Coventry Antiques Roadshow


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Coventry

Michael Aspel and the team visit Coventry Cathedral. Pulses race when Henry Sandon values three precious pots, and some surprising relics from the Second World War.


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This week the Antiques Roadshow has found its way to Coventry,

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once described as one of the finest medieval cities in Europe.

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It was still looking good on the night of November 14th 1940,

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when 500 German bombers amassed over Coventry

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and subjected it to the most savage air raid of the war so far.

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For eleven hours, the Luftwaffe pounded the city,

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dropping 30,000 incendiary bombs and 500 tons of high explosive.

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When the people finally crawled out from the shelters,

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they found their beautiful city ablaze and in ruins.

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The onslaught was so severe that the Germans invented a chilling new word to describe the devastation.

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"Coventry", they said, "had been Coventrated."

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EXPLOSIONS

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In the heart of Coventry, St Michael's Cathedral lay shattered.

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Standing amongst the wreckage that day, the Provost, Dick Howard, vowed that his church would rise again.

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In the competition that followed to find a replacement,

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one plan stood out above all others- Sir Basil Spence - who was later knighted for his efforts,

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proposed that the ruins should remain and a striking new cathedral built alongside.

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The result was a testament to the cutting edge architecture of the 1950's.

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Spence described his creation as a casket of jewels to be filled with exciting new works of art.

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Sir Jacob Epstein contributed a statue of St Michael defeating the devil.

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Graham Sutherland created a massive tapestry.

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It was the largest in the world and weighed a ton.

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Other treasures include a Baptistry window by John Piper

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studded with 195 panels of light.

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And there are bronze statues by Elizabeth Frink.

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And at the west end, an immense engraved window.

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Through it, the two cathedrals are brought together.

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Still loved and never forgotten, the old St Michael's Cathedral

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provides the setting for today's Roadshow, the perfect place to bring treasures from the past.

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It's a little bit of Australia dropped down into Coventry.

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How does a bit of Australia get here?

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Well, it was sent by some long-distance relations who emigrated to Australia from...

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-Hang on, hang on, hang on. Emigrated, or were sent to?

-No, emigrated. OK.

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From Shropshire, from Bridgnorth in fact, around that area.

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And what they did, at Christmas 1890, they sent back a parcel full of these

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emu eggs and various curios and Australian beads and bits of Australian shells and the like,

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and what happened was that my great grandfather, I think my great grandfather,

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-actually made them up into the dome that we see today.

-Very interesting.

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-What I love is this letter that goes with it.

-Absolutely.

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Um, and it says, "By this mail we're sending a parcel containing curios,

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"there are three emu eggs, one painted on, and another carved"

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which I presume is this one -

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"and the third quite plain" so that you get a sort of view of decorating

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emu eggs in the round, and then it goes on to say "there are a quantity of quandongs"

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Don't ask me what they are, please.

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Well, my knowledge of Australian fauna and flora has rapidly risen

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because I now know what a quandong stone is

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which is this, this little thing in the middle here.

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I think when one's looking at a dome like this, my goodness,

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20 years ago you would see hundreds of these in the course of a year.

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People had them handed down from their relatives and they were Victorian curiosities.

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And I have to say, we very seldom see them now,

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they are about as unfashionable as you can possibly get,

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except when they come with such an interesting story,

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and also when they shed light on what must have been a real parcel of curiosities.

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Imagine - there you are, sitting in Bridgnorth

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and out of this parcel tumble

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these extraordinary never-before-seen objects

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from a - almost a sort of fairy tale land, far far away, that they're never going to see -

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and out comes this sort of treasure of iridescent shells

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and extraordinary beans and eggs the size of, you know, ten goose eggs.

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You can imagine that this was almost like getting a piece of rock from Mars.

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Do you like it?

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Yes, I do, it goes in the house. It's in a nice place.

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-It suits the place where it is.

-Exactly.

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It's out of the way cos it's very, very delicate. It's 117-120 years old, I think I'd be delicate.

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-And a bit cracked, maybe.

-Well, yes.

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Value is not going to be huge.

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I would say in auction,

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you'd be lucky if you got more than £150 or £200 for it.

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-That's not the point.

-Not important.

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The point is, looking into it and having the glimpse

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of this wonderful foreign land.

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They were my grandmother's and they were on her mantel piece

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and I got them when she died, and there was a note in them that said

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that they came from the home of her great grandmother.

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So this is grandmother saying they're from her grandmother

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-Yes, sort of five generations back.

-Heavens!

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And there's a letter here.

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-From somebody who'd tried to find out something about them.

-Yes.

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It says, "The cache bowl with its stand is French,

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"I've seen this decoration on a large piece before and I should say about 1775".

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-Do you think that?

-I have no idea.

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Have you looked into them at all?

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I've tried but nobody's ever known,

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well, nobody that I've talked to has ever known anything about them.

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Now they have, inset into the small ones, they have a chunk of glass,

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a glass sort of pot pourri, a pot, which I don't think should be there.

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These are flower pots or cache bowls, in which you would grow a plant inside,

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and they have a hole which is the - for the water to leak through

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-into the, into the base there.

-Yes.

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-So that's rather nice, and they're not French.

-Right.

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I think they're Coalport, English. They're English porcelain,

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made around about 1800-1805 something like that,

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and beautifully painted

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and I think the painting has been done in London.

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Coalport often sold the pieces to London decorators

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and I think the decorating studio was Baxters, in London.

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I've seen pieces decorated with exactly the same patterns

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which are signed by Baxter, so I think if it's not Thomas Baxter himself,

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it's one of the pupils in his studio in London.

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I think they're absolutely splendid, beautifully decorated

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but they're of fair value. I mean you're looking at, probably for a full garniture like that,

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-you're looking at something worth around about £8,000.

-Gosh! Yes...

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-They're super things. Do take great care of them, won't you?

-Yes.

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Well, this rainy weather absolutely reminds me of Scotland

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and here we have the quintessential idea for me of Scotland

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with the mist coming down the mountains

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and these highland cattle here in the foreground.

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-Tell me, are you Scottish, have you any connection with this part of the world?

-No, I'm not Scottish,

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-I've been up to Scotland a lot of times and I admire the place.

-Right.

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Well, as you can clearly see it's by Louis B Hurt, Louis Bosworth Hurt,

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and I guess from the style it's around the 1880s

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and, of course, it's oil and canvas.

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What I love about typical Victorian artists is that

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they paint so beautifully and so well

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and, look, you can see almost every aspect of the coat on this Highland cow. Wonderful.

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So have you always loved the artist?

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My wife and I, we've admired these paintings for a long, long time,

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-and we never expected to be able to own one ourselves.

-Mmm-mm.

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And my wife's uncle passed away,

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left us some money and that's what we invested it in.

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Well, he was a very prolific artist and yet not much is known about him.

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We know he came from Derbyshire. So he wasn't even Scottish.

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But he, to me, is one of these artists that knew his market

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and therefore he is best known, and only known really,

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-for painting Highland scenes with Highland cattle.

-Yes.

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Now, the pricing's quite interesting of Louis Bosworth Hurt,

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because in the sort of '90s, or certainly the late '80s,

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a lot of Japanese were coming to this country and they were all playing golf up in the North,

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St Andrews or going to Gleneagles and all those sort of places,

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and I think they thought "This is just what we want to remind us of these wonderful days of golf"

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so the prices for Louis Bosworth Hurt went up and up and up.

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They've come down a bit over the last five years,

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possibly due to the Japanese economy, I don't know.

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But this is a great, great example. He varies a lot in size. The big ones, obviously, are more valuable.

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-I've seen the big ones.

-You've seen the big ones. I think this is a great work

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and if it appeared today on the market I'd expect it would make

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sort of between £7,000 and £10,000 -

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-it could even do a bit better with the wind behind it...as they say.

-I hope so. I hope so.

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It's a wonderful, wonderful work, and thank you for showing it to us.

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-Thank you.

-Pleasure.

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So what are you doing bringing us this bit of old log?

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It's actually a bit of old log from HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

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Ah, so what's the story, then?

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Well, we were down in Portsmouth and we went to visit the Victory,

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to see some of the restoration work and they have a shop on the premises

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and they have a certain collection and I thought it was quite unique

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because it was the only piece in the collection

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that just looked like it had been actually taken off the ship.

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-What have you got to prove that then?

-I've got this document.

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-Oh I see, they give you a certificate.

-Yes.

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The deed of provenance which says,

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"In 2004, this was sold for the 'Save the Victory Fund'",

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which is great, isn't it? Yes.

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-Because, frankly, you do need that piece of paper to stay with this for all time.

-For sure, yeah.

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But as they have to restore the Victory continuously

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and they've got waste products which are effectively lumps of old oak,

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-it's a perfectly legitimate thing for them to sell.

-To generate income.

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You're quite right. And I think this thing's actually got great charm

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because on the back side we can see this rather curious orange paint,

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but certainly in the surgeon's department on Victory,

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the wooden walls were painted red so that the blood,

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as they were doing those terrific operations - wouldn't show.

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This looks orangey, but I'm not saying it wasn't an original

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kind of part of the vessel,

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maybe from where the surgeon's quarters were.

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Got a bit of scorched timber there which could be something to do with the galley.

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-Here we've got what looks suspiciously like magnolia.

-Yeah.

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But not just one layer of magnolia, there are multiple layers there,

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-so that's been painted up for a couple of hundred years.

-Yeah.

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-I think this is a great object.

-I thought it was quite unique.

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You paid how much for this?

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-I think it was £600.

-£600?

-Yeah.

-Did you really?

-Yeah.

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I mean, if you were to sell it at auction with the Victory provenance,

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-I think you might get £200 or £300 for it.

-Yes.

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But it's a patriotic gesture in a way, isn't it?

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Yes, yes, because you're making a contribution

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to keep this vessel in prime condition.

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Quite, so what do you use it for at home?

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It's on top of the cabinets

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-and the wife puts just a pot pourri in it, that's it.

-Pot pourri?

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-Yeah.

-Well, I don't know what Britain's premier naval hero

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-would have to say about you keeping pot pourri in a bit of his ship.

-Probably wouldn't be amused.

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So, how long have you had this delightful-looking doodle?

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Well, I think it's from 1973, when my daughter bought it for Daddy

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-for his Father's Day celebrations.

-Uh-huh.

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And, um, she said that this is one of David Hockney's doodles.

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-So this is a present, then?

-Yes.

-From David to your daughter,

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-who in turn gave it to your husband.

-Yes, that's right.

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-As a Father's Day present.

-That's right.

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-What a hugely generous Father's Day present.

-Well...

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-Now, here's a photograph to go with it.

-That's right.

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And this shows David with his round glasses and rather slouchy hat,

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-and on the left...?

-His very great friend Mo,

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according to what Diane used to talk to me about them.

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Now how did your daughter know David?

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I do not really know how she met him,

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-but she did know Ossie, Ossie Clark.

-Ossie...the fashion designer, yes.

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-They were friends of his.

-And there's a charming inscription on the reverse -

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-"All my love to you, from David".

-That's right.

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-That would be to your daughter.

-That's to my daughter, Diane, yes.

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And the drawing itself - have you contemplated what it might represent?

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No, I don't know, I just can't think.

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I think it could be him, because with the glasses - I don't know.

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I mean apparently, according to Diane, he did numerous...

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While he was talking or on the telephone, he was just doodling

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and doing things like that, apparently.

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Yes, he was a phenomenal... Is a phenomenal draftsman, because he's still alive.

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He's extraordinarily important in the, in the late 20th century

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-and he's still extremely active today.

-Yes, yes.

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Now, one thing that he was particularly good at,

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and something that always mesmerises me,

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-is his ability with crayons and with pencil.

-Oh, yes.

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And you've got it here, this phenomenal cross-hatching.

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There's a feeling of energy, almost violent energy

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like the splash of water in a swimming pool, for example,

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-to refer to one of his other works.

-Yes, that was... I can remember that one.

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Yeah, I can remember that one.

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And then the glasses, you see he was very good at portraits,

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and in fact he made portrait painting respectable again.

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There was so much abstract art around in the '60s and '70s

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that doing figurative paintings of peoples faces

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-wasn't, sort of, overly cool.

-No.

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But he made it cool again.

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Have you considered what a little doodle like this might be worth?

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-It is, after all, a doodle.

-Well, it never occurred to me at all.

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I just feel honoured now that I've been able to bring it

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and for you to see it and to talk to me about it.

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-Well, my job is also to put a value on these things.

-Oh, is that right?

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And so I will do so. Um, believe it or not, I'm going to start, not with the drawing but the photograph,

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because the photograph itself is a rather fascinating object.

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It's intimate, it shows the man in a way that's appealing

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and because of the inscription on the reverse,

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connected specifically to an event and a person, it's...

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From both an artist's point of view,

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and also an autograph collector's point of view,

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an interesting little object, and believe it or not,

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-I think this photograph is worth £200 or £300 on its own.

-Really?

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I can't believe it. It's such a nice picture too, isn't it?

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It is too, and the drawing?

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Well, I'm pretty confident that there would be a number of people who would like this.

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I think it is a self-portrait

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-and I think it's worth between £5,000 and £7,000.

-No!

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No - really?

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Oh, my goodness, I really don't... Can't believe it.

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I can't believe it. Really? I'm absolutely stunned.

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Oh, Eamonn, did you hear?

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Good gracious me!

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So here we are, surrounded by the ruins of Coventry's old cathedral,

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destroyed with much of the old city in November 1940,

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and of course that's a moment

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-that is forever in the city's history, isn't it?

-Oh, very much so.

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-Were you here? Or not you, but your family... Sorry.

-Certainly not me!

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I am a Coventrian and my mother was here.

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She actually lived in Bradford but they had a small shop just by the hospital

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and she walked through this cathedral on the morning after the raid.

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So as just a mess of destruction.

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It was just total destruction and it was such a shock.

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Which takes us to that bit of burnt metal.

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Bit of burnt metal, yes. These incendiaries, this particular device

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-was dropped in this area and...

-During the raid?

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During the raid, it was recovered during the raid, um,

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and brought to the museum roughly about 10, 12 years ago.

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The Midlands Air Museum has lots of local history to do with...

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It is mainly about this area and the industry of this area.

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So that was picked up in the aftermath of the raid

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and that would have been a cluster of incendiaries.

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Yes. They did tremendous damage as we see above us here.

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With fire, more than high explosive, wasn't it?

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Once the fire got the hold, there was nothing they could do.

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Talking of Germany and aeroplanes, here is, presumably,

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-a piece of an aeroplane. A swastika...

-That's correct.

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..and some strange colouration which I don't quite recognise.

0:19:040:19:08

Well, the gentleman that brought this, or we acquired it from,

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had used it in his garage to test spray paints on.

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-So, to him it was just a convenient piece of metal.

-Yes.

0:19:140:19:17

Very kindly, though, he informed us about it

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and as you can see, it has the original swastika on it.

0:19:200:19:25

-So, this is a tail fin, isn't it?

-It's a tail fin of a Ju 88.

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Here's one I made earlier, as they say!

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Here we have the model of the same plane.

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-That's the actual aircraft model.

-This is the tail.

-That's the tail.

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That's a model made of the actual aircraft itself, based in France.

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I'll fly that back into its hangar carefully!

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It's made a safe landing.

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So, shot down in the area, this is the relics of that...

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These are the relics, and the museum contains a wide variety of these relics

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-and manufactured things in this area.

-It's right you have them.

0:19:560:19:59

They're museum objects, they're history and so their value is actually incidental.

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-It is.

-But let's not go there. This is living history, and I think it's great to see them.

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It's important to get people close to these things so they can talk

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-from families to relations...

-And think about the people, the people in that aeroplane

0:20:120:20:16

flew over there, all that story, they were shot down or whatever.

0:20:160:20:20

-It's an extraordinary period in our time.

-It is.

-And we must remember it.

0:20:200:20:24

-We must remember it, yes.

-Thank you for helping me do so.

-You're welcome.

0:20:240:20:28

Among 30 years of exciting Roadshow discoveries, there's been a fair selection of sporting relics.

0:20:350:20:40

One we all liked was a Wimbledon singles trophy that turned up when we took the show to Australia.

0:20:400:20:45

John Baddeley got to Melbourne and was amazed to find a magnificent cup

0:20:450:20:49

engraved with the name of one of his relations who won the title back in 1893.

0:20:490:20:55

Here's an action replay of various sporting highlights, including John's magic moment.

0:20:550:21:00

This, you might say, is the bat that won the Ashes.

0:21:040:21:07

A great swimmer with his multitude of trophies. That's absolutely fantastic.

0:21:070:21:11

That's one of the first gutta-percha golf balls. That dates from 1850.

0:21:110:21:15

It's one of John McEnroe's old rackets. Even though he's a really good tennis player,

0:21:150:21:20

he did have some arguments with the line judges and so obviously got a bit annoyed.

0:21:200:21:27

It's an England international cap?

0:21:300:21:32

It was given to him by Laurie Scott.

0:21:320:21:34

Oh, I see, it's inscribed. "Very best wishes, Laurie Scott". Yeah.

0:21:340:21:39

-What relationship is he to you?

-He's my grandfather.

0:21:400:21:44

He was an official in the FA for 20 years.

0:21:440:21:47

"Jasmine, lots of love, David Beckham." Excuse me!

0:21:470:21:50

I like David Beckham so I got his autograph.

0:21:500:21:53

Here are the great Campbells, father and son. Must be something in the air here!

0:21:560:22:00

Courage, I think, courage.

0:22:000:22:03

This is the actual football that was used in the 1911 Cup Final.

0:22:030:22:07

Recently a cricket bat similar to this sold for in excess of £20,000.

0:22:070:22:12

You can't be serious!

0:22:130:22:15

-On the side there is 1893.

-Yes.

0:22:190:22:21

Wilfred Baddeley. Well, my name's John Baddeley, he's a distant relation of mine.

0:22:210:22:26

-How wonderful.

-So I hope you don't mind if I give it a quick kiss.

-No!

0:22:260:22:30

And then do the classic...

0:22:300:22:33

THEY CHEER AND APPLAUD

0:22:340:22:37

Oh, very good. No collection of beadwork would be complete without

0:22:450:22:50

one of those. Now, I have to ask.

0:22:500:22:55

-Yes.

-What's a nice boy like you doing collecting beads?!

0:22:550:23:00

We've got furniture and basically I wanted something else to collect

0:23:000:23:05

and I looked at tapestries, and if you've got the money, you can buy a collection tomorrow.

0:23:050:23:11

Beadwork, I found, was hard to get because the stuff I've got now has took nearly 30 years.

0:23:110:23:18

Really interesting. And when you started out, can you remember

0:23:180:23:22

what sort of money you were paying for these things?

0:23:220:23:25

The first piece I ever bought was a tea tray, and I bought that from

0:23:250:23:28

a second-hand shop in Spon End in Coventry and it cost me 20 quid.

0:23:280:23:33

That's affordable, isn't it? Now, the history of beadwork

0:23:330:23:36

is sort of a history of Europe, because originally

0:23:360:23:40

in the 17th century and the early part of the 18th century, the English were

0:23:400:23:45

perhaps the best exponents of beadwork. You get some wonderful

0:23:450:23:49

beadwork objects, baskets, trays, as well as beadwork pictures

0:23:490:23:54

from the Charles II period. Then the French took over as being the greatest

0:23:540:23:59

exponents of beads, then the Germans took over, and then back in the mid-19th century,

0:23:590:24:06

back it came to England, so it's really...

0:24:060:24:09

-Gone full circle.

-It's gone full circle. I'm going to zero in on

0:24:090:24:13

just a few that have taken my eye particularly.

0:24:130:24:16

Now, the first, actually, is quite a modern piece, which is this...

0:24:160:24:20

1917 Turkish prisoner of war snake, which was, I believe, for their girlfriends originally.

0:24:200:24:27

That's the reason why the flower's in.

0:24:270:24:30

Exactly. Made by prisoners of war, from the Great War, they produced

0:24:300:24:36

-these rather crude, I have to say... The beads are huge.

-They are.

-And the work is quite crude.

0:24:360:24:41

-But brought them back as souvenirs for loved ones.

-Yes.

0:24:410:24:44

-And this is a... I suppose when it's uncurled it's what? About...?

-Six foot.

0:24:440:24:49

This is six foot, is it? Heavens!

0:24:490:24:52

That's very impressive that that's six foot. So that I like.

0:24:520:24:56

The other piece which I think is just terrific is the parasol.

0:24:560:25:02

Now, I'm going to open this carefully because

0:25:020:25:06

the silk lining is just beginning to go. Look at that.

0:25:060:25:11

Again I would have thought probably dating from the 1840s, 1850s, this one.

0:25:110:25:17

Beadwork is a dying art. I've been fortunate enough to be out in Malaysia

0:25:170:25:24

and that's one area where you do see beadwork still being practised.

0:25:240:25:28

The Malays are very keen on beadwork and there are a lot of practitioners there

0:25:280:25:32

still doing it, so that's one area in the world where

0:25:320:25:35

it is very much alive. When we come to value it, you said that the first piece

0:25:350:25:41

you bought cost £20. What's the most expensive piece that you've bought?

0:25:410:25:45

-£800.

-£800. Well, even that doesn't surprise me. I've seen pieces

0:25:450:25:51

of beadwork going for well into four figures and sometimes into five figures.

0:25:510:25:56

What does one say about a collection like this on the table? What's this worth?

0:25:560:26:01

Well, I would have thought we're certainly looking at

0:26:010:26:05

£8,000, maybe £10,000 just on the table, and...

0:26:050:26:10

I am shocked.

0:26:100:26:11

It's a great area to be collecting, well done for collecting it when you started out,

0:26:110:26:16

and good luck with filling the very small gaps that probably still exist.

0:26:160:26:20

I'm looking around me trying to work out where this

0:26:220:26:25

very appealing piece of stone came from.

0:26:250:26:28

I gather it was originally part of the old cathedral

0:26:280:26:31

and what I want to know is how come you have it?

0:26:310:26:34

I'm one of the volunteer archivists at the cathedral

0:26:340:26:37

and this sits on the windowsill in our office

0:26:370:26:40

and every time I come into the office I see it

0:26:400:26:45

and it just delights me. I think it's a lovely piece of stonework.

0:26:450:26:50

There's a lovely story to it.

0:26:500:26:52

On the night that the cathedral was actually bombed, a policeman on duty

0:26:520:26:57

was walking by and this fell at his feet

0:26:570:27:02

and he picked it up and he had

0:27:020:27:06

every intention of bringing it back to the cathedral at a later date

0:27:060:27:10

when things had settled down.

0:27:100:27:13

But he never did and he didn't know what to do with it, so he buried it in his garden.

0:27:130:27:18

-So, not knowing what to do with it, he buried it?

-He buried it in his garden.

0:27:180:27:22

I suppose that's as good a solution as any!

0:27:220:27:24

Many, many years later, this policeman had retired by this time

0:27:240:27:30

and he'd become ill and he was taken to hospital.

0:27:300:27:35

And he started to worry about this little head.

0:27:350:27:38

-This buried head.

-This buried head!

0:27:380:27:40

So he said to his wife, "You must return this to the cathedral."

0:27:400:27:45

So she brought it back to the cathedral and it was very dirty

0:27:450:27:50

and he made a remarkable recovery from his illness, which he wasn't expected to.

0:27:500:27:56

-So...that's how the story goes.

-A little bit of divinity at work.

0:27:560:28:00

-Well, yes.

-What a wonderful tale!

0:28:000:28:03

Now, do we know who it is?

0:28:030:28:05

It's the head, supposedly, of St Osberg, who founded the original cathedral -

0:28:050:28:10

there's been three cathedrals on this site.

0:28:100:28:13

But I have a feeling this is part of a later regime rather than the original cathedral.

0:28:130:28:18

a slightly crisp, slightly romanticised appearance.

0:28:180:28:22

-I'm pretty sure that this comes from the late 19th century

-Oh, right!

0:28:220:28:26

But it's not surprising, because I gather there was work done

0:28:260:28:30

on the cathedral facade in the late 19th century

0:28:300:28:33

and I think it's more than likely that it was part of that campaign, as it were.

0:28:330:28:39

Right.

0:28:390:28:40

But still a fascinating object, a very poignant reminder

0:28:400:28:45

of the terrible tragedy that befell the place.

0:28:450:28:48

Personally, I think it's an extremely attractive object.

0:28:480:28:54

It's the sort of thing I would love to put on a mantelpiece or a table, well-lit.

0:28:540:28:58

And with that tale attached to it, even though it's late 19th century,

0:28:580:29:02

I think it has a sort of appeal that gives it value.

0:29:020:29:07

-I realise the cathedral would never consider selling such an object.

-No, we wouldn't.

0:29:070:29:12

But as we have the rough business of putting values on things,

0:29:120:29:16

I would say it was worth £800, £900, £1,000.

0:29:160:29:20

Goodness me!

0:29:200:29:22

Well, I think the cathedral would be delighted with that figure.

0:29:220:29:26

My goodness!

0:29:260:29:28

You're paying as much for the story as you are for the object

0:29:280:29:31

but the two together I think make it

0:29:310:29:33

a rather emotive and attractive little treasure.

0:29:330:29:36

Oh, that's lovely. Thank you very much.

0:29:360:29:39

This is one of the most magnificent chess sets I've ever seen.

0:29:390:29:44

Tell me about it.

0:29:440:29:45

I don't know a great deal, but my father bought it, I understand,

0:29:450:29:50

in about 1930, surprisingly perhaps in a second-hand shop in Coventry,

0:29:500:29:56

I understand, for what was then the magnificent sum of £5.

0:29:560:30:00

£5!

0:30:000:30:02

Which I think was a lot of money in those days, in about 1930.

0:30:020:30:05

-Was he a keen chess player, your dad?

-Oh he did play, yes.

0:30:050:30:08

He and a friend.

0:30:080:30:10

My father built in the garden a chess table out of tiles,

0:30:100:30:15

and he and a friend used to play of a summer's evening, in the garden.

0:30:150:30:22

They would take these chess men out

0:30:220:30:24

and because they were a little bit bigger than normal,

0:30:240:30:27

he had this slightly enlarged chess table which he built

0:30:270:30:29

and they'd sit in the garden and play chess.

0:30:290:30:32

How positively pastoral!

0:30:320:30:34

Not quite, in the centre of Coventry, perhaps!

0:30:340:30:38

If he bought them in a junk shop around 1930

0:30:380:30:41

they were already quite old by then.

0:30:410:30:44

-Really?

-These are Chinese and they would have probably been

0:30:440:30:48

exported out of the port of Canton

0:30:480:30:51

some time around 1880 to 1900, I expect.

0:30:510:30:57

You might call this chap, perhaps, the king.

0:30:570:31:01

On the other hand, he could very easily be the emperor,

0:31:010:31:04

because he IS an emperor.

0:31:040:31:06

And each of the pieces are mounted

0:31:060:31:08

on these concentric reticulated rings

0:31:080:31:12

and if I give that a little wiggle like that,

0:31:120:31:15

you can see that inside this ring, which has been

0:31:150:31:18

elaborately pierced out of a solid piece of ivory, there's another ring,

0:31:180:31:22

-and inside that another.

-I think there are five.

0:31:220:31:24

Five rings of ivory all carved out of solid ivory within one another!

0:31:240:31:30

If that isn't a complicated enough process,

0:31:300:31:32

-you've done that for every single piece.

-Yes.

0:31:320:31:35

The capital pieces as well as...

0:31:350:31:37

The small ones, I think, only have one inside - the pawns -

0:31:370:31:41

and these others have two, and the big ones five.

0:31:410:31:44

You really are showing off

0:31:440:31:45

if you've carved your ivory to this extraordinary degree.

0:31:450:31:49

-It's an odd way of spending your life.

-Yes, quite.

0:31:490:31:51

But if you look at the emperor's robe, all the way round this robe

0:31:510:31:56

is the most incredibly intricate design of foliage

0:31:560:32:00

and the whole thing, in terms of its quality,

0:32:000:32:03

is reflected from top to bottom,

0:32:030:32:05

but not just this piece,

0:32:050:32:07

because all the other pieces are made to a similar standard,

0:32:070:32:11

which I think is quite remarkable.

0:32:110:32:13

I think in terms of arriving at some sort of value,

0:32:130:32:17

-you have to take into account the condition.

-Yes.

0:32:170:32:19

And the condition of the reds is not as hot as it might be.

0:32:190:32:23

For me, this set ought to make

0:32:230:32:26

-somewhere around £3,000 to £4,000, that sort of amount.

-Yes.

0:32:260:32:30

-Good return on a fiver!

-On a fiver, yes!

0:32:300:32:34

Here we have a rather wonderful coloured lithograph

0:32:380:32:43

by Sir Terry Frost

0:32:430:32:44

and it's dated and numbered in pencil

0:32:440:32:47

on the bottom right-hand side here,

0:32:470:32:50

57, and a limited edition, 23 out of 30.

0:32:500:32:54

Interesting, Terry Frost.

0:32:540:32:56

Nowadays there's a huge amount of interest in his work.

0:32:560:32:59

He's one of the leading 20th century figures in British art,

0:32:590:33:02

he's represented at the Tate and international museums.

0:33:020:33:06

And he's certainly one very well-respected painter.

0:33:060:33:09

Can you tell me just a little bit more about

0:33:090:33:12

the history of the picture?

0:33:120:33:14

Terry was my cousin.

0:33:140:33:15

Was he a wonderful family man?

0:33:150:33:17

Yeah, he was very much a family man, yeah.

0:33:170:33:20

My sister and I lost our parents quite young

0:33:200:33:23

and he used to step in and look after us as much as he could.

0:33:230:33:27

They didn't have much money but what they had, they took us with them.

0:33:270:33:31

He was born in Leamington

0:33:310:33:33

but was one of the ones that was in the St Ives School

0:33:330:33:39

in the '50s.

0:33:390:33:41

And that was in '57, as you can see.

0:33:410:33:43

He was a prisoner of war and when he came back from the War,

0:33:430:33:49

my father, his uncle, was very disparaging of him wanting to be an artist -

0:33:490:33:55

"Oh, get yourself a real job, lad!

0:33:550:33:57

"What are you on about, talking about 50 shades of green?!

0:33:570:34:01

"Get yourself back in the bike shop," or wherever it was he worked before the War.

0:34:010:34:05

Do you know much about his imprisonment in Bavaria?

0:34:050:34:10

The bits that he told us, I think it was a pretty dark period in his life.

0:34:100:34:16

He didn't want to tell you much about it.

0:34:160:34:18

I think he had a lot of worries about whether he should continue his art

0:34:180:34:22

because as I've said, he wanted to do it, he felt a calling to it,

0:34:220:34:28

but people expected you to work then, especially just after the War.

0:34:280:34:32

Men in grey suits - there wasn't much colour, was there?

0:34:320:34:35

No, not at all. Can you tell me the subject of this picture?

0:34:350:34:38

No, I'm afraid I can't.

0:34:380:34:40

If you asked Terry what a picture represented, he'd say,

0:34:400:34:45

"It's whatever you make of it, it's whatever YOU want to see in it."

0:34:450:34:48

What do you have in the envelope?

0:34:480:34:51

I thought you might be interested in these.

0:34:510:34:53

The kind of Christmas cards he used to send which were

0:34:530:34:56

definitely a bit different, as you can see.

0:34:560:34:59

-These are wonderful! And that's an original Terry Frost?

-Yes.

0:34:590:35:03

An original Terry Frost.

0:35:030:35:04

I love the Christmas tree. And then inside we also have

0:35:040:35:09

a piece of art by him too,

0:35:090:35:11

and a lovely note to you and your husband.

0:35:110:35:14

-They were always like that.

-2001, only three years before he died.

0:35:140:35:18

That's right, yes, yes.

0:35:180:35:20

That's really wonderful.

0:35:200:35:21

This is an older one, that's '73.

0:35:210:35:23

That's earlier.

0:35:230:35:25

There's a bootlace tied through it.

0:35:250:35:28

That's a great design too,

0:35:280:35:30

-and so he'd send these to family and friends every Christmas?

-Yes.

0:35:300:35:34

-What a wonderful thing to do!

-It was lovely. He was a lovely person.

0:35:340:35:38

I suppose value doesn't really matter, they have such sentimental value.

0:35:380:35:42

I'd never sell it, I was just interested.

0:35:420:35:43

Terry Frost, the major oils can make

0:35:430:35:46

tens of thousands of pounds now, he's seriously well regarded.

0:35:460:35:49

A colour lithograph print from the '50s, which is a great period too,

0:35:490:35:53

this was just after he was working with Hepworth down in St Ives

0:35:530:35:56

and this is probably worth about £600 to £800.

0:35:560:36:00

And the cards, they can be worth anything from

0:36:000:36:04

£200 to £300,

0:36:040:36:05

maybe up to £400 to £600 for a truly original work,

0:36:050:36:10

but certainly works by Terry Frost now are seriously collected, internationally,

0:36:100:36:15

-literally worldwide, and it's a pleasure to see them. Thank you.

-Thanks very much.

0:36:150:36:20

-Are these family jewels?

-Yes, that's right.

0:36:250:36:28

What's their history in the family with you?

0:36:280:36:31

They always seemed to be there, you know, from Grandma, really.

0:36:310:36:34

-Did they?

-Yes.

0:36:340:36:36

-And have you been wearing that one?

-I have worn it, yes.

0:36:360:36:39

And most of your life? Tell me about its history for you.

0:36:390:36:42

Well, Mother used to wear it, yes.

0:36:420:36:46

-And you're a Coventry girl, aren't you?

-Yes, that's right.

0:36:460:36:49

-You've lived through all Coventry's terrible history as well as its marvellous history.

-That's right.

0:36:490:36:54

-At the time of its worst trouble, where were these kept in the house?

-Upstairs.

0:36:540:36:59

And where were you?

0:36:590:37:00

I was downstairs when the Blitz was on, with Mother under the stairs,

0:37:000:37:04

and father was fire-watching on the corner.

0:37:040:37:08

-That must have given terror a whole new meaning.

-It did, yes.

0:37:080:37:13

You know, when the bombs were dropping, we were all scared.

0:37:130:37:17

And then, cos it was the fire bombs that dropped on top of the cathedral,

0:37:170:37:21

they burnt the roof, the screen, the floor and the pews.

0:37:210:37:25

Then, you see, it just had to burn

0:37:250:37:27

because there was no water to put out the fires,

0:37:270:37:30

all the water hydrants were put out of action, yes.

0:37:300:37:34

What is remarkable about jewellery, about family jewellery really,

0:37:340:37:38

is that it is a link with the past and it goes from one generation to another.

0:37:380:37:42

The miracle for us today is you're sitting in the burnt-out cathedral,

0:37:420:37:47

sitting with your family jewels and both of them have come through.

0:37:470:37:51

Yes. That's right, through the Blitz.

0:37:510:37:54

This is a Victorian gold bracelet.

0:37:540:37:57

It may have been made in Birmingham which is incredibly close by.

0:37:570:38:01

-Yes, yes.

-And it's nine carat gold.

0:38:010:38:03

It's a very popular form and a very desirable form because it's so wearable.

0:38:030:38:07

And I suppose it dates from about 1890

0:38:070:38:10

-and might've been your Granny's present.

-Yes, it was Grandma's.

0:38:100:38:13

-Perhaps for her wedding.

-Yes.

-It's a lovely thing.

0:38:130:38:16

-This one is a Victorian vinaigrette, a silver one.

-That's right.

0:38:160:38:21

A vinaigrette actually more often than not contained scent,

0:38:210:38:25

-rather than vinegar as the name suggests.

-Yes, yes.

0:38:250:38:28

In a time, frankly, when there was more of an assault

0:38:280:38:33

on one's nostrils than there might be today.

0:38:330:38:35

So you simply opened that up and found, you know, a scent within it,

0:38:350:38:39

held it to your nose, and it dates from the 1870s.

0:38:390:38:42

It's made by a popular Birmingham craftsman called George Unite.

0:38:420:38:47

The value of these things is jolly, jolly pleasing

0:38:470:38:50

because that one's so wearable.

0:38:500:38:52

If you were to go and buy that in a smart retail shop today,

0:38:520:38:55

well, maybe...maybe £600 or £700.

0:38:550:38:59

-Never!

-To buy it again, absolutely!

0:38:590:39:01

And then this one here,

0:39:010:39:04

astonishingly £200 or £300.

0:39:040:39:06

Never! I can't believe it. It's fantastic.

0:39:060:39:10

-They're an emblem of survival, aren't they?

-That's right.

0:39:100:39:13

You came through, these came through

0:39:130:39:15

-and that's the only thing that really matters.

-Yes.

0:39:150:39:17

-What a wonderful thing, thanks for bringing it.

-That's all right.

0:39:170:39:21

I've seen a number of three-handled cups,

0:39:210:39:24

and mugs and things over the years, they're usually called loving cups,

0:39:240:39:28

but I've never seen one with three handles and three spouts.

0:39:280:39:32

It sounds like you're up for some wild parties with this!

0:39:320:39:35

But the first thing I notice,

0:39:350:39:38

it's got an interesting inscription on the lid which says,

0:39:380:39:41

"Presented by the Guild of Freeman of the City of London

0:39:410:39:44

"to the City of Coventry Freeman's Guild

0:39:440:39:46

"to commemorate its incorporation, 9th March 1946."

0:39:460:39:51

-Well, I'm a Freeman of the City of London.

-Oh, right!

0:39:510:39:54

So I'm interested to know how this has come into your possession,

0:39:540:39:59

and to know actually if it's used, and are you a member of this guild?

0:39:590:40:03

Certainly I'm a member of this guild,

0:40:030:40:05

-and the Coventry Guild goes back to 1300 or something like that.

-Right.

0:40:050:40:09

But it was dissolved by Henry VIII.

0:40:090:40:11

-In the mid 16th century.

-Absolutely.

0:40:110:40:14

It was reformed again in 1946, and at that time

0:40:140:40:18

the City of London presented us with this as a gift for our guild.

0:40:180:40:24

-You asked the question, is it used?

-Yes.

-It is used very regular.

0:40:240:40:28

How come you haven't brought some wine along for us to try it out?

0:40:280:40:31

I didn't know if it was allowed in the cathedral!

0:40:310:40:35

Well, that's great to hear that it's still used. And how...

0:40:350:40:38

It was passed from person to person, so would I hand it

0:40:380:40:41

with my right hand or left hand? Which direction does it go?

0:40:410:40:45

The ceremony of the loving cup means three people are standing at the same time.

0:40:450:40:50

-Right.

-The person drinking,

0:40:500:40:51

one to the left, who will actually take the cup,

0:40:510:40:54

take the lid from the cup and bow to each other.

0:40:540:40:57

That's to your left, that would be.

0:40:570:40:59

The one to the right would actually turn his back on you

0:40:590:41:02

-and defend your back while you're drinking.

-Ah!

0:41:020:41:06

It's to stop you being stabbed in the back whilst taking a drink!

0:41:060:41:09

-Well, I think Coventry's moved on a bit since that!

-Yeah.

0:41:090:41:13

-And did you drink out the spout?

-You do, yeah.

0:41:130:41:15

-Oh, right.

-You need to drink from the spout,

0:41:150:41:18

if you try to drink anywhere else you're liable to wear...

0:41:180:41:21

two stripes down your shirt!

0:41:210:41:23

Well, you know, the history behind it is wonderful,

0:41:230:41:26

but I've got to tell you that as a piece of silver, this weighs a ton.

0:41:260:41:30

It's fabulously made.

0:41:300:41:32

If we look inside, we see that the decoration

0:41:320:41:36

on the outside is not embossed, it's not pushed out from the inside,

0:41:360:41:39

all this is applied, so that's a much more time-consuming procedure.

0:41:390:41:45

It also has all these rather interesting little...

0:41:450:41:48

what they call cabochon cut agates, cabochon meaning just the rounded surface to it.

0:41:480:41:54

But all this decoration, which is done in a very sort of Art Nouveau,

0:41:540:41:58

bordering onto Arts and Crafts style. And...

0:41:580:42:03

We've got a coat of arms on here. Do you know anything about it?

0:42:030:42:06

-Unfortunately, no, very little.

-Right.

0:42:060:42:08

We've got other bits of information here.

0:42:080:42:11

The maker's mark, C & Co, is for Carrington and Company

0:42:110:42:15

who were well-known London retailers.

0:42:150:42:17

But perhaps most importantly, because this piece,

0:42:170:42:20

although it was presented in 1946, was actually made in 1908.

0:42:200:42:25

-Oh, right!

-So we're right in the middle of the Art Nouveau period.

0:42:250:42:30

But a fabulous piece of silver. I've never seen anything quite like it.

0:42:300:42:35

I'd love to see it in action one day!

0:42:350:42:37

You'd be most welcome.

0:42:370:42:39

Well, I would say, because of the amount of workmanship in this piece,

0:42:390:42:44

it's got to be insured for anything between £10,000 and £15,000.

0:42:440:42:50

-Oh, right!

-It's a really lovely piece of silver.

0:42:500:42:53

It's quirky, it's got history. Thank you for bringing it along.

0:42:530:42:57

Absolute pleasure, thanks for all your information,

0:42:570:42:59

that'll be most useful to us.

0:42:590:43:01

Two powerful themes at Coventry are remembrance and reconciliation,

0:43:030:43:08

and to prove the point, an exact replica of this statue

0:43:080:43:12

here in the ruins of the old cathedral, stands in the Garden of Peace in Hiroshima, Japan.

0:43:120:43:17

It was presented on behalf of the people of Coventry.

0:43:170:43:20

We shall certainly remember our visit, so thanks to the Dean

0:43:200:43:24

and all Coventrians for their welcome and showing us their treasures.

0:43:240:43:27

For now, goodbye.

0:43:270:43:29

Michael Aspel and the team value antiques and heirlooms at Coventry Cathedral. Pulses race when Henry Sandon values three precious pots at £8,000. A famous artist's doodle turns out to be worth 7,000 pounds and some surprising relics from World War II also make an appearance.