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I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls.
It's difficult not to get lyrical in a place as glorious as this, although to be strictly accurate,
the marble is alabaster,
and this Roman temple is not actually in Rome.
This Mediterranean paradise is, in reality, on the north coast of Norfolk.
We're within a stone's throw of the quaintly named Wells-next-the-Sea, and the whole area,
with its windmills and nature reserves, represents rural Britain at its most romantic.
Holkham Hall was built in 1734 by Thomas Coke, spelt C-O-K-E.
He was certainly a travelling man.
The design of Holkham was inspired by his rambles through Italy
during the inevitable Grand Tour.
In Thomas's case it was a very long Grand Tour.
He was away for six years
and by the time he got back, Coke was bursting with European culture.
He'd assembled the finest collection of classical statues ever seen.
Holkham Hall is crammed with mosaics, pictures and a vast collection of books.
The library has been called "the most beautiful room in England".
There's a perfect symmetry to this place.
Starting at the library, you can walk in a straight line
from one end of the house to the other, providing all the doors are open.
Meanwhile in the grounds of Holkham Hall,
a winding queue of visitors snakes its way to the Antiques Roadshow.
I've looked for a mark but there isn't one.
The mark I'd like to find is the mark of the Meissen factory.
-You've been collecting nodding figures for a while.
Yes, for a long time,
but I hadn't got any money, so I had to buy something that was cheap,
and these little ones and this one in particular,
were about a pound each.
-A pound each?
-When I first started,
but I haven't collected them for a long time,
-I've got too many.
-How many in all?
And the one I would be looking for would be a Meissen example.
-Because Meissen, we know, certainly produced these nodding figures,
but they weren't the first.
-Do you have a Chinese one?
Yes, I have, a bisque one.
Yes. They are wonderful, aren't they?
And I love it when they go to town completely.
-With this one we have the tongue as well.
They are hilarious. I suppose...
-This was the bargain buy, actually.
-What did it cost you?
And how long ago was that?
15 years ago,
but these I paid more for
because they were sold to me as in the style of Meissen.
-Whether they are, I don't know, because they're not marked.
Well, certainly these, this and this, these are certainly German,
probably one of the factories in Thuringia,
but they haven't marked it with Meissen, which is good,
because that would have meant it was a fake.
The odd one out is the guy right in front on our little merry band.
He, of course, is Japanese and he has a much slower action, doesn't he?
Great fun, isn't he?
Yes, and then we've got an elephant, I've never seen one like this before.
-Have you not?
-Well, I've seen them in the rear car windows.
Oh, right, I don't buy those.
Well, it's a delightful thing and a terrific sense of humour.
That's what got the collectors
in the late-17th century interested in the Chinese figures,
these Nodding Mandarins as they were called.
What a lovely collection.
Which ones do you want that you haven't got already?
Well, no, I'm not having any more.
-You've stopped, have you?
-So it's no longer...
The prices you've given me are about the right range.
I would think that you could buy individuals like this,
these German ones, these biscuit ones,
for prices in the region of, say, £20 to £60 or something like that.
When you do see a Meissen one, I'm sure you'll be very tempted.
Oh, I would.
Because an 18th-century Meissen original, not unlike this copy,
an 18th-century original is going to cost you
-somewhere in the region of £10,000 or £20,000.
-Oh, not much then!
-Is that it?
-Oh, that was it.
BIRD WHISTLES AGAIN
My father says it's a hen bird because it always has the last word, yes.
-What does your mother say to that?
My late mother, well, yes, she probably went along with that.
Oh, I love these so much, and he's so colourful and he's got his own tune,
and every one of them are different, and that's what I love about them.
-Very dainty and very colourful isn't it?
-Exactly. Where do you keep him?
-In my living room, yes.
-And I love it, and I've always loved it.
-Has it always worked as well as this?
-Yes, it has.
I inherited it from my parents and so I've known it almost for the whole of my life.
Yes, yes. Well, these were made mainly in Switzerland and they were
made really for the French market.
A man called Bontems invented these singing birds,
and they were very popular at the end of the 19th century,
so this would be somewhere in the region of 1890.
They made a lot of them in the 1920s,
copying the earlier ones, cos they were so popular.
And, the sound, amazingly, only comes out of one little place, which is just here.
-And yet he's so...
-You can hear him from a long way away.
-Beautifully clear, yes.
-Beautifully clear, and all the movements are so realistic, aren't they?
The cage is again cast,
and it's very decorative,
slightly sort of dusty, as they all are.
-Now do you have any idea of his value?
-No idea, no.
It's never spoken about it. I just love it for its own sake.
The value would be in the region, if you were buying it
from a dealer or from a shop, you'd
be talking about £1,500 something like that, £1,000 to £1,500.
At auction he might go for £600 to £800, so a dealer has to make his mark.
So he's a lovely collectable piece which will go on going up in value.
-Yes, well, I'm pleased you enjoyed it as much as I do.
I wish I had one myself.
-Do you really? Yes, it's lovely.
So here's a portrait.
Who is it of?
It's of Thomas Huson who was my great-grandfather.
-And he lived, latterly in Bala, North Wales, where he painted mostly in that area.
-Apart from watercolour and oils, he worked in metal.
-You've brought this along too.
This, this is amazing, I like this. It's a fire guard, isn't it?
It is, yes, yes.
-So that would make this a salamander.
He's also done this, hasn't he? You brought this tile which he's painted.
He painted and had it fired, I guess.
-I don't think he understood the firing of things very well,
but it's come out rather sort of modern, hasn't it? I rather like this.
It's almost haphazard,
-the way the colours have run, but it's rather lovely.
But you often see this artist's work on the market
and usually they're large landscapes.
-Quite often at the beginning or the end of the day, a sort of crepuscular view,
-I love that word, meaning twilight.
Just an effect, a weather effect sometimes
and plenty of clouds and lots of low light coming in...
-..streaming across and giving hard relief to the landscape.
You can see, with some of these little landscapes that you've brought along, where it all comes from.
This is probably painted out of doors.
I understand, from family history, it was his oil sketch for
a major watercolour, which I think was exhibited at the Royal Academy.
-He used to sketch in oils,
-on these little panels...
-They're called pochade by the French.
-Yes, because you can put them in your pocket.
I love this actually, because, it's got such a made feel about it.
You can tell that he's gone out there in the hills,
and with the back of the brush...
-..with this part here, he's pushed through the paint...
-..and got an effect
of the stalks of the undergrowth and the trees, just in the wet paint.
It's painted with some speed
but he's got a very good effect of disappearing distance
and the haze and a bit of foreground detail,
but all very impressionistic, and I like this one very much.
That can't be Bala, can it?
-No, that's up the North Wales coast, I guess.
I cannot find it on Ordnance Survey but it's got to be North Wales.
Almost worth a bit of a pilgrimage on a bicycle.
I don't know about a bicycle, no.
-Not for me.
-You can tell he enjoyed pushing that paint around
because look at the way he's painted his own palette.
He's got exactly the same colours that you see in this one.
-Right there, you can even see these blues and greens and the browns.
You can almost imagine him coming straight from painting that,
and painting this self-portrait with his palette.
-These two particularly nice little landscapes here.
Well, I think they'd probably be worth about £200 or £300
on the open market just as they are.
I've got 12 of this size.
And the copper fireguard?
Well, what do you think?
Haven't got a clue.
-Well, I would have thought sort of £200 or £300.
-You think so?
Yes, people love that sort of thing and it's very Arts And Crafts,
and that's this man's time and anything like that can...
-has the look, particularly when it's well made like that.
-Got to be worth it. His larger oil paintings of landscapes fetch quite a few thousand pounds.
I've seen one go for about £6,000, as much as that.
So he's quite sought after.
-This, I don't think would quite come into that league.
He's got quite a sympathetic face.
I wouldn't mind him hanging around, as it were, but...
He watches over our dining table.
-Keeping an eye on the proceedings?
Probably worth about £2,000 to £3,000 I should think on the open market.
Insure it for £3,500, a little bit more, that sort of thing.
-Good, thank you very much indeed.
You say they're tarnished.
-They're not tarnished at all.
-This is silver gilt,
-so they're made in silver with a thin coating of gold.
They have the initials "AR" for Queen Anne,
so presumably given by her to someone.
-Was it someone in your family?
-Queen Anne gave them to Lady Oxford who's an ancestor,
and they've been passed to each generation, to the eldest daughter.
-Um, from then, so...
They're actually made by a silversmith,
and a specialist spoon maker, called John Ladyman in 1711,
so right in the Queen Anne period,
and when they have this sort of top like this, they're called dog nose.
-How many have we got in the set?
12. Have you any idea how valuable
a set of 12 Queen Anne, royal, dog-nose pattern spoons are?
Um, no, I know that they're special because my mother had always told me that.
She kept them locked in a safe, as I have, and that's about it really.
Well, they are in fabulous condition
and I wouldn't have any hesitation in saying
-they should be worth £4,000 to £5,000.
-Gosh, that's fantastic.
-Do you use them ever?
-Probably not now.
-No, I won't be, no, definitely not.
-Thank you for bringing them along.
Well, this is wonderful, really wonderful.
Now how long have you had this?
It's been in the family about 70 years.
My father, just before the Second World War,
went to a house sale in Axminster to buy some garden equipment,
a wheelbarrow, fork and spade,
and it was a sale of a deceased high-ranking British army general
who had a lot of weapons, lot of gun swords,
and the dealers from all over the country were there at the sale.
There was great excitement and at the end of the sale, which took place in the house,
the dealers headed for the London train and my father went out to the garden to get his wheelbarrow
and there was the cannon, and he was only person there.
The auctioneer asked for a bid and my father bought it for £5.
He had an Austin Seven. How he got it home, I'm not sure.
But yes, he paid £5 for it.
-And what year?
-That was in the late 1930s.
My mother wasn't terribly impressed because he went home
without any garden equipment,
and also, I suppose £5 was about a week's wages in those days.
-Well, of course, yes.
-You can't do a lot with a cannon.
But it's been in the family ever since.
Let us identify it.
-It's a seven pounder, rifle muzzle loader mountain gun.
One doesn't see enough of these physically to be very knowledgeable.
My own knowledge comes from reading, photographs,
and this is a treat for me to actually see one.
Now, what we've done today, we've taken it apart
and now these two lads here are going to put it back together.
But let me tell you, before they start,
that it took something like 28 seconds to assemble.
Now we're going to give these lads the opportunity to beat that record.
-I think they had four people to do it, so perhaps allow twice that.
-Oh, yes, twice that then.
Of course, this sort of gun would be used extensively
in the North West Frontier of India, Afghanistan,
At that time in the 19th century,
they would have been used against Indian troops, on mountain ranges.
This is the whole point of a mountain gun.
That you could take it up, with the mules, and with the team of gunners,
up the mountain passes,
and fire at height, fire down to troops advancing, especially cavalry.
-It must have been terribly hard work in that terrain and the heat.
-Oh, yes, and the heat, yes, absolutely.
I believe it has a range of over 3,000 yards, which is about a mile and half,
which staggers me for a gun of 130 years ago, that's amazing.
Now, who timed you?
You'll have to do it all over again now.
I think if it had been the real thing, we'd have been dead by now.
Yes, but what a magnificent thing.
Now we come to the very tricky part of valuation.
Well, these things are truly rare today,
and I understand that they haven't got one at the Rotunda at Woolwich Royal Artillery Museum.
They haven't got one at Fort Nelson, which is part of the Tower of London,
so you can see that these things are pretty rare,
and I'm sticking my neck out because I feel that the value of this
would be something like £20,000.
-£20,000?! Good heavens!
-I would, £20,000 today
because this is really something.
Oh, I'm absolutely dumb-struck at that.
-Thank you very much.
-To tell you the truth, I'd like it myself.
-That's a great compliment.
-It would look nice in my garden.
A cast-iron money bank in the form of...
I think it's a mule rather than a horse,
and a little boy sitting there.
Made in America almost certainly, and I'd like to see it in action.
I know it's going to do something, cos there's a button on it.
Now I don't usually ask my customers for money,
and you may get it back again, but can I have a coin?
I only have a 2p.
You're not trusting me with anything bigger than a 2p!
So that goes in the back there,
and then I'm going to ask you to push the button
because I know what's going to happen and I want to keep my hands away.
Well, it sort of half works because the full effect
is for this little chap then to be kicked by the mule, and then the coin
drops down there.
In fact what we can see on the bottom here
is the name of this particular bank.
It's got a long name, it's not called the kicking mule bank.
-It's called, "I always did 'spise a mule",
that's the name of the bank.
If we have a look at the bottom of it, there may be some information.
Yeah, that's what I wanted to see.
You can see there's a patent date, patented April 27th, 1897.
And I can tell you who made it.
It was made by an American company called J & E Stephens.
So that's my clever stuff.
Now it's time for your clever stuff. Where did it come from?
-I hate that, and you're going to tell me it was last week.
No, last summer, last summer.
Please don't tell me that you paid 10p for it.
So, in less than 12 months,
what does £5 boot fair buy turn into?
How about £500?
Goodness! You're joking?!
-No, I'm not, it is £500.
-Is it really?
So if I was to ask you whether you or your husband was on the square, what would you say?
-No idea. Well, it's all in the decoration on your little mug, and what a honey of a mug,
because this is all sort of Masonic decoration.
Now you obviously didn't buy it as a Masonic jug so...?
No. In a mixed lot at an auction.
-A mixed lot?
-At an auction.
-And how much did you pay for that mixed lot?
-Less than a tenner.
Well, the material itself is milk glass or milch glass.
Now the reason I say "milch" is that's the German word,
and the chances are this was made either in Germany or Bohemia,
and this is the sort of glass that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart just might have drunk out of.
It's getting fuller by the minute, have you noticed?
Anyway, the reason I say that is this dates to about 1770.
I thought it was old.
And if I wanted to buy one today, it would probably cost me
the best part of £300 to £400, which is more or less what this suit
cost me to have dry cleaned the last time I did anything like this for the Antiques Roadshow.
-So not a bad buy for £10, eh?
Every time you look at that, think of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Thank you. And rain.
Why me, God?
Noel Coward wrote, "Very flat, Norfolk."
At the moment it's also very wet, and in Roadshow language that means "plan M" - marquee.
That's where we're going. The show goes on.
The heavens are throwing everything at us today.
-And you've brought us a whole collection of Four Seasons.
-Tell me about this collection.
Well, they're colour woodcuts, Japanese, birds, plants,
and particularly attractive to me, because I'm a printmaker
and I simply love the work of the Japanese artists,
their design, the composition and the colour.
What sort of prints do you make?
I'm a linocut printmaker.
-Which is very much in the tradition of wood block.
What you get is blocks of colour.
That's right, one printed on top of the other.
And it's no accident then, that these should end up with you, because these
are spectacularly good examples of Japanese wood-block printing.
That's right, these very much influenced my grandfather
who was an early colour woodcut artist,
and I followed in the tradition but I've never done it in wood.
And I want to know, how do you start with the original, in your own line?
Oh, a drawing done out in the field, somewhere like this in...
-In the rain?
So a drawing is where we start.
-And that's where these Japanese artists, that we're looking at here,
that's where they started.
They started producing a watercolour, and having done the watercolour,
the original artwork is sent along to the man who's going to cut the wood blocks.
Just looking through these you can see what effect Japanese art
-had on the European mind in the late-19th century.
This is really where the Art Nouveau starts.
Japaneserie, which comes to Europe when the Europeans discovered
Japanese art, comes in in the late 1850s.
We had been used to straight lines,
regularity, repetition, classicism.
And suddenly they are faced with prints, not unlike these.
These are a little later than that period but they're not unlike these,
where suddenly the whole notion of what is symmetric
goes out of the window.
Suddenly you find compositions
which don't obey European rules of symmetry
and I've picked out a couple.
Well, I mean, that is sensational.
To dare to leave that
without anything on it and put all the composition into that corner,
I mean, all the detail, is incredible.
-It is absolutely breathtaking.
An art teacher at one of the salons would say,
"Well, what are you doing with this space? You can't have space."
But it is perfectly balanced. We've got how many?
-21, and they're all by the same artist.
-I think so, yes.
-The date of these is probably pushing the year 1900.
We're actually into a period where Europe is already underway with her own Art Nouveau,
but this is where the whole Art Nouveau spirit started in Europe.
Wonderful, well 21, each one is a little masterpiece,
and to put a value on them,
I think if you averaged each of these 21 out at...
Well, I can't work that out.
-Well, we're getting on.
-I don't want to.
We're getting on for £6,000 for the collection of the birds here.
And then returning to the Four Seasons, set of four.
I would have thought that each of those albums was £1,000.
You've got about £10,000 worth of prints.
Well, I'm gob-smacked, but thank you.
This handy little device is in fact the world famous Antiques Roadshow people-counter clickerer.
It registers the number of people who turn up to a show. Normally we average about 1,600.
Today, in spite of the elements doing all it could upon us, we have clocked up nearly 2,500 visitors.
It says a lot for some people's stamina, strength and courage.
These are enormous bound sample volumes, I think there's a special name isn't it, what is it?
-Passementerie, now we'll have to remember that
and, to be honest with you, I didn't know that technical name.
But they're quite stunning because they're enormous
and if we just open one at random
and look at the selection that we've got there...
Look at that, they're just absolutely stunning.
Now, I look at these, I'm looking at the style of the inking here and all these pieces.
I would have said these were late-19th century perhaps.
We think that's about the age of them, yes.
Right, can you tell me where you acquired them?
-They were found in a skip.
-Oh, right, I love skip finds.
-There's nothing better than a good skip find.
-We have four of them.
-So this is half the collection?
-This is half the collection, yes.
How do you use them? Do you just put them on the shelf and forget about them?
-No, I actually do use them in my everyday work.
Because I make these kind of trimmings.
-So these are a wonderful source of reference to you?
-They are an incredible source of reference.
I recently did some work for the National Trust.
-They had a particular set of furniture they wanted trimmings for.
And they didn't have any references to the originals at all.
-Ah, I see.
-Obviously we knew the age and that kind of thing,
-so we looked through the books and found some things we thought might be suitable.
And then worked from there and used one, not to copy but as a reference.
They're obviously an invaluable source of reference.
-If we flick through and start to look,
they're beautiful, they really are.
There's every kind of...
Literally, there's everything from silk to wool.
Yeah, there is a bit of everything in them.
Yeah, it's just absolutely wonderful.
Look, what a selection.
I think of a lot of these pieces of trimmings as being French.
-Would I be correct in assuming that?
Sadly these days, most of it is done in countries like India and China.
-Because it's incredibly labour-intensive.
Economies of scale, I suppose.
Sorry, interrupting you, I've noticed here that this, in red ink, says,
"Warners, Windsor Castle order 28th..."
of the eighth, or is it the fifth?
-sorry, 1925. "Sent out," it says.
So obviously this has been used for a fairly esteemed client.
-You can't get much more esteemed than royalty.
That's very interesting, even though this is 1925, obviously these are older,
so they're catalogues that would have been used and used, so everything seems to be represented here.
-Staggering variation and absolutely wonderful.
Frankly, putting values on things like this is nigh on impossible.
-For you, they're absolutely invaluable.
-Because they're an incredible reference source.
-And you'd never be able to buy another one.
-Nobody's going to make a new one like that.
I feel that if I came across one volume like that at auction,
I would suspect that someone would happily pay £200 for it,
and that's without having the kind of interest that you have, essentially.
So at the end of the day, maybe you've got £600 to £800 worth,
£700 to £1,000 worth of good 19th-century material there.
-But staggering, really lovely, and it's been a joy to look at them.
-Thank you. Thank you very much.
You know, over the past, I suppose, 15 years, since I've been doing this Roadshow,
I've been waiting for a piece with this particular stone to come in.
Tell me how you got it.
Well, it actually belongs to my mother,
and it originally came from HER mother,
and was bought for her by her father,
so I suspect it was bought somewhere 1920s to 1930s.
So '20s to '30s would actually be a little later
-than the date of manufacture of the brooch.
-Oh, right, so he would have bought that second-hand?
I presume so,
because I think that the piece was probably made in around about 1900.
-Something like that. Now, have a look at it, three-leaf clover.
Clearly, this is a good piece of jewellery, made just at the end of the Victorian period.
Now, the issue of this piece is -
or are - these green stones.
-What are they?
-Well, my mum thinks they are garnets.
Well, they are garnets.
-I think everyone assumes that garnets are red.
But in the period that this was made, in around about 1900,
there was a discovery of the green garnets
in a mine in the Russian Urals.
They are incredibly rare to find
in sizes above half a carat each.
Each of the individual garnets
weighs around about 1.3 to 1.5 carats.
-That is very, very, rare.
Then, as if that wasn't enough,
-you've got the diamond in the middle as well.
Which is quite a serious stone.
Now, the brooch, if we turn it over,
we see that it's all the original mount and frame,
but it's been... what I would call platinised -
it's actually been plated to enhance the white colour of the diamonds on the front.
But the original mount would have been gold and silver.
Now, from all that I'm saying, you can assume that I'm very excited by seeing it,
but also, this is a valuable piece of jewellery.
-Has it been valued?
-No, not to my knowledge.
Well, how much are the individual little leaves worth?
I would suggest
that each individual leaf
is, by itself, worth £2,000.
You multiply that up by the group of three - £6,000.
Then you reckon the diamond in the middle, £8,000.
So this brooch which is something...
This is for me, personally,
something of a Holy Grail of a piece of jewellery.
I can get very moved by stones, and this is it.
So I think, in my opinion, if you were selling it,
-it would make £8,000 to £10,000.
This is a pedigree piece of jewellery if I ever saw one. Fantastic.
He's not the prettiest thing ever.
I think you're both much more good looking. Tell me where you found him.
He's from Scotto Estate.
He's lived in the hall at the Shaws' house
and sort of moved about from loft to garage to office.
-Never on show?
-Well, probably years ago when he was a little bit smarter, but...
Oh, that's such a shame,
because he's aching to be looked after and restored, and put back to his glory
that he once was, and what is exciting for me,
even though he's a monkey, which is not, I don't think, the prettiest animal
that you can have as an automaton, but he's a real character,
and in the mid-19th century, particularly in Paris, they had performing bears, monkeys.
They would perform in the streets,
and so, if you like, the musical-box makers of the day started thinking,
"Ah, we're going to make an automaton,"
a smoking monkey or a bear that's performing to music.
And the great thing about this is, it is by one of the earliest automaton makers of the 19th century,
called Alexandre Nicolas Theroude, and he was born in 1807 in Paris,
and believe it or not, he did many, many of these monkeys doing different things.
By 1900, he was no more.
In 1878 he went bankrupt, can you believe?
Poor chap. And if he only could be up there listening today, he would be so excited to see this monkey,
because, if you just look underneath here,
-look at that wonderful vibrant colour.
Now that is silk satin. He was an expensive automaton in his day.
He would have gone into the drawing rooms of the rich, the aristocracy,
and hence, you say he was at...
-Scotto Hall, yes.
-and probably started his life there.
And could have been entertaining the lords and ladies of the day,
in the drawing room, and, poor chap, look what he's come to! The loft!
But he's come to the Roadshow, so that's something!
And this is not going to cost you, or whoever owns it, too much to put right.
His face is made of papier mache, and he would have been made around 1860.
-Have you had him moving?
-No, we haven't, no. We daren't.
So shall we see if he's going to behave?
-Oh, he is going to. MUSIC STARTS
-His head goes, yes.
-Quite a good tone.
He should have more movement in his hand.
He should have his head turning and nodding.
-He should have his jaw going up and down.
And his eyes seductively going...
shutting nearly and then opening again.
-Oh, right, yes.
-So he's got a little bit stiff in his old age, and he could do with a little bit of oiling.
SUDDEN HEAVY RAINFALL Cut!
-Oh, dear! We're in the dry anyway.
-He's still fine.
They did say it was going to be diabolical. Now I know what diabolical means!
# Raindrops keep falling on my head
# But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turning red
# Crying's not for me
# Cos I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining
# Because I'm free
# Nothing's worrying me. #
-Are you ready?
-Ready as we'll ever be.
Before the next downpour...
Were you to restore him,
I think you're going to be in the region of £1,000 to restore him.
-Not his clothes, but certainly the harp.
And one recently went for auction and it was sold,
-but in better condition, for £5,000.
He's been collecting dust all that time.
Worth doing. It is, yeah.
-So it's worth doing. Do you think the owner will do?
-I would think so.
-I don't think he'll live in a garage any more!
-Oh, good, good.
This is great. Now, I'm sure there's a story here.
Yes, there is, Roy.
What happened was, a family went from Norfolk down to Gloucestershire, to a funeral,
and, after the funeral, they came back to the house,
and there was some old tea chests,
and the little lad with the family, he rummaged around in the tea chests,
and came out with this,
and crazed his father to take this home, and his father kept saying, "No, put it back."
But his mother said, "Oh, let him take it if he wants it."
So he brought it home.
And the neighbour, he was a friend of mine,
and spotted this in the sandpit outside
in the back garden, so he called me along and I came and had a look.
As soon as I saw what it was, I felt I must have this,
and I offered them a price for it and explained to them what it was,
and I then became the owner of it.
Jolly good! I mean, I don't have to tell you,
because I can see that you've been in the service yourself.
-I was in the Norfolk Fire Service for...
-It's a chief's helmet.
-This was a chief's helmet.
That's right. But so often, you get these damaged, because... wear and tear, I suppose,
-and often the crown pieces are damaged where they go through a doorway or whatever.
And the combs are often damaged, but this is in lovely condition.
These were worn up until more or less the last war,
and then, of course, with the electricity being installed in so many houses,
firemen were electrocuting themselves so they went into the fibre helmets, as you know.
-That's right, mmm.
-But this particular one, I suppose, was about the turn of the century,
so the value of such a helmet today
would be in the region of £600 to £700.
-I hope that pleases you.
-Yes, very much so.
I love a parcel, and I love a parcel that's got a treasure in it.
Rather a dilapidated, dirty treasure, I'm afraid.
I don't know, these look pretty good to me.
To find a bit of what looks like North American Indian beadwork
here in the middle of Norfolk does slightly surprise me.
-Who went over to America to get these?
My grandfather, who I don't think ever went to America in his life,
was very into animals, and what have you,
-and he went off to see the Wild West Show run by Buffalo Bill.
And he was presented with these by Buffalo Bill.
I don't know which Wild West Show it was, but it was a long time ago.
-That's how they got here.
-That's the most staggering story.
So we're actually... I'm holding Buffalo Bill's gauntlet?
I mean, the sort of classic image of Bill Cody, Buffalo Bill,
-is of him in his hat with these great gauntlets.
-Gauntlets, that's right.
It's part of his trade mark, isn't it?
Now, I know that in his show,
he was particularly involved with the plains Indians, the Sioux and the Pawnee.
-I guess this must be either Sioux or Pawnee work.
-Now, he came over, Buffalo Bill, he brought his show over in 1887.
-And he set up a proper Wild West encampment.
And I wonder how your grandfather actually met him.
-I mean, was he in the sort of inner circle or...?
-Well, not that I'm aware of
but he was very into animals and he had this private zoo, and he probably...
I'm assuming that he went to the show to see what animals might be available,
because having brought them over from America, it's much cheaper not to have to take them back again,
so I suspect that the horses and the buffalo may have stayed in this country.
I don't think that he ever had any buffalo in his collection. He had a lot of peculiar animals,
but I don't remember seeing pictures of buffalo.
But I suspect he went with that in mind
and because, probably, Buffalo Bill was only too keen to encourage possible purchasers,
he made this presentation as a sort of "come on", so to speak.
So your grandfather was a sort of eccentric collector of animals of all types?
Very eccentric, yes.
I mean, he'd travel anywhere to find whatever he wanted, or what he thought he wanted.
He went up to the exhibition in Glasgow
where they'd brought over a herd of Lapland reindeer, and he bought the herd of reindeer.
-Well, as you do!
-Exactly! Brought them back to Bedfordshire, but there was one snag.
They only had hay, instead of the lichen that the reindeer liked,
so it was a learning curve for the reindeer. But they did survive.
-He also liked them to be ridden.
-To be ridden?
-To be ridden, to be ridden.
Yeah, he used to get...
..keepers to ride everything. I just brought one, but I mean...
I don't think I've ever seen...
I don't think I've seen a pig...
a pig being ridden before.
That is just dynamite! Is that him?
-No, that's one of the keepers.
-One of the keepers.
I suppose the pig wouldn't let just anybody ride him, would it?
So everything could be ridden, I mean, reindeer and so on?
The reindeer were ridden and they also pulled a sledge.
-They were all non-carnivorous.
Well, he had one pair of cheetahs - they weren't ridden. He had a bear.
They weren't ridden!
He had a sloth bear that the keeper used to...
it used to follow the keeper down to the pub.
-And have a bottle of beer.
It got a real taste for beer and it got out one day and actually went down the pub
on its own, and created a lot of problems.
-So there we are, it's all a lot of amusing stories.
-Did you know him?
-Yes, I did, but, I mean, only as a small child.
I remember going to the house and running around the house wearing these gloves,
dropping beads everywhere, which I now bitterly regret...
But I very much would like to make sure
that they don't fall apart any more, and they need some form of restoration.
They do need some sort of restoration.
And it needs to be properly done.
-You may have to get them over to North America,
to the States somewhere, to do it properly,
because just looking round down here on the fingers,
it looks as if these threads are actually going, disintegrating.
So I think you have got, probably,
just a few years to grab this and get it conserved.
I mean, the first thing to say is that beadwork of any description
is terribly valuable to...
Back in America, where it originated - that's obvious.
But if you combine that with the iconic status
of somebody like Buffalo Bill,
you're talking, actually, quite a lot of money, here.
I think we should start at £10,000.
And maybe go up from there.
Right. Thank you very much indeed.
And I'm just left with this wonderful picture of you,
running round your grandfather's house, being Buffalo Bill.
-Or maybe it was Annie Oakley.
-I can't remember.
-I think it was probably Annie Get Your Gun, I can see you in that role.
-It probably was, yes.
-It's been great, thanks very much.
-Thanks a lot.
And despite a very changeable day, we've had a splendid time here at Holkham Hall.
Thanks very much to our hosts,
and until the next time from Wells-next-the-Sea in North Norfolk, goodbye.