Burton upon Trent Antiques Roadshow


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Burton upon Trent

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.

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Ironic, then, that Benedictine monks should found a beer industry

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in the town of Burton-upon-Trent 1,000 years ago.

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It's still going strong.

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One in eight pints of beer supped in the UK is brewed in Burton.

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Millions of barrels a year pour out from this town, which is home to the biggest brewery in Europe.

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People live in the shadows of the fermentation and malting towers.

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When Saxon earl, Wulfric Spot, built Burton Abbey, where a pub now stands,

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the monks discovered that the local water was uncommonly hard,

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which made it perfect for brewing pale ale.

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Until the 17th century, before hops entered the mixture, beer was sweet and flat,

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but healthier than water - it was sterilised in the brewing process. Children drank it,

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but only from the second, less potent brewing. Thus was born the phrase "small beer".

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Burton is a testament to the Victorian entrepreneurial spirit

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and to the Bass family, who first came here in 1777.

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Along with their brewing industry, they were civic-minded,

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building many of the churches and buildings, including the town hall.

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Step inside this dignified edifice and you're in for a big surprise.

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ORGAN PLAYS

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Presenting the mighty Wurlitzer, built in 1925 in New York State

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and now a star attraction at Burton-upon-Trent.

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You name the tune. Roll Out The Barrel? Certainly.

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Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Burton never stopped expanding.

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This model shows how it looked in 1921, when 32 breweries produced three million barrels a year.

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Today, Burton's ales are produced by the remaining six breweries,

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which roll out five million barrels, and that's no small beer.

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We're on the bank of the River Trent. The folk of the Meadowside Leisure Centre are our hosts.

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And we welcome a new expert to the porcelain table, Fergus Gambon.

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A beautifully-carved hibiscus and a terrific rose.

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These abundant flowers - all on an elephant!

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-Yes!

-Where does your elephant live?

-It lives in the lounge.

-Yes?

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-On a very nice carved table.

-Yes.

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And I can look at it all day long, and night as well, if I want to!

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-How did he get to you?

-My father. My father was a big antique collector.

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As long as I can remember, it's been in the family.

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-Of course, he's an African elephant.

-With the large ears.

-Yes!

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He's beautifully carved. The ivory is almost certainly African,

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-but you know the country of origin, presumably?

-No.

-You don't?

-No!

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He was actually made in Japan.

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-Really?

-Mm-hm.

-Oh, I didn't know that!

-Made in Japan,

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at the end of the 19th century and encrusted

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with stained ivory, mother-of-pearl and stained organic materials,

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probably horn and tortoiseshell.

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These darker bands are stained ivory,

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and again right down to the tassels,

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probably tortoiseshell or horn of some sort.

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What's being represented is a ceremonial elephant,

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draped in these caparisons and this saddle cloth, and hung with tassels,

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-I like this beautiful fringe.

-Yes.

-It's almost blowing in the wind.

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Yes, it is nice.

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It isn't solid ivory. The elephant is made on a wood-block core.

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Then, very carefully,

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they'd choose slivers and quadrants of sectioned elephant tusk,

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which would then be put onto the wood core.

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-He's got lovely, smiling eyes, hasn't he?

-Yes! Yes!

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One thing I've got to ask you - is he insured?

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-Yes.

-How much for?

-I can't remember.

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Well, um, I think if you were to sell this at auction,

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you are likely to get somewhere between £7,000 and £10,000.

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Really?

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Really?!

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Oh!

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Oh, I say! Oh!

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-I thought it was enamel.

-Right.

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-But that's all I know.

-It IS enamel.

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It's made not far from where we're sitting now in Burton-on-Trent,

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um, in South Staffordshire.

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At the time, South Staffordshire was the great centre for the production of enamel boxes of this sort.

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And can you guess from the way it's decorated, when it was made?

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Round about Nelson's death?

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Yes, because, in fact, it's painted rather charmingly

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with a figure and she's weeping over what looks like a tomb.

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On the tomb, we can see -

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"he is no more", and there is a tiny N - N for Nelson.

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There is!

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I can see that.

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As we all know, Lord Nelson died in 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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-Do you know what the box is for?

-I know it's not a pill box.

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I have read somewhere, but I've forgotten.

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-They're called patch boxes.

-That's right, patch box.

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-And patches were little things that people stuck on their faces as a point of vanity, really.

-Oh, right!

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When you open it, you find a rather unfinished-looking area in the top.

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It looks rather unfinished because it was designed to be covered up with a mirror,

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so that you would put on your patch and look in the mirror to see how it looked.

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If it were decorated in any other way, with just flowers or figural subjects,

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it would be worth perhaps...

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-£300 or £400 at auction.

-Right.

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But there are a lot of collectors for anything connected with Nelson,

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and I think a reasonable auction estimate would be perhaps between £1,500 and £2,000.

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-Oh!

-A substantial increase.

-It IS a lot more.

-Because of Nelson.

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-That's surprising, though.

-Good.

-Yeah.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

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-How does a flashy mirror end up here?

-It belonged to my wife's great aunt,

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When she died, the house was cleared of the main furniture,

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and I offered to clear out the rest of the house and I was given this mirror for doing that.

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-And what do you think about it?

-It's absolutely wonderful.

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It's an unusual style - different to a lot of English furniture and certainly other English mirrors.

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The best clues as to where it's from are the glass panels down the side,

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creating a framework for the mirror.

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They've got this very thick enamel jewelled on top of the glass.

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This is often called jewelling.

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-It's typical of glass produced in Bohemia in the late 19th century.

-Right.

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That might suggest it's continental.

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Looking at the mounts which give it this incredibly, sort of smart, decorative appearance,

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they're not quite as good when you get close up to them.

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They've been cast in a mould and, generally, pieces that are cast

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are then chased and finished to really sometimes a very high degree before they're then gilded.

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These are a bit crude around the edges.

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-Has it been regilded recently?

-Yes.

-Yes. So that's what gives it this very bright appearance.

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I would expect this to have been made, dating it from the glass, in the late 19th century.

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If you were to find this in a smart mirror shop,

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-it would probably have a price tag of £1,000 to £1,500.

-Right. That's very good.

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-Not bad payment for clearing a house.

-Not bad! I'll look for more!

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The inscription here, "quanto ti vo bene" is the title of a song -

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How Much I Want You and was sung by Mario Lanza in the 1950s. This rather pre-dates the '50s.

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He's a love-struck young shepherd, I suspect.

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The reason he's probably a shepherd is he's got a sheepskin jacket on,

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and it's just beautifully observed, isn't it?

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It's incredible how the sculptor has got this pocket,

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-which is full of bits and pieces, pulling down a bit.

-Very detailed.

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Fantastic, isn't it?

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It was made in Florence in the 1880s in the classical tradition.

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A piece of nice Carrara marble.

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This was considered to be very commercial as well,

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bought by English tourists and brought back here. But how did it end up in your collection?

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I don't know how my grandfather got it - must have been at an auction.

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-Locally?

-Yes, he attended many an auction.

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-He had a house full of nice things.

-Yes, he bought a lot of...

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There's a rather curious connection, because this is a Venetian song

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-and made in Florence, and this is a Venetian piece.

-I didn't know that.

-Yes.

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Here in Venice, you've got much more the carnival approach to sculpture.

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This was a more serious, traditional culture,

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-and this was much more, in today's terms, the party culture.

-Yes.

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It shows clearly in the piece,

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and, of course, there wouldn't have been great reserves of marble in Venice,

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-and so it's carved in wood.

-Would it have been used for a practical purpose, for actually taking snuff?

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Possibly, because there's a box, but it's probably a replacement.

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-I'd be very surprised if that's the original box there.

-Right.

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If it is the original box, it was just to add an element of realism.

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The detail is beautifully observed.

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You've got the little pinch here, and he's looking very satisfied.

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-Which is your favourite?

-The snuff man.

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They're probably worth about the same sort of money,

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but they're quite different markets, I think...

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-That's surprising.

-Yes.

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This at auction would probably make £2,000, £2,500 - that sort of level.

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The snuff taker would make £1,500 to £2,000, so there is a slight difference in the two,

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but I'd have him rather than that one, too.

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-Yes, it's got more character and heart.

-I think so. Yes.

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-This is damaged. Would it be worth having it restored?

-Who damaged it?

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It was my husband's grandma's.

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She had a pair and she dropped them both.

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One smashed, and this one, she's managed to repair.

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-Did anybody tell her off?

-They would have done.

-They would have done.

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Do you know what happened to the value when she dropped them?

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-The one that smashed would be worth nothing!

-Right.

-But I don't know.

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They're Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vases, one of the most collectable 20th-century ceramic commodities.

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The Americans are crazy for them,

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so the pair, when perfect, before your granny went on the rampage,

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-would have been worth somewhere between £5,000 and £8,000.

-Oh.

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The one that you've got left now,

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which on its own, perfect, would have been worth £2,000 to £3,000,

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is now worth, maybe, if you get it nicely repaired...

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..£300 or £400.

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-That much? That's nice.

-I'm glad you can look on the bright side!

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-Well, I could think of words to say about Grandma...

-You're an optimist, aren't you?

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Tell me, is this glass half-empty or half-full?

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Yes, hmm.

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Well, this is a football team that every fan in the country would recognise.

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The 1966 England World Cup winning team with all the signatures.

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-How did you get it?

-I bought it off a guy eight years ago, who was strapped for cash.

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-And he collected all the signatures?

-He collected all the signatures.

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Including the Kenneth Wolstenholme one.

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"Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over. It is now!"

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Lovely!

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-Did you pay a lot of money for it?

-I paid £120.

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That's reasonable. There's a lot of interest in World Cup memorabilia,

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particularly of the '66 side,

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and I would think today, at auction, this would probably fetch between £500 and £700.

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-Grand.

-Great thing.

-Yes.

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You have a name at the top here, George Manderfield.

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-The wife's father's great-uncle.

-The wife's father's great-uncle,

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-so that probably takes it back over 100 years. It has to be, doesn't it?

-I should think so.

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-The M should have been N.

-N?

-Yeah, not Manderfield, Nanderfield.

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-So they sent away for it somewhere and it came back misspelt.

-Yes.

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I wonder whether they paid for it. Perhaps they got away with it!

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The raspberry and blackberry fool colour tends to be a northern thing,

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Yorkshire and even Portobello, on the Scottish Borders, so it could have been from one of those places.

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I also love these frogs and newts inside.

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This is a loving cup, which passes from one to another. As you did so,

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you drank down and revealed these things at the bottom.

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-Has it been used and treasured in the family?

-It came down through the family.

-Yes.

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The son's grandma give it him, in the last couple of months.

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-As recent as that?

-Yes, because he's into antiques now.

-Yes.

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This is a great antique to have, and a long family tradition helps it,

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but in the open market place, you're looking at £150 to £200.

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-But much more to the family.

-That's right.

-Thank you for bringing it.

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-I'll give you the bad news first.

-OK.

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Although this looks like a 16th century suit of armour, it isn't.

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-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.

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-Right!

-Made for decoration of houses and castles.

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-Right.

-We need to go back just before Victoria's reign,

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to Sir Walter Scott and all his novels, like Ivanhoe, which is 1819,

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and then Quentin Durward and all these tales of medieval derring-do,

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knights rescuing ladies, stimulated the Victorian imagination.

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It stimulated it so much that the 13th Earl of Eglinton

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decided in 1839 to hold a tournament. All the nobles would trick themselves up in armour,

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get on horses and beat the living daylights out of each other.

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-Right.

-It really captured the Victorian imagination.

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So it's a very nice Victorian copy and it really does look the part.

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-Oh, it does!

-I bet it looks great in situ.

-It really does look superb.

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-Any thoughts about the value?

-Haven't a clue.

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-It's £2,000 to £3,000, because it's a wonderful decorative piece.

-Wow!

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Is there a market for stuffed animals these days?

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There is a certain market. It's not enormous and the market is very selective about what they'll buy,

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-and there are huge pitfalls.

-Like what?

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Like whether you can sell it or whether you can even own it!

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These things are governed by international legislation.

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-Is this because they're protected species?

-Yes, absolutely.

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CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species -

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lists the animals you can and can't sell.

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When I rang up DEFRA, the Department of the Environment,

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that controls this in Britain, I asked for a concise, simple list of what I can or what I can't sell.

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They sent this huge pile of stuff,

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hundreds of pages, mostly with Latin names.

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-Stuffed full of information.

-Stuffed full.

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Suppose you were left a tiger skin with a head or an elephant's foot, are you not free to sell that on?

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It depends when Uncle Eric shot it, if it was Uncle Eric that shot it at all.

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It's a bit of a grey area, this.

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The CITES regulations cover things pre-1947.

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'47 arbitrarily was chosen as the date.

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Post-1947, you have to have a completely-known provenance for it,

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so that you know it's not a recent casualty.

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What about this woodpecker? Is that a good one?

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Um, it's certainly a good one. This one has got a great provenance.

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It came from the Eton College collection.

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Eton decided they didn't want their collection of birds. It's got a known provenance and a known date,

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but it's also... The taxidermist was one of the greatest,

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Roland Ward.

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What's the most bizarre example you've come across?

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Swans are bizarre. You wouldn't want a swan in your front room today.

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-You'd have to ask somebody very special to stuff a swan.

-Certainly.

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Every swan belongs to the crown. They're all marked. Their beaks have certain markings,

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and there's a man called the Queen's Usher who you would have to ask.

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They're not interested in ones that are clearly old,

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but a recently deceased swan, you'd need permission.

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Really, the rule of thumb is to avoid things post-1947, unless you've got a licence for it.

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What's the story behind this?

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I was on the flea market at Derby and as soon as I saw it, I thought, "I must have that!"

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"How much is it?" They said, "It's got to be £2".

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So that was it. I was £2 short, but, I mean, I love it.

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-The carving.

-This is made of cedar wood. It's got this fantastic glow.

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And this wonderful figuring inside.

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-Any idea of where it comes from?

-No.

-Not Derby, originally.

-No.

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-Switzerland.

-Switzerland!

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-It's actually a pap boat...

-Oh!

-..so it would have been used to feed infants with.

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-It's got a sweet handle here, that's carved in the shape of a bear.

-Yes.

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-And then a fantastic sort of acanthus leaf to the base.

-Yes.

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-And on the top here, this typical rose and leaf decoration.

-Yeah.

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-I think this dates from the mid 19th century, around 1850.

-Uh-huh.

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-A treen collector would pay £300 to £500 for one of those.

-No?!

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Yeah, it's a really lovely example.

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-I rescued it from my father.

-What was he going to do with it?!

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-Attack it with a drill.

-I don't believe it! And do what with it?

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Clean it. I took it off him, and it came into my possession and...

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Well, I'm delighted you did!

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Um, it's a table screen,

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and the Orientals used table screens

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to prevent draughts when they were writing script.

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Decorated in various tones of gold, and this IS gold, on a black ground.

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We've got different gold, silver... Gold in at least two colours, maybe three,

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with a scene of Mount Fuji.

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This is the sort of landscape

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which the tourist to Japan would have seen in about 1900,

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-and he would have bought this as a souvenir.

-Right.

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Got on here the signature of Komai, who is the leading maker of these,

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so it's a really very nice thing.

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I mean, I congratulate you on protecting it for posterity!

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-I always loved that.

-Isn't that brilliant?

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For insurance, you ought to put on

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£1,800, maybe £2,000. It's a really very, very nice screen.

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That's lovely.

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I bought it because it's not like anything I've seen before,

0:22:560:23:01

-the spout's in the wrong place.

-Yeah.

-So...

0:23:010:23:05

Well, it's quite an interesting piece,

0:23:050:23:08

because it's made in Japan.

0:23:080:23:11

-Oh!

-And so that's where it starts, at a place called Arita.

0:23:110:23:17

It was shipped in the white,

0:23:170:23:19

so the decoration is not Japanese.

0:23:190:23:22

-Right.

-It probably came over in one of these massive loads of porcelain from Japan

0:23:220:23:30

in the very early 18th century.

0:23:300:23:33

-Right.

-And it's clearly gone through Holland, because the decoration on this is very curious.

0:23:330:23:40

It's jumbled, and the flowers - so-called chrysanthemums -

0:23:400:23:45

are almost like an amateur would do.

0:23:450:23:48

The thing that reveals it is the extensive use of red, iron red.

0:23:480:23:53

And this is characteristic of Dutch decorators who worked in large numbers,

0:23:530:24:00

painting not only Japanese and Chinese porcelain but also Meissen.

0:24:000:24:05

So this is an interesting piece.

0:24:050:24:07

-Yes, yes.

-It would be made, I think, for soy sauce.

0:24:070:24:12

-Right!

-There may have been a little domed lid to sit on top of it.

0:24:120:24:17

-Yes.

-And you pour, like a coffee pot today,

0:24:170:24:22

or you side-pour, and it's very easy to work that way, as you can see.

0:24:220:24:27

-I love it!

-What did you pay for it?

0:24:270:24:30

It's a while ago. I think I paid about £4 for it, because it was a village sale and...

0:24:300:24:37

It's probably worth about £200 to £300.

0:24:370:24:41

-Oh!

-Yeah.

0:24:420:24:44

-Right!

-Maybe a little bit more.

0:24:440:24:47

-Oh, that's wonderful, but I just like it.

-Yeah, I like it, too.

-Yes.

0:24:470:24:53

We've got an absolute Victorian classic subject here, have we not?

0:24:530:24:57

The picturesque old cottage

0:24:570:25:00

with the girl by the gate and the hollyhocks and ducks on the pond.

0:25:000:25:06

It is just such a classic subject for Victorian artists.

0:25:060:25:11

I think, for many people, these kind of pictures are classic England.

0:25:110:25:17

There are many artists who did this kind of thing, the most famous being Helen Allingham and Birkett-Foster,

0:25:170:25:24

but these are by another rather less-known artist, but nonetheless good, called Claude Strachan.

0:25:240:25:31

Actually he's Arthur Claude Strachan, in full.

0:25:310:25:35

It's a lovely example of his work,

0:25:350:25:38

in particularly nice condition. Can you tell me about these

0:25:380:25:42

-and how you came by them?

-They came from my grandfather.

0:25:420:25:47

-Yes.

-Um, when my grandfather moved into a nursing home, my father - my late father - brought them home.

0:25:470:25:54

-I liked them, so my dad gave them to me.

-What happened to the frames?

0:25:540:25:59

The frames were taken off, because they were broken and damaged.

0:25:590:26:04

They've actually spent quite some years tucked away in a trunk.

0:26:040:26:09

Well, that's kept them in this lovely, fresh condition,

0:26:090:26:13

but they're so nice that, if they were mine, I would frame them and put them on the wall.

0:26:130:26:20

Let's look at the second one, again a classic English cottage view,

0:26:200:26:26

but more emphasis on the garden - hollyhocks and sunflowers,

0:26:260:26:31

children playing in a stream. Well, they're in watercolour,

0:26:310:26:37

but Strachan, like so many 19th-century artists,

0:26:370:26:41

also used body colour. It's a white heightening added to watercolour

0:26:410:26:46

to make the colour stronger and for these white highlights.

0:26:460:26:50

Yes.

0:26:500:26:52

This enabled Strachan to get these very strong, bright, pure colours. Look at the colour of that -

0:26:520:27:00

-the hollyhock and sunflowers.

-Yes, yes.

-They're beautifully done

0:27:000:27:05

and they're in really super condition, so I would date these watercolours about 1900, 1910.

0:27:050:27:13

Just to put that one down again.

0:27:130:27:16

Um...let's talk about the value now.

0:27:160:27:20

I would say that both of them, in a sale,

0:27:200:27:26

-would make at least £3,000 to £4,000.

-Really?!

-Each one.

0:27:260:27:30

-I'm surprised.

-A nice surprise, I hope...

-Yes!

-..and will hopefully encourage you to get them framed.

0:27:300:27:38

I've had it ten years. It came from an aunt.

0:27:380:27:41

It's a type of doll that's called a Grodnertal doll.

0:27:410:27:46

It was made in Germany and Austria in the early 19th century.

0:27:460:27:51

So we're probably looking at a date of about 1800, 1810.

0:27:510:27:56

The nice thing is the condition and how original it is and the clothing.

0:27:560:28:02

There are certain indications which are typical of Grodnertal dolls,

0:28:020:28:07

and if we look at the head first,

0:28:070:28:10

and one has to handle delicately,

0:28:100:28:12

she's got a wonderful painted face, a blush to the cheeks and, typical of Grodnertal,

0:28:120:28:18

is you have the black curls coming round

0:28:180:28:22

and a little yellow comb, which is another distinctive feature.

0:28:220:28:27

The bonnet is probably original,

0:28:270:28:30

because it's stylistically of that period. Isn't the dress delightful?

0:28:300:28:35

Yes. It's not been touched, as far as I know.

0:28:350:28:38

The dress is all original. You've got the lovely delicate lace here,

0:28:380:28:43

going down to the Huguenot silk -

0:28:430:28:45

in pretty good condition, considering it's 200 years old.

0:28:450:28:50

The body is wonderfully articulated, the wooden body.

0:28:500:28:54

-The hands are fairly crudely done, which is typical.

-Yes.

0:28:540:28:59

And if we look at the legs, jointed like that,

0:28:590:29:03

absolutely wonderful, so they can move around. Super.

0:29:030:29:08

On the market today, this would probably fetch £1,500 to £2,000.

0:29:080:29:13

-Right! That's nice!

-Yeah.

0:29:130:29:15

-I brought it home as excess baggage on the aircraft.

-Excess baggage?!

0:29:160:29:22

-Did you take the legs off?

-They took the legs off for me and wrapped it in some old sacks and paper.

0:29:220:29:30

Wow!

0:29:300:29:32

-Goa makes a lot of sense.

-Does it?

0:29:320:29:35

One would have said this border was typically Goan,

0:29:350:29:40

inlaid here into an Oriental rosewood,

0:29:400:29:44

with a scene which is, I suppose, an earthly paradise.

0:29:440:29:49

We've got a prince here who's got his lover, or attendant, or virgin,

0:29:490:29:54

or whatever she is and a few more lined up in the background.

0:29:540:29:59

I see.

0:29:590:30:01

Now, when they sold it to you,

0:30:010:30:03

did they give you any idea of what age it might be?

0:30:030:30:08

-They said 90 years old.

-90?

-90 years old.

-And did they say what the material was?

0:30:080:30:14

No. I wondered about the white material,

0:30:140:30:18

is it ivory or bone?

0:30:180:30:21

Now, there is something called the CITES convention and that is an international agreement

0:30:210:30:27

-which prevents the export or movement of ivory from one country to another.

-Right. OK.

0:30:270:30:34

And breaking the CITES convention is an extremely serious offence,

0:30:340:30:39

-I mean VERY serious.

-Right.

0:30:390:30:43

With huge fines... and the destruction of the object.

0:30:430:30:48

Oh.

0:30:480:30:50

-But...

-Mm-hm?

-This is not ivory.

0:30:510:30:55

Oh, good. I'm relieved about that.

0:30:550:30:57

Oddly enough, this is camel bone.

0:30:570:31:00

-Right.

-But the real clue, if you look...

0:31:000:31:03

-to here, you will see little black or brown lines or dots.

-I see, yeah.

0:31:030:31:10

And those are the blood vessels running through the bone.

0:31:100:31:15

-You can't carve those away and you will not find them on ivory.

-OK.

-So it's absolutely indicative.

-I see.

0:31:150:31:22

-Camel bone gives you the whitest material - I think that's it.

-Right.

0:31:220:31:28

-What did you pay for it?

-Er...

0:31:280:31:31

-About £1,000.

-About £1,000.

0:31:310:31:33

-Well, you got a good £1,000 worth.

-Right.

0:31:330:31:37

-It makes a wonderful table.

-Mm-hm.

0:31:370:31:40

The difficulty is the amount that's missing.

0:31:400:31:43

I think it was such a good buy,

0:31:430:31:46

that to spend another £500 or £600 having those extra bits put back...

0:31:460:31:52

-Yeah.

-That's worth doing, and then you would have something worth probably £2,000.

0:31:520:31:58

-£2,000.

-So it would be a worthwhile investment.

-I'll investigate it.

0:31:580:32:02

That's what I call bone china!

0:32:020:32:05

Let me hazard a guess - Blackpool, end-of-pier, 1987.

0:32:050:32:09

-Afraid not.

-Oh!

0:32:090:32:11

Apparently German, 1900, made as a joke for a medical student.

0:32:110:32:16

Good heavens! And what actually is it?

0:32:160:32:19

It's a hideous teapot, and this is the spout here where it pours out.

0:32:190:32:25

So...

0:32:250:32:27

the devil's brew goes in there.

0:32:270:32:29

-Absolutely.

-And out it comes here?

0:32:290:32:31

Yes, and there's a sugar bowl and tea cups.

0:32:310:32:35

-Similar design?

-Yes.

-And do you use it happily?

0:32:350:32:39

No, my grandmother produced it yesterday from the cupboard

0:32:390:32:43

where she'd hidden it for 30 years in case it frightened anybody.

0:32:430:32:47

-Who was the medical student?

-No idea.

0:32:470:32:51

Extraordinary. But how do we know that it was a medical student joke?

0:32:510:32:55

-It's what one of the experts said.

-You don't want to believe them.

0:32:550:33:01

This is a splendid flower piece. What's your story behind it?

0:33:070:33:11

I bought it off a dealer and restorer

0:33:110:33:16

who was retiring, and I understand he was looking to reduce some stock

0:33:160:33:20

in his upstairs rooms, which he'd had going back to the 1930s.

0:33:200:33:25

-It's, as I say, wonderful size, very decorative.

-Yes.

0:33:250:33:30

But the question mark is - who's it by?

0:33:300:33:33

He hadn't found a signature, and I didn't notice one then,

0:33:330:33:38

but some time later, I did notice on the shelf,

0:33:380:33:42

-in the bottom right-hand corner, was the name of Jean-Baptiste.

-Yes.

0:33:420:33:47

It is just there. It's brilliant of you to have actually observed it.

0:33:470:33:53

As soon as one thinks of a flower piece,

0:33:530:33:56

particularly in this country and, even though it's a French name,

0:33:560:34:01

-only one artist comes to mind - Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer.

-Yes.

0:34:010:34:07

-And he was a painter, a flower painter of Louis XIV.

-Yes.

0:34:070:34:11

-He died, I think, in 1699.

-Yes.

0:34:110:34:14

And the Duke of Montague, who had Montague House, was ambassador to the court of Louis XIV.

0:34:140:34:21

He met Monnoyer and brought him to this country, where he had a very successful career.

0:34:210:34:28

-You do find paintings by Monnoyer in stately houses in England.

-Yes.

0:34:280:34:35

-Now, is it by him or is it not?

-Yes, that's a good question, I think.

0:34:350:34:40

-Because he did have studio assistants and he did have people who copied him.

-Yes.

0:34:400:34:46

Now, I think if one looks at the quality of the painting,

0:34:460:34:51

one has to pick up on information there.

0:34:510:34:55

Here, in this tulip, it's really very well painted

0:34:550:34:59

and makes me feel it's original.

0:34:590:35:02

But there are passages in the painting, in the centre,

0:35:020:35:06

that are somewhat disturbing.

0:35:060:35:08

Here, though they're more prominent,

0:35:080:35:11

they don't have the reality, they're cosmetic.

0:35:110:35:15

I don't really like these flowers.

0:35:150:35:18

-So it's a bit of a mixture, so it could be studio.

-Yes.

-With cosmetic additions.

0:35:180:35:24

Studio, of course, would be that Monnoyer would be the chief painter,

0:35:240:35:30

-but he would have many assistants in his studio working...

-Helping him.

0:35:300:35:34

-Now we come to the question of the valuation.

-Yes.

-This is the sweet and sour,

0:35:340:35:41

because if it actually had been by Monnoyer and in wonderful condition,

0:35:410:35:47

-Yes.

-It would have been worth probably £300,000 or £400,000.

-Yes.

0:35:470:35:52

But, as studio, in this condition and with this very obvious restoration on the picture...

0:35:520:36:00

-Yes.

-I'll be very conservative and say £5,000 or £10,000.

0:36:000:36:04

Right. Oh, that's fine. That's quite pleasing, really, to me, yes.

0:36:040:36:09

-We was told it's called The Lady By The Pool.

-That's a good description.

0:36:090:36:16

She is by the pool, in a swimming costume, and it's a nice blue pool.

0:36:160:36:21

This is unmistakably Italian.

0:36:210:36:23

Italians have an eye for pretty girls, and it's reflected in this beautiful piece of modelling,

0:36:230:36:31

probably done during the 1930s.

0:36:310:36:33

-She looks a bit of a flapper, doesn't she?

-Yes.

0:36:330:36:37

And there she is, sitting out by the pool, demurely cross-legged, and the modelling of her is exquisite.

0:36:370:36:44

The man who modelled her knows what a pretty girl's body looks like -

0:36:440:36:50

he's obviously been to a swimming pool or two in his time.

0:36:500:36:54

It's beautifully done. I love the costume, the mermaid costume.

0:36:540:36:59

She works all the way round. That is what I look for

0:36:590:37:03

in a good ceramic figure, whether it's an 18th-century or a 19th-century or, in this case,

0:37:030:37:10

a mid-20th-century figure. So what's it for?

0:37:100:37:14

-Keeping your make-up in.

-It is! It is for a dressing table.

-Right!

0:37:140:37:19

It was made in Turin, almost certainly by a factory called Lenci.

0:37:190:37:24

To clinch the argument, all we have to do is to look for one detail,

0:37:240:37:29

in the mirror - did you see it?

0:37:290:37:31

-The lips.

-The only thing reflected in the mirror -

0:37:310:37:36

her lips.

0:37:360:37:39

-It's a great touch.

-Yes.

0:37:390:37:42

-So are you going to put her on the dressing table?

-I think so!

0:37:420:37:46

Throw your lipsticks and creams and whatever you may use.

0:37:460:37:51

She belongs on a nice big dressing table.

0:37:510:37:54

I guess that if you sold her today,

0:37:540:37:57

-she'd fetch somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.

-Goodness! Wow!

0:37:570:38:03

I wasn't expecting that!

0:38:030:38:05

This piece really represents the age of elegance and shows that that age never totally disappeared.

0:38:050:38:12

Is it something you've owned for a long time?

0:38:120:38:17

My great-uncle bought it from an auction in Wales, in about 1922.

0:38:170:38:22

And then my parents inherited it when my great aunt died.

0:38:220:38:27

It is an extremely elegant piece of furniture.

0:38:270:38:31

In style, this relates back to the Sheraton period,

0:38:310:38:35

to the 18th century, when a lot of furniture was made in satinwood.

0:38:350:38:40

Painted decoration is typical of that period.

0:38:400:38:43

But it seems to me to date from maybe 100 years later.

0:38:430:38:48

-So this is what might be called Sheraton revival.

-Yes.

0:38:480:38:52

And it's an extremely nice example.

0:38:520:38:54

The painted decoration is a little stiffer, a little less free than one would find in the 18th century.

0:38:540:39:02

But the top is screwed to the bottom like this -

0:39:020:39:07

on an 18th-century one, that would slide back.

0:39:070:39:10

The form is just slightly boxier, slightly less flowing than one would see,

0:39:100:39:17

and one can see that, both in existing pieces of furniture, and also in pattern-book designs.

0:39:170:39:23

So it's a very nice and actually very desirable piece of furniture.

0:39:230:39:28

-Right.

-Do you want an indication?

-I'd love an indication, yes.

-Um...

0:39:280:39:33

It's something that I would suggest today you insured for...

0:39:330:39:38

-£4,000.

-Oh, gosh!

0:39:380:39:41

-And it's very, very pretty.

-Lovely! I was thinking something like £500.

0:39:410:39:47

-I'm glad it's better.

-Brilliant.

0:39:470:39:49

These medals commemorate military campaigns in Queen Victoria's reign.

0:39:520:39:58

I wonder how you came by them.

0:39:580:40:00

They belonged to me grandfather. He earned them.

0:40:000:40:04

-He actually won them. Who was your grandfather?

-Joseph Reilly.

0:40:040:40:09

And I can see from there,

0:40:090:40:11

the most important one is the Crimea Medal,

0:40:110:40:15

so he was in the Crimea. Which regiment?

0:40:150:40:18

-17th Lancers.

-Ah, right, so that's part of the famous Light Brigade.

0:40:180:40:23

-Yeah.

-From Tennyson's...

-So I gather.

0:40:230:40:26

-Was your grandfather one of the chargers?

-He charged with them, yes.

0:40:260:40:31

Right. That's the Crimea medal.

0:40:310:40:34

You've got these four clasps on it, for four of the most famous battles

0:40:340:40:40

that you find on regimental histories - Sebastopol, Inkermann,

0:40:400:40:45

Balaclava - very important - and also the Battle of the Alma.

0:40:450:40:51

It would be impressed with his name, and we can see that's there -

0:40:520:40:57

J Reilly, 17th Lancers.

0:40:570:41:00

That confirms that was given to him.

0:41:000:41:03

THIS medal was given to British soldiers by the Sultan of Turkey,

0:41:030:41:09

because the British were bailing him out against Russian aggression.

0:41:090:41:14

Turkey was "the sick man of Europe".

0:41:140:41:17

The Russians wanted it because it would give them a warm-water port.

0:41:170:41:23

That would upset the balance of power in Europe.

0:41:230:41:27

It's one of the reasons why Britain went to war against Russia in 1854.

0:41:270:41:32

Then your grandfather was sent to India to deal with mutinous sepoys

0:41:320:41:37

in 1857 to '58, so that's the sort of record of his service.

0:41:370:41:43

It's absolutely wonderful to sit with this, knowing the man whose chest it was pinned on,

0:41:430:41:50

went down that valley behind Lord Cardigan - we've all seen the film.

0:41:500:41:55

You can imagine it as they started off, very slowly moving forwards,

0:41:550:42:00

and then at the trot to conserve the horses' energy.

0:42:000:42:04

Finally, when they were getting towards the Russian batteries,

0:42:040:42:10

the leaders would have said - for the lancers - to the trumpeter, to blow "Engage enemy!",

0:42:100:42:16

-which meant the lancers came down and then charged.

-That's right.

0:42:160:42:21

The dragoons and hussars would have stuck their swords out at the charge.

0:42:210:42:28

And it's incredible to think that that was given to a man who was there. It's very humbling.

0:42:280:42:35

-Good job they didn't kill them all, or else I wouldn't be here.

-Yes!

0:42:350:42:41

-Have you thought about what they might be worth?

-Not really.

0:42:410:42:46

Well, Crimean War stuff is very, very sought after,

0:42:460:42:50

and a group as important as this to a man who charged with the 17th in the Light Brigade -

0:42:500:42:57

between £5,000 to £7,000.

0:42:570:42:59

-Very nice! More than I thought!

-Thank you for bringing them.

0:42:590:43:05

Very interesting, thank you.

0:43:050:43:07

Another fine selection, from the grand to the grotesque.

0:43:070:43:11

If you want to know more about taxidermy, go to our website...

0:43:110:43:16

Now at the end of a long, hot day,

0:43:160:43:18

it's time to check that Burton's breweries are doing a good job.

0:43:180:43:24

Until the next time, goodbye.

0:43:240:43:26

Subtitles by Emma Biggins BBC Broadcast 2003

0:43:480:43:52

E-mail us at [email protected]

0:43:520:43:55

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.