Michael Aspel visits Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland. Treasures include a painting once thrown on a skip, and a memento from Laurel and Hardy.
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This week we've crossed to the other side...of the Irish Sea
to County Down, 15 miles from Belfast.
Here the Ards Peninsula separates the Irish Sea and Strangford Lough, a tidal inlet rich with wildlife.
On a clear day, unless you have a tear in your eye,
you can see the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea.
A good vantage point is the Temple of the Winds built in 1782 for the First Marquis of Londonderry
as a place for mirth and jollity.
He didn't want the view cluttered by buildings
so an underground passage led to a wine cellar and pantry which supplied many a banquet and picnic.
The leftovers and dirty dishes were carried back to Mount Stewart, home of the Londonderry family,
who've held a lofty position in British society for generations.
Classical elegance combines with homely Victorian decor and the occasional flash of exuberance.
There's ample evidence of lives spent in politics and diplomacy - letters from Wellington and Nelson,
photographs of royal friends,
and caricatured busts of well-known leaders.
The Londonderry heirs also shared a knack for wooing rich and influential women.
The purchase of the Mount Stewart Estate was made possible by the dowry of Mary Cowan
who founded the dynasty with her husband Alexander Stewart.
Successive marquises married ladies from noble families who contributed wealth, connections, property
and, in time, sons who would prove attractive to future heiresses.
The sixth marquis and his wife, Charles and Theresa Bain Tempest Stewart
were friends of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra,
and this very big red book records their visit here in 1903.
The royal guests were attended by a total of 274 staff
including 13 valets, and 10 detectives.
There were eight firemen...probably watching the King's cigar butts.
The gardens at Mount Stewart were designed 80 years ago by Edith, wife of the seventh marquis.
We'll take a look at her handiwork in the second programme.
For now, let's concentrate on the Italian garden for another al fresco Roadshow.
She came from my aunt's house to our house.
-She's been in our home for about 40 years.
That's all I know,
apart from I found out he also did a bronze that's standing outside Selfridges in London.
Quite right. We'll come to who "he" is in a minute,
but let's have a look at the bronze itself,
because whenever you see anything of this sort of particular structure, this sort of stance,
you tend to think Art Deco -
girls with hoops in the 1920s,
you get lots of French bronzes of nubile ladies, big hoops.
I mean, this is the age of keep fit, isn't it?
This is the age of "keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved",
as the song of the day used to say,
but just one look at this girl tells me we're not dealing with a French mademoiselle -
we're dealing with an English rose, dare I say?
Now, I mean, she could've been an Irish rose or an Irish shamrock - I'm not sure how it works here -
but the point is, stylistically, it's an Impressionistic bronze.
It happens to be by one of my favourite sculptors. His name's round here.
Let's have a look at his name... Gilbert Bayes.
Um, we appear to have a date.
If you can just see "25" within a circle, and 1925 would be about right for this figure.
Gilbert Bayes, born in London in 1872
and he is very well respected, and quite rightly.
He's a very inventive sculptor.
There's something tactile about this sort of bronze - you just feel...
You can't help but touch it. Maybe I have a problem.
But this one does have a slight problem,
which I think has been caused by it being sprayed
by a polish that's not good for its base - there's slight pitting there
and it extends over the base,
and I think if I was to scratch this surface lacquer,
it's not doing it any favours - it needs to be cleaned by an expert. OK, so...
Girls with hoops, what's the going rate in Northern Ireland?
-Not a lot.
-Not a lot?
-Not a lot.
-So if I offered you £1,000, you wouldn't be very keen to accept £1,000?
-I don't know, actually.
No? I can tell you now that if I wanted to insure this,
I wouldn't hesitate to probably put £4,000 on it.
-No, I'm only joking. It's my father's, so...
-Think what she'd have been worth if she'd been clothed!
-Where did you get this cloth?
-A local market about 25 years ago.
-How much did you pay for it?
-I'd think, at the most, £2.
Let's just stretch it out. £2? You must be joking!
-That's before decimal.
-Before decimal! With old money?
-That's a brilliant thing, isn't it? That's full of geometry, but yet you've got organic growth.
These pink designs are supposed to be carnations and poppies.
Here's a brilliant carnation in a very stylised way
surrounded by serrated, edged pieces of foliage,
all very extraordinary,
and this thing comes from Central Asia.
It comes from close by the Caspian and it's called a suzani.
If you notice, it's been done in various strips.
There is a strip, there is a strip, there is a strip,
there are four strips down that entire length of this covering
and what happened was, the women in a tribe would each embroider a different section,
principally before the women went off to be married,
and it's a miracle you get the colours matching as they would've been woven by different people,
not necessarily at the same time, and if the women were concentrating...
-I'm afraid women do have a propensity to chat amongst themselves.
-"No," she says!
..that is why that flower doesn't quite match up. It's the naive village craft.
So we're on the banks of the Caspian Sea and the four groups of women are doing their embroidery
and they're doing it in around about 1900 which, in suzani terms, is quite an early period.
It's a high quality piece of work, and it's survived in a good state.
-Now, how much did you pay for it?
-I think about £2 about 25 years ago.
-Well! What do you think it's worth now?
-I've no idea.
-If you were selling it at auction, you'd get between £2,000 and £3,000.
That was a very good investment.
Good investment?! I should say so!
Look at that mark on top. See where that has been opened and that arc...
200 years or more.
-Oh, yes! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
The hinges may have been replaced, but let's look at the good parts,
and of course the rare thing is,
this is a gateleg table of the very early 18th century - very early -
-and it's not made of oak or walnut, but of mahogany...
..which is one the earliest pieces of domestic furniture made of mahogany I've seen in 40 years.
-This thing here?
-This thing here.
-Everything's right - the turning on the columns.
-Is that machine turned?
-No, that was done on a pole lathe.
-A pole lathe?
-The pole was stuck in the ground and a string went from the pole lathe down onto a treadle,
and then the guy...the turner put his foot down
-and it spun this way, then that way, and created all these wonderful bits of turning.
You can only do that with close-grained timber - oak's too...
-Absolutely, absolutely. And the original feet.
Let's stand it up and look at the thing properly. Well done.
-Now, there again, just down here, you see, this one is perfect.
-That one is just gently worn away, then, as soon as it's open,
-you can see why. People have sat round.
-There's been a few feet under here!
Now, when you first look at it,
the top's a strange colour, because it's been stripped at some time.
I don't know when. 50 years ago.
-You know? You had it done?
-When it came into my possession.
-The old man that owned it used it for a telephone to sit on,
and instead of reaching for a piece of paper, he scribbled a telephone number on the top,
-and I was lucky - sometimes it was done with a pin!
That's the sort of guy he was.
That beats writing on the hand, doesn't it?
Well, it sure does.
Well, well. You couldn't live with it as it was, but that's why, when you first look at it,
you think, "Uh-oh," but there's no doubt that's perfectly OK.
-Is that right? So it's as old as that?
-1720. Oh, yes.
I'll tell you what, it's still worth £12,500.
Now can I tell you a story?
Without libelling anybody,
I took it into a Belfast auction room
and they said, "Mmm, nice table.
"Yeah, £400. It might make, on a good day, £500".
-That would've been a bad choice.
-That would have been a bad deal for me. Are you serious on the £12,500?
Absolutely. This is one of the best examples you could ever wish to see. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
This was carved at the end of the 19th century
when large quantities of works of art of all sorts were coming out of Japan,
and the Japanese had got a long tradition of carving in ivory,
because, of course, they wore netsuke,
toggles worn at the waistband, and once they stopped carving toggles, since they'd adopted western dress,
they started to carve these larger group which are called okimono,
They vary enormously in quality.
Some of them, frankly, are really of no merit whatsoever,
but they're - when they're good - they're really nice and I love this one.
-Such a charming subject.
-You love it?
-I love it.
-Where did you get?
My mother was English and her great grandmother used to travel to the Far East in her bath chair.
-In a bath chair?
-In a bath chair.
-she just loved to travel. Way beyond her time.
-She would've bought this?
-Yes. It lived in my grandmother's house,
and, as a child, we used to go and look at her ivory collection, and this was one of my favourites.
You're right, it's a charming subject. This is as good as it gets.
A sister - I don't think she's a mother - with her baby brother on her back
in this typical way of tying the child on there,
and then two brothers who are feeding the chickens
under the chicken coop,
made from woven bamboo, which is the traditional way of doing it.
Then the mother hen poking her head out from underneath
and a couple of chicks. It's all in sparklingly good condition.
I can't see anything wrong with it.
If one were to see that coming up for auction,
one would expect an estimate of somewhere around £800 to £1,500 on it.
My goodness! Thank you very much. That's lovely.
Hello. My golly, that looks like John!
Give me your glasses, give me your glasses.
That's you, Henry! That's definitely your father, John.
Never seen it before in my life.
-Well, thank you very much.
Well, um, it looks like Souter Johnnie, doesn't it?
-As in Tam O'Shanter and Souter Johnnie.
-What do you think, John?
-Can't be Derbyshire.
-It's too well modelled for some of the Scottish ones.
-This is a good, good model.
You do get Doulton and Potts models of that.
-Do you pour the drink out of there?
-Out of his hat, yeah.
You drink it from there?
No. Maybe in Worcestershire, but in Lancashire...
we'd pour it into a glass or a cup, Henry.
-Couple of hundred pound?
-OK, we'll go with that.
-This is an interesting autograph book. It's yours, presumably?
-Laurel and Hardy in it!
-So you're Margaret, are you?
-I'm Margaret, yes.
-Um, did you send away for it or...?
No. Our neighbour in Belfast - we called him "Pop" - he had to do with the opera house in Belfast.
Every so often, he'd take me with one of his granddaughters
down at opening night and take us back to meet who was performing.
That particular night it was Stan and Ollie, and they were lovely.
We were in their room, and they give us the photograph, then signed our books,
and put our name on it for us.
-So you met them?
-You saw them?
-I think it's...
-It would've been in the '50s when I got it.
-It's nice to actually know that you've seen these signed with your own eyes.
-So you spent five or ten minutes with them?
-What were they like?
-As they appeared?
-We don't often see Laurel and Hardy autographs. I think it has a value of around £200 to £300.
-Thanks for bringing it along.
-Thank you very much indeed.
This is an odd situation for me -
an audience-eye view of the best double act in the antiques business, the Sandon Boys!
Difficult to tell which is which!
-Holding a teapot.
-Even though it's not a Worcester.
Now the mark has worn off on that one, but why does the mark wear off sometimes?
-It's OK on the saucers.
-Have you been washing them badly?
Hold your hand out.
-You hit ME like that!
-You deserved it.
-Well, learning about the porcelain.
No, looking after porcelain is a bit like looking after a man, really.
LAUGHTER Lots of love and kindness and warmth, and very little washing.
Speak for yourself!
Now I've got to stop it!
One of those novelty toys. In fact, they did make quite a lot of this particular toy,
-Can you tell me where you...?
-It came from America...
-..and ended up with my uncle, then came to me.
-He lived in America or visited?
-His relatives are there.
Well, I suspect that when he saw this, it was a real novelty and to bring it back to Europe
was quite good at the time. In fact, it has quite a reasonable value.
At auction, it's going to be worth in the region of £300 to £400,
-even though it's still quite a popular toy.
This is one of the most unusual clocks I've seen. Do you know where it came from originally?
No, the wife purchased it locally from a collector who was moving house.
He had the clock running on the outside of one of his buildings.
-As I'm sure you know, it's a turret clock.
-A nice example of a turret clock.
It would originally have been in a lovely house or a stable block or something of that sort,
and the great thing about it is that it shows us in great detail how these things work.
Now this particular maker -
and this is an elaborate signature for a clock, that is unseen -
is James Drury of London, and it's actually dated 1738.
He was master of the Clockmakers Company in 1728 and died in 1740,
so this is excellent to see one of his pieces that is signed and dated.
The other thing is, on this dial here -
and this is, of course, the dial with which we set the main hands -
if you can imagine this sitting in maybe a church or a stable block
and all the motion work and the dial would have stood on this side, but here we have the hand setting...
..and what I'm going to do is, with this handle,
which you've obviously used to wind this up.
That's the winding square and this one here is for setting the time.
If I can get that up to three o'clock, there goes the fly,
if you can imagine that - which you've obviously had re-painted - sitting out here
with some wonderful hands, and this would now be striking on a superb bell, ringing out across the land.
All in all, I think you're jolly lucky to have got it.
-How long had the collector had it?
-I think he had it about 12 years.
Right. And he simply has no idea where it came from?
-And what did you pay for it?
-I paid £2,000.
-You did very well.
-How long ago was that?
-About two years.
Well, to anybody vaguely interested in horology, this is a very good example.
I think to the right collector, you'd probably double your money.
-So you've done well.
-It's great you've got it on the stand. Do you have it working at home?
-Yes. Ticking away.
It's from a ship's fitting - a cross-channel ferry or a liner or... People buy marine artefacts,
-and that's what this is.
The steward would fill the copper reservoir with water.
You'd keep in this compartment your toothbrushes and your flannels and your washing accoutrement.
When it was time to have a wash, you'd whizz open...
Wow! ..the wash-hand basin, which would be filled by pressing this little nickel tap.
You'd have your wash, and when you've had your wash,
whoosh, it disgorges the waste into a galvanised container on the back,
and when that needs to be disgorged, you undo the bottom flap and take out this.
When it's full, chuck it overboard. Where did you get it?
-I went to an auction, you understand?
-And it was sort of antiques at this auction.
-And that's why it was so expensive.
-Did you have to pay a lot, then?
-Well, I paid £52 in old currency.
-What - in the 1950s?
-52 old pounds?
-Gosh, that was a price!
If you were selling it at auction in a marine sale, I think you could get between £200 and £300 for it.
-Is that all?
-Yes, that's all.
After all those years, and keeping anything myself for 50 years!
-And I can only get £400.
-Well, £400 top end, I reckon.
-I never heard the like!
It belonged to the Third Marquis of Londonderry when he was an officer in the Second Lifeguards.
-The man who lived in this house.
What you have here is the 1832 pattern heavy cavalry sword of the Household Cavalry.
-Now, he was in the Lifeguards, wasn't he, the third Marquis?
-Second Lifeguards, yes.
Second Lifeguards, and so this would be 1832, so he carried this in, say, the 1840s and 1850s probably.
He carried it at the Duke of Wellington's funeral.
-The sword itself is in remarkable condition, isn't it?
Obviously, it's been in the right hands to be looked after,
but a sword like this, without any history at all and in this condition is worth £1,000 or more,
but you have the provenance, we know exactly who owned it,
and it could be a sword worth £3,000, £4,000, £5,000.
You're talking about serious money when you've got a sword of a notable person in nice condition
-and you have the provenance. Wonderful.
-That's really good.
How do you tell a hand-painted plate and a lithoprint apart?
It's not too difficult, if you look closely at it.
There's different forms of printing. This is printed in outline.
The whole thing is basically a transfer print,
and then, if you want, you can colour it in, like that.
-That's the same subject underneath.
-And that's hand painted?
-Hand painted over a print. Yeah.
If you look carefully, you can see all the lovely little black lines,
all these wriggly lines. Everything outlined - the trees, the branches - is all printed,
and then the painter, with great skill, has to paint it over.
-A complicated one is lithographic transfers, which have been in vogue for quite a while
and are the mass production work of today's generation.
If you look carefully, perhaps with a magnifying glass, you can see all the little screen printed dots.
-The whole thing is a mass of dots.
-Like a newspaper.
You blow it up thinking you can see Uncle Charlie and it's a mass of dots,
so that's a screen-printed litho, which is mass production, thousands of them made at a time.
-And offensive to you?
-Yes, because people pretend it's painting.
Now, this, you see, IS painting.
This is quality painting of the first order.
Every brush stroke, every little thing is done entirely by hand -
perspective, even the gold - by hand, that's a master plate.
-Nothing at all. Everything is washed and beautifully done.
-You need a magnifying glass.
-Much better to use a magnifying glass.
I've got a test for you. Two plates - one of which...
They're both of about 1780 in date. One is Chinese, one is English.
Now the Chinese one is hand-painted
and the English one is printed.
It's more difficult with blue and white,
because the blue tends to blur, but can you tell which is the painting and which is the printing?
-I can't, but going by what you've told me - and I haven't a magnifying glass...
-That's the printed one and that's the hand painted.
-The other way round!
-So a complete waste of time!
These are all lines of print and this is hand-painted wash,
finely done by the Chinese, but this is English transfer printing, going back 220-odd years.
-Well, they're both cracked.
-They're both cracked. So am I!
I'm not sure what the subject is, but I can see the signature -
TB Kennington, that's Thomas Benjamin Kennington,
a Victorian artist whose work I'm interested in,
but what intrigues me is what is the subject? What's happening?
-He appears to be a pawnbroker, appraising the value...
-..of this lady's jewellery.
-She, I'd imagine, has fallen on difficult times and...
-Poor lady, having to sell her jewellery.
..and he is appraising it for her. I'm not too sure that she's also too happy with the value.
-She's looking slightly apprehensive, isn't she?
As if waiting for the figure the pawnbroker's going to mention.
Yes, well, this is typical of Kennington's sort of dramatic pictures of upper class life.
He's an interesting figure.
He began his career painting rather gritty sort of street scenes of London in the late 19th century,
quite sort of sad pictures, but then he changed
and he moved towards paintings of elegant Edwardian ladies, which is what he's best known for.
-And sometimes they are slightly... pictures with a...with a problem.
-The picture's in good condition, though it's rather dirty.
I'd recommend a good clean of this.
The white of the pawnbroker's shirt and his cufflinks
would all come up much brighter and crisper than it looks now.
It's really very dirty.
-As to value, well, I think in a sale now you'd get £10,000 to £15,000 for this.
-Oh, that's fine. Very nice.
-I think insurance, tell them £20,000.
-Yeah, well it won't move from its present position.
It belonged to my husband's family.
They were jewellers. That is nothing to do with it, except that they collected things.
-Where were they?
-They were in Sussex.
-So it's travelled a long way?
You brought it from there?
Yes, when the parents died, we had it, then my husband died, so I've had it all those years.
The interesting thing about this particular fan,
if it were a Chinese, it'd have probably a much stronger box,
lacquer box or something like that, then the French ones - and I believe this is French -
very often had... this is a sort of Carton box...
but it's got a bit of design.
-The family was a Huguenot family.
-Huguenot family from Normandy, originally.
I've got it right, then, haven't I?
I think so, yes.
What I love is the ivory with the mother-of-pearl inlay,
a lot of work's gone into that, and this - these little tiny, tiny flowers and dots,
I think that is pewter.
Circa...maybe 1880, something like that. Would that sort of fit in?
I'd imagine so. I'd imagine so.
Well, if you were to insure this,
ie, if you were to go to a Bond Street jeweller's shop,
-you'd be probably paying something like £1,500 for it.
Are you a collector of Scrimshaw?
I'm interested in whaling. I wrote a book about Irish whaling, so I've an interest in scrimshaw.
-Was there a whaling industry in Ireland?
-Yes. In Donegal Bay in the 18th century for a short time,
then there were two Norwegian companies in the 20th century.
-So you bought these due to their whaling connections?
-When did you buy them?
I bought this one last year in Portobello Road.
-I got the pair.
-I bought this in the Angel the previous year.
And I bought this in a local antique shop.
And so you were aware that whaling images on scrimshaw,
on walrus tusks and so on, are of great interest.
It's a whaling and zoological association, really.
-You're aware that they're quite collectable.
Can I ask what you paid for them?
I bought two of these... The other one there... ..at £300.
-This was £250.
-This was £600, actually.
Did you have any...? Did you ever have any doubts about them? Did you think they were OK?
No. I reckon those are sperm whale teeth and this is walrus tusk.
I have my thoughts on this, but I'd like to get a second opinion from a colleague.
These are super - 18th century sporting buttons.
What's so super, with each of these, we have the names of different dogs.
These would've been the real names in the 18th century, dogs belonging to the chap wearing these buttons.
I mean, it's magic when you think about it. I think we'd be looking at at least £1,000, and probably more.
-I thought he bought rubbish.
-If it were right, it would be the ultimate whaling...
Yes, and the owner has bought it relatively recently for about £500,
-which is completely the wrong price.
-It's either grossly too little or grossly too much.
My feeling is, you're right - it's grossly too much, but I'm not sure.
You do have everything - a ship crushed in the ice,
polar bears being shot.
-A whale coming up under a boat.
-Whale coming under a boat.
-Wouldn't want to stick my neck out.
-It could be real.
-It could be.
My day would not be complete without finding an Irish peat bucket. That's what it is.
Of its type, it's as good as you'll find.
This ribbing round here is typical of Northern Ireland and Scotland.
That's a very, very northern style and this banding round here - this reeding - is quite exceptional,
I mean, this is the luxury model. Most of them are quite plain. And the value - round about £3,000.
-Put your Christmas tree in it!
Two areas of difficulty - these ARE old teeth, no doubt about that.
As you know, those survive in large quantities.
The difficulties are, one, the price charged by dealers
who should know their business, was simply not enough.
Secondly, the dating of the engraving.
Now, I am very doubtful about... particularly that one...
I've never seen a real one titled "Whaling in Greenland".
Modern ones always tend to have flags, dates -
things that appear to tie in a particular moment in time.
Um, 1875 is not a particularly early date,
but it's the fact that it's dated makes me suspicious.
The real ones, while there are ones as detailed as this, tend to be quite simple,
the decoration's straightforward, very accurately done,
but they don't put it all in with flags and bells.
And, as I say, this one, certainly a very old tusk,
if this scene is real, this is one of the best we've ever seen.
If it's added later, the whole complexion changes.
Someone had dated the rigging on the ships for me at around 1860s.
-That just means they've been accurate in their use of past records.
All I'm saying is, I am suspicious.
I'm not saying... I think those are very dodgy indeed.
This requires further exploration.
It may be fantastic, but there are things about it that make me worry.
Um, and...you know, if my worries are right,
-they are borne out by the fact that the prices don't make sense.
You know, the most basic dealer in Portobello Road
should know one of that quality is £800.
-Do you see what I mean?
I could accept your views on those,
-but I have reservations about that one.
-So do I.
-It came from Germany, I think.
-Yes. OK, let us agree.
-We're both doubtful about those.
-This one I'll reserve judgement on, too.
-We have come across pieces where the engraving is clearly later.
A skilled engraver copying an original with an old tusk
is doing something which is very difficult to date.
-I just think this is...
-There is so much that is wonderful on it, if it's real, you've a fantastic bargain.
If not, it wasn't such a bargain.
-I still enjoy it.
-It's lovely, but let's leave the jury out on that one.
-We hope it's right. Thank you.
It belonged to my grandmother. All I know is her father-in-law give it to her.
-Pretty lavish gift! Two whopping great diamonds.
And they're set into two heart-shaped clusters,
and joined with a true lover's knot, so it was probably a wedding gift,
-something rather romantic?
-No idea! Probably.
It's mounted in silver and gold, and at the side there's a little pierced, open-gold gallery
which supports silver settings, what we call cut-down settings -
the diamonds are laid into channels, then they're cut away to leave them as fine as possible.
Beautiful English jewellery. You've never worn it, have you?
-Do you know how I know that you haven't worn it?
-There's no perfume on it.
-Well, there will be soon.
-When we turn it over it's perfectly obvious there's no way to wear it.
There's a loop to hang it from a pendant. And see this fitting here?
It has a thread in the middle for a screw fitting, then two prongs to hold that thread steady.
It tells me this was not only a brooch - the fitting's now missing -
but it was also possible to wear it in one's hair
and also to wear it as a pendant, so it's very versatile.
-Beautiful. Were you excited when you saw it?
People want to know what it's like to wear something as beautiful as that.
That's the right word. Beautiful piece of English jewellery
set with diamonds, made in about 1900 at a time when entertainment was very, very important.
This sort of jewellery was worn on great occasions.
You couldn't hope to have anything more beautiful to wear.
-So, um, no insurance?
-Want to insure it?
What about £15,000?
-Going to wear it then?
-No, I wouldn't.
Of course you're going to wear it!
We'll get a fitting put on and you must have a go at this.
You must be wondering why I'd like to discuss a picture that's had a pretty neglected life
with holes in it and it's flaking along the lower margin
and looks like the odd dog's run over it over the years. I mean, where has it been?
It was in my husband's granny's shed, and when she died, which was about three years ago,
it was actually thrown out onto a skip with a lot of other rubbish and I rescued it, so...
-So it's been lying in the shed for many years?
-A long, long time.
It was in a terrible state, but I thought, "Well..."
She associated no worth to it, I suppose.
It wasn't really her kind of thing.
She was in service to a Victorian lady -
-we wondered if she was given it when she got married a long time ago.
-But you salvaged it?
Well, that's very interesting.
You can see, if you look closely, that there's a linked A-E.
Now, A-E is the monogram for a Dutch 19th century romantic painter
-called Adrian Everson.
And also, even more indistinct than the monogram, is the date 1852,
which is a nice period in the work of Everson.
-This is typical of his style.
-Do you know what it's of?
-There's a label on the back...
-I couldn't read it.
..which is fairly indistinct,
-but you can see, albeit in rather a faint hand, the inscription for "Haarlem".
Now, Everson studied in Amsterdam.
-He was a pupil of Cornelis Springer...
..but he is regarded as one of the more interesting of the Dutch town painters.
Condition is a problem, but, at the same time,
things can be done to repair aspects of this.
-This is the most difficult area, where an area of canvas has been lost.
So what's necessary is a fairly major restoration job.
In saying that,
he's such a rare artist, if this picture was to come up for a sale at an auction in London in this state,
-I think it could make in the region of £20,000 to £30,000.
-I didn't think it was worth anything, so there you go.
-Neither did your aunt.
A really handsome pair of dishes. Are they yours?
-Yes. Well, my sister's and mine.
-So you've got one each?
-Are they hanging on the walls at home?
-Where'd they come from?
All I know is my father bought them at auction, and I think it was Lord Charlemagne's auction
near Moy in the late '40s.
These were made at Arita in Japan, which was the main port in the centre.
Decorated in an Imari palette - the under-glazed blue, iron-red, and gilding,
and exported out through there by the Dutch.
It's the sort of thing you find more in Holland than in this country, although there are a lot over here.
The decoration shows two ladies
who are pulling along this cart with a tassel
with this wonderful spray of peony in them,
and it may be... I mean, peony,
THE sort of major flower, iconographically,
and they...they symbolise purity amongst other things.
We've got precious objects and diapers surrounding the scene.
What have we got on the back?
We've got...very unusual,
very full decoration,
and also that's uncommon.
We've got these enormous scars
left from the firing points where it was resting in the kiln.
And what we've also got
is one of the most extraordinary bits of suspension I've ever seen in my life.
We knew you were going to say that.
These are late 17th century...
..and they've survived in extraordinarily good condition.
Do we have them insured?
Not individually, no.
-Do you know how much your house insurance pays out if you damage them and they're not specified?
Most policies £200, £500.
Do you know what this pair of dishes is worth?
Haven't a clue.
£16,000 to £20,000.
-My goodness! As a pair?
-As a pair.
-It wouldn't make a great deal of difference.
I think you could say £8,000 without any trouble at all.
-Thank you very much for bringing them in.
They're wonderful, wonderful dishes.
Mount Stewart was originally called Mount Pleasant.
We intend to repeat the pleasant experience and come back here for another show.
Many thanks to Lady Mairi and the National Trust for their kindness.
I'm off to sample the local scallops, so until next time, from County Down, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Michael Aspel takes the Roadshow to visit Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland. Treasures include a valuable painting once thrown on a skip, a memento from Laurel and Hardy, and Henry Sandon is introduced to a mug bearing his spitting image.