Ottawa Antiques Roadshow


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Ottawa

Michael Aspel and the team travel across the Atlantic for a special edition from the National Gallery in Ottawa. Their finds include a desk converted from a piano.


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Transcript


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This week, the Antiques Roadshow has left Britain's crowded motorways

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and travelled 3,000 miles to the capital of the second largest country on Earth,

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a country that spans six time zones and is bordered by three oceans.

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Born of conflict between England and France, it is now an independent, affluent and cosmopolitan nation.

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I'm in Canada and this is Ottawa.

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Canada has a federal system of government, with many powers devolved to the provinces,

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but the big decisions are made here, on Parliament Hill.

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Queen Victoria declared Ottawa the capital - Toronto and Montreal might not have been amused.

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Our present Queen remains the official head of state and, judging by the familiar pageantry,

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the British heritage elicits pride.

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The name Ottawa comes from an Algonquin Indian tribe who hunted and traded furs in this area

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long before any Europeans arrived.

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The River Ottawa is one of three,

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but the city prospered from a fourth waterway built by the British.

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The Rideau Canal was built from 1826 to 1832 by the Royal Engineers,

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under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John By,

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who gave his name to the settlement of Bytown, his headquarters.

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Bytown became Ottawa, and the canal constructed for trade and defence is now used for leisure and pleasure.

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In winter, it turns into the world's longest skating rink.

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Around the time of World War One,

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a number of artists who shared a love for the Canadian outdoors

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became known as the Group of Seven.

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Together, they created a distinctive Canadian look.

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This is "Guide's Home In Algonquin."

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The National Gallery of Canada has kindly agreed to host our Roadshow.

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Our usual team is joined by five local experts,

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who'll cast an eye over treasures revealed on this Canadian visit.

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-Silver.

-Silver.

-Porcelain.

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-Yeah.

-Porcelain, glass.

-Yeah.

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Have you got that safely?

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-A journal by Alexander Mackenzie.

-Right. You HAVE got a mixture!

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You're going to be very busy.

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-I bought it from a dealer in London, Ontario.

-When?

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A year ago.

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-And what did he sell it to you as?

-He didn't know.

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And what did you think it was...is?

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-Er...well, I knew it was a trembleuse because it's obvious.

-Right, a trembleuse being a cup which...

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-Is for a lady with shaky hands.

-Which trembles.

-Yes.

-Right, OK.

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And so that's there for walking down the long dark corridors. Now, did he give you any idea of how old it was?

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Oh, he...he didn't say. If he had an idea, he didn't say.

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I was on my own as far as that goes.

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-What would you like it to be?

-I'd like it to be Chelsea.

-Why?

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Well, because I'm very interested in that particular period of English porcelain

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and I had seen a picture like that in a book.

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-Yeah, OK.

-And it was Chelsea.

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To be Chelsea, it would have to be 1745-1755, in that very early period when they produced the white wares.

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-But I'm going to disappoint you.

-OK.

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-It's not. What else can it be?

-Well, my second guess was French.

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-Can I ask how much you paid for it?

-I paid 100.

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-100 would in English be £40.

-Mm-hm.

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To put you out of your misery...

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-SHE LAUGHS

-..it IS French.

-Yes.

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-It's St Cloud...

-Yes.

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..a highly desirable factory, which has this greenish hue.

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I love that handle, gorgeous handle.

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-Yes.

-With the curly bit at the end, lovely thing.

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-Well, 100 is not too bad, is it?

-Well, I liked the cup.

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I think if you sold that in England,

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-you would get somewhere in the region of £1,500 for it.

-Thank you. Thank you very much.

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Today, you'll hear valuations given in Canadian dollars and/or sterling.

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It might help you to know that at the time of this recording, there are 2.25 to £1.

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Well, we've had it about 35 years.

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We bought it from an old lady who was selling up all her things,

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and, er...we understand

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it was in an Eaton's catalogue - I'm not quite sure when, probably 1915-1920.

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Right. Despite first appearances, we're not looking at a Tiffany one.

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-No, no.

-Because...I live in hope.

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But it's still a splendid-looking lamp, OK?

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It gives the appearance of being in gilt-bronze, but that is deceptive.

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If you were to scratch through this, it would come up a silver colour.

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-White metal.

-It's a white metal.

-Yes.

-The shade, in fact,

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is like a streaked butterscotch.

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but this type of glass is...

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again, it tends to be identified with Tiffany, however there were lots of manufacturers,

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in North America, making this type of lamp - Pairpoint is one name, Handel's another,

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and there were plenty of others,

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-because the demand was, you know, virtually insatiable.

-Yes.

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Everybody who was anybody in the early 20th century wanted this lamp.

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It showed they were modern, because this lamp used electricity,

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and that was still relatively novel around 1915. You mentioned Eaton's -

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-that was the Canadian equivalent of, let's say, Harrods.

-Or Selfridges.

-Or Selfridges, in Britain.

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-They had the largest mail-order business in Canada.

-Did they really?

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The catalogues were coast to coast. All the farmers bought through them,

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-people on the prairies.

-I understand.

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At the moment, it doesn't benefit from the fact that it's not lit.

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-Because I'm sure you know that it looks fabulous when it's lit.

-Yes.

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Its current value at the moment is about, um...

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about 3,000 Canadian as it is,

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£1,500,

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but I think when it's lit,

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it's probably worth nearer 4,000 Canadian, because it looks better! That's about £2,000.

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-1,000 for a bulb?

-Just for flicking on that switch!

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My dad got them from somebody for a pound of coffee in Berlin after the Second World War had ended,

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during the American occupancy of Germany.

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Right. I wonder how much a pound of coffee was in Germany at that time.

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-I don't know.

-It would be his ration.

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Was it a good trade, do you think?

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I think so, yeah. We've had them on the wall ever since, so...

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These are made of porcelain, almost certainly in Berlin.

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A number of factories in Berlin produced wonderful quality porcelain plaques and these are good subjects,

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and I would have thought the pair of plaques are worth about 700 to 900,

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-£200 to £300 for the pair.

-Excellent.

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But they're not really what I wanted to look at. This boy is marvellous.

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It's been by my parents' fireplace ever since I can remember and we've always called him our whistling boy.

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Well, in fact, he's a well-known bronze called the mousse siffleur, or the whistling ship's boy.

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And conveniently for me, it's...

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I can see here that it's signed, Szczeblewski,

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-and dated 1889 and it's cast in Hamburg and it's a wonderful quality bronze, isn't it?

-Yes.

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Um, you've got such characterisation in it, haven't you?

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You know, normally they can be a bit stiff and rather formal,

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-but here it captures the spirit of the boy so well, doesn't it?

-Yes.

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-His trousers are torn, but he's strutting his stuff, isn't he?

-Yeah.

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The colour on it is very nice, too.

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It's been patinated to look like this.

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Obviously, when it's cast, it comes out a fairly plain colour

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and it's been coloured to look this nice, nutty brown colour.

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-Be very careful not to polish it.

-Yes, it's hard to tell my mother.

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People DO like polishing things. You should avoid it.

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At best a duster, maybe a paintbrush to get in the nooks and crannies.

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-Have you ever wondered how much it might be worth?

-Not really.

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I wasn't going to bring it. I was at my parents' yesterday and I decided to sneak it out of the house,

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-so they don't know that it's missing yet.

-Oh, really? Gosh.

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But I always liked it and I thought maybe it had a value, I wasn't sure.

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It does. There are plenty of copies,

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but this is a particularly nice one, a very nice cast.

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-I think this would make somewhere in the region of 4,000 to 6,000.

-Fantastic.

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-Which is £2,000 to £3,000.

-Yes.

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-So...

-My dad will be delighted.

-A very good pound of coffee.

-Yeah.

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-Thank you.

-Thanks for bringing it.

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This really is such a very, very pretty box.

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I particularly love this painted bouquet of flowers in the centre,

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and this is surrounded by bird's-eye maple,

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and then brass inlay round the edge,

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so whatever's inside, I've got a feeling, ought to be pretty good.

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Wow! Isn't that absolutely glorious?

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I think it's lovely.

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The detail of the back here, with these lovely cut-steel studs on silk and blue velvet,

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and the colours are just perfect,

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and it's so nice to see them in such wonderful vibrant colour.

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We've got everything here, from what I can see, that a lady would need for...for sewing.

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Did you inherit it?

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-Yes.

-What, recently?

-I inherited it from my mother-in-law...

-Yes.

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..who inherited it from her old maiden aunts, who lived in Halstead, in Essex,

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in an old Georgian house called Moonshiney Hall,

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-which I'm afraid now is demolished.

-Oh...

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-They lived to a really ripe old age, about 98 or so, both of them.

-Yes?

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Well, judging by the condition, this hasn't been used very much,

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and we've got things like a little vinaigrette...

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which... I'll just see if it is marked.

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Yeah, that's got the maker's mark of Edward Smith,

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-and that dates from 1860, so we've got a pretty good idea that that's what this box dates from.

-1860.

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Because I can't see any other marks.

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I particularly like little details like this -

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an absolutely wonderful little miniature sampler there,

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and what have we got here?

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Oh - a Chinese thread-winder in mother-of-pearl, just, you know, beautifully engraved,

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and all the rest of the things here

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are bobbins and wool threads and a complete manicure set,

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so there's a wonderfully complete set.

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The collectors of sewing implements really go for this sort of thing,

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so I've got a... a pretty good idea...

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that this is probably worth in the region of 7,000 -

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a little over £3,000.

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That's very nice. Very nice.

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I'm going to send you to see Eric on Miscellaneous.

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We need as many hands to this as we can get - there we go.

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The style and colours indicate to me it could have been made in France.

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-Do you know what it's made of?

-Human hair.

-Right.

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When I took it home, I took the back off

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and it was loaded with dead bugs.

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-Are they still there?

-No, no, no!

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I hung it up and took an air gun and I blew it from both directions,

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-and they just...

-Blew away. It's a vision of 19th-century decoration.

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I've seen this before.

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-Indeed, you have. I think it's quite remarkable that you remember my pots but don't remember my face.

-Oh!

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-I'm afraid I look at pots, not faces! It's a long time ago.

-It is.

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I brought it to you 20 years ago at least.

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This is, of course, one of Grainger's beautiful miniature jugs, absolutely beautiful -

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Worcester Cathedral over the river,

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a beautiful little miniature jug.

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The artist is Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith. He was a British artist.

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-He's the son of John Bell-Smith who was also a British portrait...

-Son?

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-Oh, I thought they were brothers.

-No, no, he was the son.

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Bell-Smith travelled back and forth between England and Canada.

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He's known for two subject matters - British subject matter,

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like this - "Wet Day, Westminster."

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He also is known as one of what we call the CPR Painters -

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upon the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway he was hired, along with a lot of other artists,

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to travel west to paint western Canadian scenery for the eastern market, who had never seen it.

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So two subject matters of his come on the market regularly.

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Interestingly enough, one sells pretty much as well as the other.

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It's a typical British painting.

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Nice element here, with the two figures in prominence.

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It has all the features you'd want in a Bell-Smith watercolour.

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You could probably expect this to be worth...

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oh, I should think, maybe, in the 5,000 range - 4,000-5,000.

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It's an early French-Canadian armchair,

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called an Os de Mouton armchair,

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and os de mouton is translated as sheep horn.

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That's where the name is derived from, that shape of the stretcher.

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It's a crossover Louis XIII to Louis XIV influence,

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Louis XIV having more flowing lines.

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The Louis XIII style was a simpler rectilinear form, very simple style.

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Louis XIV got into more flowing lines, and a little more carving and that kind of thing,

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and that's what this chair is.

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The low back and the arms coming out fully to the end date it earlier.

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This is probably mid-18th century,

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and because it has some original finish left, some old crackled varnish, it pushes it up in value.

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If it were stripped and refinished it would be probably half the value.

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This chair on the current market place in an antique shop in Quebec

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-would probably be around 30,000 to 35,000.

-Thanks.

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-It's a great chair, and I hope it passes on to more generations in your family.

-Oh, we hope so.

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These are not porcelain, they're enamel. I like enamel, and these are charming examples.

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Do you know where they came from?

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-I believe they're Viennese.

-Indeed.

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And when I first got them, I was able to, er...discover

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that the mark on the bottom dated it to about 1872,

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-This piece.

-OK. That makes sense.

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There was a vogue, particularly in England,

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but also in Germany, Austria and France,

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-called historismus.

-Historismus?

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Historismus, which was looking back to earlier periods.

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The Victorians were great ones for studying works of art of the past

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in a way they'd never been studied.

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And they were particularly taken, in Vienna,

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-by the enamels of Limoges from the Renaissance period.

-Oh, yes.

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And they used those techniques,

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and indeed some of the designs, on pieces which were characteristically 19th century

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and could never have been made in the earlier period.

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What's extraordinary is that the collectors in the 1870s and 1880s -

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in fact, right up until the '40s -

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were buying these pieces, thinking they were old.

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-Oh, really?

-Yeah, they were fooled,

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and it's only recently that we've been able to sort out the copies from the real thing.

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This is a rather curious shaped object.

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-It's almost like a hip bath, isn't it?

-I never knew what it was.

-No.

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I thought maybe sugar, and I've come to think of it as a sugar boat...

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-No, this is a bonbon dish.

-Oh, OK.

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This would be in the middle of a dining table,

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and it would have been pushed from guest to guest

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-and they would help themselves.

-Right.

-So that's what this was for.

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It's been decorated on the inside with classical subjects,

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and a typical Renaissance scroll border.

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On the underside we've got a landscape,

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which runs all the way round,

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you've got the three wheels mounted on this silver you talked about,

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and although that's now tarnished and black, it would polish up.

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The other one is slightly more bizarre. We have a grand piano,

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which we can lift up and find the keys,

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and then here, we...

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This is actually the key to it.

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This is the key to it, it opens up like that,

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and in here we have a musical movement. Does the movement work?

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It used to work. I haven't tried it for about five or six years, though.

0:20:050:20:10

Somebody's done a bit of jiggery-pokery round here.

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-That's not the original stop on there.

-Oh, really? OK.

0:20:140:20:19

-It's wound up, just... Can I try something?

-Yes.

-This may not work.

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-It's working! It's playing a tune.

-Oh, I can hear it.

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-It's having a tinkle. Well, there we go.

-Oh, good.

0:20:390:20:44

What's nice is that all the pins are in place and those are all there.

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Often they're broken - some child's gone in and mashed it.

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So it's in perfect working order.

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I would get that stop worked out, because what should happen

0:20:560:21:00

-is that when you raise that, this stud comes up and it plays.

-Right.

0:21:000:21:04

This, I think, is later. I'd put this into the 1890s.

0:21:040:21:09

Now, what did you pay for it? Can I ask?

0:21:090:21:13

Well, I got it about ten or so years ago and I paid 3,000 for it.

0:21:130:21:18

3,000.

0:21:180:21:20

-That's what?

-£1,500.

-£1,500 - that was fine.

0:21:200:21:25

That was a perfectly sensible retail price.

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-What about this one?

-This one I paid 600 for, so...

-That's £300.

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-300 or less.

-Less, isn't it? It's £280.

0:21:340:21:37

That was really very good, you've done well. I mean, that would make...what would that make?

0:21:370:21:44

-That would make £1,500, which is 3,000, so very nice.

-Yes.

0:21:440:21:50

-Thank you for letting me see them.

-Thank you for the information.

0:21:500:21:54

Earlier I mentioned the Canadian artists, the Group of Seven.

0:21:540:21:58

This is a painting by Tom Thomson, one of the founders of the group.

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Charlie Hill, curator of Canadian art - is this priceless?

0:22:040:22:08

Well, Tom Thomson was a key figure in the early history of the movement,

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but, regrettably, that is a fake.

0:22:130:22:16

During the late '50s, there was a group of people in Toronto

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who faked works by Tom Thomson and others and got them to auction houses

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and it all blew up in '63, when two of the figures were arrested and charged and put in prison.

0:22:260:22:32

-So it was a scandal, not someone doing homage?

-Not homage at all,

0:22:320:22:37

though I think this painting was painted by an artist innocently,

0:22:370:22:42

then handed over for an exhibition organised by these two people,

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and then they put a fake estate stamp on the back, so if you look,

0:22:470:22:52

we have a good estate stamp, designed after Thomson's death,

0:22:520:22:58

by JH MacDonald, a fellow painter.

0:22:580:23:01

On this stamp, the 7 doesn't go down as far,

0:23:010:23:05

the curve at the base is flatter,

0:23:050:23:08

and the top part is not as clearly defined.

0:23:080:23:11

What about the differences in the actual painting? What are the clues?

0:23:110:23:16

The impasto and the texture of this is much broader,

0:23:160:23:20

the contrast of colour is less subtle, less sophisticated,

0:23:200:23:25

the forms aren't as sharply defined.

0:23:250:23:28

However, not all Thomsons look alike.

0:23:280:23:30

In fact, one finds Thomsons with the name misspelt, because somebody has put the name on later, yet it's good.

0:23:300:23:38

There are complications in defining the authenticity of a Thomson sketch.

0:23:380:23:43

So the crude imitation I'm holding is presumably not worth very much.

0:23:430:23:48

-It has antiquarian interest.

-And what about the genuine one?

0:23:480:23:53

Thomson sketches of this quality go for between 150,000-225,000 Canadian.

0:23:530:24:00

-Well, I've seen some strange pieces, but this takes the biscuit!

-Oh?

0:24:000:24:05

It's fascinating. It's like a late version of a Carlton House desk -

0:24:050:24:11

the sort of horseshoe part here, the space,

0:24:110:24:14

and all these little compartments. What's the family history?

0:24:140:24:19

-My mother bought it about 40 years ago in Montreal.

-Right.

0:24:190:24:24

-She moved into a retirement residence three years ago and handed it down to me.

-Wonderful.

-And that's...

0:24:240:24:31

-You use it as a desk?

-Yeah, every day.

-Excellent. These compartments slide backwards and forwards,

0:24:310:24:37

and the drawers pull out,

0:24:370:24:40

-and there is a clue that perhaps the drawers aren't quite as old as they should be.

-OK.

0:24:400:24:46

-The construction, with little pins in here, you see?

-Right.

-And we have some plywood...

-Bits on the bottom.

0:24:460:24:54

On the bottom, and um, really...

0:24:540:24:58

-I think...rather nearer the 1920s...

-OK.

0:24:580:25:02

..than earlier. However, if we look back at this thing, this is rosewood,

0:25:020:25:09

and it has this typical French moulding of the 1840s.

0:25:090:25:14

1830, 1840, 1850, this was very popular. Now, the legs - I mean...

0:25:140:25:20

-they're something else, aren't they?

-Aren't they?!

0:25:200:25:24

-Aren't they wonderful?

-They're fabulous.

-Wouldn't they probably look better on a piano?

0:25:240:25:30

I was wondering if they're original to the desk or if they've been added.

0:25:300:25:35

I think they are the original for what this desk was originally.

0:25:350:25:40

-Oh!

-If you look here,

0:25:400:25:43

we have a cut, and a cut, and another one there,

0:25:430:25:49

and a cut in the moulding just there,

0:25:490:25:53

and it's been shortened.

0:25:530:25:55

-Oh!

-And it WAS a piano.

-It was a piano?!

0:25:570:26:02

It was a piano, yes - an 1840s piano.

0:26:020:26:07

I don't...

0:26:080:26:11

-That is...

-And there's the piano.

0:26:110:26:14

You're right.

0:26:150:26:17

Oh, my goodness! I can't believe it.

0:26:170:26:21

I would have never, ever, guessed a piano. Wait till I tell everyone!

0:26:210:26:27

THEY LAUGH

0:26:270:26:31

Now, value-wise, it's slightly difficult, isn't it?

0:26:330:26:37

-Shall we value it as a very good-looking desk?

-Oh, I think so.

0:26:370:26:42

-I think we should.

-Right, cos that's what it is today.

-Right.

0:26:420:26:46

-And in Britain it would cost the best part of £800, which is probably the best part of 2,000.

-Right.

0:26:460:26:53

-Well!

-Yes.

0:26:530:26:56

That is surprising. I mean, it is so surprising, I can't believe it.

0:26:560:27:01

-These are just fantastic whirligigs.

-As far as we know,

0:27:010:27:06

they were made in Athens, Ontario, a village here in Eastern Ontario,

0:27:060:27:11

about in the 1890s, the way we figured it.

0:27:110:27:15

We're retired historians, so we're very concerned about the history of these beasts,

0:27:150:27:22

and...they stood out in front of a...a blacksmith's shop near the village, until about 1930,

0:27:220:27:29

and then when the blacksmith's shop closed,

0:27:290:27:35

they were shunted off to the farm of the brother of the man who made them,

0:27:350:27:41

and they just stayed there in a chicken coop, till we purchased them in the 1980s.

0:27:410:27:48

Well, they both appear to be made of Ontario cedar.

0:27:480:27:53

The paddles on this one - yeah, that looks like cedar, too,

0:27:530:27:58

which is part of the reason they've lasted this long.

0:27:580:28:03

They were purely whimsical, made to mount on a post,

0:28:030:28:07

possibly even the top of a house,

0:28:070:28:10

and they would flail their arms in the wind, one paddle being this way,

0:28:100:28:15

which would turn in the direction of the wind,

0:28:150:28:19

and then the wind would catch this paddle and make the arms go around.

0:28:190:28:24

Might tell the farmer what direction the wind was that day,

0:28:240:28:29

but purely just straight, pure folk art and whimsies.

0:28:290:28:33

I suspect that they may be a rendition of a Hessian soldier - the hat,

0:28:330:28:41

the red coat with the buttons.

0:28:410:28:43

Just wonderful Canadian folk art.

0:28:450:28:48

We even invest them with imaginary personalities!

0:28:480:28:52

We think of this fellow as Charlie who went to Toronto and lived it up,

0:28:520:28:57

and lost part of his hat, and this fellow is more uptight, you see,

0:28:570:29:03

-and he's more or less whole.

-Yes.

0:29:030:29:06

That's just playfulness on our part, I guess.

0:29:060:29:09

I would estimate these to be worth

0:29:090:29:12

20,000 to 25,000 Canadian...

0:29:120:29:16

£10,000-£11,000 in Britain.

0:29:160:29:20

-Well, that's terrific. Thank you very much.

-You're welcome.

0:29:200:29:24

-We'd better be more respectful!

-Yes.

-Thank you.

-You're welcome.

0:29:240:29:28

Well, the response of the antiquers of Ottawa has been truly astounding.

0:29:300:29:35

The queues formed here at 7am,

0:29:350:29:38

the doors opened at 9, it's 3.30pm and still people are turning up.

0:29:380:29:43

The experts will be here until at least midnight!

0:29:430:29:48

Nice little box, squeeze action like most of them are, like that.

0:29:480:29:52

-I wondered...

-It's quite fun.

0:29:520:29:55

-Hello.

-Now, what have we got? What categories have we got here?

0:29:550:30:01

-What's the story?

-Well, she turned up at an auction sale here in Ottawa

0:30:010:30:07

-of things belonging to the late Nicholas Monsarrat.

-The author?

-The author of The Cruel Sea.

-Yes.

0:30:070:30:14

The auction was advertised on a stormy winter day

0:30:140:30:17

and hardly anybody turned up, and my father and I happened to go together and we got some lovely treasures,

0:30:170:30:24

including this doll, for which I paid 25.

0:30:240:30:28

I never would have had her otherwise.

0:30:280:30:31

Yes. And she is a lady! I mean, you look at her face,

0:30:310:30:35

and you think more than anything

0:30:350:30:37

-of those wonderful cartoons of the Gibson girls...

-I see.

0:30:370:30:42

..with the very delicate features and the big, bouffant hair.

0:30:420:30:47

I think she's absolutely charming.

0:30:470:30:49

-Underneath here... Her dress really doesn't show off her figure.

-No.

0:30:490:30:55

Under here I can feel a wonderful, curvaceous, hour-glass figure,

0:30:550:30:59

-and her legs...

-Are wooden.

-Wooden.

0:30:590:31:03

and her body is made of, um...sawdust,

0:31:030:31:07

-filled... I think it's just cotton.

-Cotton, yeah.

0:31:070:31:13

-She's dressed in, probably, her original costume.

-Yes.

0:31:130:31:18

Let's see if there's anything... Oh, there is a mark, let's have a look.

0:31:180:31:24

-Somebody's filled this in.

-I did that.

-You went over it in pencil?

-Mm.

0:31:240:31:29

So the mark tells us a lot.

0:31:290:31:32

First of all, it tells us the number of this particular face.

0:31:320:31:37

It also gives a good indication of the maker.

0:31:370:31:41

-I'm almost certain that the maker was a company called Heubach.

-I see.

0:31:410:31:46

Gebruder Heubach, who were based in Thuringia, in southern Germany,

0:31:460:31:51

where a lot of the doll-makers set up their companies.

0:31:510:31:55

And the Heubach company, in fact, was operating from about 1820.

0:31:550:32:00

-She would be dating, probably, from about 1900.

-Mm-hm.

0:32:000:32:05

-And I think she's absolutely charming...

-Oh!

0:32:050:32:09

-..I have to say. She cost you 25 on that dark, stormy, winter night.

-Right.

0:32:090:32:15

-Have you wondered about her value?

-Oh, very much so, yeah.

0:32:150:32:20

I think that was really a good buy. You probably knew it was.

0:32:200:32:24

But the value now -

0:32:240:32:27

that 25 is now going to be 2,250 to maybe 2,800,

0:32:270:32:32

-which is sort of £1,000 to maybe £1,500.

-That's lovely to know.

0:32:320:32:38

She's a real treasure.

0:32:380:32:40

-And I think also, here in Ottawa, the story adds...

-Yes, I'm sure.

0:32:400:32:45

-..to the value.

-You've made my day.

0:32:450:32:48

-This is the most magnificent watercolour, and it is, to me, the age of innocence.

-Absolutely.

0:32:480:32:55

It's by one of the great English illustrators of the 20th century...

0:32:550:33:00

-Yes.

-..Arthur Rackham.

0:33:000:33:03

It's clearly signed - "Arthur Rackham, 1910."

0:33:030:33:07

Just before the First World War, so an age of innocence,

0:33:070:33:11

-before the century changed.

-Yes.

-Can you tell me about...?

0:33:110:33:16

Yes. My great-grandmother, who was Australian, was an art collector,

0:33:160:33:21

and she bought it as a wedding present for my grandmother, who was married at the end of 1910,

0:33:210:33:28

-so they must have been the first...

-Really?

-..um, owners.

0:33:280:33:32

It always sat in the drawing room in the London house,

0:33:320:33:35

according to my uncle, who's now 89 and remembers it as a child, um...

0:33:350:33:40

and then I was given it on my 18th birthday and I've had it ever since.

0:33:400:33:45

-Did your family know Rackham?

-I think my grandmother knew him, yes,

0:33:450:33:51

because there is another one that isn't as clear as this. I think so.

0:33:510:33:55

-He illustrated some great books - Peter Pan and so on.

-Absolutely.

0:33:550:34:01

This specific subject doesn't seem to be an illustration for a book.

0:34:010:34:06

-I wonder if it's a picture of his children or...

-Well, I don't know,

0:34:060:34:11

except it does figure in this book about Arthur Rackham.

0:34:110:34:15

-There is a picture of it here, but of a different...

-A later version?

0:34:150:34:20

-1913, for his book of illustrations.

-And where is that?

0:34:200:34:24

-I know that the V&A...

-The Victoria and Albert.

-..have the copyright,

0:34:240:34:29

because somebody came to visit us here in Canada and saw the picture

0:34:290:34:35

and when she was in the V&A, she sent me a card from the gift shop.

0:34:350:34:40

How lovely. I think it's absolutely wonderful, and Rackham's work is highly sought after.

0:34:400:34:46

And if we just look on the back, we can see, with his own handwriting...

0:34:460:34:51

"Children By The Sea, Arthur Rackham", and his address, "Chalcot Gardens".

0:34:510:34:57

-Oh, yes, in Primrose Hill.

-Exactly. So that in itself is wonderful.

0:34:570:35:02

-Is that his signature?

-I'd say yes.

0:35:020:35:05

Well, I mean Rackham's prices are...

0:35:050:35:07

I mean he's so sought after, and therefore prices are extremely high for his work,

0:35:070:35:14

and to see this wonderful, sort of fresh... I mean, this girl here is so beautiful.

0:35:140:35:20

-Yes, I like this one.

-I know, it's wonderful.

-With the pantaloons.

0:35:200:35:25

-It conjures up Swallows And Amazons, and family holidays on the beach, doesn't it?

-Yes.

0:35:250:35:32

-It's one of the most desirable Rackhams you'll see.

-Really? Gosh.

0:35:320:35:37

It's just such a beautiful subject.

0:35:370:35:40

-Something like this, if it came up on the market, would make between £30,000 and £40,000 minimum.

-My God!

0:35:400:35:47

-I'd say 70,000 to 100,000 Canadian.

-Wow!

0:35:470:35:51

-It's an absolute peach.

-I had no idea, absolutely no idea. Wow!

0:35:510:35:56

You know, logistically, these are extraordinarily difficult to make,

0:35:560:36:01

because there's no glue used at all.

0:36:010:36:03

They are coopered traditionally and held together by these brass bands.

0:36:030:36:09

-This is Dutch.

-Yes.

-A cracking good example.

0:36:090:36:12

-It's got a typical half-size liner - they cut it off halfway down...

-Mm.

0:36:120:36:17

..so you could get more bottles in.

0:36:170:36:21

-What was it used for?

-Wine bottles.

-Wine?

-Yes. It's a bottle carrier.

0:36:210:36:26

-What do you use it for?

-Well, at one point I held my son's Lego in it - it was a toy bucket.

0:36:260:36:32

-I didn't know it was valuable.

-Well, we haven't said it's valuable yet!

0:36:320:36:37

-Now I'll keep wine in it.

-I should keep wine in it, if I were you, yes.

0:36:370:36:42

-You've been using - and I must say it IS quite valuable - the most expensive toy bucket.

-Really?

0:36:420:36:49

-Yes, it's worth, certainly in the English market, about £2,000.

-£2,000? That's amazing!

0:36:490:36:56

-So this has just been consigned to the back of the sewing basket?

-Yes.

0:36:560:37:01

-So you've never really given it a second look?

-No, I haven't.

0:37:010:37:06

-OK. When

-I

-look at this object, I want to give it about 20 looks,

0:37:060:37:11

because there's so much to see when you start looking closely at it.

0:37:110:37:16

You use it for sewing needles. Do you know what it was for originally?

0:37:160:37:21

I'm assuming maybe a snuff box.

0:37:210:37:23

I think you're on the right track. It probably started as a snuff box.

0:37:230:37:29

But what strikes you when you pick up something like this is just that it's sheer perfection.

0:37:290:37:35

It's beautifully decorated, the top.

0:37:350:37:39

This wonderful star decoration here with this entire elliptical field,

0:37:390:37:44

and then when you cast your eye into the borders,

0:37:440:37:48

you notice that this actual top's beautifully chiselled,

0:37:480:37:52

and enamelled with semi-translucent enamels in what appears to be an aubergine and an emerald green,

0:37:520:37:59

so it's a snuff box of quality.

0:37:590:38:02

Turn it on its side and you get more - wonderful little pilasters,

0:38:020:38:07

again using scroll motifs.

0:38:070:38:10

and it begs to be opened and when you open it,

0:38:100:38:14

you'll find that you've got several marks here,

0:38:140:38:18

which tell me that this is French,

0:38:180:38:21

which tell me that was made probably in around about 1780.

0:38:210:38:25

Now the person who owned this would have been well-to-do.

0:38:250:38:30

The chances are that the original owner probably lost his head to Madame Guillotine.

0:38:300:38:36

-But

-I

-don't want to lose my head when it comes to valuation!

0:38:360:38:41

If I was to recommend a valuation on this particular box,

0:38:410:38:46

it would be for somewhere in the region of £2,000,

0:38:460:38:50

which is about 4,000 Canadian,

0:38:500:38:54

so this has got to be, probably, the most expensive needle box I'll probably handle today.

0:38:540:39:02

-And it probably won't handle many more needles!

-No.

0:39:020:39:06

-Thank you.

-A pleasure.

0:39:060:39:09

My grandfather left it to me a pile of years ago, about 30 years ago, but I don't know where HE got it.

0:39:090:39:16

No story attached when you got it?

0:39:160:39:19

No, I wish I had one. He was a big shot in the internal affairs.

0:39:190:39:24

He travelled all over the world and he passed away when I was young.

0:39:240:39:29

Well, there's a bit of a government connection here.

0:39:290:39:33

This cane has been carved as we say, in the round.

0:39:330:39:37

It's sort of telling a story, and it says, "Sir John Douglass Sutherland Campbell",

0:39:370:39:45

and it says, "The Marquis of Lorne" here...

0:39:450:39:50

..and we see the initials "GG of C",

0:39:510:39:54

and we believe that stands for the Governor General of Canada.

0:39:540:39:59

He wasn't Governor General for long - a year or so, but I could be wrong.

0:39:590:40:04

Do you expect that he made this, do you think, or had it made for him?

0:40:040:40:09

I believe he had it made, but I'm just going by rumours.

0:40:090:40:13

It could have been made as a commemorative piece for his time, or perhaps made as a walking stick.

0:40:130:40:20

This would have historical value, but its real value here in Canada is as a piece of Canadian folk art.

0:40:200:40:28

And it has just a fantastic surface. One of the things we look for in folk art is the old painted surface.

0:40:280:40:35

There's this terrific imagery on it.

0:40:350:40:38

We've got the great Canadian symbol, the beaver,

0:40:380:40:42

we've got diamonds and hearts and this curious thing here.

0:40:420:40:46

The thing's carved out of one piece,

0:40:460:40:48

and you see the carver's virtuosity in carving this ball - remarkable.

0:40:480:40:53

And the colour is just...the preservation, the different colours,

0:40:530:40:58

I think it's a delightful object. You've never had it priced?

0:40:580:41:03

I've no idea. Not even a small clue.

0:41:030:41:06

-Wouldn't even hazard a guess?

-No, I'd be too afraid to guess.

-Well, you might be surprised.

0:41:060:41:12

-I think we're looking at about £2,500 British, 4,000 to 6,000 Canadian.

-Wow! Well...

0:41:120:41:19

-A wonderful thing.

-Thank you very much.

0:41:190:41:22

-My mother was very fond of it and used it a great deal.

-Right.

0:41:220:41:27

-Well, it's a very pretty chain and it's actually Swiss.

-Well!

0:41:270:41:32

This enamelling is very typical...

0:41:320:41:36

and the little gold links, as well,

0:41:360:41:38

-and I think this would date from about 1830.

-Really?

-Mm.

0:41:380:41:43

And for insurance purposes, I would estimate this at somewhere around £5,000 or 10,000.

0:41:430:41:50

Good heavens! Incredible!

0:41:500:41:53

But now we come to the real star of the show.

0:41:530:41:56

I bought this in New York 30 or more years ago,

0:41:560:42:01

and, um...

0:42:010:42:04

-it was purported to have been made in Prague in about 1560.

-Well, I think that's, you know,

0:42:040:42:12

that is absolutely likely,

0:42:120:42:15

-because the form of it and the way these emeralds have been cut...

-Yes.

0:42:150:42:20

..is typical of the 16th century, as is this beautiful enamelling on the sides and on the back.

0:42:200:42:27

It's really in immaculate condition, I must say. It's really survived beautifully.

0:42:270:42:33

Jewellery of this period is rare today, seldom comes on the market.

0:42:330:42:38

-I would estimate the value of this between £20,000 and £25,000.

-Gosh.

0:42:380:42:43

-Which would be about 50,000.

-How much?

-About 50,000.

-50,000?

0:42:430:42:49

Incredible.

0:42:490:42:51

It's a really spectacular piece and I'm delighted to have seen it.

0:42:510:42:56

Well, thank you very much indeed.

0:42:560:42:59

It's been a busy, busy day,

0:42:590:43:01

and I have to hand it to the folk here for their enthusiasm, patience and their unfailing good humour.

0:43:010:43:08

So from Ottawa and our first Canadian Roadshow, goodbye.

0:43:080:43:13

Subtitles by Judith Russell BBC - 2002

0:43:130:43:18

Michael Aspel takes the experts across the Atlantic to Ottawa for a special edition set in the National Gallery of Canada. Among the finds are a bronze figure obtained in exchange for a pound of coffee, a desk which started life as a musical instrument, a pair of 19th-century 'whirlygigs', wooden bird scarers, rescued from a chicken coop and worth £10,000 and, the real star of the show, a 16th-century emerald jewelled cross which could be worth £25,000.