Michael Aspel hosts an edition from Burton upon Trent, where interesting finds include an ivory elephant and a Victorian suit of armour.
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In certain circles, alcohol has long been regarded as the Devil's brew.
Ironic, then, that Benedictine monks should found a beer industry
in the town of Burton-upon-Trent 1,000 years ago.
It's still going strong.
One in eight pints of beer supped in the UK is brewed in Burton.
Millions of barrels a year pour out from this town, which is home to the biggest brewery in Europe.
People live in the shadows of the fermentation and malting towers.
When Saxon earl, Wulfric Spot, built Burton Abbey, where a pub now stands,
the monks discovered that the local water was uncommonly hard,
which made it perfect for brewing pale ale.
Until the 17th century, before hops entered the mixture, beer was sweet and flat,
but healthier than water - it was sterilised in the brewing process. Children drank it,
but only from the second, less potent brewing. Thus was born the phrase "small beer".
Burton is a testament to the Victorian entrepreneurial spirit
and to the Bass family, who first came here in 1777.
Along with their brewing industry, they were civic-minded,
building many of the churches and buildings, including the town hall.
Step inside this dignified edifice and you're in for a big surprise.
Presenting the mighty Wurlitzer, built in 1925 in New York State
and now a star attraction at Burton-upon-Trent.
You name the tune. Roll Out The Barrel? Certainly.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Burton never stopped expanding.
This model shows how it looked in 1921, when 32 breweries produced three million barrels a year.
Today, Burton's ales are produced by the remaining six breweries,
which roll out five million barrels, and that's no small beer.
We're on the bank of the River Trent. The folk of the Meadowside Leisure Centre are our hosts.
And we welcome a new expert to the porcelain table, Fergus Gambon.
A beautifully-carved hibiscus and a terrific rose.
These abundant flowers - all on an elephant!
-Where does your elephant live?
-It lives in the lounge.
-On a very nice carved table.
And I can look at it all day long, and night as well, if I want to!
-How did he get to you?
-My father. My father was a big antique collector.
As long as I can remember, it's been in the family.
-Of course, he's an African elephant.
-With the large ears.
He's beautifully carved. The ivory is almost certainly African,
-but you know the country of origin, presumably?
He was actually made in Japan.
-Oh, I didn't know that!
-Made in Japan,
at the end of the 19th century and encrusted
with stained ivory, mother-of-pearl and stained organic materials,
probably horn and tortoiseshell.
These darker bands are stained ivory,
and again right down to the tassels,
probably tortoiseshell or horn of some sort.
What's being represented is a ceremonial elephant,
draped in these caparisons and this saddle cloth, and hung with tassels,
-I like this beautiful fringe.
-It's almost blowing in the wind.
Yes, it is nice.
It isn't solid ivory. The elephant is made on a wood-block core.
Then, very carefully,
they'd choose slivers and quadrants of sectioned elephant tusk,
which would then be put onto the wood core.
-He's got lovely, smiling eyes, hasn't he?
One thing I've got to ask you - is he insured?
-How much for?
-I can't remember.
Well, um, I think if you were to sell this at auction,
you are likely to get somewhere between £7,000 and £10,000.
Oh, I say! Oh!
-I thought it was enamel.
-But that's all I know.
-It IS enamel.
It's made not far from where we're sitting now in Burton-on-Trent,
um, in South Staffordshire.
At the time, South Staffordshire was the great centre for the production of enamel boxes of this sort.
And can you guess from the way it's decorated, when it was made?
Round about Nelson's death?
Yes, because, in fact, it's painted rather charmingly
with a figure and she's weeping over what looks like a tomb.
On the tomb, we can see -
"he is no more", and there is a tiny N - N for Nelson.
I can see that.
As we all know, Lord Nelson died in 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar.
-Do you know what the box is for?
-I know it's not a pill box.
I have read somewhere, but I've forgotten.
-They're called patch boxes.
-That's right, patch box.
-And patches were little things that people stuck on their faces as a point of vanity, really.
When you open it, you find a rather unfinished-looking area in the top.
It looks rather unfinished because it was designed to be covered up with a mirror,
so that you would put on your patch and look in the mirror to see how it looked.
If it were decorated in any other way, with just flowers or figural subjects,
it would be worth perhaps...
-£300 or £400 at auction.
But there are a lot of collectors for anything connected with Nelson,
and I think a reasonable auction estimate would be perhaps between £1,500 and £2,000.
-A substantial increase.
-It IS a lot more.
-Because of Nelson.
-That's surprising, though.
-How does a flashy mirror end up here?
-It belonged to my wife's great aunt,
When she died, the house was cleared of the main furniture,
and I offered to clear out the rest of the house and I was given this mirror for doing that.
-And what do you think about it?
-It's absolutely wonderful.
It's an unusual style - different to a lot of English furniture and certainly other English mirrors.
The best clues as to where it's from are the glass panels down the side,
creating a framework for the mirror.
They've got this very thick enamel jewelled on top of the glass.
This is often called jewelling.
-It's typical of glass produced in Bohemia in the late 19th century.
That might suggest it's continental.
Looking at the mounts which give it this incredibly, sort of smart, decorative appearance,
they're not quite as good when you get close up to them.
They've been cast in a mould and, generally, pieces that are cast
are then chased and finished to really sometimes a very high degree before they're then gilded.
These are a bit crude around the edges.
-Has it been regilded recently?
-Yes. So that's what gives it this very bright appearance.
I would expect this to have been made, dating it from the glass, in the late 19th century.
If you were to find this in a smart mirror shop,
-it would probably have a price tag of £1,000 to £1,500.
-Right. That's very good.
-Not bad payment for clearing a house.
-Not bad! I'll look for more!
The inscription here, "quanto ti vo bene" is the title of a song -
How Much I Want You and was sung by Mario Lanza in the 1950s. This rather pre-dates the '50s.
He's a love-struck young shepherd, I suspect.
The reason he's probably a shepherd is he's got a sheepskin jacket on,
and it's just beautifully observed, isn't it?
It's incredible how the sculptor has got this pocket,
-which is full of bits and pieces, pulling down a bit.
Fantastic, isn't it?
It was made in Florence in the 1880s in the classical tradition.
A piece of nice Carrara marble.
This was considered to be very commercial as well,
bought by English tourists and brought back here. But how did it end up in your collection?
I don't know how my grandfather got it - must have been at an auction.
-Yes, he attended many an auction.
-He had a house full of nice things.
-Yes, he bought a lot of...
There's a rather curious connection, because this is a Venetian song
-and made in Florence, and this is a Venetian piece.
-I didn't know that.
Here in Venice, you've got much more the carnival approach to sculpture.
This was a more serious, traditional culture,
-and this was much more, in today's terms, the party culture.
It shows clearly in the piece,
and, of course, there wouldn't have been great reserves of marble in Venice,
-and so it's carved in wood.
-Would it have been used for a practical purpose, for actually taking snuff?
Possibly, because there's a box, but it's probably a replacement.
-I'd be very surprised if that's the original box there.
If it is the original box, it was just to add an element of realism.
The detail is beautifully observed.
You've got the little pinch here, and he's looking very satisfied.
-Which is your favourite?
-The snuff man.
They're probably worth about the same sort of money,
but they're quite different markets, I think...
This at auction would probably make £2,000, £2,500 - that sort of level.
The snuff taker would make £1,500 to £2,000, so there is a slight difference in the two,
but I'd have him rather than that one, too.
-Yes, it's got more character and heart.
-I think so. Yes.
-This is damaged. Would it be worth having it restored?
-Who damaged it?
It was my husband's grandma's.
She had a pair and she dropped them both.
One smashed, and this one, she's managed to repair.
-Did anybody tell her off?
-They would have done.
-They would have done.
Do you know what happened to the value when she dropped them?
-The one that smashed would be worth nothing!
-But I don't know.
They're Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vases, one of the most collectable 20th-century ceramic commodities.
The Americans are crazy for them,
so the pair, when perfect, before your granny went on the rampage,
-would have been worth somewhere between £5,000 and £8,000.
The one that you've got left now,
which on its own, perfect, would have been worth £2,000 to £3,000,
is now worth, maybe, if you get it nicely repaired...
..£300 or £400.
-That much? That's nice.
-I'm glad you can look on the bright side!
-Well, I could think of words to say about Grandma...
-You're an optimist, aren't you?
Tell me, is this glass half-empty or half-full?
Well, this is a football team that every fan in the country would recognise.
The 1966 England World Cup winning team with all the signatures.
-How did you get it?
-I bought it off a guy eight years ago, who was strapped for cash.
-And he collected all the signatures?
-He collected all the signatures.
Including the Kenneth Wolstenholme one.
"Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over. It is now!"
-Did you pay a lot of money for it?
-I paid £120.
That's reasonable. There's a lot of interest in World Cup memorabilia,
particularly of the '66 side,
and I would think today, at auction, this would probably fetch between £500 and £700.
You have a name at the top here, George Manderfield.
-The wife's father's great-uncle.
-The wife's father's great-uncle,
-so that probably takes it back over 100 years. It has to be, doesn't it?
-I should think so.
-The M should have been N.
-Yeah, not Manderfield, Nanderfield.
-So they sent away for it somewhere and it came back misspelt.
I wonder whether they paid for it. Perhaps they got away with it!
The raspberry and blackberry fool colour tends to be a northern thing,
Yorkshire and even Portobello, on the Scottish Borders, so it could have been from one of those places.
I also love these frogs and newts inside.
This is a loving cup, which passes from one to another. As you did so,
you drank down and revealed these things at the bottom.
-Has it been used and treasured in the family?
-It came down through the family.
The son's grandma give it him, in the last couple of months.
-As recent as that?
-Yes, because he's into antiques now.
This is a great antique to have, and a long family tradition helps it,
but in the open market place, you're looking at £150 to £200.
-But much more to the family.
-Thank you for bringing it.
-I'll give you the bad news first.
Although this looks like a 16th century suit of armour, it isn't.
-So what is it?
-Well, the good news is that it's not a modern fake and that it is in fact a Victorian copy.
-Made for decoration of houses and castles.
-We need to go back just before Victoria's reign,
to Sir Walter Scott and all his novels, like Ivanhoe, which is 1819,
and then Quentin Durward and all these tales of medieval derring-do,
knights rescuing ladies, stimulated the Victorian imagination.
It stimulated it so much that the 13th Earl of Eglinton
decided in 1839 to hold a tournament. All the nobles would trick themselves up in armour,
get on horses and beat the living daylights out of each other.
-It really captured the Victorian imagination.
So it's a very nice Victorian copy and it really does look the part.
-Oh, it does!
-I bet it looks great in situ.
-It really does look superb.
-Any thoughts about the value?
-Haven't a clue.
-It's £2,000 to £3,000, because it's a wonderful decorative piece.
Is there a market for stuffed animals these days?
There is a certain market. It's not enormous and the market is very selective about what they'll buy,
-and there are huge pitfalls.
Like whether you can sell it or whether you can even own it!
These things are governed by international legislation.
-Is this because they're protected species?
CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species -
lists the animals you can and can't sell.
When I rang up DEFRA, the Department of the Environment,
that controls this in Britain, I asked for a concise, simple list of what I can or what I can't sell.
They sent this huge pile of stuff,
hundreds of pages, mostly with Latin names.
-Stuffed full of information.
Suppose you were left a tiger skin with a head or an elephant's foot, are you not free to sell that on?
It depends when Uncle Eric shot it, if it was Uncle Eric that shot it at all.
It's a bit of a grey area, this.
The CITES regulations cover things pre-1947.
'47 arbitrarily was chosen as the date.
Post-1947, you have to have a completely-known provenance for it,
so that you know it's not a recent casualty.
What about this woodpecker? Is that a good one?
Um, it's certainly a good one. This one has got a great provenance.
It came from the Eton College collection.
Eton decided they didn't want their collection of birds. It's got a known provenance and a known date,
but it's also... The taxidermist was one of the greatest,
What's the most bizarre example you've come across?
Swans are bizarre. You wouldn't want a swan in your front room today.
-You'd have to ask somebody very special to stuff a swan.
Every swan belongs to the crown. They're all marked. Their beaks have certain markings,
and there's a man called the Queen's Usher who you would have to ask.
They're not interested in ones that are clearly old,
but a recently deceased swan, you'd need permission.
Really, the rule of thumb is to avoid things post-1947, unless you've got a licence for it.
What's the story behind this?
I was on the flea market at Derby and as soon as I saw it, I thought, "I must have that!"
"How much is it?" They said, "It's got to be £2".
So that was it. I was £2 short, but, I mean, I love it.
-This is made of cedar wood. It's got this fantastic glow.
And this wonderful figuring inside.
-Any idea of where it comes from?
-Not Derby, originally.
-It's actually a pap boat...
-..so it would have been used to feed infants with.
-It's got a sweet handle here, that's carved in the shape of a bear.
-And then a fantastic sort of acanthus leaf to the base.
-And on the top here, this typical rose and leaf decoration.
-I think this dates from the mid 19th century, around 1850.
-A treen collector would pay £300 to £500 for one of those.
Yeah, it's a really lovely example.
-I rescued it from my father.
-What was he going to do with it?!
-Attack it with a drill.
-I don't believe it! And do what with it?
Clean it. I took it off him, and it came into my possession and...
Well, I'm delighted you did!
Um, it's a table screen,
and the Orientals used table screens
to prevent draughts when they were writing script.
Decorated in various tones of gold, and this IS gold, on a black ground.
We've got different gold, silver... Gold in at least two colours, maybe three,
with a scene of Mount Fuji.
This is the sort of landscape
which the tourist to Japan would have seen in about 1900,
-and he would have bought this as a souvenir.
Got on here the signature of Komai, who is the leading maker of these,
so it's a really very nice thing.
I mean, I congratulate you on protecting it for posterity!
-I always loved that.
-Isn't that brilliant?
For insurance, you ought to put on
£1,800, maybe £2,000. It's a really very, very nice screen.
I bought it because it's not like anything I've seen before,
-the spout's in the wrong place.
Well, it's quite an interesting piece,
because it's made in Japan.
-And so that's where it starts, at a place called Arita.
It was shipped in the white,
so the decoration is not Japanese.
-It probably came over in one of these massive loads of porcelain from Japan
in the very early 18th century.
-And it's clearly gone through Holland, because the decoration on this is very curious.
It's jumbled, and the flowers - so-called chrysanthemums -
are almost like an amateur would do.
The thing that reveals it is the extensive use of red, iron red.
And this is characteristic of Dutch decorators who worked in large numbers,
painting not only Japanese and Chinese porcelain but also Meissen.
So this is an interesting piece.
-It would be made, I think, for soy sauce.
-There may have been a little domed lid to sit on top of it.
-And you pour, like a coffee pot today,
or you side-pour, and it's very easy to work that way, as you can see.
-I love it!
-What did you pay for it?
It's a while ago. I think I paid about £4 for it, because it was a village sale and...
It's probably worth about £200 to £300.
-Maybe a little bit more.
-Oh, that's wonderful, but I just like it.
-Yeah, I like it, too.
We've got an absolute Victorian classic subject here, have we not?
The picturesque old cottage
with the girl by the gate and the hollyhocks and ducks on the pond.
It is just such a classic subject for Victorian artists.
I think, for many people, these kind of pictures are classic England.
There are many artists who did this kind of thing, the most famous being Helen Allingham and Birkett-Foster,
but these are by another rather less-known artist, but nonetheless good, called Claude Strachan.
Actually he's Arthur Claude Strachan, in full.
It's a lovely example of his work,
in particularly nice condition. Can you tell me about these
-and how you came by them?
-They came from my grandfather.
-Um, when my grandfather moved into a nursing home, my father - my late father - brought them home.
-I liked them, so my dad gave them to me.
-What happened to the frames?
The frames were taken off, because they were broken and damaged.
They've actually spent quite some years tucked away in a trunk.
Well, that's kept them in this lovely, fresh condition,
but they're so nice that, if they were mine, I would frame them and put them on the wall.
Let's look at the second one, again a classic English cottage view,
but more emphasis on the garden - hollyhocks and sunflowers,
children playing in a stream. Well, they're in watercolour,
but Strachan, like so many 19th-century artists,
also used body colour. It's a white heightening added to watercolour
to make the colour stronger and for these white highlights.
This enabled Strachan to get these very strong, bright, pure colours. Look at the colour of that -
-the hollyhock and sunflowers.
-They're beautifully done
and they're in really super condition, so I would date these watercolours about 1900, 1910.
Just to put that one down again.
Um...let's talk about the value now.
I would say that both of them, in a sale,
-would make at least £3,000 to £4,000.
-A nice surprise, I hope...
-..and will hopefully encourage you to get them framed.
I've had it ten years. It came from an aunt.
It's a type of doll that's called a Grodnertal doll.
It was made in Germany and Austria in the early 19th century.
So we're probably looking at a date of about 1800, 1810.
The nice thing is the condition and how original it is and the clothing.
There are certain indications which are typical of Grodnertal dolls,
and if we look at the head first,
and one has to handle delicately,
she's got a wonderful painted face, a blush to the cheeks and, typical of Grodnertal,
is you have the black curls coming round
and a little yellow comb, which is another distinctive feature.
The bonnet is probably original,
because it's stylistically of that period. Isn't the dress delightful?
Yes. It's not been touched, as far as I know.
The dress is all original. You've got the lovely delicate lace here,
going down to the Huguenot silk -
in pretty good condition, considering it's 200 years old.
The body is wonderfully articulated, the wooden body.
-The hands are fairly crudely done, which is typical.
And if we look at the legs, jointed like that,
absolutely wonderful, so they can move around. Super.
On the market today, this would probably fetch £1,500 to £2,000.
-Right! That's nice!
-I brought it home as excess baggage on the aircraft.
-Did you take the legs off?
-They took the legs off for me and wrapped it in some old sacks and paper.
-Goa makes a lot of sense.
One would have said this border was typically Goan,
inlaid here into an Oriental rosewood,
with a scene which is, I suppose, an earthly paradise.
We've got a prince here who's got his lover, or attendant, or virgin,
or whatever she is and a few more lined up in the background.
Now, when they sold it to you,
did they give you any idea of what age it might be?
-They said 90 years old.
-90 years old.
-And did they say what the material was?
No. I wondered about the white material,
is it ivory or bone?
Now, there is something called the CITES convention and that is an international agreement
-which prevents the export or movement of ivory from one country to another.
And breaking the CITES convention is an extremely serious offence,
-I mean VERY serious.
With huge fines... and the destruction of the object.
-This is not ivory.
Oh, good. I'm relieved about that.
Oddly enough, this is camel bone.
-But the real clue, if you look...
-to here, you will see little black or brown lines or dots.
-I see, yeah.
And those are the blood vessels running through the bone.
-You can't carve those away and you will not find them on ivory.
-So it's absolutely indicative.
-Camel bone gives you the whitest material - I think that's it.
-What did you pay for it?
-Well, you got a good £1,000 worth.
-It makes a wonderful table.
The difficulty is the amount that's missing.
I think it was such a good buy,
that to spend another £500 or £600 having those extra bits put back...
-That's worth doing, and then you would have something worth probably £2,000.
-So it would be a worthwhile investment.
-I'll investigate it.
That's what I call bone china!
Let me hazard a guess - Blackpool, end-of-pier, 1987.
Apparently German, 1900, made as a joke for a medical student.
Good heavens! And what actually is it?
It's a hideous teapot, and this is the spout here where it pours out.
the devil's brew goes in there.
-And out it comes here?
Yes, and there's a sugar bowl and tea cups.
-And do you use it happily?
No, my grandmother produced it yesterday from the cupboard
where she'd hidden it for 30 years in case it frightened anybody.
-Who was the medical student?
Extraordinary. But how do we know that it was a medical student joke?
-It's what one of the experts said.
-You don't want to believe them.
This is a splendid flower piece. What's your story behind it?
I bought it off a dealer and restorer
who was retiring, and I understand he was looking to reduce some stock
in his upstairs rooms, which he'd had going back to the 1930s.
-It's, as I say, wonderful size, very decorative.
But the question mark is - who's it by?
He hadn't found a signature, and I didn't notice one then,
but some time later, I did notice on the shelf,
-in the bottom right-hand corner, was the name of Jean-Baptiste.
It is just there. It's brilliant of you to have actually observed it.
As soon as one thinks of a flower piece,
particularly in this country and, even though it's a French name,
-only one artist comes to mind - Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer.
-And he was a painter, a flower painter of Louis XIV.
-He died, I think, in 1699.
And the Duke of Montague, who had Montague House, was ambassador to the court of Louis XIV.
He met Monnoyer and brought him to this country, where he had a very successful career.
-You do find paintings by Monnoyer in stately houses in England.
-Now, is it by him or is it not?
-Yes, that's a good question, I think.
-Because he did have studio assistants and he did have people who copied him.
Now, I think if one looks at the quality of the painting,
one has to pick up on information there.
Here, in this tulip, it's really very well painted
and makes me feel it's original.
But there are passages in the painting, in the centre,
that are somewhat disturbing.
Here, though they're more prominent,
they don't have the reality, they're cosmetic.
I don't really like these flowers.
-So it's a bit of a mixture, so it could be studio.
-With cosmetic additions.
Studio, of course, would be that Monnoyer would be the chief painter,
-but he would have many assistants in his studio working...
-Now we come to the question of the valuation.
-This is the sweet and sour,
because if it actually had been by Monnoyer and in wonderful condition,
-It would have been worth probably £300,000 or £400,000.
But, as studio, in this condition and with this very obvious restoration on the picture...
-I'll be very conservative and say £5,000 or £10,000.
Right. Oh, that's fine. That's quite pleasing, really, to me, yes.
-We was told it's called The Lady By The Pool.
-That's a good description.
She is by the pool, in a swimming costume, and it's a nice blue pool.
This is unmistakably Italian.
Italians have an eye for pretty girls, and it's reflected in this beautiful piece of modelling,
probably done during the 1930s.
-She looks a bit of a flapper, doesn't she?
And there she is, sitting out by the pool, demurely cross-legged, and the modelling of her is exquisite.
The man who modelled her knows what a pretty girl's body looks like -
he's obviously been to a swimming pool or two in his time.
It's beautifully done. I love the costume, the mermaid costume.
She works all the way round. That is what I look for
in a good ceramic figure, whether it's an 18th-century or a 19th-century or, in this case,
a mid-20th-century figure. So what's it for?
-Keeping your make-up in.
-It is! It is for a dressing table.
It was made in Turin, almost certainly by a factory called Lenci.
To clinch the argument, all we have to do is to look for one detail,
in the mirror - did you see it?
-The only thing reflected in the mirror -
-It's a great touch.
-So are you going to put her on the dressing table?
-I think so!
Throw your lipsticks and creams and whatever you may use.
She belongs on a nice big dressing table.
I guess that if you sold her today,
-she'd fetch somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.
I wasn't expecting that!
This piece really represents the age of elegance and shows that that age never totally disappeared.
Is it something you've owned for a long time?
My great-uncle bought it from an auction in Wales, in about 1922.
And then my parents inherited it when my great aunt died.
It is an extremely elegant piece of furniture.
In style, this relates back to the Sheraton period,
to the 18th century, when a lot of furniture was made in satinwood.
Painted decoration is typical of that period.
But it seems to me to date from maybe 100 years later.
-So this is what might be called Sheraton revival.
And it's an extremely nice example.
The painted decoration is a little stiffer, a little less free than one would find in the 18th century.
But the top is screwed to the bottom like this -
on an 18th-century one, that would slide back.
The form is just slightly boxier, slightly less flowing than one would see,
and one can see that, both in existing pieces of furniture, and also in pattern-book designs.
So it's a very nice and actually very desirable piece of furniture.
-Do you want an indication?
-I'd love an indication, yes.
It's something that I would suggest today you insured for...
-And it's very, very pretty.
-Lovely! I was thinking something like £500.
-I'm glad it's better.
These medals commemorate military campaigns in Queen Victoria's reign.
I wonder how you came by them.
They belonged to me grandfather. He earned them.
-He actually won them. Who was your grandfather?
And I can see from there,
the most important one is the Crimea Medal,
so he was in the Crimea. Which regiment?
-Ah, right, so that's part of the famous Light Brigade.
-So I gather.
-Was your grandfather one of the chargers?
-He charged with them, yes.
Right. That's the Crimea medal.
You've got these four clasps on it, for four of the most famous battles
that you find on regimental histories - Sebastopol, Inkermann,
Balaclava - very important - and also the Battle of the Alma.
It would be impressed with his name, and we can see that's there -
J Reilly, 17th Lancers.
That confirms that was given to him.
THIS medal was given to British soldiers by the Sultan of Turkey,
because the British were bailing him out against Russian aggression.
Turkey was "the sick man of Europe".
The Russians wanted it because it would give them a warm-water port.
That would upset the balance of power in Europe.
It's one of the reasons why Britain went to war against Russia in 1854.
Then your grandfather was sent to India to deal with mutinous sepoys
in 1857 to '58, so that's the sort of record of his service.
It's absolutely wonderful to sit with this, knowing the man whose chest it was pinned on,
went down that valley behind Lord Cardigan - we've all seen the film.
You can imagine it as they started off, very slowly moving forwards,
and then at the trot to conserve the horses' energy.
Finally, when they were getting towards the Russian batteries,
the leaders would have said - for the lancers - to the trumpeter, to blow "Engage enemy!",
-which meant the lancers came down and then charged.
The dragoons and hussars would have stuck their swords out at the charge.
And it's incredible to think that that was given to a man who was there. It's very humbling.
-Good job they didn't kill them all, or else I wouldn't be here.
-Have you thought about what they might be worth?
Well, Crimean War stuff is very, very sought after,
and a group as important as this to a man who charged with the 17th in the Light Brigade -
between £5,000 to £7,000.
-Very nice! More than I thought!
-Thank you for bringing them.
Very interesting, thank you.
Another fine selection, from the grand to the grotesque.
If you want to know more about taxidermy, go to our website...
Now at the end of a long, hot day,
it's time to check that Burton's breweries are doing a good job.
Until the next time, goodbye.
Subtitles by Emma Biggins BBC Broadcast 2003
E-mail us at [email protected]
Michael Aspel and the team go to Burton upon Trent where they find a valuable jewelled elephant, a patch box in memory of Lord Nelson, an inlaid table from Goa, and a Victorian suit of armour suitable for jousting. Best of all is a Crimea medal awarded to a man who actually took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade.