn on and they were encouraged to share it with other course participants. It was a rich, if demanding, two years.

I would recommend the course as a way of expanding and completing knowledge, not ‘simply’ as getting letters after your name!

Dr Jen Llywelyn (MA Antiques), UCLAN

Bwlchygroes, Sir Benfro