Prince Charles of Wales with Dumfries House
curator Andrew McLean.

                                                                                   
AYSHIRE, UK -- The custodians of England's Prince Charles have been brought to task for allegedly doing a poor job of caring an antique furniture collection valued at nearly $50 million.

The Daily Mirror reported that furniture expert Robert Bly of the Antique Roadshow (BBC version) said the valuable furniture items he saw first hand at the Dumfries House in Ayrshire had started cracking and shrinking because managers had failed to look after them properly.

In addition, Bly voiced concern that the furniture caretakers had over restored some items, ruining their character and value.

Trustees of the Dumfries House lashed back saying Bly was wrong and had not seen pieces that have been restored.

Among the pieces Prince Charles purchased in 2007 from the Marquess of Bute are a Chippendale rosewood bookcase made for Lady Dumfries' bedroom during the reign of George II, which reportedly could be worth could be worth nearly $6 million.

Bly said his concerns were based on a recent return to the Dumfries House, a year after his first visit. He said he was shocked at the deterioration of some of the furniture.  "What they are doing at that house is misguided, in my view," he wrote. "There's misplaced energy and experience. Damage manifests itself in cracking and distortion of veneer due to timber shrinkage. This has been caused by a lack of circulation of air."

A spokesman for Prince Charles and trustees of Dumfries House said the claims were "completely unfounded."

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