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This is Antiques Master, the contest to find Britain's top amateur antiques expert.
Tonight, the battle continues as the country's finest
antiques enthusiasts fight it out at the magnificent Townley Hall in Burnley.
They face a series of tough challenges,
testing their skills at identifying, dating and valuing antiques.
Ultimately, only one will be crowned Antiques Master.
Hello and welcome to Antiques Master.
I am Sandi Toksvig and this is the search for Britain's top amateur antiques enthusiast.
Now, we have three antiques buffs all ready to show off their knowledge
and skills and, as ever, Mr Eric Knowles is here to cast his expert eye over the proceedings.
But with only one guaranteed place available in the semi-finals tonight, let's meet tonight's contestants.
John Denham from Hertfordshire, whose passion is stoneware.
I like the fact that something ancient and handmade
has something special about it that communicates down the generations to me.
Heather Wray from Lancashire, who specialises in costume jewellery.
I do have some weak areas, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they don't come up.
And Stephen Mikaloff Grogan from East Sussex, who loves the purity of Lalique glass.
It will be fun to win but, for me, this is like a self-imposed challenge
just to see what I can achieve.
But who will have what it takes to win a place in the semi-finals
and move one step closer to becoming Antiques Master?
The journey starts now.
Your first challenge is all about your antiques specialisms.
We know that each of you has a different antiques passion -
we're going to put that knowledge to the test.
We have scoured the country for five examples for each of you.
What you need to do is to study them and tell us the following:
which is the oldest, the most valuable and the odd one out?
And there's a total of 40 points available.
Ten points for each antique that you correctly identify and an extra ten
if you can tell us the price of the most valuable piece within 15% of its auction estimate.
So let's see who's got a real eye for detail.
First up is John, whose specialism is rustic stoneware
dating from the 16th to the 19th century.
And I can tell you, John, that your odd one out is a modern piece, so not within your timeframe.
Right, I could just be looking at it, I think.
You think it's this one? Why?
This is one of the nice things with ceramics. You can look at their bottoms.
-If that makes you happy.
-And it's got a stamp on and I don't recognise it at all,
so that's put the one I'm looking at as the most modern one.
-Have you had a lifelong passion for antiques?
-Yes, I think I have, actually.
My parents were interested and I sort of grew up in a house with antiques and so on.
This I like. It's modelled on a powder flask.
It's a spirit flask from the 1830s.
So it's the same sort of shape as you would have used for powder for a musket?
Yes. You'd have measured out down for your muzzle loading musket.
-Absolutely that. This is fantastic.
-This is an astonishing-looking...
I am in... I am in stoneware heaven.
This bear was made in Nottingham, I would say in the second half of the 18th century.
Look at the poor old dog there getting the bear hug. So it's to do with bear baiting.
-It's not very right- on at the moment, is it?
-No, not a politically correct bear.
It is not. But wonderful, wonderful. Very, very rare.
-Oh, I might be able to blow this, it's a little whistle.
-Oh, right, go on then.
I've never seen one like this. It's got the nice brown that you associate...
-What is the shape of it?
-It's a dog's head, look.
-Oh, yes, so it is.
It's a dog's head whistle.
I'm going to go to about 1840-50 on it.
This is the oldest, it looks as if it's been dug up.
Could I put the thing out and say it was the oldest?
-You certainly could.
-Are you sure?
-Go for it.
This is a stoneware flask.
Now it could be John Dwight of Fulham, which would date it about 1670.
Before this was buried, it would have had a lovely glaze called a Tigerware glaze on.
-No more on this one because you've already made a decision.
We have to still decide the most valuable and the odd one out.
-The most valuable.
-The most valuable.
-And the odd one out?
-The one that is the modern piece.
-When do you think it's from?
-It could be the day before yesterday.
-It could be as modern as that.
-All right, John.
I want you to just have a quick look at what your decisions are and see if you're happy.
I think I'm pretty happy.
-Come and stand over here with me.
-Eric Knowles will decide whether you were correct or not.
Let's explain something first of all. Most of these are covered in a salt glaze.
I think that's one of the few things you left out for me to say, quite frankly.
Let's look at the oldest because you gravitated over here
and some people might look at that and think that's been given the treatment, been made to look old.
But I don't think these have been in the ground, I think it's been at the bottom of the sea,
so that's why you've got the degradation on there.
And you're quite right when it came to date, they're somewhere
in the second half maybe of the 17th century. Absolutely right, the oldest piece on the table.
Yeah! Ten points.
We now have to look for the odd one out.
You came to this with no hesitation, no hesitation whatsoever.
But you were absolutely right.
Date on this? You're quite right,
it could have come out of the kiln yesterday, but it's probably about 15 or 25 years old.
So absolutely right for odd one out.
Now the most valuable, this is something of a rarity.
Your eyes went a funny colour when you grabbed hold of this.
You mentioned that it was Nottingham.
I was looking for round about 1740.
So we're all the right parameters.
I agree it's a, you know, a horrible... How they could call it sport, I'll never know.
But it's a piece of English folk art.
So it is, without question, the most valuable.
So far you've gained 30 points, John. You could gain another ten points.
-If you can tell me what you think the price of the bear is, the auction estimate, within 15%.
-If you want one figure.
-I'll go to £30,000.
-For the bear.
Can we buy it, Mr Eric Knowles?
Is it a bear market? I'm afraid it's going to be a bull market,
because we're not in that area, we are nearer the sort of £4,000.
-Thank you very much.
John scored 30 out of a possible 40 points.
Will Heather spot the oldest, most valuable and the odd one out in her specialism, costume jewellery?
I can tell you that your odd one out is the only one that isn't American.
Now, I'm going to ask a very stupid question. Costume jewellery just means it's fake?
Generally it's not made out of precious stones or precious metals.
-So the one that you've got here would be made of what?
-I mean, if that was in gold and real coral...
That wouldn't be costume jewellery. This is not gold and it will be porcelain or glass beads.
Right, so let's get on to the next piece.
-What was it about antiques that got you interested?
-I've always liked old things and history.
I remember the first thing I got was a lovely 1920s necklace, which was about 20p.
-So costume jewellery is the beginning of antiques for you, is it?
-What do you reckon to this piece?
Well, it says Charles Jourdan on the back, so it sounds French.
-Potentially this is the odd one out, if we're looking for the non-American piece?
Always a bit pressed for time, so we're going to have to rush you along very slightly.
This is a very striking enamel piece and with these green glass cabochons
for the jewel at the top and the eyes. It's a Trifari piece
and they were made principally in America.
-All right, possibly '50s. Move on to the next one.
A lovely lily design with brushed metal finish.
The design is highlighted all around the edge by small paste stones
and there's this gorgeous pearl in the middle. That's beautiful.
-That's a strange-looking thing.
-A splendid-looking thing.
-Looks like a tea strainer.
-You'll see a very large mark, Adele Simpson.
And it's got a little opening piece on the back.
And you can just see there a space, which you could perhaps have put a sweet-smelling substance in.
OK. You're going to have to make some decisions.
We're looking for the only one that isn't American,
the most valuable and the oldest piece.
I'll stick to what I said originally, this one here is the odd one out.
-You're going to decide it's French?
-Right, so let's think the oldest piece.
-It's quite hard but I'd probably go for that piece at the end.
-The one that we're not sure what it is.
And the most valuable?
I think maybe this one, because of the craft that's gone into that.
I've laid them out. Do you want to come and stand with me? Eric will tell us what we need to know.
Now, we want to find our oldest piece here today, do we not?
And some of them look as though they could be
'20s and some of them look as though they could be Victorian.
So you can't go off style, it's a matter of knowing your makers.
So the oldest piece that we have here actually dates from early 1940s and it is Adele Simpson.
So absolutely right.
-Ten points, well done.
-Odd one out.
Well, you went straight for this, didn't you? And you said, "Oh, Charles Jourdan".
Is it all in the name? Absolutement. That is a French make and it is our odd one out.
Date-wise, we've got him down for actually late '50s, early '60s.
-So another ten points.
We then wanted to go to the most valuable.
You went for this and this I can tell you is Stanley Hagler.
And this one, I'm happy to say, is the most valuable.
-This is actually coral glass.
-You mentioned, could it be porcelain?
-I wasn't sure if it was glass or porcelain.
But the complexity of a piece like that.
I mean from a date point of view, we are talking sort of 1950s.
So, well done, you've got 30 points.
Now, you could gain another ten points if you could tell me
within 15% what you think the auction estimate would be
of this rather stunning necklace on your right.
So £4,000 we bid. Mr Knowles?
Well, you'll be pleased to know that it's a lot more affordable than that,
-because it's down at £500.
-Oh, my word!
Oh! Thank you so much, Heather.
John and Heather now both have 30 points.
Will Stephen be able to match them with his specialism, the glassware of Lalique?
And the odd one out is not Lalique.
OK? So that's the reason.
I know the name Lalique. Do you actually own some yourself?
A couple of pieces, yes. They are my pension.
-Now, it does or doesn't shriek Lalique?
-It is Lalique.
Oh, I see. It's got a mirror on the other side. It's beautiful.
Yes. I know this is one of his earliest.
-So it's definitely not the odd one out, that one.
-No, definitely not.
-What is it about Lalique that has stolen your heart?
-It's like something like this.
It's purity. It's so like less is more.
It is Lalique for sure.
How can you tell?
Its finish. Obviously there is the signature which there is here,
-R Lalique France, so this is definitely a Lalique.
Is it something about the shape that suggests to you?
-Similar to a design that he used, so let's just say it might be him.
Now what are we thinking here?
-Are you sure that this is...
-or isn't Lalique?
No. This one, I don't think it is.
-Let's see. Sorry. Just looking at it upside down.
-Immediately you're less reverential with this one.
-Well, I didn't...
-I didn't like it sitting there.
-Right, so that's a little bit of a clue maybe with that one.
And this is a car mascot.
OK. This is, in French they would call it the libellule, if I can get it right,
and there should be again the signature here, R Lalique.
OK, now we're going to have to make some decisions.
Let's look for the odd one out. Let's start with that.
-I would say that one, the odd one out.
-All right. Now let us start and do the oldest.
-Which do you think is the oldest?
-My heart goes to this.
-You love this one.
And the most valuable?
Right, so I would come to this.
-You think it's our car mascot.
Right, let's review.
Valuable, odd one out, oldest?
-Happy with your choices?
-Yes, very happy.
That was a wonderful wander through Lalique. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You come and stand here and let's see if Eric enjoyed it as much as I did.
I rather hoped that we might have a Lalique round. Thank you, Stephen.
Right, first things first.
I want to look at the oldest item that we have in front of us.
You've gone for this. There is a signature in it and by the way you can see...
Can you see this little sepia stain?
It just lifts it. So is it the oldest?
It's 1919. It's the oldest.
-So we now move to our odd one out and you looked at this
and I have to say to anybody who is not initiated too well with Lalique,
from you know 20, 30 yards away it looks pure Lalique because it's been inspired by Lalique.
This dates to 1930, so it's all contemporary with what he's doing,
but it is the odd one out.
-Another ten points.
Woah, well that might have been a contender.
But when it comes to this sort of thing
and this sort of thing is a car mascot,
this is where it gets interesting because
all the other items are very much for your Lalique collector.
However, you've got a new player, the automobilia collector
and they tend to have very deep pockets.
So you're absolutely right.
This is our most valuable piece.
We are in an extraordinary position in that at the moment,
all three of you have got 30 points, but you are unique
in that you still have an opportunity to get another ten
if you can tell me within 15% of the auction estimate
how much would somebody pay for that dragonfly?
Well, I would say
OK. We're near, but we're not near enough.
This we know has an auction price tag of around £6,500.
So it's a good 'un but it's not good enough.
All three of you have got 30 points
and we have to lose one of you at the end of the next challenge.
So it is genuinely anybody's game at this point.
Let's go through to the Green Room for A Place In Time.
In the second challenge, we've selected five antiques, all from different periods.
The first is a glass jug.
Then a gold ring.
Next, a decorative vase.
Followed by a silver teapot.
And finally a doll.
The antiques have been placed in random order.
Each contestant will have five minutes to assess and position them
from earliest to latest on the Antiques Master timeline.
Ten points will be awarded for each one they get right.
Heather is first to examine the doll.
Well, she looks like a bisque-headed doll.
What does the bisque? Is that a type of...?
The type of pottery that it's made from. It's kind of with a sort of matt glaze.
With a lot of dolls, you've got a name on the back of the head.
She's got bisque arms and these legs are also bisque.
Well, as long as you just stick with the doll, we're fine.
-Usually there is a mark.
-Usually it's on the stomach.
I'll just have a guess. Victorian.
-I'd say about 1850s, 1860.
The teapot is next to be evaluated.
-This is... Is it a stunning teapot?
-Do you not think so?
If I was knocked over the head with it I might, yes.
-My guess is Georgian.
-Right. Any marks on it or anything that you...?
I... There are. There are marks but...
-It's not your expertise.
-No, it's not.
Oh, but wait a minute. It's got a silver hallmark on.
They're all over the place. They're not in a line
and it's got a sort of Georgian-type head on it as well.
Well, that's got me totally bemused and it's got the letters IR.
I don't know how to date that.
Yeah, I mean to me that's got a Georgian shape
or maybe a Regency shape sort of around 1800.
The third piece to date is the decorative vase.
-What do you see?
But then there is England as well.
Just to confuse you.
Just to confuse me.
It seems to be a Lancastrian pottery pot.
I mean extraordinary because it looks incredibly Chinese.
I suppose the Arts and Crafts in this country were very much influenced by the opening up
of Japan in the latter half of the 19th Century.
It might have in the middle a P and an L.
So if it were?
-If it were.
-What does that suggest to you about the date?
Maybe 1890 or 1900, but they're as late as 1920.
The ring has an auction value of £700.
Real jewellery? Costume jewellery?
Well, I imagine it's real jewellery this time,
but very tiny of course, and it's got some nice, almost like
Etruscan motifs with the little, tiny Cannetille kind of design.
That's the little, with the little blobs of gold.
-Which are tiny and make like a little rope?
They look like diamonds. You know I'm not big on stones. It could be Victorian.
What can you see?
-18 carat gold.
I would say this is about 1880s.
-Finally, a glass jug worth £1,000.
-Glass finally, Stephen.
-You like glass.
But it is beautiful. It's crystal.
It's fantastically sharply cut.
I think sort of helmet shape, a classical shape,
which was around in Georgian times.
Well, it's classical shaped, isn't it?
It could be sort of Regency, couldn't it? 1810-20 sort of period.
For me, it's Baroque.
Baroque would be 1700 and I was going to say before 1600s.
It's decision time.
They have just one minute left to place the antiques in chronological order.
-I'll follow my instinct.
-The earliest one.
Stephen thinks the decorative vase is the earliest antique.
-I would put that one as the oldest.
-So leave that one where it is.
Heather disagrees and opts for the glass jug.
I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to go totally, totally mad.
-Are we going mad now?
-While John goes for the silver teapot.
John's confident the glass jug is the second oldest and Stephen agrees.
But Heather thinks it's the silver teapot.
1840s I said, didn't I?
John places the doll in the middle of the timeline and so does Heather.
-I move him.
-But Stephen chooses the silver teapot.
-It's the ring that's slightly foxing you, isn't it?
Heather puts the ring in penultimate position.
-It could be wrong.
Stephen picks the doll.
But this is the latest.
Finally, Heather chooses the decorative vase as the latest antique. And John agrees.
I'm going to do this.
So you think this is the youngest item?
But Stephen thinks it's the ring. Time's running out.
I'm not sure between these two, but I'll leave them like that.
-You can change it. You can change it.
-What do you think about all your decisions?
-Yes, I think they're seriously flawed.
Time's up. But is anyone's timeline in the correct order?
Right, we have all given our antiques a place in time. Let's see who was closest with their chronology. Eric.
I want to go back in time.
I'm tempted to stay in what has been described
as the classical shape, a Regency shape.
And if it is Regency, it should be round about 1810, 1820.
I'd like to leave it there, but I'm not going to.
So what am I going to place there?
I am going to go down to one very stylish teapot.
Marks on the base. Yes, I mean these are Georgian marks.
I have to say that these would tell you that this was made in 1800.
It's not really until well into the 19th century
that you get all your hallmarks in a line.
So only John, in fact, put the teapot as the earliest item.
So as we move through time, one Regency jug.
It's English, about 1820 and, as you all mentioned, it's cut.
John and Stephen got that one in the right place.
I want to move towards 1840s, 1850s, maybe 1860 and to do that
I've got to move this little fellow and I've got to swap him with this
slip of a girl.
Because you all did well with this one, I think it's fair to say,
because this girl is German.
She has got a bisque head and she's got bisque limbs and she was
possibly made in Thuringia in and around about 1860.
Heather, some points for you. You had that one in the right place and so too did John.
-I should add, Sandi, that this is our least valuable item.
Because we have this priced at £350.
So we're left with these two fellas.
We have a lovely ring.
There's more to this ring than meets the eye.
If I can just take this out because at the side of here,
if I can just give this a little...
Did you see that?
It just opens up.
-And this was given by a lovely chap called Tom.
And we've got the hallmark on there.
I can tell you now that the hallmark is for 1876.
All right, so Heather and John, ten points each.
And so, by a process of elimination, we end up with this little treasure.
This is Pilkington's Lancastrian ware.
But before it was christened Lancastrian ware,
because that didn't happen until 1913,
if we have a look at this piece, you are forgiven for thinking
it could be Chinese, because they were very clever at Pilkington's.
We turn it upside down.
When I said it's all in the detail, if you find any pot with the word England on there,
you should automatically know that it has to be 1891 or later.
This was made in 1905.
I have to tell you also that this is the most expensive.
This is worth £1,200.
Well, thank you, Eric. Now we started the first challenge with everybody even stevens,
you all had 30 points.
But things have shifted quite considerably.
John, congratulations, you got all five
in exactly the right order, so you get 50 points.
You are in the lead with 80.
For Heather, you had 30 to start,
you got three out of the five, so you have 60.
Stephen, not such a good challenge for you this one.
You only got the one correct.
You have 40 points and I'm afraid your chance to go for
the Antiques Master title finishes here. I'm so sorry.
-I hope you've had a good time.
-Very much indeed.
Right, John and Heather, to your final challenge.
One of you will leave tonight with a place in our semi-final.
To the Red Room.
So John and Heather, there is just one guaranteed place
in the semi-finals and it is time for your final challenge.
Now before you are five, I think you'll agree, stunning antiques
and I'm going to start with an open question.
You need to buzz in if you know the answer.
five points if you get it right, but five points off for a wrong answer.
Now if you answer correctly, you'll be able to choose one of the five
antique categories for a further question that is worth ten points.
But again, if you get the answer wrong,
the question will be passed over to
the other contestant who will then have a chance to steal five points.
The round will end after two minutes or when all five antiques have been in play. All right?
Here we go. Time starts now.
Literally meaning to caper, which term describes a type of chair leg
which curves out at the front or knee and in at the bottom above the foot?
-Correct. So please will you choose one of the categories.
Merrythought bear. Who was the chief designer at Merrythought until her death in 1949?
It will have to be a guess.
No, I'm afraid that's not correct, so it goes across to John.
I've no idea about Merrythought bears, I'm afraid.
-I can shed no light on this.
-The answer is Florence Atwood.
So it's an open question, either one of you can buzz in.
Majolica, faience and delftware glazes are based on which oxide?
-Tin. Please pick one of the categories.
I'll go for the Gillows please.
The Gillows. After travelling to the West Indies, Robert Gillow
brought back one of the first recorded
shipments of which wood to the UK and used it extensively in his furniture?
It must be Cuban mahogany.
It was mahogany. Open question, either of you can answer.
From 1784 to 1890, what image was added as a mark on British silver
to show that tax had been paid?
-A lion symbol.
It's a sovereign's head.
Open question. What decoration literally meaning a thousand flowers was characteristic of the glass
paperweights produced in Clichy in France in the 19th Century? Heather?
Correct. Please pick a category.
Bristol Blue glass.
Bristol Blue glass. Cobalt oxide gives Bristol Blue glass
its distinctive colour, but what ingredient gives Bristol Ruby glass its deep red colour?
-Gold is absolutely correct.
Open question, either of you can answer... Which English?
Which English architect who designed the furniture
for the Houses of Parliament also created Gothic Revival domestic silver and jewellery? John.
-Pugin is correct.
Well, after that impressive display of knowledge, let me tell you that the scores are as follows,
Heather, you have an impressive 75 points,
but John, you have 100 and that makes you this week's winner.
A sterling performance. We will see you in the semis.
My commiserations to you, Heather,
but we may be well seeing you again because this year,
our highest-scoring runner-up from across the series will complete our line up of semi-finalists.
-John, how are you feeling?
-I feel on top of the world.
Fantastic. Eric, should he be feeling on top of the world?
Of course he should be.
That was really quick fire stuff, I couldn't keep up with all that. So, commiserations, Heather.
But congratulations, John.
Well, do join us next week when we welcome three more determined
antiques amateurs to compete for the Antiques Master title.
-Shall we congratulate them?
-I think we shall.
-Well done, you two.
I'm chuffed to little mint balls to win today, but whether I go any further, who knows?
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