A chance to watch some unseen gems from the travels of the Roadshow team. Featuring the story of a watercolour purchased for two cigarettes in a WWII POW camp.
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It's very reassuring to see that the roadshow
is still an attraction after 30 years.
We sometimes get up to 2,500 people at a venue,
which means, of course, countless cups of tea and energy bars
for the experts who are duty-bound to examine the contents
of every carrier bag and wheelbarrow.
And still there are lots of items
left at the end of the day that we're not able to fit in.
So, here are two sparkling selections of unseen gems,
starting at our show at Highcliffe Castle in Dorset.
Dendy Easton has already met a man with a passion for the place.
I'm interested in the history of Highcliffe
and I collect anything that's got to do with Highcliffe.
It's taken me in all different directions
but this, I think, really, is the best that I've got.
I think this is fantastic because I would date this at about 1780, 1790,
but what interests me, we've got a distant view, I think,
of Bournemouth, but it's the pagoda-style summerhouse there.
Um, yes, it was designed by Capability Brown.
Probably the only beach hut he ever designed.
Um, he was employed by Lord Bute
who built this house here, um, to do the grounds.
But what is interesting, we've got this wonderful detail
of the pagoda-type summerhouse,
the lady walking down to the promenade on the beach,
but I love these people here almost shoring up the cliff.
Well, that's been a long-standing thing happening here,
the, um, the cliff falling down,
and right from the start it was obviously a problem.
-And the bottom one here, which is of the old castle.
And I love the coach and four coming in.
I mean, it's just... It's really, really good
that it's sort of 1780, 1790,
it shows what it was like around here at the time
and the colour on these watercolours is very, very good.
Who painted these? Well, there was an artist called Arthur Devis,
but I'm not going to put a name to this.
I'd say that these were probably English school, circa 1780, 1790.
But what is so interesting are these two pictures you have here
-because they're by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford.
Whose father actually lived here.
-Built the castle.
-The new castle.
Yes. Who was the grandson of Bute who built that one.
And I like the continuity here, because I know her
as being a very good amateur artist in the mid-19th century.
Friend of Ruskin, she studied under Ruskin,
and, um, was actually very gifted, and over the years
I've seen many, many of her drawings and watercolours
that have come out of sketchbooks.
But this one here is inscribed "Highcliffe, April",
which is absolutely wonderful, and an interior in the house,
obviously taken at the time
and then we've got one down here, which is of the garden statue...
Where we are now, that was a boy on a dolphin fountain
which stood over there, so you're looking down towards the sea from there.
And do we know where the statue is now?
Last heard of in Hollywood.
Um, Dean Martin had it in his garden.
I think after he died I think Brad Pitt had it.
Brad Pitt was selling the house a year or so ago. We tried to find it,
get the details from the real estate agent,
but we didn't hear anything,
hoping that we'd get a brochure with that fountain on it.
Can't he donate it?
You know, really, when it comes to putting a value on these, I think
this one here is worth somewhere in the region of,
and because of local interest, £1,500, £2,000 for this one.
The bottom one here,
which has got a lot going on in it and the coach and four,
I would think sort of £2,000 to £3,000.
There are a lot of watercolours and drawings like this
by Louisa, and I think, I would say on these
somewhere in the region of £500 to £700 each.
We moved into a house we bought, we didn't have any furniture,
my husband had managed to pick up
a table and two chairs from the sale rooms
-and I went to a bungalow sale round the corner...
Picked up two kitchen chairs and this was there for a pound.
So, you had no idea what this was?
-Not at all.
-A convenient trunk for you to use?
I needed something to put sheets and blankets in.
-And you never thought any more about it?
-And never thought on it.
Well, and had you not thought about it much more until today?
No. My husband wondered why I'd brought it home.
-And then decided that we'd...
He wallpapered the bedroom, which was pretty with roses on.
He asked me if I'd like this to match and I said yes,
-so he cut all round it...
-So it was covered in rose-pattered wallpaper.
-Yes, it was, yes.
-Let's have a look at it in more detail.
We have an original 19th century piece of Louis Vuitton luggage.
He was an interesting character in that he started the firm of
Louis Vuitton as a bespoke luggage maker.
In fact, what he was, essentially, originally was a bespoke...
packager, um, and I think he saw
an opening in the market for a good quality brand of luggage.
A case like this has a poplar frame to it, it's got a canvas
waterproof cover with this chequerboard design on it,
which of course is not the trademark that we associate.
In fact, if we look closely you can see that it says Marque L Vuitton
within that chequerboard design.
In fact, the logo, the LV that we know, um, his trademark,
came in around 1896, I believe.
With this particular piece we've got his trade label in the back,
which is in excellent condition,
so although we have some spotting inside,
it's totally original, which is lovely.
The trade label there has a selection of medals that he's won
in various parts of the world - we've got Chicago 1893, Paris
1889, London 1890, so that dates the trunk very, very well for us
and it's got this very interesting padded interior to the lid
with the French kind of tricolour colours
-over the inside, which gives it a little more pizzazz.
What we're looking at is a very, very good piece of luggage
from the late 19th century
and it's with pieces like this that that global brand began to evolve.
I suspect that if you pop this into a good auction
you would get £1,000 for it.
-Great...for a pound.
-Not a bad investment for a pound!
For a pound. No, definitely not, no.
This is a barber's bowl...
and you went to the barber maybe once every other day
and he would take down off the wall a nice barber's bowl,
and it would be hanging by a loop that went through the foot rim,
and it presented itself really as an ornament.
This is actually rather a beautiful barber's bowl.
-Any idea where it's from?
-No idea at all.
It's made from hard paste porcelain, it's decorated in blue and white,
-and these birds have a very oriental look...
so we're moving towards...?
-China, I suppose.
This was made in China in the city of Jing De Zhen,
where most Chinese blue and white porcelain
and enamel porcelain came to England
-throughout the 18th and 19th century.
Um, it's beautifully painted. I mean, the bird in the branch
on this lovely, lovely lush garden, um, pencilled in outline...
You know, he drew the outline first and then he charged his brush
with more cobalt and he blobbed in the various darker shades of blue.
It looks as though it was made yesterday, just one tiny chip there.
-What date would you hazard?
-I would have thought it was...
It came to this country in Victorian times.
-Right. This was made some time in the 1730s...
..in China for the European market.
This is a totally un-Chinese shape.
Somebody would have sent out an order from London
or from the Continent,
saying, we want you to make bowls with a whole section missing.
And of course, you know what the section is missing for?
Go round your neck?
It fits, it fits perfectly.
But one other thing - not just your neck.
-Do you know what that other thing might have been?
-If I go...like this.
-Oh, I see.
And if I bring up my scalpel, you roll up my sleeve,
-I'll just let your blood.
Because if you went to the barber, he was in fact a barber surgeon.
-And if you were in the wrong humour...
the thing to do is to bleed enough blood out of you
to put you back into the right humour.
So, this would have doubled as a bleeding bowl as well.
To a collector of Chinese blue and white porcelain,
to a collector of barber's bowls,
to a collector of Chinese porcelain made specially for European designs,
this would appeal to all those three categories of collector.
-And I reckon that it's worth somewhere in the region
of £1,500 to £2,500.
-My goodness me.
-Time for a little bleed, I think.
Oh, I'll certainly be more careful with it.
Well, I think this is the very earliest piece of glass
I've ever handled in my life and I'm excited about it. What's the story?
Stuart de Rothesay collected stained glass and painted glass
and put the glass in many of the windows of the castle.
Um, when the castle became derelict
in the '60s it was taken out by glass conservators
and recently Christchurch Borough Council have acquired it back.
It's now in safe storage,
but we'd love to put it out to public view
because it is a national treasure.
This is St Christopher wading across a stream with the young Christ child on his shoulder.
-I see, so Flemish, from about 1450.
The way this was made is that glass would have been poured
onto a block and allowed to cool and then snibbled off and then painted.
Well, on a valuation, I mean, we have an intact piece of
enamelled glass, um, and it's got to be a few thousand pounds.
But clearly, the best place that it could possibly be
is bang, right up there again.
I notice in your lapel you're wearing the famous caterpillar badge
only given to those people who bailed out
during the Second World War over occupied territory.
Yeah, we'd been to Italy and we were coming back over France,
I saw the fighters take off...
but, er, they hit us from underneath...
They could fire upwards,
and, ah, the pilot was killed
and the bomber was killed but...
the rest of us bailed out.
But after bailing out I was in an orange suit...
they called it a tailor suit.
-..Electric suit, and, um... the German pilot thought
we were dropping ammunition and guns to the French Resistance so he opened
fire on me
and hit the parachute in quite a few places so, um....
-So you came down a bit quicker than you'd hoped to?
-I had a double fracture of the back.
But the Germans, um...
were very good, they took me to hospital.
And how long did you spend in hospital?
-Wow, a long time. And then after that you went to camp?
They released me to Stalag 4B.
You've got here a souvenir of this incredible part of your life.
Well, the main thing with that picture is that the man
standing up with his back towards you is a lookout.
They were cooking a meal in the open and the Russian compound was wired off...
..from us but if the Germans had seen them cooking a meal outside
they would have shot them.
They were very hard up for food and they knew I was sort of
friendly towards them and I used to give them my potato peelings every
day and they were grateful for that.
And I actually see down here at the bottom it says Stalag 4B. Where was that?
It was near Leipzig and Dresden.
-So who actually painted this image?
-Well, one of the prisoners, yes.
It was done from the soil.
-We had paint but they didn't have paint.
-So just made from the dirt?
Yes, from dirt. And if they wanted green they used dandelion.
So you bought this?
I bought it for two cigarettes, yes.
-Which was a huge amount.
-Yes, two cigarettes was worth...
-Oh, £100 in those days.
-And why did you buy it?
We had not a hard time but it wasn't easy but they had a terrible time.
-Practically no food, no.
-So where did you keep it?
Ah, I kept it by my uniform, yes.
Really extraordinary times.
The little caterpillar that you proudly wear,
it's extraordinarily rare today because there are so few
people around who are still alive.
Well, they fetch about £500 in England.
In America they fetch about £1,500. Because your name is engraved upon the back.
That's right. But the painting is something...
extraordinary, and I think it's such an evocative
image of what was a terrible time.
Well, I know the story of that you see, there's a story to it.
As you say, an incredible story.
It's been a great privilege to meet you, thank you very much indeed.
Well, I went to a garden fete and it was on the bric-a-brac stall
-and I bought it for 20 pence about 30 years ago.
It's worth at least a pound now.
I suppose especially on that basis.
Well, it's really great fun...
Cartoon character - HM Bateman, he was actually one of the most famous
cartoonists of the 1920s and '30s. Do you know anything about him?
I did look up in the library and saw HM Bateman, and saw that he was this sort of
cartoonist for Tatler.
Yes, he was a great purveyor of the social scene and this is
particularly amusing because
you've got a boxer and a novice, he gives him a thump...
..and then the story carries on inside.
And the poor chap is lying flat on the floor seeing stars.
And it really is most beautifully enamelled.
-Is it a snuff box?
-It might be, but I think it's actually for cigarettes because they would have
had those nice little coloured cigarettes, cocktail cigarettes,
and you would have flashed this at a cocktail party, usually with
a long cigarette holder as well.
But what I really like about this is the humour of it and...
it is beautifully enamelled.
The interesting thing is, because Batemen was such an
English character, that the box was actually not made in England at all.
-It's hallmarked here on the side - it's an import mark.
It's likely it was made in Austria where they really specialised
in this beautiful enamelling, and it's a beautifully-made box
as well, because look at that hinge.
And it takes real skill to make
something as beautiful as that and all this here.
I'm just amazed that you could buy this for 20 pence.
It's actually an amusing thing that I think this could be worth anything
-between £600 and £1,000.
-So haven't you done well?
-Yes, that's really good news. Thank you.
Well, this is the most extraordinary little armorial book
that I've ever seen. What are these two figures standing either side?
-There's a rabbit...guinea pig?
-A guinea pig.
-What is it with guinea pigs?
-Well, as far as I can gather
it was the sort of fashionable thing for children to do in
-the time when he wrote these books.
-And tell me whose they were.
The gentleman is called Charles Lamb,
Charlie Lamb, and he was born in the early 1800s,
and he wrote these books between the age of seven and 11.
He was encouraged by his father to develop his interest in them
-and he gave them all heraldic titles and names.
-And here they all are.
And here's the king... of the guinea pigs.
Here he is, Guinea,
first king of, what is it Winnipeg?
-Winnipeg is the name of the...
He actually invented a kingdom called Winnipeg and his father built
him a castle, a small castle
for him to house the guinea pigs in the grounds of Beauport House.
-And he drew a map of the Kingdom of Winnipeg for the
-guinea pigs to live in.
-I think that's absolutely wonderful.
-And how did they come down to you?
-Well, my wife primarily.
It was my wife's godfather who died, from his mother's side, or his
grandmother, I should say, she married into the Lamb family.
Right, and here's a picture of the man himself.
-That's Charlie Lamb, yeah.
-He must have been a very mild chap.
-He was far from it.
He was a very eccentric person from what I can gather.
He died very young actually, he died, blind, at the
age of 40, disowned by his father,
-living in a cottage on the estate of Lord Eglinton in Scotland.
We could put those to one side there and then start to look at these,
these wonderful watercolours, which are, of course, of the Eglinton Tournament, which was held when?
About 1840, was it?
1839, the tournament.
And there was a tournament Earl...
who was Charlie Lamb.
I think that's Charlie Lamb.
Well, he certainly looks mad, bad and dangerous to know, doesn't he?
He was considered quite out of this world by his contemporaries of the day.
Now what about this famous Eglinton Tournament?
Well, it was staged to snub
Queen Victoria's coronation the year before, because she had wanted a
-low-key coronation and didn't want any pomp and circumstance...
-That annoyed quite a few people, so he decided to hold this tournament of pageantry...
The tournament cost... I think it cost Lord Eglinton £40,000 to put on in those days,
but the weekend that it took place...
Over 200,000 people attended, but it was a washout because it just rained.
Don't you love Wimbledon?
-He lost a lot of money.
-Yes, I bet he did.
And so a lot of these events never took place.
-Yes, that's right.
-So they were all imagined?
-And he later published them, didn't he?
Oh, this is a fabulous one here.
This is, um, look at that.
Wonderful movement. The colours are absolutely...
-The colours are beautiful.
-They are absolutely fantastic.
And relatively unfaded too.
He died in 1844,
So some of these, I think, are unfinished.
But they are absolutely marvellous and absolutely fantastic, of a very eccentric person
and his life.
From guinea pigs right the way through to jousting.
I mean, what could be better?
Um, the guinea pig books... Any children's book collector
would absolutely give their eyeteeth for those,
those are absolutely fantastic.
I would say probably somewhere in the region of £1,000, £1,500.
-That sort of thing.
The miniature, a little bit damaged, I think,
it's a little bit faded, wouldn't you say?
-Even so, it's got to be sort of 500 or 600.
Now you have got, you have got... I mean, we've had a look at five,
but you've got, in all, 18 of these watercolours.
Have you any idea what those would...
No idea at all.
I think they're worth
the best part of...
What, £800 each?
Perhaps more as a collection.
-They are absolutely fantastic. Nearly £18,000 worth.
-I mean, and in total, I mean, possibly nearly 20.
-Fantastic, and thank you for bringing them along.
No, you're welcome.
There's a motto on the balustrade here at Highcliffe Castle which
translates as, "Sweet it is when on the mighty sea
"the winds are buffeting the waters to look from the land on another's
"great struggles." I think that's what the Germans call Schadenfreude,
or "I'm all right, Jack".
We were certainly all right on our visit to Alnwick Castle
in Northumberland, where Eric Knowles was the first to lend an ear
and his expertise.
I was adopted the day after war ended and I tried to trace my real mother
and it was her mother's sister who left me that off the windowsill
in Scotland, a Scottish lady from Glasgow, and her daughter
phoned me after our mam had died and said, "Could I go up? There was something off the windowsill for us."
And this is what I brought back off the train to Sunderland and...
-And is it on your windowsill as a result?
Well, it was never meant for anybody's windowsill, of course,
because this is a table centrepiece that was meant
for a dining table.
This one has got quite a nice pedigree to it,
because I've had a sneaky look underneath and I can see the maker.
And the maker is Minton and that's good news because Minton,
for my money anyway,
were perhaps the most important ceramic manufacturer -
certainly in England - throughout the 19th century.
And we don't hear much about it today
and the factory is alas no more,
but it was situated in Stoke, as in Stoke-on-Trent.
But what I like about this piece is that it's got, I don't know,
it's got a sense of movement.
You've got these two sort of cherubs supporting this huge amphora-type vase
on this lovely sort of chocolate-brown glaze.
I mean, this is so good, it's almost edible, I could almost eat it.
Date-wise, you're looking around about 1870.
But what makes it unusual
is that it's got this colour which is almost a sort of salmon pink.
Strictly speaking, this is a material which is called Parionware
and it's actually been glazed to give it this gloss finish.
Their art director was a man called Leon Arnoux
and they had the great Louis Solon,
who was doing something called pate-sur-pate work.
Now this, if I can look at this top band, you see this key?
-This sort of Greek key? This is pate-sur-pate.
And this also, if I can show it down here, this motif,
it's a sort of Vitruvian scroll.
That is also pate-sur-pate
and that basically is one layer of enamel
placed very carefully after another layer, after another layer,
it's a very painstaking job.
So to produce this would have taken quite some time.
Today, because it's got a hairline crack, hasn't it, in the base?
That is going to reduce its value considerably.
However...I wouldn't hesitate to say that it's going to be worth
somewhere in the region of around about £800 to £1,000.
Well, soldiers are well-known for finding comedy
in terribly harsh and adverse conditions
and one of the soldiers who found the greatest amusement,
the greatest comedy out of the terrible horror of World War One
was one called Bruce Bairnsfather, a wonderful artist and writer
and found amusement in almost any of the dreadful circumstances
surrounding him and all of the other troops during the First World War.
Bruce Bairnsfather's cartoons and illustrations
appear on a multitude of different objects
and you've brought one or two different things,
-I guess from your collection today, have you?
-Yes, I have.
-You have a big collection?
-I've got quite a few plates, jugs, books,
but I haven't brought them - a bit too much to bring.
OK, well, here we see a jardiniere,
the sort of thing that a big aspidistra would emerge from,
a tankard, what's this, a rose bowl?
-Yeah, rose vase.
-OK, and here we even have cigarette cards.
These are from, what, O'Hills cigarettes.
Wonderful, and they contain some wonderful cartoons -
in fact, there's one I really like here that, um,
it's got a soldier who's obviously hiding in a chimney
and a shell hitting the base of the chimney... What does it say here?
"They've evidently seen me."
But what is interesting to me is you've got his autograph here.
-Now where did you get his autograph from?
-From an auction.
-I just I saw it and...
-You had to have it, didn't you?
-And he's done a little sketch here of Old Bill.
And it says here "From Old Bill, Bruce Bairnsfather."
I think that's wonderful. But there's a piece here which
I've not really seen before. Tell me about this.
That was on the internet and it was just a doll advertised,
an Old Bill doll and I just had to have that as well.
Well, this is, of course, characterising Old Bill,
but what I think is incredibly rare is the fact that you've still got
this little round label on it that says, what does it say?
"Old Bill mascot."
But I have heard about these.
Isn't there some tale about a theatre?
Yes, he wrote a play, The Better 'Ole, it was called,
and they used to throw the mascots out at the end of the play to the audience.
-That's probably how this mascot came into
-the possession of the person who sold it.
-Yes, just catching it.
Let's talk about values,
because obviously there is a reasonable value to some of these,
they're highly collectable.
For the Grimwades pottery pieces,
certainly if you bought it from a shop
the jardiniere would cost you £300.
The tankard, because it's actually very rare,
would probably cost you 300,
could even cost you more, depends, you know, on the dealer.
The rose bowl I think probably £180.
The Old Bill doll, well, I've never seen one before so I don't know.
I mean, it's probably going to be £250, I should think, retail value.
£60, £70, and the cards,
I guess retail £100. So you've got actually a considerable value here.
You've got well over £1,000 worth.
It's just part of it as well.
-Just part of it?
-So it's 1967?
-Where were you in the Summer of Love?
It was my long vacation and I went over to America
to work in a children's summer camp,
following which I had five weeks to spare,
so we travelled round the USA on a Greyhound bus.
OK, so this is you?
Yes, it is. I'm afraid so.
Oh, very good, very good.
Well, your hair's actually not that long, I expected it
at least to be to your shoulders, but perhaps that happened later!
So there you are in the Yosemite Valley and then what's this?
It looks like the inside of a poster shop.
Yes, that's in San Francisco, it's in Haight-Ashbury,
the hippy district, and I was just overwhelmed
by all the magnificent posters in the shops there.
There were several shops selling posters,
the like we'd never seen before, so I just had to go and buy one.
-So you indulged and this is what you came out with?
Jefferson Airplane, I mean Jefferson Airplane, the great band,
formed in 1965, first gig was at the Matrix pub in San Francisco,
went on to become absolutely huge and worldwide success
and this is one of the early posters from the 19th of May, 1967,
playing the Californian Polytechnic in the men's gym, eight o'clock.
What were the ticket prices? Ticket prices, 1.75.
Great bit of art. I mean, this type of graphic design
became known generically as Fillmore East or Fillmore West design,
with artists like Wes Wilson
creating these extraordinary designs.
And they have stood the test of time.
I mean, they were weird and wacky when you saw them in 1967,
even though you swear you were only a tourist
and you were not on anything in any way mood enhancing...
-But they were, they were kind of hallucinogenic,
that was the idea behind these extraordinary new graphic designs.
Now, you bought it, you took it home and by the look of the little holes
in the corners here, you immediately put a drawing pin in
-and stuck it on the wall.
-I did indeed, yeah.
It's now been put away in a drawer for the last 15 years,
something like that.
Um, it's a bit worn but for me, it's got those special memories.
Exactly. I'll tell you the condition will do,
not a great problem with condition.
These posters from the west coast of America, from that golden age
at the beginning of hippydom, are extraordinarily collectable.
Ah, a poster like this would sell in America
-for around 2,500.
-The exchange rate the way it is now, that's about £1,250.
That's what it would sell for if you wanted to buy it.
If you wanted to sell this, you'd have to expect
a little bit less, particularly because of the damage at the corners
and the little rip down here too.
But I still think with the wind behind it
-you'd get at least 500, maybe £700.
-It is amazing.
-Thank you very much.
This is a very typical midshipman's book.
-A midshipman was a trainee officer.
He would be about sort of 15 or something like that, 14, 15,
-and he had to do exercises.
Here is our Mr Midshipman, and obviously he's a British midshipman because of the...
-Union Jack up there.
And here we are, we start off on trigonometry.
He was a bit of a mucky chap, I mean beautiful
copperplate handwriting but rather dirty some of the stuff.
Here's a nice one, the Swedish ship,
the Gustavo Adolph, a little bit of foxing there.
Tell me the story, where did it come from?
My grandmother was quite an avid collector of things,
mainly furniture and... she picked things up along the way.
She passed this down to my father and he died last year
-and we were going through a box and came across it.
-Where did your gran get hold of it?
I don't really know. I mean, where did she get hold of most things?
-Could it be something delightful at a jumble sale?
-I imagine it was.
-So she's paid pence.
-A shilling, something along those lines.
Well, I've seen a lot of these and, and not all are as beautiful as this. This does need tidying up.
Here's another one, this is lovely.
-Illustrations in this one.
-There's a beautiful gouache almost.
A Moonlight Night.
But I love the way he goes through and these are all lessons
that midshipmen had to learn, it was like an exercise book.
With the problems and solutions and...
Problems and solutions, yes. Rather lovely things.
He talks about, yes, here we are... problems and solutions.
Quite frankly, when you're in the middle of a gale, I mean...
-Get your book out.
-Get your book out, yes. Splash!
What sort of date are we talking about?
This is about 1820-1830s, Regency period, that sort of thing.
The binding, not bad.
Little bit of tender loving care there, but it's not bad at all.
Value. Well, they're great fun and as I say an illustrated one is jolly nice. I think about £400.
Thank you very much.
Kenneth Williams, best loved person in British show biz, he did the lot,
he was radio, television, films,
wrote books and you've concentrated on his theatrical career.
-I have, yes.
-Why is that?
I fell in love with Kenneth Williams as a child through
Willo The Wisp mainly.
And he was a very good, serious actor, wasn't he?
He was, yes, up until St Joan in which he played the Dauphin,
and he was noticed by a few people in there and that's how he got into Hancock's Half Hour
and from there basically it was the Carry Ons and...
But he did the Carry Ons mainly for money and friendship.
He was keen on both of those, no doubt about it.
-But he worked with some big names.
-Yes, Siobhan McKenna,
Ingrid Bergman, yes.
This is from Moby Dick and Orson Welles noticed him in St Joan
and he was in Moby Dick too so he worked with him.
-Did you ever see him perform live?
-I would have loved to, fantastic.
-He was an extraordinary man.
I've saw him on your programmes in the '80s.
Yes, I remember him on that because we had Loretta Swit.
Kenneth would come in at a moment's notice if we were let down by anyone on a chat show.
You'd just ring him up and he'd be there.
And he came in when Loretta Swit from the television series MASH was on.
-Dennis Taylor was on there as well.
-The snooker player.
He was... She was enchanted by him. He was obviously a little elf
of a person and she gathered him in her arms
and she didn't realise he didn't like that kind of thing
and he wriggled free and the whole place went very cold and quiet.
-He didn't like being touched, he was a very private and introverted person.
In his diaries, he doesn't like people using his toilet.
-He used to have clingfilm on his oven.
And he used to make people go down to the local train station to use their loo instead of his.
Yes, you are right, because what he was most obsessed by was his bowels.
And if you'd say, "Hello, Kenneth, how are you, are you well?" He'd say, "I'm not well."
And then he'd go on for the next 20 minutes about his insides.
He had a spastic colon. He was in pain for most of his life, which was very, very sad.
It never stopped him performing. He'd never stop.
-So gifted. You never met him?
-I'd have loved to.
-Shake the hand that's shaken the hand of Kenneth Williams.
-Nice to meet you, Michael.
What makes somebody want to have 200 chamber pots?
I suppose you've got to be a bit dippy first of all. I don't know,
the first one I got I saw it on a shelf in a restaurant and I thought,
"I could fancy one of those" and it sort of just mushroomed from there.
-And that was how long ago?
-Oh, about 35 years.
And you've been screwing hooks into your kitchen ceiling ever since?
-I have, you're right.
-Well, thank you for only bringing in three.
This one, "Oh! Deary me, what do I see?"
We won't go into all of the rhyme, but this one's actually got a frog inside as well.
Usually see frogs in mugs rather than chamber pots.
What's the earliest one you've got? Because they have quite a history.
I suppose about 1830, 1835, something like that.
-They were all about that age.
-Yeah. Which is your favourite?
I quite like this one because it's got the frog, so it's a little bit rude
cos when you pass water and it gets above the frog's mouth
-it makes a gurgling noise. Supposedly.
-Is that so?
Supposedly. I don't know if that's true.
And that's, that one's the prettiest one.
It is, it is, it's nice, it's a nice transfer printed one,
and you can see the outline of the print.
I mean, where part of the print ends and, um...
the next part of it is wrapped around.
And it's got a nice printed mark on the bottom.
Somebody's clearly looked it up, it says 1838 and that seems to be,
-looks as if it's about right.
These three here are all about the same sort of date,
they're all the first half of the 19th century.
This one would have been made in Staffordshire, this one's a Sunderland piece. Has it got...
Yes, it's got a bit of lustre decoration which is so typical.
This little one, this is sweet.
"Hand it over to me, my dear." That's dedication, isn't it?
And what's the most you've had to pay for one?
Oh, gosh. Well, I don't really want to tell you because my husband's here, but round about 200.
Yeah, and the cheapest ones, or the least?
Oh, God, about 50 pence.
Fantastic, great. This is a lovely transfer printed piece,
we've already said round about 1830.
Yeah, I'd expect in the auctions that to be anywhere between £150, £250.
The trade would ask more than that. This larger one is much more fun.
-It has got some damage on it, don't know if you knew that?
Yeah. It's got some restoration round the rim here.
And maybe a little bit more on the side.
But still, it's got to be £200, £250 again.
This little one shouldn't be anywhere near as much.
It's very sweet, but I would hope you'd be able to pick it up for £80, £100, something like that.
This is such a beautiful box.
It really is quite staggeringly good quality and if we just look across the surface
there are so many things we need to look at.
The first thing that catches my eye are these ovals in the corner.
This, which means "remembrance" or "memory", in German.
Then you've got this fantastic border of scrolling flowers,
all made out of this cut steelwork, individually set onto the box lid.
Each little bit is set in with a tiny little pin,
making this beautiful decoration,
-which would shine almost like diamonds if the sun was on it.
Then, interspersed here we've got these very, very beautiful
oval watercolour portraits and in the centre these two
rectangular panels, one that shows almost like a pyramid
and here a town square, somewhere like Vienna,
that are set onto this very well-figured ash,
which you find on the Continent.
That's really interesting, this lovely portrait of this young gentleman looking out.
He's not very old, he's probably only in his early 30s.
Yes, I would say something like that.
And then this tray that lifts out.
Ah, now that's interesting. Does this name mean anything to you?
Yes, I got this from an old aunt when she died.
What does, just tell me what the name is.
The name is Blagrave.
And what does that mean to you?
Well, my uncle was a land agent and this gentleman
was a land owner, Mr Blagrave,
and he must have given this box to my uncle.
How long ago would that have been?
Oh, it could have been 40 years ago because they had it quite some time before I got it.
-And do you know anything about the box at all?
-Not really, no.
Very significantly here, which tells us even more that this is
a memorial, is this tomb in the shape of a pyramid.
And this is a tomb by a very famous sculptor called Canova,
who was working in Europe, in Venice, in Rome
and in this particular instance, working in Vienna.
Because I think this box is Viennese.
Oh, yes? I was wondering about that.
All we know is that the portrait in here, we think, might be...
One of the family.
-Well, I think this is the portrait of the man who died.
And on his death, this box would have been made in his memory.
Probably for his wife or his sweetheart to keep all those things
that were treasured by her safely in this box.
-Here we have the date, 1810.
Well, that's most interesting.
So the workmanship is quite extraordinary.
It is absolutely first-class.
Yes, there are tiny little bits of damage but nothing significant.
It is, it's good-looking, it's beautifully executed,
nothing, no detail has been spared.
So perhaps it's not going to surprise you,
if by all that I'm saying that I like this box very much.
Yes, well, I've grown to love it.
-So you have it on your dressing table?
And if I tell you that it's worth somewhere between £8,000-£12,000.
I really am.
Flabbergasted - that's a word you don't hear much,
but then you don't see treasures like that too often.
Here's to the next time. Until then, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
A chance to watch some unseen gems from the travels of the Roadshow team. Featuring the story of a watercolour purchased for 2 cigarettes in a WWII POW camp. Also, a 20p boot-sale buy that paid dividends.