More interesting valuables revealed by Michael Aspel in Clitheroe. Discoveries include one of the earliest vacuum cleaners and a collection of porcelain pugs.
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Welcome to a part of England that's full of legend from irascible gods
to cantankerous witches to visions of a religious nature.
We've come back to Clitheroe, a delightful town in the Ribble Valley of Lancashire.
Fable and folktale dominate the proceedings,
and this 900-year-old castle guards what's claimed to be the oldest borough in the land.
The Norman keep hasn't seen a lot of action, except for this gash,
supposedly caused by an angry exchange between rock-hurling gods.
Another explanation is that Oliver Cromwell fired a cannonball at the keep
from nearby Pendle Hill, obviously on a clear day.
For centuries, people have enjoyed a climb to the top of Pendle,
but when George Fox clambered up here in 1652, he experienced more than a breath of fresh air -
he had a vision of God which inspired him to form a new religion, Quakerism.
It was also the haunt of the so-called Pendle witches -
rival matriarchs who scared the locals with their spells
and were dragged off to Lancaster and hanged.
The good townsfolk of Clitheroe had no truck with boiling toads.
They earned an honest living making clogs and toiling in cotton mills.
That's now gone, but the hole that was left has been replaced by another.
Over the years, this cement quarry has provided welcome employment and added yet more mythical creatures
to the Clitheroe landscape, in the shape of these modern earth-moving monsters.
But that's enough of local legend. Our job is to unearth the real thing.
The Roadshow comes from the Roefield Leisure Centre.
These are knife boxes, obviously.
-How long have you had them?
-We've had them about three years.
-And you inherited them?
-Yes, we did.
-It's unlikely you'd have bought them in this rather sad state.
We'll deal with that in a minute.
The first thing is to open the lid and see whether or not...
fortunately, yes, these retain their original pierced containers,
simply because so many... Let's have a look at the other one.
-..so many have been taken out or gutted and made into stationery boxes...
..in the 1920s, so that's good. We then only have to consider restoration.
I've just noticed something - you see this wonderful panelling?
-That marquetry was put in about 1780, 1790.
That's the colour that the furniture of that time would have been. When you see it on bits of furniture,
that's how bright the colours were
and that looks almost new, which is wonderful, so we need to just look and see how bad these really are.
-That one, I think, only needs the hinge fixing and the front.
Now, it looks pretty awful, but, in fact, if these were taken to pieces, it's not a very complicated job
to put them back together, and when they're done, I think,
both of these boxes will be worth in the region of £400 to £500 each.
Thank you. I also inherited this cabinet.
-Let's have a look.
Well, you know, this is very interesting,
because in 20 years' time,
this is the type of furniture somebody will be talking about,
because this is the 1920s version...
-..of a sort of Queen Anne cabinet.
The original of this didn't really exist, but the form did -
the cabinet with lacquer or painted decoration,
large hinges in the Chinese manner on an English-type stand.
Parcel gilding - that means partly gilded -
so you have little parts of gilding here
to show the highlights on a walnut base with these cabriole legs.
The two were put together any time after 1680 through to about 1715, the end of Queen Anne's reign.
The originals will by that time, I'm sure, be so scarce and so valuable
that I doubt people will be bringing them along outside of a museum,
whereas, of course, the 1920s versions,
which this is, have not been considered really worthy as antiques yet.
Time will catch up, and when you look at it clinically, this is a good-looking piece of furniture.
-It's very pretty, isn't it?
-We like it.
-And it has... The little drawers work. Oh, look!
"Hamptons of London". That explains, because they were extremely good quality makers
known for their products, and retailers,
this superb quality here, which you very rarely find, actually, on this type of furniture.
Look at that!
Couldn't better that.
Look at these. Lovely.
Well, that's a little bonus...
..and inside is plain, I presume?
-They nearly always were. Just a couple of shelves.
-And it's a cocktail cabinet or drinks cabinet.
When I first started the business, these cabinets were £10 to £15.
Mind you, that is in the 1950s - that's a long time ago.
But they were almost only second-hand, you see.
However, time has increased. Now a little cabinet would be in the region of £2,500 to £3,000.
-Yes, but of course the original would be £20,000 or £30,000.
-As prices go up, here we have the antiques of the future.
Aren't these beautiful? They look just like Royal Crown Derby Imari,
-but they're not.
-Who actually did them?
-Your mother painted all these?
-She did the whole lot?
-Yes, she did.
-Was she trained at the factory?
No, she just went to evening classes
when she'd be... Oh, she'd probably be about 60 before she started,
and, of course, she was hooked then - she couldn't leave it alone.
I can imagine. There's a great vogue nowadays for china painting by ladies. They join clubs.
-Your mother wasn't in a club?
-No, she did it purely as a hobby.
I'm president of one of the clubs and I know how keen they are.
It's a wonderfully satisfying thing to do, but this is remarkably professional. It's incredible work.
Absolutely beautiful, and in such wonderful condition,
but if you bought these from, say, Royal Crown Derby, these would be into the £1,000 bracket.
That's not saying these will be, as they're painted by your mother,
but they're still going to be of fair value.
You might think about insurance of, say, I think £500 on each piece, as they are quite superb.
Fisher girls, obviously, fisher girl looking out to sea,
got her baskets, waiting for the boats to come in.
I've had a look, but I can't see a signature.
-No, we haven't.
-What can you tell me about it?
-Not much. It was in my parents' house for many years...
-..then it was handed it down to me.
-You've had it cleaned.
-I can see. They couldn't find a signature?
-No. I've had somebody trying to find a signature -
she's an antique valuer and she's not been able to find one either.
-I think I've got an idea.
-I'll tell you who I think this picture's by.
-Milner. William Edward Milner. You may not have heard of him.
He has a distinct style and distinct colours he uses,
and as soon as I saw this picture, I thought, "Milner".
Now, he is known for sort of country scenes and farming scenes.
He lived in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.
Now, there is something called Gainsborough Museum,
where there are a number of pictures by Milner.
-You'll have to make a trip there.
-Go and find out.
Check up - if it IS by Milner, it's certainly worth £2,000 or £3,000.
In fact, I think it could be more, perhaps £3,000 to £5,000, so very exciting little discovery.
Thank you very much.
Lovely flagons - where do they come from?
They come from our local parish church, but I've brought them from the bank where they're secure.
That's a sensible idea these days, but do you use them on occasions?
We use them for the main festivals, Christmas and Easter and...
That's great. I'm a great believer that church plates should be used.
It's so sad when it does so often reside just in the bag.
As objects, they're fascinating with their development and history,
and these two together do show some of that development.
The origins, most people don't realise, are actually secular, not ecclesiastic,
and if you go back into the 16th century,
you find that pairs of flagons were being produced which were very much, if I cover up the lip there,
very much that form, and you'd use them at banquets when replenishing the wine cups, this sort of idea.
You see them in paintings carrying them in, which is wonderful,
but then, as we move into the 17th century, they became obsolete for secular use
and people started to give them to churches for replenishing the Communion Cup.
The church thought, "What a wonderful idea,"
so they started to make them specifically for church use
and so, of course, today people associate them, because so many of them are in churches, with churches.
And that form was very much the sort of elongated tankard, if you like, continued through the 18th century.
So, when you look at the lid,
that of an 18th century tankard with the thumbpiece,
but then as you move on to this one... Where are we?
Yes, it's got, um...
1828, actually, for this one,
and the maker - Emes And Barnard.
Very good maker, that's Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard.
-The firm was registered, funnily enough,
as Widow Emes and Barnard.
Is it unusual to have a lady doing it?
Lots of women were involved in the running of companies -
we had some wonderful women silversmiths.
-Actually, Rebecca Emes was one of the best.
-Probably the best was Anne Tanqueray. There are over 300 recorded.
Oh, yes, so the Emes and Barnard of that period,
and by then, 1828, you've got a lip coming - they decided that would make it easier to pour.
Now, what's fascinating is that they...
having got that one in your church, they obviously decided they wanted another one,
and I have to say they didn't spend quite so much money this time.
This one has these wonderful mounts here - really, really good quality.
Notice how much more simple these are, just looking at the lip, that's a very simple lip,
these wonderful leaves, so perhaps there wasn't so much money.
-Have you noticed what's happened to the lid?
The thumbpiece has disappeared,
-and in its place you've now got a finial.
-So you can see all the time there's this evolving form.
-This is also Barnard's, but this is after Rebecca Emes has retired.
So you've got Barnard's on their own.
-Um, we're 1836 for this one, so just those few years later...
-Only a few years between them.
-Yeah. I would've thought probably to insure for £2,000 each.
Right, yes. Excellent. Thank you very much.
I was left it by my Godmother, who was also my mother's sister.
It was left to me as a jewellery box, but I don't know its history.
-Do you use it for jewellery?
It has these little drawers to accommodate jewellery and they have nice wooden linings,
so that'd be absolutely right,
and in the old days, when it was made, it might have been intended for such things.
-How did your family come by it?
Well, my aunt worked for the manageress of a shop in Clitheroe
and apparently an elderly gentleman took a fancy to her and kept bringing her presents,
apparently he was well travelled. That's all I know.
She was given it just before or just after the war, but I'm not sure of the date.
-Yes. Did he travel in Japan?
-I've always thought it was Japanese and there might be some bronze in it.
Somebody told me there was bronze in it, but it's not all bronze.
Yes, well, there's a whole variety of metals in here.
If we look at the front door, you've got a flaked gold background,
which has been damascened into the background of bronze,
so to damascene a metal you take a rough file, and then into that burr, rather like Velcro,
-you hammer another metal...
-..and polish it
until it takes on this absolutely smooth surface that we've got here.
And this little character is a man called Fuku-rokujin.
-"Fuku", believe it or not, is Japanese for "happiness".
-He's the god of happiness.
-I did wonder what the figures meant.
Round the side,
you've another of the gods of good fortune and happiness -
a man called Daikoku, recognisable because he's got a little hammer,
and inside the drawer, I noticed two cranes,
and the cranes, again, symbols of long life and happiness,
so the gift was to encourage her to live long and happily.
-Which is very nice.
And beautifully made around 1900, so quite late,
and it could've been bought by this man in Japan.
-What he would've paid then would've been a small amount,
but at auction today, this would make easily £2,000 to £3,000,
-um, and it's a cracking bit. Lovely. Beautifully made.
-Thank you for bringing it.
Pugs galore! Pugs to the left of us and pugs to the right of us!
What started you off collecting pugs?
Well, I had live pugs originally.
-And one sort of develops an interest in the breed,
so I started collecting anything to do with pugs.
-They're fascinating dogs.
-Which is your favourite?
-The white one.
-I think so.
Yes, that's very beautiful.
-Beautifully modelled. They always have little bells round them.
They derive, of course, from Meissen. This is a Meissen one,
the crossed swords of Meissen,
early 19th century, but very beautiful, and you have the partner?
-I do, but she's broken.
A beautiful thing, and there was a big vogue in Germany for pugs.
-Were they mixed up with the Masons?
-So I believe, but I don't know any details.
They had pugs when they weren't allowed to be Masons,
and so pugs represented the Masonic movement, and if somebody saw you with a pug,
-they knew you were a Mason.
I gather so. They produced great ones. That really is beautiful.
-It's super, and they go from German ones - lots of German ones...
In fact, this great big girl here is a German pug.
Massive. Is this life-size?
-Slightly larger, I think.
-Just slightly, yes, I think. Yes.
This one...this group is actually Worcester. It's a wonderful little group of Worcester pugs
modelled by James Hadley back in the 19th century -
about 1870, something like that - and that...
They are sweet, but strange colours.
-This is fun.
This little chap is wonderful. I suppose, he's an iced water jug?
You put iced water in there...
-I suppose so.
-When you pour it out, the ice doesn't drop out through the mouth...
-..or it'd plonk into the glass.
-I'd never thought of that.
He's a Staffordshire chap. I suppose end of the 19th century, but he's absolutely hilarious fun.
Would you call him a fairing?
No, he's better than a fairing.
These are fairings, little German fairings.
-Things you bought at the fair.
but he's a good quality ornament.
He's great. It's terribly exciting.
The whole collection is great. It gives you enormous joy?
-Oh, enormous pleasure.
-Are you worried about their values?
I am about Prudence, whether I ought to insure her separately.
-I call her Prudence.
Prudence for a pug dog. Prudence. Yeah.
Well, she's German majolica,
and majolica is now very, very popular.
-If it were a Minton one or a George Jones one, it would be in the many thousands.
But I suppose this German one...
you've got to be thinking of £2,000 or £3,000 for Prudence.
The others aren't in that league. A Meissen one, being one of a pair,
the other one broken, is going to be about £600 or £700.
Very nice chap. The pair would be up into the.. well into the four-figure bracket...
-..if the other one had been perfect.
-The Worcester group is nice.
We must be thinking somewhere in the terms of, I suppose, £400 or £500,
-and the other ones are up into the £100 bracket, most of them.
The water jug is very fun - £100 - but a lovely collection.
-Thank you very much.
-I will indeed.
-Carry on collecting pugs.
-I will. Thank you very much.
This is a delightful piece. Tell me where you got it and what you know about it.
I don't know a lot about it. Me aunt left a few pieces of jewellery.
That was one I thought was pretty, but I was told it was plastic.
-Were you? By whom?
-A jeweller. He's retired from the trade, so...
I see. Actually, this...
it is a shell cameo,
but he might've been a bit deceived,
because this pink background comes from a particular sort of shell. It's a conch shell -
-pronounced "conc" and spelt "conch".
There are two sorts - common ones with the brown background
and this is the much more uncommon type, called a strombus shell,
and it's beautifully carved with...
I would say Cupid and this dove which is the symbol of love.
-It's all very symbolic
and it's got this beautiful little Neoclassical detail below it.
It's charming and delightful.
I'd say the period of the carving on this is around 1875 to 1880,
and so I think you should insure this for something like about £750.
-For a piece of plastic?
-Well, it's rather an expensive piece of plastic.
-It is, isn't it?
This isn't a red book, but I thought you'd like it.
If you'd put it in your archives, I'd be very pleased.
-40 years old almost.
-Yes, in '63.
-This is a valuable thing.
-Well, with a dust jacket,
-but I thought that you'd like it for your family to say, "That's what Grandpa did."
-You never know, in years to come, Great-Grandpa!
-Yes, it's heading that way.
He's called Daniel Ridgway Knight.
He's not English, but he's American,
and he was an American artist, born in Pennsylvania in the 1830s,
and he studied in the Academy of Pennsylvania,
but he gave that up and, in 1861, came to Paris and studied in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
He loved Paris so much, he went back to America, came back with his wife,
and he lived in Paris, really, from the 1870s onwards,
and had a studio 15 miles outside Paris.
Obviously, this is taken from that area.
It's a wonderful one. How did it come into your family?
-It was passed down from my father-in-law.
-It's been given about 20 years ago.
-20 years ago? My goodness!
-I don't know how long they had it.
-Right. And no French or American connections in your family?
Let's look at it. It's very important to look at pictures -
so many people say, "I never noticed that."
Look at the detail of this 19th century artist -
this wonderful still life of the vegetables.
Obviously having a cup of coffee before or after they go to market.
-And look at the dog waiting patiently.
-And the old men playing cards.
It's full of life, it's full of...
And it's so beautifully painted, every detail is there, the colouring of the clothes. It's just wonderful.
It seems to be life's so simple.
-Exactly. Wouldn't it be nice? Not so simple today, is it?
-Well now, have you ever had it valued?
What do you think it's worth? Two million dollar question!
I shouldn't ask that. It's unfair.
Yeah, I mean, we know it's pretty old. A nice piece.
Yes, but most people think old means money, but that isn't the truth.
-It's rarity, it's what's in fashion.
-Because it's old doesn't mean money - a portrait from 1700 could be worth very little.
But this is a very in-vogue artist and the Americans are interested
-because they haven't got a huge school of art.
Even if they lived in Paris...
So, well, I think, if it came up for auction,
-and it's the saleroom value we're talking about - £20,000 to £30,000.
-Really? Oh, my goodness!
I can't tell you now! Won't tell my husband!
This is an important rifle, from the historical point of view -
-it's the first breech-loading rifle to be used by the British Army.
It's called a Snider after the American inventor of the action, who was called Jacob Snider,
and who produced this action to convert muzzle-loading firearms into breech loaders.
From the 1860s, cartridges started to be developed,
and governments found they had full arsenals
of these fine muzzle-loading arms, which were immediately obsolete,
so they looked for conversions to save money and give them space
so they could develop a proper breech loader.
My feeling is this was built as a breech loader,
-but using this action intended to convert muzzle loaders.
This one is built by Thomas Turner of Fisher Street in Birmingham.
Turner was there
from 1838 to 1890,
and he was a very prolific maker of small arms, and a contractor to the War Office
and he was a very important man in the Birmingham gun trade.
This would've been made for a soldier in the Volunteer Movement -
a citizen army, fashionable in Victorian times.
They'd to go to Wimbledon Common and shoot. They had many social events.
This would've been bought by each soldier and it would have been made to a proper government patent,
-so it'd fire government ammunition, so it's a sort of semi-military arm...
Yes, yes, they were part of the sort of defence of the realm.
It was the patriotic duty of everybody to join up and its action is very interesting, very simple -
pull the hammer back, pull that protector off,
and to load it you just flip the breech over, drop your cartridge in,
flip that back, and you're ready to go.
It was really a very clever idea - very simple and very efficient.
Where did you get it from? It's in very, very good condition.
I went to a gun shop for a foresight for an old airgun I had.
I knew the gunsmith and he said, "I've some old guns upstairs."
When I got there, I spotted this box with these two guns in,
so I came down and asked him if he wanted to sell them and he said,
"I was going to put them on the wall, but people might be looking at them instead of my wares,"
so I gave him £20 for them, but that's about 40 years ago.
£20 for the two?
-What happened to the other one?
-I sold it when I got married.
-Oh, right. So, effectively, this owes you nothing?
Today you would expect to pay
about £650, £700 for a rifle like this
in as good a condition as this, and it's in excellent condition.
It's got its original finish by a prominent maker. A great piece of history.
Yeah, I like the rifle itself. I have it over the fireplace.
-It's an excellent piece. Thanks for bringing it.
-Yes, thank you.
-Aha, do you know what this is?
-It's the Italian mark for Genoa.
You're right. In fact, it's the mark of the Savona factory,
which somebody's written on the label, but what object is depicted?
I can't see without me specs!
I'll tell you, then - a lighthouse.
-In the old days, you didn't have a light at the top of a tower -
you had a boom into which you put a burning bush which was then raised.
That's the lighthouse mark of the Savona factory.
You've got a nice Savona majolica dish painted with...
well, it's probably Nero, the Roman Emperor.
-It's Claudius Caesar Nero Domitius Augustus VI.
We've a burning city in the background - that'd confirm Nero.
I'd like it to be more hilly, if it's supposed to be Rome.
It's from a long way off, you know!
It's worth somewhere in the... Do you know what it's worth?
I'm not bothered about the price - I'm the custodian of this plate.
-I'm not going to tell you.
-I'm not bothered. I'd say it's about £600.
-You've done my job for me!
-That's what I said.
-Would you like to take my table?
-It's not going to pick up that dust.
-It isn't, is it?
-I'd be here for 10 years.
How did you find this?
It belonged to my husband's great-aunt.
She was 96 when she died and we've had it about 16 years.
-So it has a history of family use?
-It's been in the family a while.
-Having just had a go with it, I can see it doesn't generate much of a vacuum any more.
-Not at all.
It has a dust bag inside it with a seal, like a giant bicycle pump.
Obviously, you literally suck the bits off the floor into it.
-It worked then, and obviously it was relatively efficient at the time.
When I say "time", I'm talking round about 1900, 1910.
Now, we're not talking high value - it's just an interesting domestic item. It's a bygone item
that really is quite, quite socially interesting, I suppose.
-I've sold these at auction in their boxes for about £80.
-Not an enormous amount.
-They are curios. Without its box, it'll be worth £50, £60.
-It's the kind of thing that generates a bit of interest.
-Thank you for bringing it along.
-Who is she?
-A lady called Carol Stewart who hails from Kirkcudbright in Scotland.
And the painting was done of her when she was about five years old, we think,
which would date it at about 1914-ish,
by WS MacGeorge.
Yes, I see the signature. That's William Stuart MacGeorge.
-So...been in the family?
Yes, the lady in question was a very, very close friend of my mother's,
and she actually gave it to my mother about 35 years ago,
and as my mother no longer has the space to take care of it, she's given it to me for my safekeeping.
-You're a lucky man.
-It's a charming picture.
Well, now, MacGeorge was a late-19th century, early-20th Scottish Impressionist,
and is well known for pictures of children, very often groups of girls in a landscape, in a wood,
but this is unusual - I don't see many of these.
This is a portrait by him, an actual commissioned portrait.
In one sense, a charming Scottish picture,
but also a picture of Edwardian childhood. Couldn't be more typical.
Well, MacGeorge's pictures of girls are very popular and very saleable, and, I would say, in an auction
you're going to get at least £5,000 for this - £5,000 or £6,000 - and it's such a charming image.
-If you cleaned it and took the glass off, you should be insuring it for £10,000.
My father gave it to my mother, um, about in the '30s, I think.
They did a lot of socialising and I think Mum wore it lots.
I can remember her wearing it and that's all there is to it, really.
-It is a very wearable thing.
-It seems quite ageless.
Yes, absolutely. Well, I think it probably was made a little earlier than the 30s -
it's typical of the Edwardian style or the Belle Epoch
after jewellers had started using platinum to mount diamonds in,
because platinum's very hard and strong and they're able to get away with the minimum amount of metal
and produce this sort of very delicate lacy effect,
and if one looks at the gallery here,
and you see how delicately that's done,
how little there is and how beautiful it is,
and how nice the back of it is. This would be a natural pearl.
-So irregular, isn't it?
-Fished from the Arabian Gulf, as the cultured pearls hadn't been invented.
It didn't come on the market until about 1920, so, um, quite a valuable piece of jewellery.
-I've not noticed half those things!
-Why should you?
-You're the expert.
-Do you have it insured at all?
-Um, nothing spectacular, no.
I think you'd find it very hard to replace this for much under £3,500 to £4,000 today,
-so perhaps you should...
-That's lovely to hear. Thank you.
-Thank you for bringing it along.
It's a piece I bought eight or nine years ago.
I fell in love with it when I saw it.
You couldn't not. I mean, made what 1680, 1690.
-I would've guessed, but...
-Before the 18th century.
This lovely turned columns with balustrades, and this perfect gate-leg action, comes out,
You've got to fall in love with that! It's a little person! It's absolutely wonderful.
Now, this is cherry wood and... Oh, look at that moulding! Look at that!
-I fell in love with the pattern on the...
-Well, you've got a gun barrel stem,
bobbin turning, then a baluster,
so you've three patterns, which is great, and these are Persic columns.
A Persic column is one that's turned to match one end to the other, so that's identical, this end to that,
so a Persic column turning - complicated to do when you've just got a pole lathe to work with,
and fruit wood is a devil - it's unstable, anyway,
so he chose carefully the timber, then obviously was a master turner.
The thing is, somebody would look at it and say, "The leaves have been cut.
"They wouldn't make it like that," but I don't think so, because, if you look here,
this is dry, as we saw underneath. Very, very dry, lovely, crisp.
The way these pegs stand out is magic, little natural shrinkage,
and then, gradually, you get to the shiny part where the duster would have caught, OK?
Now, two things to look at.
Firstly, round the edge here is the sort of patination that comes from lifting up a leaf over 300 years.
You can't fake that - that wouldn't be there if these leaves had been cut, because they'd be down here.
The other thing - and most definite to me - is that this is where it's been polished.
If the leaves came to there, this would be as dry as this part here.
-I mean, that makes sense, doesn't it? I think fantastic!
This is so beautiful.
-Some of these... That's original.
-Are they original?
That's an original foot. Some have been replaced, but I'd forgive that.
These are still here, the little end feet.
That follows through. That's the same piece of wood.
If we were that old, we'd have had OUR feet replaced!
I'd like to believe I'd have my own feet then!
But absolutely super. Now, then, what about price?
-Um, what did you pay for it?
-From memory, I think it was about £950.
Well, today a little table like that would certainly cost about £6,500.
Very good to know. Thank you very much.
-I bought them in auction.
-Tell me how much you paid for them.
Roughly, it'll be about £250 the pair, but I'm not sure.
-Where do they live at the moment?
-In my guest bedroom.
-Yes. Is it very bright?
-No, they're not in the sun.
Good - try to get as little light hitting them as possible,
because these are wonderful paintings, but paintings in silk,
and when a Westerner looks at a Chinese image, usually these long, beautiful hanging scrolls,
we in the West can get perplexed by the notion of Chinese perspective,
-but you like them.
-I love them.
Things that are far away in a Chinese image
-are rendered at the top of the painting.
And as you get closer to where you're standing,
-the foreground comes closer and is at the bottom of the picture.
In Western painting, we have the distance disappearing behind.
The Chinese don't like that, because you lose the adventure of travelling through a landscape,
and this is a fantastic adventure.
-Isn't it wonderful?
-We have a distant lake up here.
And we see a flight of geese coming south,
and then the embroiderer has changed the wave pattern to give you this torrent as we go through a ravine
and this junk coming through the water into a placid lake below
where a couple of scholars... Isn't that wonderful?
-They've illuminated the change by the river pattern.
This is...this, I suppose, is the clincher, this wonderful journey.
We go from the mountains, these wonderful clouds swimming, as they do in China.
-Is that the sun?
-Fabulous! There's an intensity to that sun, because they've foiled the thread.
And then you move through these wonderful towers,
a properly sort of embattled fortress on the river front,
a few sampans and fishermen's junks,
a look-out post here popping out of the water,
and then another fort here with a flag hanging there,
-but the piece de resistance is this.
-Yes, the little steamer.
-It's a paddle boat.
-A touch of Western technology...
-..in otherwise conventional Chinese format.
It's a wonderful thing. I'm not a marine archaeologist -
-I couldn't tell you the date of the steamer.
-But I'd put it around the year 1890, 1900.
-They are, without doubt, the best embroidered panels,
that I've ever seen in this genre. I think they're lovely.
-You paid the right price - £250.
-Not expensive, were they?
Well, I think £250
would buy you a very smart pair
of mother-of-pearl inlaid frames.
-So I would reckon the frames are worth £250.
the six panels,
I cannot seriously see those being offered
in a good antique shop
-for anything less than £2,000.
My boyfriend bought it at an antiques fair. I know nothing about it, but I think it's a plant pot.
That's right. Do you use it for plants?
No, for decorative purposes - haven't put a plant in it.
-But it's up and displayed?
-As you say, it's a plant pot,
stands on its own little base, so we can lift it off,
which is good for plants, because it lets the air get underneath and the water can drain out of it.
We've got a date on the bottom. we've got "Baxter" and "1802" and 1802 isn't a model number -
that's the actual date of production for this piece.
Thomas Baxter's an interesting chap. He was a Royal Academician, so he was trained as an artist,
but went into china painting. There was a vogue for china painting.
They brought French blanks,
pulled them in from Paris, took them to a decorating establishment, which Baxter ran, and they painted them.
This is not French. It's quite interesting - it's a Coalport blank,
so it's a blank made at Coalport, brought to London,
decorated in Baxter's establishment, beautifully decorated.
-I've a feeling this is Lady Hamilton.
-So Lord Nelson?
Yeah, Lord Nelson-Lady Hamilton. I've seen other Baxter work which depicts Lady Hamilton.
She's shown in a casual style in this blouse, but I think that's a view of Lady Hamilton.
We can see that he's a marvellous artist.
He wouldn't know how this was going to turn out. The colours are so different -
they're all drab blacks and greys and browns -
only when it's fired and refired and refired do the colours come up,
so it's a skilled piece of work, and not only is the painting skilled,
but the gilding -
all this gilding has been beautifully laid out in squares.
It's really quite dramatic - simple, but dramatic,
and Baxter did this when he was about 20.
So he's only a young man when he was doing this, and, in 1814, he set up his own china painting school,
um, and produced lots of other wares.
And this is in perfect condition.
It's a rare object. What did your boyfriend pay for it?
Auction value - £7,000 to £9,000.
Oh, my God!
It's a very fine, very rare object.
It's a museum piece - it's signed, it's dated.
-It's a fantastic piece of porcelain.
-Oh, my word!
-Bit of a shock?
-Yes, I daren't pick it up now.
They say Clitheroe is half in Lancashire and half in fairyland. It's time for us to tiptoe away.
Many thanks to the Clitherovians for having us back again. Goodbye.
Subtitles by Peter Hastie BBC Broadcast 2003
More interesting valuables revealed by Michael Aspel, who hosts from Clitheroe. Discoveries include one of the earliest vacuum cleaners, a collection of porcelain pugs, a 17th century gate-leg table and a superbly painted plant pot.