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Today, a rare treat. We've brought the Roadshow
to one of the UK's finest botanical gardens,
Wakehurst Place in West Sussex.
For our visit behind the scenes,
I'm required to dress up like Scott of the Antarctic.
There is more here than meets the eye,
though what DOES meet the eye is pretty stunning.
The 465-acre estate is an offshoot of London's Kew Gardens,
and, like Kew, it's both a living green museum
and a kaleidoscope of colour that changes with the seasons.
But Wakehurst Place is not just a picnic in the park,
it's also home to the world's largest and most comprehensive conservation project.
It's an £80 million enterprise.
I'm standing at the very frontier of botanical science.
Like something from a Steven Spielberg movie,
the Millennium Seed Bank is billed as a race against time,
to save the world's most endangered plants from extinction.
In a hi-tech building under laboratory conditions,
scientists are sifting and storing the seeds of 25,000 species
before they vanish from their natural habitats.
By removing most of their moisture content and then freezing them,
seeds can be saved for germination hundreds of years from now.
And here's the reason for my thermal ensemble.
It's -20 degrees centigrade down here,
in the vaults where the seeds are stored,
row after row of them. Who knows?
These sealed jars might contain the key to future miracle cures,
or alternative sources of food.
The pots on this greenhouse bench contain a flowering plant
that can be found only at one other place,
a secret location in South Africa.
Visitors who come to Wakehurst to saunter around the grounds
are often unaware that some of the rarest plants on the planet are being nurtured here,
including a few that are already extinct in the wild.
Meanwhile, on the south lawn, and at about 30 degrees plus,
the search is on for other rare and exciting finds,
so let's start digging.
He looks fierce, doesn't he? Tell me about him.
Well, he's a survivor of the Blitz.
The last great raid of the war on 10th May 1941,
a bomb was aimed at Tower Bridge, which missed the bridge,
but hit a barge going underneath it, and the explosion all went upwards,
and blew various bits off the bridge,
and a friend of my father's had the job of clearing away all the debris,
and wrenching off any loose bits, so they didn't fall on the public.
-Quite right, health and safety.
and that was one of the bits,
and he was supposed to send it all off for scrap, melt it all down,
and the next day my father saw it all,
and the only bit that was decorative was that one,
and he gave him a few shillings for it, and we've had it ever since.
I don't believe it!
-I mean, this is a lump off Tower Bridge.
-That's right, yeah.
-And what did your dad do with it then?
-He just kept it in the garage.
-Until he died.
And, in fact, when he died, I took it, and we now have it in our study.
-In pride of place.
-In pride of place.
They're every 20 or 30 yards along the top of the walkway,
but there's one missing.
-Between the two towers? That long walkway.
-That's the missing one.
-Well, that's an amazing story.
I mean, how many Londoners, or visitors to London,
visit that icon, which Tower Bridge is,
plastered in Gothic detail?
-And there couldn't be any more Gothic-looking object than that.
With these sort of Valkyrie-type wings growing out of his visor.
I rather like the fleur-de-lys here on the breastplate,
a sort of reference to France,
and these pellets over his ears. I mean, it's a marvellous thing.
Now, if I turn it upside down, we can see a mixture of materials.
That's definitely a piece of copper,
and that's the copper socket that would have gone onto a piece of iron
or stone on the top of that walkway,
and then, that copper is seamed into another metal, and...
-my old trusty penknife, do you mind holding it?
-Hang on to that,
and let's just give this a little nick,
because it does make a difference,
if I just give it a little cut in there like that,
underneath the layer of paint, just there,
-you can see a white metal.
And it's not spelter,
because this thing is far too heavy to be spelter,
-it's made of cast lead.
In its own right, as a paperweight on your table,
-it's decorative, right?
I mean, I'd love to own it, just to have it on my desk,
but for Tower Bridge, of all structures!
I think it's absolutely fab, I really do,
and, I mean, incredibly difficult to value.
-An American offered my father in 1961 £250 for it.
-£250. You'd have bought a motorcar for £250.
I mean, quite a nice motorcar.
I don't know, if you said to me,
what would I see it making at auction,
I would think probably between £1,000 and £2,000.
-Wow! Good, that's good.
-Good old Dad!
-Yeah, good old Dad!
-This is a...quite an ordinary-looking box.
Mahogany box of about 1880,
the sort of box that you might expect to have tea in it,
-as a tea caddy.
-But inside, there's a whole different story.
Tell me about your box.
My great-grandmother was a teacher, and she used it in schools,
to take round and show the children the bits and bobs,
and she gave it to her daughter, my grandmother,
who gave it to Jasmine,
on the occasion of her christening last year,
and it's been around,
we've always been allowed to get it out, and have a look.
-And play with it?
Well, I'm going to just lift out these trays.
-How many trays are there?
-There are actually four, in total.
So, as a child, you were allowed to take all these wonderful things out.
-I bet you found it absolutely fantastic, didn't you?
I did. I've always really loved it.
I am absolutely thrilled with this,
because they don't survive in any great numbers.
-And I haven't seen one quite as complete as this,
and you're absolutely right, it is a teaching aid,
and what would have happened is...
In the late 19th century, children were still educated at home.
-So, in a school room, with a governess or a tutor.
So, with girls like Jasmine, when she was about eight or ten,
she would have been taught in a school room,
and the boys would have been sent off to school.
So, this tells you absolutely all one wants to know
about the state of the British Empire in the late 19th century.
Look, here, we've got a little bottle containing raw coffee,
so when you were being told about the raw coffee,
you could have included things like the coffee plantations,
how we came to own the coffee plantations,
all about India and Africa,
so you would have had the geography lesson,
-with this as the demonstration.
And you can rattle them, and play with them,
I mean, it's just fantastic.
So, that tells you about the Empire.
Now, over here, you've got a little bit of raw beeswax.
Oh, I didn't know what that was.
-So, here we have the nature story.
-So, insects, plant life, um... just hold that.
It's lovely, isn't it?
-Comes from bees,
-Comes from the beehive.
Um, and then, you've got something very appropriate for girls,
you've got this lovely sample of material,
so you've got cotton velvet,
something called "jean", which is interesting,
-I've never seen that before.
and then plain calico.
And then you've got all the cottons and other things in here,
so it really is the most comprehensive box of teaching aids,
but done in a really good, fun way,
because it would appeal to young children,
because of the ability to hold the little bottles,
but also, you know, they are serious aids
to learning all the different subject matter.
You're very lucky to have it, and, as I say, I'm thrilled to see it,
because I've never seen one so complete.
If you did find another one,
-I think you'd have to spend at least £600 to buy it.
I'm really surprised.
So, your granny gave you a lovely present.
She did, didn't she?
-You're a lucky girl.
-You're a lucky girl.
I don't think I've shared a bench with three ecclesiastical orphans.
They've come from somewhere very interesting.
Yes, yes, we'd love to know exactly where, but perhaps we never will.
They came from Norfolk, I'm sure, because my uncle
acquired them from a house he moved into, and that's all we know.
They were on the wall when he moved in, in '47.
They look as though they've come out of a church, don't they?
They absolutely do, and I think one of the things one often forgets
is that although there are all these early Gothic and Norman churches,
particularly in Norfolk and East Anglia,
that a lot of churches were reconditioned
and improved by the Victorians, in their overzealous way,
in the late 19th century,
and a lot of the early carvings and pews were removed.
-And they found their new homes,
in slightly different circumstances, admittedly.
-And I think this is exactly what happened to these.
When churches often got redecorated,
they got new altars, they got new screens,
was that the objects themselves didn't travel that far,
they quite often geographically stayed very near
where they were originally from,
-so whereabouts in Norfolk was...?
-He lived in Hunstanton.
-And I would imagine they'd been there since the house was built,
in about 1890, 1900, and it had a mad artist living there,
and I think he may have collected these
in the intervening years, but before that, we know nothing.
They would certainly fit in,
they'd appeal to a mad artist's eccentric taste,
and they've got rather wonderful, quite naive features,
but actually extremely well carved.
They're all in oak, they have these fantastic emblems
of all the sort of religious symbolism,
and this very distinctive, very broad, flared, footed chalice,
that we have here is of a type that was made, really, for altars,
between about 1250 and about 1450, so it's an incredibly early form.
-They have a very rich, dark patina to them,
which is just a result of, I am sure,
endless candles, and dust and dust...
but they've got fantastic characters,
-and they're all obviously carved by the same person.
Now, they're very difficult things to value, really.
It's not the largest market, I suppose, for religious artefacts,
but as a reflection of the aspirations and the richness
in England in the 15th century,
they couldn't be a better evocation of that,
and I think if you were to part with these today,
you could easily get £3,000 or £4,000 for the three of them.
Well, I'm glad we don't want to.
-Thank you. I just love them.
-I'm glad they were saved by the mad artist.
They're lovely, and they've got such sweet faces.
Now, Lewes is a very attractive town.
-I suppose about 20 miles south of here, isn't it?
How does all this relate to Lewes?
Well, my father was a Lewesian, and indeed, I count myself as a Lewesian,
although I don't live there now.
But during his lifetime,
my father made a huge collection of Lewes memorabilia,
and he developed an interest in the history of the town,
which, I'm bound to say,
he became quite an expert in the course of his 96 years.
Very long-lived. So, he was an amateur social historian?
-Is this him?
-This is... That's my father, yes.
Towards the end of his life.
Yes, sadly he passed away in February of this year and...
So, he wrote these books?
He wrote books on the history of Lewes, the street names of Lewes.
-So, he was very much "Mr Lewes".
-He was indeed,
and people used to call him that.
Have you followed with that taste, or that enthusiasm?
I can't pretend to have anything like the knowledge that he had,
and going through his collection has been something of an education to me.
I'm surrounded by postcards, photographs,
obviously lots of books.
I think this is by Horsfield.
-And so, he's the great 19th-century historian.
-Right. And so we've got here,
-in a sense, everything to do with the history of Lewes.
It's very well catalogued, because my father had a very orderly mind,
but I'm puzzled as to what I should do with it.
What do you feel you should do?
I feel it deserves to be in the hands of someone who will use it
probably more effectively than I am able to do.
Do you feel a moral obligation to hang on, because it's family?
Possibly, at the moment, I might be a little reluctant to part with it,
but I think it would be a pity if it just resided in one of my cupboards
and gathered dust.
And what about your children?
Yes, my children are not Lewesians in the same sense of the word.
So, they don't want it?
I think it's unlikely that they would want it.
Would you feel guilty if you disposed of it?
I hope not, no,
but there is a sense in which one sometimes does have these feelings.
This is a very frequent Roadshow problem.
We meet people who have family collections,
assembled by Great-Aunt Edith or whatever,
and they say "I don't really want it, it doesn't mean anything to me,
"but I don't know what to do. Should I keep it?"
My view is "No." You know, why should you?
It was your father's life's work, that's fine, it's recorded here.
The only thing I would say is
-it would be a great pity if it was broken up.
-If you say, "Here are 300 postcards, scatter them to the winds"...
..you're undoing everything he spent his life doing.
There is an importance in keeping the integrity of the collection,
but YOU don't have to have it.
So, how does one deal with the disposal of such?
Well, let's think about value.
There are things here that are worth a lot of money.
How many postcards have you got?
-400, 300? I don't know.
-More than that.
Right, well, if you say,
take an average price of £5 a card,
and they're more likely to be £10 a card,
-well, there's £5,000, straightaway.
Social history postcards are very desirable,
particularly if they show people, scenes...
Just a street is not exciting,
but if there are things going on, and shop fronts and activity,
these are collectable cards.
Books like this are highly desirable. Horsfield is a rare book.
-The photographs, how many did you say?
-Probably close on 1,000.
Well, minimally again, £5 each, probably £10 each,
so you're getting towards probably £10,000, £15,000 for the collection,
and the obvious thing is to say, "Give it to a local-history museum."
-You don't want to, if it's worth that.
-I wouldn't and you wouldn't.
-No, that's right.
I don't think you have any moral obligation to keep it.
We don't have to keep the things of our family, unless they excite us.
In a sense, he's produced his own memorial in the books...
-These will remain in print.
-..that he's left with us.
This is, in a sense, his working tools.
-Thank you for that advice, and for your enthusiasm.
-I love it.
A photograph like that...
If I saw that in a fair, I'd buy that,
-even if I didn't know it was Lewes. It's a great image.
-And I'm sure there are many, many more.
-Oh, there are many more.
Just tell me what it is.
It's a music box, with a Christmas tree holder.
How does it work?
You put the Christmas tree in, and then you pull out the button,
and it plays a Christmas tune and turns slightly.
-And what do you hang the tree with?
-Chocolates mainly, yeah.
-Not a good thing, on a day like today.
-They would melt.
They wouldn't last.
It's just a completely extraordinary object, and, of course,
-you're German, and the Germans gave us the Christmas tree.
-Do you use it?
-Ja, every year,
-and it's the pride of our children.
-I'm sure it is.
Absolutely, and it is really most unusual.
What you've got inside, as you say,
is this extraordinary disc here, a polyphon,
and you've got numerous discs, you've got about 20 discs.
It's, I suppose, about 1890, 1900 in date.
As a musical box, in tired condition, without this part,
I suppose it's worth £150, £200.
But as a dual-purpose musical box, with such charm to it, as well,
it's a charming object, even in this condition,
I'm sure it's worth £500 or £600, and maybe more.
With the memories, you'd never sell it.
-But, commercially, I'm sure that's what it's worth.
There's one thing missing, a Christmas tree.
I wonder if the Botanic Gardens will let us chop a tree down.
If we can get one, we must get it set up.
That would be brilliant.
It belongs to my aunt, who lives in Edinburgh,
and she was left it in a will many years ago,
and she didn't like it,
so she had it in a back bedroom, facing the wall,
and a couple of years ago, I found it
and said to her, "What about this?",
and she said, "Take it away, and see what you can find out about it."
Well, I brought it home with me to Groombridge,
and it's literally sat in my cupboard since, until today.
And you didn't like it, either?
I don't know very much about it, so...
We hope to help you,
because it's a fantastic piece of Russian goldsmith's work.
It's an image of Christ Pantocrator,
it's one of the earliest images of Christ, a Byzantine image of Christ,
where he's in a gesture of blessing,
but he also is holding the New Testament in his hand, here,
and it's such an ancient image of Christ
that it's thought to derive from an image, a well-known image of Zeus.
-It's a truly Byzantine image,
but it's not made in the Byzantine era,
it's actually a 20th-century icon.
And the positioning of the icon,
you've had it, and your aunt, facing the wall.
-Where it should be positioned is at the right angles of rooms,
because it's thought that Satan himself
inhabited the corners of rooms at right angles,
and the best way to drive him away
-was to position an icon in the corner of the room.
So a truly magical thing,
and a magical thing in Russian society, too,
because this is not simply a representation of the Divine,
in a sense, it is a piece of the Divine.
It's a piece of heaven that's fallen to earth,
and we know that because in the language of the icon,
-which is a very ancient one, the colour gold...
..here represented by silver gilt, actually,
is a metaphor for heaven itself, so here is Christ in heaven,
blessing the world, holding his Testament in his hand,
made by an icon maker in the early 20th century.
And it predates the Revolution, does it?
It does, and that's of crucial importance.
After the Revolution, the Orthodox religion was in recession.
-And this is a feudal country, really,
presided over by an autocratic Tsar,
whose Tsarina was obsessed with the Orthodox religion,
and that obsession was not unusual,
so Russian houses were filled with icons,
but this is a high-status one.
I'm very, very excited about it.
-Oh, right. I can tell, yes.
-And what do you feel about it now?
Yes, it's growing on me.
It is, it is. Well, it's a superb piece of goldsmith's work,
made by a very famous Russian goldsmith,
a competitor of Faberge working in Moscow, called Ivan Khlebnikov,
and we can look at it carefully and see that it's decorated with enamel.
Yes, I had noticed that.
And enamel work, particularly cloisonne enamel work,
makes a reference to a 17th-century style of goldsmith's work.
It's a revivalist icon, in every sense of the word.
Khlebnikov made this his speciality, the cloisonne enamel.
-So, something from Imperial Russia, really,
made in the time of the telephone and the motorcar,
just before the Russian Revolution,
for jewellers patronised by Nicholas and Alexandra.
-Quite a potent brew.
-So I'm going to value it, here and now, for £8,000.
Yes, I'm astonished, absolutely astonished.
It's certainly grown on me, over your conversation.
Are you going to hang it in the corner of your house,
-to keep the devil away?
-We might find a place for it now.
It's not guaranteed to keep the devil away,
but it might work, and thank you for bringing it, it's wonderful.
MUSIC BOX PLAYS "SILENT NIGHT"
Yes, this is my husband's Great-Uncle William's damp tester,
that he used to take with him wherever he went,
and he used to put it in the bed,
to make sure he wasn't sleeping in a damp bed.
What was he afraid of?
Um, catching a cold. Catching a chill.
I don't know, and I'm not sure
what he would have done if the bed WAS damp.
He must have had a bad experience at some time, to be so keen on it.
But I've never heard of anything or seen any other one like it.
He just slipped it into the bed, saw it was dry
-and said, "I'll stay."
and if it was damp, maybe he'd go on to another inn.
-He's gone now, of course.
-Somewhere nice and dry, I hope.
-I hope so, too. Thanks.
Well, this is lovely. How on earth did you get it?
Well, my husband was a Close Protection Officer
-and a Protection Officer to the
-royal family. Right.
And every Christmas, we received a Christmas card,
-from Charles and Diana...
-..Andrew and Sarah, and latterly from Diana.
-On her own?
-So you must have been very close.
-Really close personal family friends.
Were you on first-name terms, and all that?
-Yes, indeed, yes.
-That's fascinating, and they're such lovely cards.
I'm going to put something down on here,
because otherwise, they'll be lovely cards on the other side of the park.
So, what have we got?
These lovely, wonderful photographs, I mean, so beautiful.
That one, with the boys, I like particularly, but they are...
they so much show the very close relationship
between the Princess and her sons.
-And it's very important,
with Christmas cards from the modern Royals,
to be aware of the fact that some of them, a lot of them,
-the majority of them...
-..because there are thousands of them...
..the majority of them are written with autopens.
-Now, an autopen is a mechanical signing device.
Now, the first thing that you look for
-is that they're inscribed to you.
Though even "To you both" can be autopen,
but these aren't, these are fine.
You can tell because they're all different.
The "I" on this "D" has the dot directly above it.
This "D", on the other hand,
the stroke of the "I" is made differently,
and the dot is placed over the "A".
This "A" has a curly loop,
whereas this one has one that goes down straight at the side.
They're similar, but different, which is vital.
Now tell me, presumably
your husband was still working with them when she died so tragically.
-He'd just retired.
He retired in June '97, and she died in the August of '97.
Was he involved with the funeral?
-He drove the oldest Rolls-Royce of the Queen.
-Well, that's quite an honour.
-With Princess Margaret as his passenger.
He must have been very involved with the family, generally.
Very, very involved.
Do you know what they're worth?
I have no idea whatsoever, no idea whatsoever.
Diana's a particularly tricky one,
because Charles and Diana were very sought after, anyway.
They're not that rare, but lots of people wanted them, so...
The day before she died, a Christmas card
signed by Charles and Diana was worth £850.
The day after she died, the prices went through the ceiling.
-people were asking £5,000 for something like this.
Then the furore died down, and the prices have now settled down.
Even so, these are still worth around
£1,000, £1,250 each,
but it's very important that they are like this.
-You can't frame them and put them on your walls.
It doesn't really make any difference
whether Charles is there, or not.
Lots of people want Diana with the two boys,
-and they are such beautiful images.
Did your mother bring you hot milk when you were ill?
Yeah, I'm sure she did.
Well, if we think back a bit further,
and we imagine an older person ill in bed,
a few years ago, this is the sort of thing that they might have brought.
-Now, do you know what it is?
-I understand it's a posset pot.
So, do you know what posset is?
Er, I think it's milk and brandy, is it?
-Milk and something.
Posset is sort of a drink,
sort of something you'd give invalids,
which we don't seem to have any more, do we?
Invalids seem to have disappeared.
It was basically a mixture of hot milk and beer mixed with bread,
if it was being served to an invalid,
or, if you were a bit richer,
and you were serving it as a drink at a celebration or a wedding,
you would heat up cream, which you would add spices to, and eggs,
and then you'd finish off with sack wine, which was a type of wine,
and what it would do inside, it would form different levels.
-At the bottom, you would get the thick alcohol layer.
In the middle you'd get a custard, and on the top, a foam.
There was great ceremony attached to it and the top, the foam,
was known as "the grace", and if we were at, say,
a very important banquet,
and you were my important guest, you would be offered the posset pot.
-And the lid would be removed,
I would say, "You take the grace,"
and you would be allowed to spoon off the froth,
-and that was a great honour.
Then me, as the second most important guest, the host,
I would eat out the custard, and then the lid would be put back on,
and we'd all drink the alcoholic stuff at the bottom.
It's about 1700. 1700, 1710.
Posset pots go back further,
you get silver examples from the Tudor period,
you get Delft ones like this from the 17th century onwards,
but this one dates to about 1700, 1710.
-It's difficult to say where it's made. It is English.
This one's probably made in London, or in Bristol,
very difficult to say.
Delftware, I don't know whether you realise,
-was English potters copying Chinese porcelain.
Which is why you get these sort of Chinese designs.
At that time, we didn't have the techniques of making porcelain,
so we covered ordinary ware in this thick, white tin glaze
-and decorated it, hence the Chinese designs.
-Is this earthenware?
It's earthenware, yes.
If we look at the chip on the edge,
you can see it's quite a coarse earthenware.
Look inside, it's like it's brand-new. Where's it been?
I don't know much about its early history.
I know I got it from my grandfather,
and he left it to my father, who then gave it to me.
It was a good present, because on a good day, in the right sale,
it would sell for about £5,000.
-Oh, right. Very nice!
-Thank you for bringing it in.
-Thank you very much.
-You've brought along this sporran.
-Now, do you have any Scottish family history?
-None at all.
So, why have you got this?
It was left to my grandmother, or in my grandmother's care,
in the Second World War, by her local vicar in Croydon,
and presumably, he never came back for it.
-And just this?
-No, we have a few more things in here.
-Do you mind if I dig in?
Oh, that's rather nice, that's a dress powder horn.
And more, there's more, a wonderful dirk, Scottish dirk,
and more still...
that's a beauty, we'll talk about this in a moment, and...
Ah, that is very interesting. So, that's it?
-I think that's enough to be getting on with.
Well, let's just talk about one or two of these items,
because you have actually got here some rather special objects.
This dirk is a beautiful example of an officer's dirk,
which would have been made
around the beginning of the Victorian period, very likely.
What's interesting is, if we just take out this, the knife here...
-Fun, aren't they?
-Do you see the "92" there?
What do you think that refers to?
-Presumably the battalion or the regiment that it belongs to?
Have you ever done any research?
We were told it was the Black Watch, but then we know it isn't, now.
It's not Black Watch, it's Gordon Highlanders.
-Oh, so it is Scots.
-It is, very much Scottish, yes, absolutely.
The reason we have the sphinx here is because Gordon Highlanders were
involved in fighting the Napoleonic forces in Egypt, and as a result,
they were allowed to use the sphinx as part of their insignia.
-Oh, nice, yeah.
-It's a wonderful object, actually,
this is absolutely superb, with this wooden basket weave hilt,
and if we just remove it from its scabbard,
this is absolutely the most beautiful,
gorgeously etched blade I think I've seen for a long time,
-You have the Highland warrior there with his kilt...
..holding his sword, and on the other side,
here's St Andrew, with St Andrew's cross.
-I hadn't noticed that.
-But it's a beautiful piece,
a beautiful ceremonial blade, and a beautiful ceremonial dirk.
The other thing that I want to talk about,
because it's quite interesting, is this flintlock pistol.
Tell me what you know about that.
It says it's made in London on it. I think that says London.
-I assume it's London.
Having said that, the butt,
which in normal circumstances would be made of wood, is steel.
The whole thing is made of metal
and is absolutely typical of a Scottish pistol.
So, not made in London?
-Yes, made in London.
-Made in London?
Made for the Scottish market, and if it was used in anger I don't know,
but it could have been.
Oh, very much so,
but I have to say that the scroll engraving on this is gorgeous.
This would date probably from, I suppose,
the third, fourth quarter of the 18th century,
but these items here are all early 19th century.
So, it's not all one set, then?
It may well have belonged to one officer,
because it's quite clear from the quality of these items
that they belonged to an officer,
because these would have been incredibly expensive to buy.
And, of course, you know,
when you look at things that were expensive to buy originally,
-they're often worth quite a lot of money today.
The sporran there is silver-plated.
That certainly is worth...
-..£500, or thereabouts.
The ceremonial powder horn, which is silver, incidentally...
..1838, so, we can date that exactly from the hallmark.
Yes, fantastic. Didn't know it was silver.
And that is worth, certainly, £1,200 to £1,500.
Dear, oh, dear.
This dirk is worth...
..certainly £1,000, £1,500.
This one, I think 1,500 to probably 2,000...
..and the pistol round about £3,000.
So, what's that in total?
8,000 to 10,000.
Oh, thank you very much.
I had absolutely no idea when I first saw this picture
who these people are.
No, I've got no idea either. I was hoping you'd tell me.
-Some really amazing outfits, aren't they?
-We've worked it out.
It's been a communal effort, but we've worked out who they are.
-They're Zen archers.
-Right, really? They don't look very Japanese.
This beard threw me because I didn't think that was Japanese.
But the whole costume did, too, and there are no bows.
-But they definitely are Zen archers, we're sure.
Archery is a very, very stylised pursuit now, in Japan,
or was at around the time this was painted in 1890,
and there was this feeling,
not that it wasn't necessary to hit the target even, perhaps,
but a good shot was considered to be
that in which the arrow naturally belongs in the target.
-I don't understand it, either.
It's become extremely ritualistic, and so that goes with the costume
and the whole attitude that we see here.
-Anyway, we have a signature down here, bottom left.
That's quite stylised too, isn't it?
-Almost a hieroglyph, but what it says is "Mortimer Menpes".
-Can you just see that? Mortimer Menpes.
-I can, yes.
Once you know what it says, you CAN read it, and I knew what it said,
because I've seen his pictures before.
-And they're often in these amazing frames.
Yes, yes, the frame is as interesting as the picture, I think.
The design is rather nice, isn't it?
With these sunbursts, and these lines here.
Now, he was very much part of what we call the Aesthetic Movement
in English art in the late 19th century,
and he was a friend of Whistler's,
and in fact Menpes was also a print maker, and he used to ink
and help prepare most of Whistler's prints,
-because Whistler was also a prominent print maker.
They met in the Fine Art Society in the early 1880s
and immediately became friends.
Menpes was from Australia, Whistler from America,
so two of these ex-patriots, you know, in London,
they naturally gravitated towards one another,
and they shared a sense of humour.
-And also a girlfriend!
They had to have a sense of humour, then.
Well, you see, the problem is that they did eventually fall out,
because Menpes pinched Whistler's girlfriend...
-..and that was not so good.
Now, Menpes went to Japan in the later 1880s
and came back having got a whole wealth of visual material,
which he used to do a series of watercolours of Japan,
not always done on the spot, but after.
But what amazing colours!
Such vibrant colours.
-What do you think?
There are so many different colours.
But what we don't know is how you got it.
I don't know, either.
It's been in the family as long as I remember.
-You've never bothered valuing it, or anything?
I think, if you just threw it in an auction, left it to swim on its own,
it would probably make between £8,000 and £10,000.
-But retail, rather more.
-Yeah, about £15,000, perhaps.
Well, it's such a good one.
-Look at the condition, it's wonderful.
And they're very collectable, very sought after,
as examples, prime examples,
-of the best of British art in the Aesthetic Movement.
Speechless, for once!
Another perfect Roadshow day.
Here at Wakehurst Place,
they take a comprehensive view of the botanical scene.
As well as all things beautiful,
the poppy, the iris, the narcissus...
you can also take a stroll in the bog garden
or linger for a while at Compost Corner.
It's all here, and we've enjoyed it very much.
From West Sussex, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd