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Durham Cathedral is one of the finest Norman buildings
anywhere in Europe,
its architectural importance reflected in its status
as a World Heritage Site.
The public are fond of the cathedral, too.
In a BBC poll, they voted it Britain's best-loved building.
Since early times, it's been home to a long line of powerful bishops,
Henry VIII's Prime Minister, Thomas Wolsey, amongst them.
Today, the Antiques Roadshow is the invited guest of the present bishop,
Tom Wright, who you might expect to live in the Cathedral Close,
but he doesn't, instead, he resides 11 miles up the road,
in a town aptly named Bishop Auckland.
The Roman road has led us once again through County Durham,
to the beautiful grounds of Auckland Castle.
Our welcome on our previous visit was overwhelming,
and from where I'm standing, it looks exactly the same today. So, let's enjoy.
So, here it is...
this whale's tooth, decorated with a ship.
What's it doing here?
Many years ago, my grandfather was a butcher in Wigan, in Lancashire,
and he had to take his bones from the butchery shop
to a gentleman called Mr Gallagher, who had a bone yard.
And a bone yard was a kind of what?
-Reprocessing of bones, um, to be made into glue.
And while my grandfather was there one day delivering bones,
Mr Gallagher gave it to him, and it has been in the family ever since.
So, one can only presume, then, that somebody must have handed this in,
as a bit of bone to be reprocessed.
Apparently. We don't really know the answer to that.
It was either in a shipment of bones from wherever,
that came down the Manchester Ship Canal.
Well, whaling was a major industry in the 19th century,
because, of course, it was the major source of oil,
and oil was used for lighting and for all kinds of other purposes.
Let me explain how this lovely design was put onto the tooth.
Because you can see, it's like a dot-to-dot drawing.
-And that's exactly what it was.
Somebody had an engraving of a ship,
which they laid on here,
and they pricked through the design onto a tooth,
and you'd be left with a series of dots,
which they would then rub in lamp black or something.
-To create that wonderful black and white feel,
-but that's how it was done.
-It was there all that time?
So, we're talking about a date, probably around the 1840s, 1850s,
So, in this condition,
we'd be talking about a figure of perhaps £600 to £800.
For something as ugly as that?
This figure means something to me,
because instead of kicking a football around when I was a little boy,
I was a rather strange child, and I went around collecting 18th century English porcelain figures.
-A peculiar thing to do.
-Well, it's a very nice thing to do.
I was walking around Brighton with my dad, I was 13,
and we saw a Derby figure of Britannia in a shop window,
and he bought it for me.
It was my first piece of porcelain, the first piece for my collection,
and that's why I find this so interesting,
because that's what she is, she's a Derby figure of Britannia.
Is she Derby? I didn't know.
She's Derby, yeah. Well, we can tell that by looking at these...
which are what we call patch marks.
-They look like footprints.
-What they're actually doing was raising the base
-of the figure off the kiln shelf using little lumps of clay.
And when the piece came out of the kiln, they just clipped them off,
-and left these little marks here.
-And she dates from about 1765.
-She's a genuine piece of 18th century sculpture.
-Do you still have your figurine?
-I've got...in fact, I've got three.
Have you got three? Good heavens.
Mm, but I mean, what do you think of her?
Well, I always thought she was rather ugly.
-Ugly? Oh, oh, no...
-Well, not ugly but not quite as...
-I feel protective towards her.
Seeing her in the sunlight, her colours on her helmet are superb.
-Absolutely, she's a great piece of work.
-I mean when you think...
In the 18th century, this figure was put together,
these flowers are painted by hand,
the chain mail on her breast plate, gilded and burnished by hand.
It's lovely, isn't it?
-Um, when I first saw her, I said "She's Britannia."
And that's because...
although I've got a fairly decent collection of Derby Britannias,
and she looks rather like mine, but she has some differences,
-and that's what excited me about her.
I am really excited about her,
because I've never seen one quite like this.
I'd like to add her to my collection.
-And the oak leaves...
-That's the thing, that's really the thing,
-the things that are different about her is her pose is different.
And she has, on here, this is what we call bocage,
which is normally applied with flowers.
For some strange reason, this is applied with acorns.
I have never seen one like her.
An ordinary Derby Minerva,
-like the three I've got on my mantelpiece at home...
Um, probably only worth £150 or £200 each.
This one is something entirely different.
The marvellous condition...
look at her finger, that's almost bound to get chipped off.
-And it hasn't.
-And it's still there, from 1765.
-It's easy to value her,
because I can imagine what I would pay for her,
and I'd give you an auction price of probably between £600 and £800,
which is, you know, four, five, six times an ordinary example.
-And I love her very much.
-Thank you very much.
-It's a pleasure.
Hello, is that what I think it is?
-It is, I think, yes.
-Oh, good, come, let's have a look.
Ooh, come with me, let's have a look.
-Has it got a mouse on it?
Has it got a mouse? Mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse...
-There he is.
-Oh, there he is.
We have one of these on every Roadshow.
-Now, how far away are we from Kilburn in Yorkshire?
Um, it takes me roughly about an hour and a half from here.
And is that where you got this from?
No, no, I was left it by my husband's aunt,
and I understand that it was made by the grandfather
of the present Robert Thompson,
you can see the tail is much longer than the modern ones.
Ah, but keep your finger there, look, you can see his whiskers.
-I never noticed that before, isn't that lovely?
-I mean, what I like about him, I mean this mouse,
it was a wonderful story. He was carving in churches,
the grandfather Robert Thompson, the original Robert Thompson,
and he used to use the mouse as a little signature.
-And it signified to him industry in quiet places.
That's the most wonderful saying, and that's become...
tradition's been handed down, and we still treasure his furniture today.
So, how old do you think this one is, from family history? Any idea?
It's probably about 100 years, I would think.
Or possibly 1920s, let's say, something like that. 80 years.
-But it's the most wonderful, wonderful colour and patination,
that glorious piece of timber, that oak,
and all these birds, and it's wonderful, it's fantastic.
-Very sensible, on a hot day at the Antiques Roadshow,
to bring this in, so you can sit on it in the queue.
-I think that's wonderful.
-I love that.
-What's it worth?
I've no idea, I don't know, it was valued one time,
maybe about ten years ago, at £400.
I think this is a really fantastic investment.
Anyone who's got one of these, I say, hang onto it,
because this, ten years ago, £400... I won't argue with that.
Today, it's £1,000.
Yes, well, there's no way I would sell it.
-No, definitely not.
OK. I'll put you back in the queue, I think it's lovely.
-Thank you very much indeed.
During the second half of the 18th century,
many artists would do the Grand Tour,
they would travel throughout Italy and Greece,
recording the historic sights of the area,
and this is a wonderful example of a Grand Tour drawing.
Can you tell me anything about it?
-Well, it's the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek.
Um, and it really is...
apart from being tidied up here... it still remains like that.
So, you've actually been to the site?
Well, I...yes, I'd been there before I bought this.
-Really? Well, I think you bought something truly beautiful.
I'm glad you think that, because I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.
So, which temple is this?
-This is Bacchus.
-This is Bacchus.
And it was turned into a fort,
I think, about the 14th century, which is why it survived,
but, um, there's a great temple, it's absolutely amazing.
There are only six columns left,
but each one's like the size of Nelson's Column,
Trafalgar Square, and the podium on which it's built,
-is built of stones the size of railway carriages.
Nobody knows how they could be moved.
Well, what I find remarkable with this drawing,
apart from the beauty of the observation of it,
the cleanness of the line,
this sort of precarious stack here...
-is this still the same?
Really? Right. Well, the drawing,
signed and dated lower right here,
suggests to us that it was painted in 1790.
He was a French born artist, called Louis-Ferdinand Cassas,
and he specialised in these classical, picturesque views,
which were intended as records or surveys of historical sites,
which would have been taken back to Paris
and then sold to his clientele.
Er, the only thing that I'm slightly anxious about
is the condition of it,
because we have something that's well over 200 years old now.
I don't think anyone's touched it since the day it was drawn.
It's been on a roll for 50 odd years.
You've never had anything done to it?
I've looked at it every now and again, but...
it's never been exposed to light.
Which is the reason for these wonderful, subtle washes in the sky.
But I think it's just astounding.
I mean, if you isolate even the smallest area
in one of these mammoth Corinthian columns,
and this wonderful carving to the capitals...
-Where did you get it?
-I bought it in the late '50s.
I think I bought it at an auction room in South Ken.
-I don't think it would have been more than a hundred.
I'm a devil for a bargain.
You certainly have a keen eye, because I think it's beautiful.
It's something that the market would respond very positively to.
I think this picture could certainly make about £7,000 to £10,000.
Does that surprise you?
But the auction rooms are not going to get it.
Good for you, thank you for bringing it in, it's a joy to have seen it.
-What on earth is that you've got there?
-It's a copper flask.
Right, so what do you do with it?
Well, apparently, you're supposed to put it down your trousers.
You put it down your trousers?
Now, I've heard of ferrets, so...
Hang on...what do we do? Like that?
-Put it down your trousers like that.
-It IS like a ferret!
-It is, actually.
-So, what do you do with it then?
If you work as a distillery worker in a whisky factory,
in a distillery, you used to steal the whisky like that on the way home.
-It's for pinching whisky...
Isn't that wonderful? I like it, I like it.
So, they didn't get frisked?
Because I think that would be fairly obvious...
It goes down the inside of the trouser leg.
It goes...yes... Mm, right, so...
Now, that's interesting, because it's very heavy at the bottom.
Yes, it's got lead in the bottom, so that it's not dangling.
-So, it just hangs the right way.
Well, I have to say, I've never come across such a thing ever in my life.
-What on earth is a thing like that worth?
-Interest value, I think.
I think interest value is the answer there.
You've got a gaping hole,
-it wouldn't be much good for whisky at the moment.
-So, perhaps feed the ferrets.
One of the most interesting stories about the Second World War
is an operation that nearly took place several times
in the early part of the war, but didn't quite,
and if it wasn't for a number of certain instances,
certain things that happened in the early part of the war,
-you and I might be speaking German now.
And what I'm talking about is a plan by Hitler to invade Britain,
and the operation, of course, as you know, was called Operation Sea Lion.
It was an incredibly well-planned operation,
planned for some years before the war,
but I want to hear something from you,
because you've brought along some books,
and this book in particular says "Sudkuste" - south coast...
it must have something to do with Operation Sea Lion.
Yes, these are the maps that were repaired by the Germans,
a lot of the photographs taken sort of 1937, 1938,
when they were still having airliners flying over to this country,
and they would have taken the pictures in the books,
and then the Germans have related the photographs
to Ordnance Survey maps of the time,
and shown the areas which they would obviously use as landing grounds,
I suppose, or for parachutists to land in.
It does move inland quite a bit, but mainly along the south coast.
Who did they belong to?
-Well, these were repatriated in 1944.
-What does that mean, "repatriated"?
Right, OK, but from who?
This was a relation who acquired this set.
As far as I know, there were only four or five of these sets,
that were published and are in this complete form.
So, where do you think they got a lot of these photographs from?
As far as the ground shots are concerned,
-I think a lot of those came from postcards.
Which the Germans would send when they visited England.
Absolutely, between the wars,
there were a tremendous number of holidaymakers
coming from Germany to England, and they sent postcards back home,
and they're a wonderful pictorial record of our coastline.
Because most people went to the seaside.
And visited the seaside,
so they'd have postcards, or photographs of the sea fronts.
An incredible amount of detailed information,
and I think, what I love is the fact that the postcards actually show
details of holidaymakers having fun.
-And yet, this is an invasion plan for the military.
It's an extraordinary collection, I have to say.
That it's... These are more maps?
-Yes, more maps.
-Great Britain and Ireland.
-It's very comprehensive.
-It is, you have railway maps,
you have the gas pipe maps, gasometers,
you have water supply lines, all the major services.
Liverpool. Do we go further north?
I'm sure we go to Bishop Auckland.
Here we are.
-That's where we're sitting.
Well, the 60,000 troops that the Germans had planned to invade
on the first wave of invasion, never came.
And, um, we remained England, and forever may it remain so.
-I agree with you.
-Have you ever thought about value?
I've no idea what the value is. They're...
Well, they're very rare, I mean, it's an incredibly rare set,
and I think, really, they do belong in a museum,
but, if they came on the open market today,
I guess they'd probably sell for...
£3,000 to £4,000.
Good heavens! Really? Really as much as that?
and what an incredible period in our history.
You have what you believe to be
the only existing portrait of Shakespeare done in his lifetime,
now, do you realise what a claim that is?
Er, yes. That would make it unique.
Now, let's start with where did you get it from?
OK, this painting we inherited from my great-aunt Doff,
and she got it from a collector of some note called Ogden.
-The famous collector, Ogden?
-The well known collector.
-Yes, I know the name.
-Yes, and she was bequeathed this painting,
and she actually kind of staked her life on the fact that it was genuine,
and she collected a massive amount of documentation to say that it was.
Well, we went through that documentation that Doff collected,
and it really looked as though there was a decent chance
that it might be authentic, and in my view,
maybe the chances are better of it being authentic
than winning the National Lottery or something like that.
You think that it might be right.
I've got a copy of one of the bits of documentation here,
which is an article done... '50s, '60s?
Which shows the picture clearly, with this impressive caption,
"Believed to be the only existing portrait of Shakespeare
-"painted during his lifetime".
-I wish it were.
Since this article was published, since you inherited it,
the whole study of Shakespeare and his face has come on,
and we now know pretty well what he looks like.
The reason for that is that we have corralled together three images,
painted or sculpted or engraved just after his lifetime,
or during his lifetime.
There's the Chandos portrait in the National Portrait Gallery,
then there is the Droeshout engraving,
and then there's the tomb effigy in Stratford,
and all three converged together, to create a generalised head
that we can pretty well clearly call Shakespeare.
-But there's a problem.
This head looks more like that of a chartered accountant
than it does of the bard of the golden lines.
-We've got a romance issue here.
-And so, what has happened is that a lot of would-be portraits
of Shakespeare have been created, or rather plucked from the ether,
using faces that look a bit more romantic,
a bit more like what the writer of those beautiful lines should look like.
As an art dealer, I get to see probably one false,
or would-be Shakespeare, every nine months.
Now, what does he look like?
Well, these three images point to a very specific head with a high dome,
-quite a long chin, and loose, lank locks that hang about it.
And I have to tell you that this picture is not 17th century,
which is what it should be if it's Shakespeare,
and I'm afraid it's not of Shakespeare, either.
It's of what I believe to be a cleric that has been adapted,
with the benefit of that knowledge of those early images,
to look like Shakespeare.
Have you seen the area, the sort of slightly ambiguous looking area
at the top of his forehead?
I must say, I was always a little concerned about that.
With good reason, I might add,
because someone has actually extended his forehead,
to make that dome look more Shakespeare-like.
-Quite clever, eh?
-But it doesn't stop there.
If you look at that hand, it's painted in a rather implausible,
-slightly manky looking manner.
And in that hand has been placed...
-yes, you've guessed it... a pen, a plume.
What more appropriate, to look like Shakespeare?
And then, just to finish it off, to complete this act of duplicity,
in the bottom left hand corner, you see the Globe.
-The Globe Theatre.
-Mm, that's right.
So this is quite a sophisticated,
probably 18th or might even be early 19th century construct,
but based on images from the early 17th century,
and using an 18th century image.
If this was the only portrait of Shakespeare done
during his lifetime, such an emotive figure,
you'd have collectors across the world scrambling to get hold of it.
-As it is, it's worth about £800 to £1,200 as an intriguing image.
-With a bit of history that wants to be him, but sadly isn't.
-Thank you very much.
-Well, thanks for bringing it in, it was fun.
-Lovely, we've got some books here from the library.
-And this looks a fine piece of 17th century vellum to me.
Yes, the title, "Underground Rome,"
I suspect that might mean the catacombs, am I right?
It certainly does, and this is a wonderful description,
with masses of pictures and diagrams,
and when I first saw this when I inherited the Bishop's Library,
I was thrilled to see the sharp, detailed depiction
of all the things that are going on in the catacombs.
Yes, I mean, here we've got this lovely figure, look,
they're praying, presumably before they take these figures down
into the bowels of the earth?
I guess, yes, yes.
And it says here, it was printed in Paris in 1658 and...
This says 1659, curiously they've put another...
-They've put another year on it, which is not unusual,
-because sometimes the additional title was published first.
Here, we have the title, "Roma Subterrania"
and then, this is one volume,
but in fact, I think we might find that we've got both volumes...
-It's two volumes in one.
-..in the one volume.
The catacombs, have you ever been?
Yes, I have been once or twice and I haven't...
I'm not an expert on the catacombs,
but it is fascinating for me as a historian of early Christianity
to go back and see what some of our forbears got up to,
during the great persecutions in...
from the 2nd and 3rd centuries,
when the only place it was safe for a Christian
was literally underground...
we use the phrase, "going underground"... metaphorically,
but for them it was literal,
and there's the map of where they went. Quite extraordinary.
-Look at that! That is incredible.
-It's a superb map,
but it tells you a lot about the history of Christianity.
And it's a city under the city, isn't it?
It is, a subterranean city.
-It's such a wonderful thing, and it is THE book on the catacombs.
-And in really lovely condition.
-Yes, it is.
I don't know whether you want to hear about value.
It's not mine to sell, it belongs to the bishops of Durham in perpetuity.
I mean, I think an insurance value for this
would probably be in the region of £3,000 or £4,000.
Really? Oh, as much as that?
-Yes, thank you.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
-How far have you come today?
-About ten miles.
Well, you've come ten miles, this has literally come a mile,
because this was made literally over the hill.
-And it's from the Canney Hill Pottery.
What's so wonderful about this piece is that across England,
so many country potteries rarely marked their pieces,
but this one is marked, and it's marvellous.
Do you know what it is?
Well, it's a flask of some sort.
-What do you think this says?
-I think, "railway,"
and we're not sure, we thought it might be Cannon Street.
You've been playing Monopoly, haven't you?
-Well, I've squinted at it, and it definitely does say "railway"
but the bottom says "chronometer".
-Yes. And do you know what it's based on?
Well, it's a clock face, isn't it?
Yes, but it's meant to be a chronometer.
-Before the age of the railways,
the whole of the country had a different time,
so the time in Bishop Auckland would be Bishop Auckland time,
the time in Newcastle would be Newcastle time.
But if you're running a railway system across the country,
everybody had to be on the same time,
so they came up with these very accurate railway chronometers,
and people carried them as their own watches,
because they were seen as the most accurate watch at the time.
I think this is the pottery having a joke.
"We'll make a railway chronometer, but out of local clay"
So, here we have a definite piece from the Canney Hill Pottery,
and I love it, it's really wonderful.
-I suppose we have to say how much it's worth.
-It doesn't really matter.
-It matters to the Antiques Roadshow.
Because...if it was just that without the mark on the bottom,
um, it's an interesting piece of pottery. £50, £60.
With the mark on the bottom, that's going to make it more around
£200, £250, because of the importance of the mark.
This definitely proves that it's made by Canney Hill Pottery,
which is the local pottery here,
and any collector of local pottery or English country pottery
-would give their eye teeth for it.
-So, maybe £200 is conservative, who knows?
-That's most interesting.
-Thank you very much.
We've had two wildly different valuations on this,
and I wondered what your opinion is.
The critical thing is the date.
What date do you think this is?
Probably about 1800, but we're not certain.
Firstly, the timber is wonderful, I'm sure you know what it is.
-It's satin wood.
-Isn't it wonderful?
Just such a lovely, lovely colour, this wonderful figuring there,
sort of like a fiddle figuring, like a violin almost,
the way that goes across there is beautiful,
and a lovely, bright yellow colour.
I think this is West Indian satin wood,
which makes me feel that's an earlier piece.
It's just such a wonderful colour.
-Why is this sticking out? Is that...
-It's very...it is very stiff.
-We've had difficulty getting the drawer out,
we had difficulty getting it back in again, and as you can see, it's...
-Scratching a bit.
-It's scratching a bit.
Well, that's not serious.
These were made, they're called "brushing slides,"
-but they really were made for writing, I think.
People think it's for brushing down clothes, because of its name,
but it's made for writing.
Everybody wrote letters in those days.
No mobile phones, no internet,
and you just pull this out, write a letter,
"Thank you" or "I'm going to see you next week."
I must admit, looking at this, the front of it,
and the colour and the figuring of this...
I think this is a late Georgian piece.
Let me just open the drawer a little bit, there we go...
..and it's as clean as a whistle, beautifully made Georgian drawer,
exactly what you want,
typical of the sort of latter part of the 18th century,
but it's just such a honey, and I really like that.
This is a problem, it's going to affect the valuation...
Has it happened today, in the sun?
It's... No, it has been like that as long as we have known it.
-So, how long have you known it?
-About 30 years.
-And it came from my wife's grandfather's family.
But this, we don't think can have come from the family line.
It wouldn't have come from an ordinary family with no money,
-this has come from a noble family.
-It's a very expensive piece.
The finest quality timber at the height of the fashion
of the Sheraton period of the late 18th century,
1780, 1800, exactly that sort of date that you thought it was,
-or hoped it would be.
So, you've had different valuations,
may I ask what they were? This is the dangerous question.
Well, the high one was 5,000.
-5,000, and the lower one was under 1,000.
I don't want to be in danger of over-valuing, but I would say,
put a figure of £10,000 on today.
Is that insurance, or is that...
-ten thousand for insurance?
And by an insurance valuation,
I mean buying it in a nice good quality, top market,
top of the range antique shop, it's what it cost you to buy.
Not an auction figure, what it would cost you to buy from a dealer.
He might have restored it, looking like in showroom condition,
but keeping this lovely patination.
So, an insurance price, £10,000.
Thank you very much, that does surprise me, thank you.
Two lovely dessert plates from a dessert service,
made by Flight, Barr & Barr of Worcester,
somewhere round about the, um, the 1815, 1820 date.
Have you got the rest of the service?
-Oh, no, no. I wish we had.
-Oh, my word.
There would be something like about 12 plates and 6 dishes,
or perhaps even more on a large dessert service,
-so you're lacking quite a lot of those.
-Oh, yes, I know.
But how did you get just the two?
A friend of ours left them to us last year,
she'd bought them at Castle Howard in an antiques sale at Castle Howard.
-I think about 15 or 20 years ago.
Yes. But it's very, very beautiful, isn't it?
This is a lovely maroon ground, and gadrooned edges round there...
painted in the centre with gorgeous birds...
exotic birds and painted by George Davies.
He generally was called Doctor Davies.
He wasn't a doctor of medicine, but they called him "doctor"
because it sounded rather nice.
And surrounded with these gorgeous little, little flies,
these are super little flies...
have you had a good look at them?
To tell you the truth, not really.
They're absolutely beautiful, super little tiny insects,
amongst this raised gold border, beautiful quality,
and made, of course, in the Flight, Barr & Barr period,
the mark is Flight, Barr & Barr, with the Prince of Wales' feathers,
which pins it after 1813.
-Between there and about 1820,
something like that, but absolutely beautiful.
I think the quality is superb.
-There would be four of these in a service.
-And other dishes, and lots of plates going round the table,
at least 18 pieces, perhaps 32, or even more, in the whole service.
-Do you like them?
-Yes, of course I do.
I think they're gorgeous. I mean, they're sumptuous,
real Regency period stuff.
In value, of course, much more if you've got more of the service,
each piece multiplies up enormously,
but a couple of beautiful dishes like this,
I suppose are going to be, oh, pushing...
-perhaps towards £1,000 for the two.
-Well, that's an awful lot of money.
It IS an awful lot of money!
-But they're beautiful. Look after them.
Is there a special way you should look after them?
-No, just treat them very very nicely and gently.
I always think treat them like you would a man.
Lots of warmth and love and kindness, and very little washing.
-But enjoy them.
-Oh, right, yes.
Well, welcome to Auckland Castle!
This has to be a car with a story.
It is, yes, indeed, it's... they were built in 1935,
and it first went to Rhodesia for big game hunting,
and then it was taken by the Germans during the war,
and then after the war, it ended up in California.
What did the Germans do with it?
It was used as a staff car, that's what the history says.
The Germans would enjoy that, they could stand to attention inside.
Then, it ended up with William Wrigley in Santa Caterina,
-where he used it on his estate and he was the chewing gum man.
Which is why it's known as "Bubbles."
-Now, it's here, where it started.
-How did you acquire it?
I'd been looking for something to carry ten people,
and then a friend told me about this car for sale in America.
When it arrived back after 70 years,
the DVLA had the original numberplate waiting for the car
when it came back, and they gave it back to me...
It was staggering that they kept the number plate for so long.
Does it have an atmosphere?
-With that history, it must be odd to be inside it.
-No, it's lovely.
It's very easy to drive, and you get stared at wherever you go.
Any idea of what it's worth?
I think it's worth whatever anybody's prepared to pay.
Right, let's have a look... I've got £8.50 at the moment...
-What a scorcher.
So, two tiny, tiny, little jewels,
but I know that there must be a very big story behind each one of them.
Tell me about them.
This one, my mother bought for me some years ago,
-because she thought I would like it.
-And I love it.
It has a date and initials on the back, so I know it's very early,
and I think that the design in the front is made out of hair.
I think it absolutely is, it's sort of pulverised hair, and in a way,
hair is really the only true souvenir
that one can take from somebody who has died.
This is a conspicuous mourning ring, although a beautiful one,
and it says on the back here, quite plainly, "AM, 1767"
We haven't got a clue who AM is,
but what we do know is that this is his or her hair,
arranged in a really sort of painted...these
little pulverised fragments of hair
are painted into the form of twin weeping willows,
which is a very affecting image of grief, isn't it?
Yes, I hadn't realised they were willows.
And it's painted onto a background of ivory,
and it's a haunting thing, really,
and somewhere in the United Kingdom,
undoubtedly, there is a tombstone commemorating this person,
and perhaps this, and the tombstone,
-are really the only record of their life, and so...
It IS sad, and unfortunately, it does apply to us all,
I mean we're just shadows passing, and this is a relic of a shadow,
almost a ghost, really, and a beautiful thing,
a neo-classical thing,
and clearly you're a collector of jewellery...
-I love antique jewellery.
-Yes, a bit for those reasons, perhaps?
-Do you find it sort of redolent of what was before, and...
-Yes, I do.
I think if things have a history, it makes them more interesting.
We'll probably never get any further
in knowing about the history of that one,
but perhaps we know just enough,
and in a way, it's fun to see it in conjunction with this one.
Tell me about that one.
Well, there is story to this, but unfortunately, I can't prove it.
Haven't got the provenance. My father...
it belongs to my father...
and an old lady sold it to him, oh, many years ago,
and told him that her father was a racehorse trainer for...
I think it was Edward, when he was Prince of Wales,
and he was given this by the Prince of Wales when his horse won a race,
and she had a letter... or her sister had a letter...
-but because they'd fallen out, we were never able to get it.
So, it has no provenance, but it has a little game...
I think what you would do is you shake it,
and the tiny little ball in there which goes into one of the numbers,
so I would bet you £50 that it's going to land on an odd number.
-Or it's going to land on number three.
-And then, on the inside, there's a compass, isn't there?
So, one's finding one's way through, sort of navigating through life,
which in itself, is a huge game of chance, isn't it?
I have to say I think the story's completely credible,
and life is a game of chance, isn't it?
They say a great deal about human existence to me.
I suppose, being a gift, you've no idea what that might be worth?
No, I don't know what my mother would have paid for it,
when she got it, she didn't tell me.
I think it's a very desirable thing.
Some people collect this jewellery.
It's quite a narrow gang of connoisseurs,
and I have to say this is quite a delicate one, highly unusual one,
and I think that if that were offered for sale,
-you'd have to pay £750, £800 for it.
-Really? Good grief.
But there shouldn't be a price on a thing like that, really.
-I mean, that's almost a little sacred thing.
But this one, one can put a price on it,
because price and money and chance, and I have to say greed,
and all kinds of things are associated with this casino...
-to hang on your watch fob, really, isn't it?
And all those elements come into life,
and they're also hugely sought-after today.
So, I think, if one was going to set out to buy that again,
that's going to cost £1,000.
-Wonderful, that's great, thank you very much.
I love voyages of discovery that start with a chance encounter,
and you came across this lady in an antiques shop.
Yes, I purchased it from a friend of mine who had an antiques shop.
Just happened to see it one day and was quite captivated by it,
and decided to buy it there and then.
So, you liked the look of it, you liked the look of her.
It was the quality of the painting that really struck me,
not so much the image itself, but I thought the quality of the painting,
and the fact that it was almost three-dimensional
when viewed from a distance there, and there's something on the back,
and it was very dusty...
-Shall we have a look at the back?
It was very dusty, and I carefully removed what I could,
because I was sure that I could see an inscription,
and I knew the artist's signature, I'd seen it on a number of books,
and I thought I could see something that looked very similar
to the artist's signature.
We're talking about this rather faded area at the top right.
-I can see an inscription in this light.
The cameras won't be able to, but they'll have to take it from us,
that there is something there. What do you make it out to be?
Well, originally, all I saw was this which I thought was "Augustus John,"
and then, as I cleaned more,
I discovered that it looked as though it said,
"G John by Augustus John, 1924, Paris" and there's also...
It looked as though it was "For C Ruston," and I wasn't really sure,
and then I looked further down here,
and found that there was an inscription with "C L Rutherston,"
and a catalogue number.
Let me stop you there,
because there are three very important points of progress.
You found out who you think, as a result of the inscription,
-who painted it.
-Augustus John, big name.
-It says who it's of.
-Gwen John, his sister,
and you've got a name at the bottom
-that would indicate where it came from.
But let's just turn it over to the front again.
So, before we try and conclude
whether everything is as we think it is,
let's just talk about the component parts,
because you're dealing with a pretty explosive combination.
On the one hand, Augustus John,
one of the most alluring, appealing figures
of the Bohemian art scene in the 20th century.
In the 1890s, it was said that he dived into the water,
bloodied his head and came up "a bloody genius!"
and thereafter, pursued his genius in the area that he enjoyed most,
which was female sexuality.
With sizzling pencil strokes and brush strokes,
he could portray female eroticism,
even in the most formal of portraits,
better than anyone else. That's Augustus.
On the other hand, his sister couldn't have been more different.
Introspective, a recluse, she became in later life, a Catholic convert.
The high point of her activities
was when she spent a couple of years in France with Rodin,
whom she fell in love with, had this passionate relationship with.
Difficult to determine exactly what happened...
and her art, unlike her brother's, is reflective, introspective,
she loves doing nuns, cats, self-portraits,
so you couldn't get a more interesting combination.
So you have here, I think,
I'm going to say 90%...
sounds rather sort of coquettish.
-But I'm going to give you a 90% attribution.
I think you've got a 90% Augustus John of Gwen John,
which would be the only oil painting therefore that would exist of her,
-by the artist, Augustus John.
We have one drawback to this, apart from the 90% issue,
-and that is the condition.
And I don't know why people do this, and I weep to look at it,
but people over-clean pictures.
They take cloths, or sometimes rather more fierce tools,
and rub the surface, and in so doing, remove paint.
And if you look at the eyes,
they've lost definition, they've lost glazes.
-Doesn't have Augustus's eyes, unfortunately.
But it does have Augustus's nose, and his lips.
-And I think they are phenomenally done.
-How much did you pay for it?
I can tell you that if this were just a normal Augustus John,
of an average lady, given its condition,
it would be worth £2,000, perhaps £3,000.
However, as a provable portrait of his sister,
I would have little hesitation
in valuing it at £15,000 to £20,000.
If the condition were better, if we could see more of her eyes,
-I think we'd be talking about £50,000, £60,000, £70,000.
Would it be worth getting it restored?
We can do a bit with restoration, but there's a limit
to what you can do by repainting what's not there.
I understand, because it's not the artist's original work.
OK, thank you very much.
Really thrilled, thanks.
Thanks again to Bishop Tom Wright, his team,
and the people of Bishop Auckland,
for another helping of North Eastern hospitality.
It's been a grand day out, and now from County Durham, goodbye.