Victoria and Albert Museum Antiques Roadshow


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Victoria and Albert Museum

Aspel and his team of experts find themselves at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Interesting finds include a collection of Japanese hair decorations and some Lewis Carroll letters.


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Welcome to a special Roadshow from London's Victoria and Albert Museum,

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one of the finest museums in the world, full of treasures.

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There are magnificent pieces of silver, ancient glass, delicate ivories, beautiful pottery

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and delicious sculptures. The Museum was founded after the Great Exhibition of 1851.

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Many items were purchased from the Exhibition to start this collection and in 150 years,

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the V&A has grown to around four million objects, housed in seven miles of galleries.

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The place, it seems, is full of faces watching you.

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But this isn't just a museum of the old.

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It also houses modern design from costume like Vivienne Westwood's famous shoe

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to the hanging chandelier in the entrance hall,

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made of many pieces of blown glass, erected here in 1999.

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So let's see what our experts have found to interest them today.

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They're my mother's, but were previously my grandmother's, given to her by a titled lady

0:42:020:42:09

who she worked for and I understand that they were in their family for a very long time before that.

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Other than that, I know nothing.

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I come across a lot of things that have been given by titled ladies to people in their employ.

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In most cases, what titled ladies give away are not of great value,

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but in this case, I think your relative was given quite a nice little present.

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A descriptive term for these two objects would be tazzas or comports.

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If you prefer more plain English, footed fruit stands, as they went on the Victorian dining-room table

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and they would be festooned with all different types of fruit.

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Today, we are fascinated with dolphins and the Victorians had the same fascination.

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If you think you've seen something like that before, if you walk along the Embankment here in London,

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you'll see lampposts with twin dolphins supporting them.

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Date-wise, this one has everything I need to know under there.

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There are lots of marks to go for. The important one is Minton.

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This propeller-like device is the year symbol for 1861.

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Ten years later, Minton added an "s". Consequently, anything that's marked "Mintons",

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is after 1871.

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So here we are in the middle of what you might call the height of Victoriana.

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Majolica, very, very popular, these glazes.

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Nothing to do with maiolica that came out of Renaissance Italy

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in the 15th century. These are lead-glazed. They're not tin-glazed

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as the Renaissance examples, but do you like these objects?

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-I do, but my mother who owns them doesn't.

-She doesn't?

-No.

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I'm tempted to whisper the valuation to you in case she's watching!

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If I was to insure these today,

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-it would be for the princely sum of £4,000.

-Really?

-I don't mince words

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when I'm talking money!

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-They would find a lot of favour, if not on this side of the Atlantic, then the other.

-Oh, my goodness!

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They belonged to my great-grandmother and she was a very stylish and elegant lady.

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She grew up in Paris and it came through my grandmother to me.

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The finest Art Deco jewellery came from Paris and this is Art Deco.

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It's a word that's over-used in the jewellery world. Anything with an angular style is called Art Deco.

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Very often it misses the point and it's much later than people think.

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This is a very exciting discovery because of the beauty of the design

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and the materials which were great favourites - black onyx and coral,

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and heightened with diamond work in the form

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of neo-Egyptian feathered sceptres or something like that.

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The top makers for these sorts of jewels are Cartier, Boucheron and Fouquet.

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We don't know who has made this example,

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but I think I can see on the tongue that there is a mark where we'd expect to find it.

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It is a maker's mark. It reads "DL".

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That doesn't correspond with any great retailer's initials.

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That's not surprising because they did use outworkers at the time

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and the absence of an impressed signature for a jewel is not worrying.

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With a bit of research, and in this museum such research should go on,

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-it may be possible to fix a name on it. Did you know it was a very valuable object?

-No.

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It's almost sad to hear that! Because it's coral and black onyx

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which are worthless materials and the diamonds are not enormous,

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but it's the style that people really search for.

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It's like an Odeon cinema, a Chrysler building

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that you can wear on your wrist and anybody with any sensitivity to beauty would want that very much,

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so it would smoke them out to the degree of £5,000.

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-Worth every penny, but not the point at all.

-No.

-It's great for you, very beautiful.

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-It's exciting when something like this comes in.

-It could be anything.

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I think that's fine, actually. It gives us a very good indication.

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It appears to be painted on linoleum.

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Or very... Or some sort of plasticky substance, isn't it?

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-Not seen one of those?

-I've never seen one.

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And this is yours? This lovely lady?

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-This is Mummy's.

-Mummy's?

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Has she got a name?

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-Matilda.

-Matilda? What a lovely name! Isn't she a lovely girl?

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A lovely smiling face and she's made in Austria.

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She's been living in Australia for about the past 50 years.

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-That's why she's called Matilda.

-Waltzing Matilda?

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-I understand why. She's very, very beautiful.

-She's very sentimental.

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Made about 1895, 1900.

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And now made - pieces like this

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are getting very collectable - by a firm that's called Amphora.

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-Have you got any idea of the value?

-No idea whatsoever.

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It's my grandmother's bust.

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Would you be surprised at a value of £1,000 to £1,200?

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For Matilda?

0:48:340:48:36

-She'll waltz...

-She'll waltz home with me now!

-She's very beautiful.

0:48:360:48:41

I got it at a boot sale about a year ago in Highgate.

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I was just looking around. I saw this and I thought it was beautiful.

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-It is beautiful. Did you give a lot for it?

-I paid £1.50.

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It's a muffin dish. That's its function.

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It's designed by CR Ashby who is a very well-known designer

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who was one of the most important figures of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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Their philosophy was hand-making things and you see this hammered effect.

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You can't reproduce that on a machine. You have to do that with a hammer and go all the way round.

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It's silver-plated and this particular one has an amethyst.

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Sometimes they have a green stone, but they always have these scrolls.

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-Have you ever given a thought as to what it might be worth?

-I honestly have no clue.

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For £1.50, you've done pretty well

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-because I estimate the value of this at somewhere between £800 and £1,000.

-Wow!

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In about 1952,

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I went to a little old antiques shop in Holborn.

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It had a few Japanese things and people hated the Japanese, so everything was cheap.

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I found this lovely comb and bought that, then did nothing much until I went back to Japan in about '58.

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I started collecting very seriously in the mid '70s

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through maybe to the mid '90s when I left Japan.

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-Shall we start with this one which intrigues me? I believe it is a marriage...

-It is a wedding one.

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It is worn on the front of the head and it is coral with silver and gold.

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-It has turtle...

-Longevity.

-Cherry blossom and pine

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which are good luck and longevity.

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-That is splendid. Did you get that in Japan?

-Yes, everything except that comb.

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I've seen a good many papier-mache trays and I'm criticised for saying, "This is the best I've ever seen,"

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but it is as good as I've ever seen.

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It's a lovely early example and is rare as it's in perfect condition.

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This material is very fragile and it's immaculate.

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It's got the original decoration in the centre.

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It's never been used as a tray, so it has its original decoration

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with these little raised figures and they've never been rubbed at all.

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I've just found hanging at the back two little hooks.

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-It always hung on a wall in my parents' house. There it is.

-Excellent.

0:51:280:51:35

Well, well, well! I say, what a lovely room! That's marvellous.

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-I have to ask you. Do you have it separately valued?

-No, I don't.

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Today it would cost about £3,500.

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-Would it really?

-So make sure the wire is very strong, won't you?

-Yes.

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This is a comb by Mitsukoshi, the most famous... the Harrods of Japan.

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It's gold and silver and pearls on tortoiseshell.

0:52:020:52:06

-That was very expensive.

-Even when you bought it?

0:52:060:52:11

Even when I bought it,

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but in the very late '20s to mid '30s, it would have been expensive.

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-So that is one of your modern, most expensive ones.

-That is the most modern one.

-I love these.

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-Kanoko.

-I didn't know how to pronounce it.

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This is the finest tie-dye you've ever seen anywhere.

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-This is the most incredible work.

-Yes.

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This is worn tied around at the back. Then they wore the hairpins here and the comb in the front.

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Speedy rider, isn't he?

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A toy, obviously. Made in tin plate,

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probably in the late '20s and this is based on a German manufactured toy called Lehmann.

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The toy was a Halloh tin plate toy.

0:53:030:53:06

But who made this one? It's got no marks on it.

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-What do you know?

-It was bought at an auction in Brussels.

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They didn't give a make for it.

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It's in fine condition, but it's a Japanese copy of a German toy.

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-What makes you think it's Japanese?

-The style of the face and the hair.

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You would never see that in a European manufacturer.

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And this extraordinary spray paint. You'd never see that in a German manufacturer

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which makes it much rarer than the German one. How much did you pay for it?

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-I think about £600.

-To a collector, this is exquisite, extraordinary rarity.

0:53:460:53:52

-A Japanese manufacturer made it and today it's probably worth about £4,000 or £5,000.

-Ooh!

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This is for a very old lady. Most of her hair has gone, so she only needs a very small one.

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Probably I'll have to use it.

0:54:090:54:12

Oh, my goodness! The interesting thing to me about your collection

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and I could go on looking at all these things... The more you look at it, the more detail you see.

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-What I love about it is it spans from here which is 200 to 300 years ago...

-300, yeah.

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..almost to the present day and it is a history... It really is domestic history of Japan.

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That is what's clever and you have here alone...

0:54:400:54:44

We're talking about this as not more than £100 for the pair.

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So they're not of great value. This certainly would be more.

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But if you add it all up, you have got several thousand pounds' worth of ornamental hairpins.

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-I've hardly space to display them.

-You'll have to buy another house!

-Yes.

-Thank you

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-for bringing them in.

-My pleasure.

0:55:090:55:12

His name is Jabez Hughes, the photographer to Queen Victoria

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and he photographed her when she went to Osborne.

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When I took the picture out of the frame, I found some scraps of loose paper talking about the Crimean War.

0:55:210:55:29

-I think that's 1854.

-Cornelius Jabez Hughes then went on to write

0:55:290:55:35

a very useful book called The Principles And Practice Of Photography in 1859

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which went to 14 editions, so he was a man who was much respected in photography.

0:55:420:55:48

-You'll have to get a copy.

-I will.

0:55:480:55:51

Here we have a portrait of him about the time he wrote the book.

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-The case is from Scotland. Was he living there?

-Yes, he had a practice

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-in Buchanan Street in Glasgow for five years.

-The next year, in 1860,

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he went to Ryde to set up his studio at Regina Studios.

0:56:080:56:11

This is an absolutely delightful letter

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written on Osborne paper.

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"The Queen wishes you to come to Osborne Cottage

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"to photograph the children of the Crown Princess of Prussia."

0:56:220:56:27

-He's picked up a lot of mementos. Do you have any particular favourite?

-The ballet shoes

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of Princess Alice. I think they're Princess Alice's ballet shoes.

0:56:340:56:39

Yes, scored on the bottom to stop her slipping. A lovely little touch.

0:56:390:56:45

1st of May, 1864. They're very sweet.

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The piece of carpet is an extraordinary thing.

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Apparently, it's an off-cut from the carpet of the bridal suite of the Prince of Wales, Edward VII.

0:56:540:57:02

This was cut off at some point by Hughes on the quiet.

0:57:020:57:08

It's a piece of Brussels carpet and what's really nice is this orange blossom on it.

0:57:080:57:15

Prince Albert gave Victoria a nice brooch of orange blossom made in precious jewels.

0:57:150:57:21

Brides very often wore orange blossom in their headdresses.

0:57:210:57:27

The significance of orange blossom on the carpet is lovely.

0:57:270:57:31

The colours are still as they were. You've kept them out of sunlight.

0:57:310:57:37

These things are terribly difficult to value because individually they're not of enormous value.

0:57:370:57:45

A little pair of ballet shoes worn by a Royal princess,

0:57:450:57:50

one's talking of probably no more than £50, £60, I suppose.

0:57:500:57:55

Put the whole lot together, maybe £1,000, £1,500.

0:57:550:58:00

So a really lovely lot. Thank you so much for bringing it along.

0:58:000:58:05

It came from Spain. It actually belonged to my mother

0:58:050:58:10

who in about 1930 or 1931

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went down to Spain

0:58:140:58:17

and I'm sure was given that with the understanding that it was used

0:58:170:58:24

-to frighten poachers in orange orchards.

-It would be ideal for that.

0:58:240:58:30

Blunderbusses are close-range, anti-personnel weapons, normally loaded

0:58:300:58:36

with a big handful of lead pellets and this could only have come from Spain.

0:58:360:58:42

The lock is a flint lock and it's very distinctive to the Iberian Peninsula. It's a Miquelet lock.

0:58:420:58:50

The main spring is on the outside of the lock plate, not the inside.

0:58:500:58:55

And the top jaw of the cock which holds the flint has this lovely oval ring in it.

0:58:550:59:02

That meant you didn't have to have a screwdriver and you could just stick the ramrod through it.

0:59:020:59:09

If we go down towards the back end of the gun, to the butt, that again is a very distinctive Spanish shape,

0:59:090:59:17

a Madrid style of butt. And then on the top of the barrel, there is a little inscription

0:59:170:59:24

in Spanish. My Spanish isn't good.

0:59:240:59:27

It says something like, "Soy defensora de mi dueno,"

0:59:270:59:32

which I think means, "I will defend my owner."

0:59:320:59:37

Often with English blunderbusses you get, "Happy is he that escapes my breath."

0:59:370:59:44

-That is a Spanish equivalent.

-What is that?

0:59:440:59:48

That is what is known as a belt hook

0:59:480:59:53

and if you were perhaps on horseback with a broad leather belt, you would drop it into there

0:59:531:00:00

-and it would sit quite nicely as...

-Pulled you off your horse!

-A lot of Spanish firearms have those hooks.

1:00:001:00:07

They're very distinctive. It's in good condition,

1:00:071:00:12

just slightly dirty. It could do with a very gentle clean to take the dirt off it,

1:00:121:00:18

but it's a very nice original, completely untouched.

1:00:181:00:23

An early 19th century piece like this in very good condition

1:00:231:00:29

with all the romance of the Iberian Peninsula, made about the time

1:00:291:00:33

of the Napoleonic Wars, is going to make between £1,500 and £2,000.

1:00:331:00:38

That's very good. That's worth several crates of oranges!

1:00:381:00:45

I inherited it when my mother died last year. She was given it for looking after an elderly neighbour.

1:00:451:00:53

It's beautiful. It's signed by the artist,

1:00:531:00:57

William Barlow. He's not a painter known to me, I must admit,

1:00:571:01:03

but he's obviously a professionally trained artist, presumably in the Potteries, in Stoke-on-Trent.

1:01:031:01:11

It's got the skill of a china painter and the flowers are exquisitely done.

1:01:111:01:17

I love these petals wriggling off like that. They're tremendous.

1:01:171:01:22

As such, in its original frame, of about 1830,

1:01:221:01:27

I think the painting has a fair value.

1:01:271:01:31

I suppose this will be something like £1,000.

1:01:311:01:35

-Gosh!

-So a very nice gift.

-It certainly was.

1:01:351:01:40

Every picture tells a story. There is a story attached to this one.

1:01:401:01:45

Not so much as regards the subject of the painting

1:01:451:01:49

which, as we can see, is cupids playing or disporting, as they might have said in old catalogues.

1:01:491:01:57

What kind of painting is that? That very pale, colourless...?

1:01:571:02:02

It's what's called a grisaille, a French word which means painting in these grey and white tones.

1:02:021:02:10

It was popular in the 18th century, particularly for decorative use. It might have been painted

1:02:101:02:17

to fit in a panel of a room, on a staircase, over a door.

1:02:171:02:22

-What is the story about this painting?

-There is another version

1:02:221:02:27

of this painting in the museum which you found.

1:02:271:02:31

I came one day to look at the Jones exhibition which is part of the V&A.

1:02:311:02:37

In about the third room, I saw it hanging on the wall.

1:02:371:02:42

I thought, "That's extraordinary. I've got that painting."

1:02:421:02:47

It is a coincidence, though it does happen in art history that there are second versions, copies.

1:02:471:02:54

It keeps art historians occupied and the V&A picture is attributed to a French 18th century artist, Sauvage.

1:02:541:03:03

It's not signed, nor is this one, so we can't be sure that either picture is by Sauvage.

1:03:031:03:10

What I feel is that looking at the technique of this and the canvas and the quality of it,

1:03:101:03:17

it is probably a later copy, maybe done at the end of the 18th century.

1:03:171:03:23

Sauvage was early 18th century.

1:03:231:03:26

Are they worth identical money?

1:03:261:03:29

I think as this is a later version, it is probably worth less than the one in the Jones collection.

1:03:291:03:36

-Can you tell me where you acquired this?

-We bought it at a sale in the mid 1960s.

1:03:361:03:43

-Do you remember what you paid?

-We paid £120 for it.

-I think you did well.

1:03:431:03:49

-Now, in a sale, you'd get £2,000 to £3,000 for it.

-I wouldn't sell it, but thank you.

1:03:491:03:56

Thank you for bringing it.

1:03:561:03:59

The most important feature here is that particular scroll,

1:03:591:04:04

first drawn by a man called George Smith in a book published in the early 1800s.

1:04:041:04:10

He published another in 1826 with an acanthus leaf

1:04:101:04:14

like that, so the combination of those two gives us a date for the table of 1826 to 1830.

1:04:141:04:22

It's got this lovely rosewood in such good condition, nice and untouched.

1:04:221:04:28

These wonderful scrolls come down here, all complementing that date.

1:04:281:04:33

-Is it a family table?

-Yes.

-It has the feel of it.

1:04:331:04:37

I remember as a small child sitting round the table at Christmas playing cards.

1:04:371:04:43

Wonderful. It's a tilt-top table. The type is known as a loo table

1:04:431:04:48

because it was invented for playing the card game of loo,

1:04:481:04:53

but it became synonymous with any large round table.

1:04:531:04:57

I'm going to lower this down and you've got these marvellous panels

1:04:571:05:04

of inlaid marquetry brass.

1:05:041:05:07

This was a feature which began in the 18th century and then was revived after 1815 in London.

1:05:071:05:14

This has been stripped down which is a great shame. What happened?

1:05:141:05:20

-They had a fire in the house before I got it. It didn't get burnt, but...

-Smoke damage,

1:05:201:05:26

smoke damage. Yes, that is a shame

1:05:261:05:30

because the base is in virtually untouched condition.

1:05:301:05:34

Stripping it off like that is a pity,

1:05:341:05:38

but nevertheless, it is still a most interesting table and quite a valuable table.

1:05:381:05:45

-A table like this would cost you about £15,000 to replace.

-Would it?

1:05:451:05:50

Yes, it does look nice when you see it down, looking at it like this. Hmm.

1:05:501:05:56

What is this dreadful electric thing doing sticking out of your vase?

1:05:561:06:02

Well, I bought this at Nairobi

1:06:021:06:05

-at an antiques sale.

-Uh-huh.

1:06:051:06:09

Well, I won't tell you what I paid for it,

1:06:091:06:14

but I thought it was a lovely vase

1:06:141:06:17

and, er, then...

1:06:171:06:20

when I came to...live in London

1:06:201:06:25

in 1983,

1:06:251:06:28

I brought it with me.

1:06:281:06:30

I thought it would make a nice lamp, so I took it to a lamp place

1:06:301:06:36

and they put this on and a lovely big shade and it makes a lovely lamp for my drawing room.

1:06:361:06:44

Sitting here next to it, it should be Chinese. It really does look Chinese.

1:06:441:06:50

-But it's not.

-No, it isn't.

1:06:501:06:53

I thought it was Persian when I first bought it.

1:06:531:06:58

I can understand that from these designs. You've got patterns,

1:06:581:07:03

a pattern called Kashmir pattern influenced from the Middle East,

1:07:031:07:08

but the clue to the origin are all these chips at the bottom. Underneath it is what we call delft.

1:07:081:07:16

It is fake Chinese porcelain and on the bottom should be the clue to who produced it.

1:07:161:07:23

It's heavy, isn't it?

1:07:231:07:25

What a weight!

1:07:251:07:28

There's the mark. It's upside down. "VE" or "LVE".

1:07:281:07:33

That's the mark of Lambertus van Eenhoorn, one of the great Dutch potters,

1:07:331:07:40

the monogram there telling proudly that this isn't Chinese,

1:07:401:07:45

but a Dutch copy of the Chinese porcelain

1:07:451:07:49

that was precious in the homes. We're going back to around 1700, 1710.

1:07:491:07:55

Chinese vases were in the big palaces and were worth a lot of money, so they wanted imitations

1:07:551:08:02

that looked as good, but were a bit cheaper.

1:08:021:08:06

It does look Chinese. These antiques are unusual on delft.

1:08:061:08:10

And it wasn't Persian

1:08:101:08:13

-because there are figures, faces on it.

-This is a little angel's head.

1:08:131:08:19

That's a lovely European touch.

1:08:191:08:22

They've taken a Chinese shape. These are pure Chinese, but that isn't.

1:08:221:08:27

A little winged cherub's head. He's a little Dutch boy. Goodness knows what these creatures are!

1:08:271:08:34

-Some horned devil or dragon. There's a lot of work in there. It's beautifully painted.

-Yes, it is.

1:08:341:08:42

The Eenhoorn family produced some of the best Dutch delft.

1:08:421:08:47

This would have been for a palace, probably a pair, either side of a great fireplace.

1:08:471:08:54

-Today it's probably worth £2,500 to £3,000.

-Really?

1:08:541:08:59

I thought it might be that much.

1:09:001:09:03

Tell me about this rather nice pair of candlesticks you've brought in.

1:09:031:09:08

My husband's brother bought them in Oxford,

1:09:081:09:12

somewhere around 45 years ago or longer because I've been married for 45 years.

1:09:121:09:20

He bought them for £75 each.

1:09:201:09:23

That sounds like a good investment.

1:09:231:09:26

How many of them were there?

1:09:261:09:28

There were four. He gave us a pair for a wedding present and kept a pair for himself.

1:09:281:09:35

They're a very nice pair of Georgian candlesticks, called the six-shell design for obvious reasons.

1:09:351:09:43

They were made in 1750. That's the date letter "P" for 1750.

1:09:431:09:48

Leopard's head for London, lion for sterling, maker's mark of John Cafe.

1:09:481:09:53

-John Cafe?

-Cafe. C-A-F-E. He was a very prolific candlestick maker.

1:09:531:09:59

He doesn't seem to have made anything else much.

1:09:591:10:03

-He made rather beautiful ones.

-He had a lot of practice.

1:10:031:10:08

They've got very nice original coats of arms in this rococo cartouche of the period.

1:10:081:10:15

And all the matching nozzles that go with them...

1:10:151:10:20

..one of which I think has a mark on. Anyway, a jolly nice pair.

1:10:211:10:26

A pair of candlesticks like this should be insured for about £3,500.

1:10:261:10:32

As a set of four, they'd be worth considerably more than twice two.

1:10:331:10:39

Probably £8,000-£9,000 for a set of four.

1:10:391:10:43

What can you tell me about your salon suite?

1:10:431:10:47

-Is that what it is?

-Yes.

1:10:471:10:50

-We bought it a year ago in Suffolk,

-so it hasn't been in the family.

1:10:501:10:55

-It's very new to us. We don't know much about it, except we think it's French Art Nouveau.

-OK.

1:10:551:11:03

You're on the right track because the wood in question is pear wood.

1:11:031:11:08

The great thing about Art Nouveau design is that it tends to use organic forms.

1:11:081:11:16

Look at the way this top rail gives almost a whiplash effect.

1:11:161:11:21

Then look at this. The cabinet maker has actually contorted that arm rest

1:11:211:11:26

because the inspiration here is obviously organic.

1:11:261:11:31

Look at the way that this foot runs down there.

1:11:311:11:35

It's almost like it's growing out of the floor.

1:11:351:11:39

Then these little details of trailing ivy.

1:11:391:11:44

When it comes to the designer, tricky.

1:11:441:11:48

You're right to say it's Art Nouveau, but I should point out

1:11:481:11:53

that there are lots of different interpretations of Art Nouveau. In France,

1:11:531:11:59

there were two schools - the Paris School and the Nancy School. I think this is the Nancy School

1:11:591:12:06

because if there was a name to say it's in the style of, it would be Louis Majorelle.

1:12:061:12:13

It's got a Majorelle feel to it.

1:12:131:12:16

Where it really falls apart is in the quality of the carving.

1:12:161:12:21

It's not quite up to Monsieur Majorelle's standard.

1:12:211:12:26

I need to ask you a question. Have you had it upholstered yourselves?

1:12:261:12:31

No, it was like that when we bought it and I assumed that it had been re-upholstered totally wrongly.

1:12:311:12:39

You're correct in your assumption.

1:12:391:12:41

It's an interesting Regency stripe. It's nice, it's relatively tasteful,

1:12:411:12:46

had it been put on a chair that dated from 1800

1:12:461:12:51

-and not 1900.

-Wrong for this.

-I'm afraid it's totally wrong. You'll have a lot of fun putting it right.

1:12:511:12:58

If I was to go out and buy this today, I would expect to pay around £2,500.

1:12:581:13:06

-I hope that comes within the parameters of acceptability.

-Yes.

1:13:061:13:09

Since you only bought it a year ago!

1:13:091:13:14

Well, there are 12 dishes.

1:13:141:13:16

About six of these,

1:13:161:13:20

two sort of cake stands on pillars

1:13:201:13:25

and an enormous 18-inch sort of fruit tureen, I suppose.

1:13:251:13:29

This is wonderful. It's John Ridgway, potter to Queen Victoria.

1:13:291:13:34

This was made probably for the 1851 Exhibition.

1:13:341:13:39

-The quality of the painting is superb. Each piece has a different composition.

-No two are the same.

1:13:391:13:46

The common denominator is the pattern number. We have no factory mark,

1:13:461:13:52

but we've got a fractional pattern number.

1:13:521:13:57

-They all have the same number?

-Yes, that is the Ridgway pattern number for that.

1:13:571:14:03

It would've been a very expensive service,

1:14:031:14:07

-£20, £30, something like that, but today...

-In those days.

-What would it be today?

-I have no idea.

1:14:071:14:14

Each plate is going to be worth £200 or £300. Nearer £300, actually.

1:14:141:14:19

The dishes, we're talking about £400, the comports £500.

1:14:191:14:25

We've mentioned a big centre piece. We're into several thousand pounds.

1:14:251:14:30

Probably £10,000. It's absolutely tremendous.

1:14:301:14:35

In the 1930s, there were attempts made to say, "Let's get modern design into tableware."

1:14:351:14:42

One or two manufacturers said, "Well, let's go to modern artists.

1:14:421:14:47

"He or she must know about design, so they can design tableware."

1:14:471:14:53

This design was by Duncan Grant, the Bloomsbury artist, friend of Vanessa Bell.

1:14:531:14:59

In a sense, it's confusing because it's Bizarre Ware by Clarice Cliff.

1:14:591:15:06

This tureen is about £150, £200. I don't think it works. You do?

1:15:061:15:12

-Yes.

-It's all about taste.

-Thanks.

1:15:121:15:16

This belonged to my great-aunt who's been dead some 30 years now.

1:15:161:15:22

And she said it was a tea caddy.

1:15:221:15:25

Boulle, I think. Brass and tortoiseshell.

1:15:251:15:30

And I don't know its earlier history.

1:15:311:15:34

I think she may have been given it possibly at a time when it was completely out of fashion.

1:15:341:15:42

It's no use for keeping tea in as the metal lining has corroded.

1:15:421:15:47

It's interesting you say that these things go in and out of fashion. Boullework did just that.

1:15:471:15:54

It first appeared in France and is named after the original designer of this decorative work,

1:15:541:16:01

Andre Charles Boulle, in the 17th century, and it's been through various phases of fashion.

1:16:011:16:09

-This is from around 1840.

-Can you tell from the pattern, the design?

1:16:091:16:14

A combination of both. The size of the tea caddy, if it was 18th century, would be much smaller.

1:16:141:16:21

Later on in the 19th century, they tended to be larger than this, too.

1:16:211:16:27

It's in excellent condition and something of this quality of this sort of date

1:16:271:16:34

-would fetch something in the region of £1,500 to £2,000.

-Gracious!

1:16:341:16:39

I had no idea it was worth that.

1:16:391:16:42

My mother was fond of antiques, right back from the war years when people were burning things

1:16:421:16:49

and she just loved them and learned a lot about them.

1:16:491:16:54

I can always remember her having this stool as her dressing table stool, so I remember her...

1:16:541:17:02

Where it came from, you have no idea?

1:17:021:17:06

I imagine either an antiques shop or an auction sale. She loved auction sales.

1:17:061:17:13

-Well, she had a good eye.

-She did.

1:17:131:17:16

Now...its date is 1775.

1:17:161:17:20

-Good Lord! Really?

-Yeah. And it's not difficult to tell

1:17:201:17:25

because certain features came into fashionable furniture quickly and went out again and evolved.

1:17:251:17:33

It's that extraordinary shape, great, elegant shape,

1:17:331:17:37

taken off of the ancient, classic decorations and artefacts

1:17:371:17:42

that we discovered in the 1750s and '60s. This is an astragal moulding

1:17:421:17:48

with two flat planes on each side of the half circle. It makes the difference.

1:17:481:17:54

It finishes like the braid on a coat or a chair trim.

1:17:541:17:58

That makes it special. Then at each corner, you have a tapered leg and this curious collar.

1:17:581:18:05

If you designed a leg today, you wouldn't put that on, but it works. It's taken from an ancient design.

1:18:051:18:13

So you have a stool which is very fashionable. This period of furniture is much in demand.

1:18:131:18:20

It has a wonderful colour, but it has these curious "C" scrolls put together

1:18:201:18:27

which create a handle. Most of these stools just had a hole in that you put your hand through to lift it.

1:18:271:18:34

Let's have a look underneath.

1:18:341:18:38

Absolutely wonderful.

1:18:381:18:40

See how the colour here is created by people just holding it like this, like a polish of its own.

1:18:401:18:47

That's a sort of patina you can't fake.

1:18:471:18:51

These are the original wooden fillets which cover the peg holes which join this.

1:18:511:18:58

-It almost looks organic.

-Doesn't it?

1:18:581:19:01

Then this has a dry surface to it, typical of what you'd expect to see,

1:19:011:19:07

plus these pine blocks - this is all mahogany - in the corner.

1:19:071:19:13

1775, little saddle stool, but if you wanted to buy this again,

1:19:131:19:18

it would cost you about £4,000.

1:19:181:19:21

-No?

-Yes, yes.

1:19:211:19:23

-Golly! I know it's nice.

-You know it's nice, but now you know why, I hope!

1:19:231:19:30

-It's got all those special features.

-You can take it anywhere.

1:19:301:19:35

-I'd love to. Can I?

-Please don't!

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

1:19:351:19:41

-How old do you think it is?

-I don't know at all.

1:19:411:19:45

-Would it surprise you to find out it was 100 years old?

-Very much so.

1:19:451:19:51

If we divided it from the necklace, would it surprise you to know

1:19:511:19:56

that these faience beads are 4,000 years old?

1:19:561:20:00

They were used to decorate Egyptian mummies.

1:20:001:20:04

They would be stitched onto the linen bands in which the mummy was wrapped.

1:20:041:20:11

They must have been found in the 19th century and mounted up in gold.

1:20:111:20:17

They're threaded onto loop-in-loop chainwork, decorated with filigree,

1:20:171:20:22

and it makes a fantastically modern, yet ancient object.

1:20:221:20:26

-Where is it from?

-It's a 19th century English necklace in the archaeological taste

1:20:261:20:33

and very fashionable with the Victorians who loved everything old.

1:20:331:20:38

-If you didn't know that it was old, that it was seriously old, you don't know what it's worth?

-Not at all.

1:20:381:20:46

Well, £1,500 to £2,000.

1:20:461:20:48

Great. Wonderful.

1:20:481:20:51

There are many wonderful mirrors that I can try this looking-glass writing out on.

1:20:511:20:58

This is Lewis Carroll, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He has written it in French.

1:20:581:21:05

The only words I can read clearly are "pour l'ete" - "for the summer",

1:21:051:21:11

so I don't know what he was writing about. This is to Miss EM Miller. Who was she?

1:21:111:21:18

Miss Miller was a first cousin of my grandmother.

1:21:181:21:22

When the correspondence started, she appears to have been in her teens,

1:21:221:21:27

but most of these letters and so on date from the 1890s when she was in her 20s.

1:21:271:21:34

That's unusual because he was not known for writing to older ladies.

1:21:341:21:39

He liked to write to younger ladies.

1:21:391:21:42

You have a wonderful collection.

1:21:421:21:45

Lovely books, signed copies. Not first editions, but they are signed

1:21:451:21:51

by the author. You have wonderful mathematical equations

1:21:511:21:55

all sent to Miss Edith Miller of Eastbourne.

1:21:551:21:59

This letter here is extraordinary.

1:21:591:22:02

This is another game or the answers to one of his equations.

1:22:021:22:07

Four pages of it. It's absolutely staggering!

1:22:071:22:12

There, "Your ever loving friend, CLD." Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

1:22:121:22:17

And I've hardly ever seen this particular title, A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll.

1:22:171:22:24

That one doesn't come up often.

1:22:241:22:27

Again beautifully inscribed from the author. It is amazing.

1:22:271:22:33

-You've got how many letters?

-About 13 letters.

1:22:331:22:38

And you've got one, two, three, four, five, six of his own books, one of one other.

1:22:381:22:45

And you've also got this "in memoriam" card for Lutwidge Dodgson

1:22:451:22:51

who "fell asleep January 14, 1898".

1:22:511:22:54

-Do you have these insured?

-No.

-Any idea of their value?

1:22:541:22:59

-No.

-It is a remarkable collection. A four-page letter by Lewis Carroll

1:22:591:23:04

would nowadays make somewhere in the region of £3,000.

1:23:041:23:08

A single card like this possibly £1,500, £2,000.

1:23:081:23:13

A signed book, not a first edition, would make the best part of £1,000. And you've got 13 letters,

1:23:131:23:20

-these six books and another signed by him. We're talking about £50,000.

-Good heavens!

1:23:201:23:27

And to find it here right in the centre of London is delightful!

1:23:271:23:33

I hope you've enjoyed our visit to the Victoria And Albert Museum. You could browse here for a week.

1:23:331:23:40

In fact, I think I will! Until next time, goodbye.

1:23:401:23:44

Subtitles by BBC Subtitling

1:24:091:24:14

Michael Aspel and his team of experts find themselves at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in this edition. Interesting finds include a collection of Japanese hair decorations, a necklace whose beads once adorned Egyptian mummies, some letters by Lewis Carroll and a silver-plated dish.