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We know when we're in for a great day because amidst
the clamour of the crowds there's an inner silence.
It's our experts, like Alec here, concentrating hard
before they let loose on some fine object put before them.
There were lots of those here when our charabanc arrived in Somerset.
So much so, that we could welcome you to a second helping
of great finds from Wells.
The Roadshow is all about discovery, revealing the story of antiquities
that have survived through the centuries, that have touched
people's lives, and sometimes
tell us a little something about how we live today.
And all of that applies to where we find ourselves now.
Just look at this.
People sit and admire the west front of the cathedral,
rather like our experts scrutinise a painting
and it's an amazing achievement,
given that work was begun on it almost 800 years ago.
Inside is no less impressive.
Engineers today are awestruck by the brilliance of 14th-century thinking.
These scissor arches stabilise the whole building and prevent
the collapse of the central tower, much of it made from local limestone
quarried from the Mendips.
This has to be my favourite corner - the tomb of Bishop Bitton reputedly
the most ancient engraved slab in England and at one time
thought to be a cure for toothache.
According to legend, one touch and the agony was gone,
which is why it's so worn here.
In the 19th century when they opened up the tomb, they discovered
the skeleton of the bishop perfectly preserved and every tooth intact.
There are four ancient gates which shut off the palace from the rest
of the city, odd you might think, for a bishop's home to be built
in such a defensive manner,
with a moat, portcullis, even a chute
for pouring molten lead or oil on would-be attackers,
but it was built during a time of real social unrest,
so they weren't taking any chances.
Today, the drawbridge is down as we welcome the people of Wells
to the gardens of the Bishop's Palace.
Now, I can see you're holding a Bunnykins bowl, that takes me back
to the 1970s when I worked for Royal Doulton and surprisingly I had a lot
to do with Bunnykins cos I was involved in their history,
but tell me, why have you got the bowl?
I'm here with the bowl because my...
I'm the niece of the original artist.
Barbara Vernon Bailey.
So I've brought along the bowl, but I've also brought along
the original painting to go with it.
Which I have here
and this is a drawing by Barbara Vernon Bailey for that bowl.
For that bowl.
She intrigued me because...
most people I think know she was a nun and suddenly
one day she invented this, sort of,
series of rabbits and her family ran the company at that point,
and they put it into production
and to everybody's amazement it took off.
-And has gone on and gone on and gone on. What was she like?
She taught me, I was at school, in her school and she taught me,
she was terrifying, one assumes
because she painted rabbits she was gentle and soft.
Lovely and Beatrix Potter-y.
But she was terrifying, very tall with an enormous hooked nose
and an enormous chin and she would lean over you and sort of...
Very strict and everyone was terrified of her.
-So, this is very unlike her, really?
-Completely, completely alien to...
-We all knew her as Babs.
Completely alien to the person I know.
That's what I love because I wanted to know
what an extraordinary person,
who is a nun who designs rabbit tableware and you've answered.
-Not, not who you assume.
-Not what you expect.
I mean to be fair it was a very, very successful design, early 1930s,
onward and onward, there are hundreds of designs
and hundreds of collectors, because there are rare designs
and early versions and all that sort of collector stuff.
-Is this the only drawing you've got?
-No, I do have one other drawing.
-And again related to a piece.
-Yes, I mean I have about 60 pieces.
So, lovely drawing, there's the bowl, what's the drawing worth?
-No idea, they're pretty rare.
I think a Bunnykins collector is going to pay £300, £500
for one with a provenance like yours.
-It couldn't be better, straight out of the family.
Out of the nuns' lair, as you might say, out of the convent.
I didn't steal it.
Actually, on the back, it says Christmas present.
So we've got rather a lot riding on this question,
and the question is, is this an original drawing by Renoir?
-It came into the family through an uncle who was a dealer, really.
With a very, very good eye.
-A good eye.
-A very good eye.
-Did he have very good pictures?
-Yes, he did, he...
He did have good pictures. He also had a lot of glass
and china, which went to the Ashmolean
and he had quite a lot that went to Bristol City Museum, so...
His name was Jimmy Montfort, and...
A lot of modern things too which was interesting, Bacon, for example.
-So he had a roving eye, you might say.
A very, very roving eye, absolutely.
-But very, very high quality.
-Very high quality.
Most of his collection is now in museums.
Well, then we've got to take this object very seriously indeed.
The first thing to say about it is...
with the frame and everything... what a pretty thing it is.
It is, it's been on our... since Sarah and I can remember,
-forever, and it...
-You're sisters, are you?
-Yes, we are.
And it's just been part of the fabric of wherever we've lived.
But you've never asked the question, "Is it a print or a drawing?"
We've always been led to believe it's a print, we never queried it.
Right. OK, well we've got to find out, because if it's an original
it's worth, you know, well into five figures,
and who knows where you stop after that?
It's, it's incredibly convincing as a drawing,
this is the thing, isn't it?
There are ways of telling, but I'm afraid all of them
involve taking it out of the frame, so we've got to start with that.
Put the frame down here.
And then, the first thing we can see
is that it's on quite a thin sheet of paper,
and, er, if we look there, there's a sort of blind stamp there.
-Um, now the question is...
is that a collector's mark or a publisher's mark?
What do you mean by a blind stamp?
That is when it's embossed and it's actually pushed
into the paper rather than a stamp where it's been inked
-and then stamped onto the paper.
Um, and usually, when they're, when they're blind stamped,
I have to say, it's usually a publisher's thing,
when they're pushed through the paper, so that's the first clue.
You could have told that without taking it out of the frame,
but, um, the next thing we do, is that we've got to look at it
in a raking light, at a very, very slanting light.
Luckily we've got some nice sun which is English September,
so we'll use that. If you hold it up to a very raking light,
so you catch the surface texture of the paper and the marks on it,
what you're looking for is a change in the sheen that you can see.
There should be a mattness where the crayon is.
The next thing I'd do is actually hold it up to the light again,
but this time we're looking through the paper
rather than on the paper, and if you hold it up,
you can actually see that it's on laid paper,
which means that's a wire mesh that they've dropped the wet paper onto
and lifted it out of the water,
and it leaves the wire marks as a slightly thinner area in the paper.
Um, that's actually a good sign, because if it was on a woven paper,
that's not made that way, it wouldn't have those wire marks,
and a lot of prints were. However,
put it flat down again, look at the drawing and you'll see
that the crayon has picked up
lines from the laid paper that it was drawn on.
You can actually see them, very faintly along here
and if we lift it up to the light again,
you can see that those lines do not correspond
with the laid paper lines of this paper.
-Do you see?
-Yes, very clearly.
So we need to catch that line there, which is actually
the line of the drawing, and then compare it to this line here,
which is the line of the paper,
and the same here, and the same here.
I'm afraid it's a clincher, it's a print.
-There's no way round that.
-I'm really, really sorry.
It would have been too amazing for it to have been anything else.
-We never thought that it was anything else.
-No, we didn't.
But it's great to have asked the question.
As a decorative object in that frame, it's absolutely lovely.
-And its provenance is special to us.
-Its provenance is very good, erm...
A couple of hundred pounds is the most I could really put on it.
-Thank you so much.
"This sword was given to my grandfather, Thomas Atkins,
"timber merchant of Northampton Wharf, Regents Park, North West,
"by a manservant of Lord Nelson's, who was friendly with my grandfather
"and he gave it for some services in connection of wood
"supplied for the funeral of Lord Nelson,"
-and it's signed, Rosa J Atkins.
-That's great, isn't it?
Erm, my grandfather... His mother used to clean for a Miss Atkins
and she took a liking to him and decided,
because she had no children, she would pass the sword on
to my grandfather, so it's been in our family for three generations.
Right, as it refers to wood in connection with the funeral
of Lord Nelson, it might be just the coffin that Nelson
was transferred into at the time, who knows?
-It's one of those things lost to history.
And when one takes the sword out of its scabbard, look at that...
A mercuric gilded blade.
Now this of course is illegal today, you mustn't do any mercuric gilding,
so many young apprentices were killed
through the fumes getting into their lungs when the blades
were taken out of the vats that they made it illegal.
There were more fatalities in the cutlery trade than any other trade
-in London at the time.
But to, to see this in this condition,
it is truly, truly wonderful.
It's a sword that would be carried by a naval officer, of course,
and the date of manufacture would be around about 1800.
A very well-known London maker, and of course the grips are ivory.
-I notice that they've got the Hanoverian coat of arms
on the blade.
-Would it have been a dress sword?
-No, no, it's a fighting sword.
A lot of people think that because the blades are blued and gilt,
they are purely for show. They're not.
-This is a fighting sword.
I would value this sword at somewhere between 6 and £8,000.
Well, we're seeing two family miniatures here
in the lovely autumn sunlight, tell me all about them.
Well, the first one there that you've got
is a miniature portrait of Lord Robert Carr,
who was the second son of the 3rd Marquis,
and he was killed at the Battle of Culloden,
so this is a memorial bracelet really, but the Carrs in fact sided
with the Hanoverians, which was...
from the Scottish point of view, was rather, not so good, really.
-And defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746.
Extraordinary, isn't it?
People remember it as one of the bloodiest confrontations
in the United Kingdom. It was hideous, wasn't it?
A horrendous slaughter.
I mean, he was one of the few Hanoverians who actually
-was killed by the Highlanders.
-And the Duke of Cumberland
was Commander in Chief and had the curious accolade
of Butcher Cumberland due the way he pursued and murdered the Scots.
He pursued the Scots and this man's brother and father pursued...
Went with Cumberland and did the dirty work, as it were.
My goodness. What a terrifying story.
The funny thing is that it certainly is an 18th-century miniature,
but the bracelet is 19th century.
-Oh, is it?
-And what's interesting is that it's been cut down
to be accommodated into this bracelet,
his head is too far up in the, sort of, composition.
This is... I think it was owned by my ancestor, his great-nephew,
Lord Mark Carr, who was a sailor,
and he was very strongly establishment.
Yes, I see, strong establishment.
And he would... He liked the association
with the fact that he'd been killed at Culloden
and he was showing his loyalty to the Crown.
My goodness! That's certainly evident from that.
-And that would have been worn by his wife.
I suppose there was a great antiquarian interest
in one's ancestors, and that's probably how that happened,
because the bracelet, in my view, is about 1840
-and certainly not an 18th-century one.
And it's very interesting, but your family goes on with yet more
fascinating connections in the form of this one.
-Tell me, tell me about that.
-That was given to my great-grandmother,
and she had been Queen Victoria's
lady of the bedchamber and lady-in-waiting.
And, and clearly it is a memento of great affection, isn't it?
And it says just that, it says, "For Countess Antrim,
"from her affectionate Victoria RI..." -
Queen and Empress it means -
"..1891," and it's 30 years after Albert's death,
she was 30 years a widow, wasn't she?
-Well, 40 years a widow, but this was her 30th year,
and it's interesting that she chooses opals
as Prince Albert's favourite stone was the opal,
he was fascinated in the refracted light that it makes, and, um,
by this time she was Empress of India
and presided over two thirds of the world's surface
and three quarters of its population,
so if you had a bracelet from her, it was rather a good thing to have.
-I bet there was a very deep curtsey
-when she received that, don't you think?
-I should think so, yes!
-One of the things that she did was -
my great-grandmother - she used to...
She was quite a tall woman, and she used...
when Queen Victoria went into Hyde Park,
-she used to run alongside the carriage.
A sort of marathon lady-in-waiting!
Sort of, jogging!
That's how she stayed thin, there's evidence she was thin
-because she's got a tiny wrist.
Aren't they marvellous? That's what jewellery is all about really,
and family connections.
This one here is of great historical interest, maybe 6, £700 for that.
I think something quite different for this, this has enormous appeal,
it has to be 4, £5,000,
and in a way that's only a fraction of what it means to you and I, so...
-Absolutely, yes, one doesn't think of value in...
-No, not at all.
-..these sort of objects.
-No, one doesn't,
and I'm thrilled with them, thanks so much, brilliant. Wonderful.
Lady Bowman, you've a fascinating story to tell about your time
in the run-up to the Second World War and during the war.
You started off as a debutante in the run-up to the war, didn't you?
In fact, we've got a picture of you here. Tell me about this.
Well, yes, well, I had...
-By the way, do call me Christian.
-Christian, I will, thank you.
We had a lovely time, we had a wonderful summer,
which was nothing but, sort of, dances and champagne and music,
and, oh, it was gorgeous,
and just like that, down came the war, and literally, within...
oh, just over weeks, I was in an absolutely horrible factory.
How did that come about? Because you decided
that the life of a debutante was not for you,
and you wanted to go to work in a factory
making rivets for Halifax bombers. Why did you decide to do that?
All the chaps in my family were in the Army,
and one of my brothers was at home on leave and I said,
"What shall I do?" And he said, with a certain wisdom
beyond his years, he said, "This war is going to need aeroplanes,
"why don't you see if you can get a job in an aeroplane factory?"
And then we both looked at each other.
I didn't know how to do it, so he looked
in the London telephone directory,
and the first entry he came to which he knew the name of,
was the name of the... Handley Page, they were called,
who made these bombers. And so I rang up
and asked to speak to the staff manager,
who was a bit surprised, but anyway, within a week I had a job there.
And your job was doing what?
Well, this is three little bits of metal,
and they came to me in little, sort of, jagged shapes,
just stamped out, and I had to bend them
into the right shape and drill them with these little holes, the reason
I have this one is that I made that hole crooked, so it wasn't any good.
Of course, because it would have to be absolutely precise.
-I can see, it's gone in at an angle there.
I don't know what you call them, but they went into
the leading edge of Halifax bombers all along there.
Have you met any of the people
who flew the planes for which you made these?
-These key, small-but-essential bits of metal.
After the Times published my letter saying,
"Please, I want to meet somebody who flew Halifaxes,"
one came through the letterbox eventually
from a squadron leader saying would I go and join them
at their reunion, and I was absolutely thrilled,
and so I went and they were absolutely so nice to me,
and every single one of these people are heroes,
they are all brave, brave men who flew these planes
night after night after night. Some of them had done over 50 sorties,
being shot at and, you know...
I'm looking, this is someone from the Royal Canadian Air Force there.
Yes, there were all sorts of nationalities,
including Swedish, rather strangely.
DFC here, so recognised, yes, with a medal.
And I'm just so glad that there's still this...
Some, sadly, are not, of course...
But they're here and they're having a good time,
-I hope. We certainly did.
-We certainly had a good time
hearing your story, thank you so much.
It's a tiny cupboard, look, I can put my hand on it like that,
as you can, but small though it is,
it is absolutely stuffed full of something
that, in a way, we'll never see, it won't fall out -
it's social history.
So let's show there...
-and it's clearly a 20th-century key cupboard.
And you fell in love with it. Why? What was the thing?
Nothing to do with keys. I found this in a antique shop in West London.
I walked into the shop, it was on the wall, the door was closed,
-I opened the door and realised what it was.
And one of the first key fobs I read
is down here which is, "Miss Naomi McGore's jewel case,"
and I just was enchanted.
Did you know of the family when you bought it?
Not at all.
-Right, and how did you track it down?
-Um, well some of the keys
-had the name McGore on them.
-And really I wanted to find where the key case came from.
-Because obviously it belongs to a house.
And I went on the internet and I did some research
and I actually found out that the McGores
-lived in Horsham in West Sussex.
-And the house?
-It is called Forest Grange.
-And does it still exist?
-That's remarkable, isn't it? Let's look at the object itself.
Here we have the wireless cabinet, two wireless cabinets,
so they were obviously very advanced, technically.
They had Daimlers, they even mention the make of car, erm,
and so on, then they had a cricket pitch as well, didn't they?
-Where did I see the cricket pitch?
There it is, and in the pavilion they had a dining room
with its own lock, so they were obviously very wealthy.
If we look here, we see this colour-coded chart.
-Now Bramah keys were actually very advanced in their time.
They were invented in the late-18th century,
-although this is obviously much later.
-And so you could...
With one key, you could open every single lock in the house.
-Here's the master key.
And so other persons, their key would only open certain locks
relevant to their job in the house.
-Oh, right, right.
-And so we can look down here,
and here we have Mr McGore, the owner of the house,
and his key, number one...
It fits everything all the way down.
Should he want to, he could go into everything,
and the gardener here, with key number three,
and he can open far fewer locks, look, absolutely blank,
and I suspect we won't get any colour
-until we get to outside things.
And here we have it, all laid out in front of us,
there's the occupations, there's the keys that they had access,
there's the cupboards, the rooms, the stores that they had access to,
and the tragedy is, of course,
the tragedy is that, you know, not long after this was made,
so many of the male staff of this house were killed.
They would have joined up, and they would have
gone to the trenches, and how many of them came back?
In a way this is, this is sort of evocative
of the last throes of the Edwardian, grand country house...
-..that simply wasn't going to reappear after the war.
-You loved it.
-And you paid...?
-How long ago?
-Ten years ago.
That, to me, is an indication of how much you loved it.
-I did, I fell in love with it.
-But I think it's...
It's gone up a little bit, but in real terms, not a great deal.
-Let's say £500 in round figures.
-Oh, right, that surprises me.
I wouldn't matter if it hadn't increased a penny,
-Well, I think it slightly has.
-It's not the money, like you say.
Now, it's the era before the movies, it's before the television,
it's before everything that we take as entertainment today,
and yet there were interesting moving images around,
-this being one of them.
-And it was down to a device called a magic lantern.
And these are some of the slides that went with the magic lantern.
Now, tell me a little bit about what we have here.
I noticed on this particular slide,
there were some initials, here we go, WMS.
That's my grandfather's name, William Martin Smith.
And what was his profession?
He was a public wharfinger.
Nobody knows what a public wharfinger is.
Is it something that you get locked up for, or...(?)
It's public warehouse keeping, but on the banks of the River Thames,
he had one of those big warehouses the barges came up to.
So that was his day job, but in the evening he was...
-Was he something else?
-Yes, he was closely involved with the church,
so this was part of the entertainment and education of the children.
There were dozens of companies producing magic lanterns,
the devices themselves.
-And, of course, then the slides to go with them.
Now the slides came in various types, didn't they?
I mean, I've perhaps picked one of the more interesting ones,
but some of the, the less exciting perhaps, more prosaic,
are ones that don't move.
Things like this which are panoramas of different things going on,
it looks like all sorts of high jinks.
Sort of Guy Fawkes night.
It certainly looks as if there's some sort of party going on there.
Yes, there's another one that shows Queen Victoria's
procession to the House Of Lords.
Ah, and there she is,
The Queen Going To The House Of Lords, fabulous.
Yes, all hand-painted.
Have you ever seen a magic lantern show itself?
Well, yes, we've got a magic lantern at home
-and my father used to show these slides.
Well, now, this one, I rather like.
Showing the curvature of the Earth.
Showing the curvature of the Earth,
this is a lever-operated slide
where there's a man standing on the top of the world there,
just as we feel today, on top of the world, don't we?
So there they are on top of the world, and you can see the ship
disappearing over the horizon line
and then if I switch the lever
back the other way, up it comes,
first of all you see the masts,
a bit more of the masts, the sails,
and then you see the whole ship
as it comes up over the surface of the Earth.
The most valuable individual slide...
-..is going to be the chromatrope slide,
and this particular one is going to be worth
-about £150, which is good news.
So, if we're adding it all together, I would have thought
we're getting on for perhaps between 800 and £1,000 on a good day.
-I'm very pleased I came!
-I'm delighted, and let's just finish,
we'll send everybody into psychedelia land
by finishing on this one, off you go.
# Oh, it's such a perfect day
# I'm glad I spent it with you
# Oh, such a perfect day
# You just keep me hangin' on
# You just keep me hangin' on... #
I use it to keep all my bills and my envelopes and my writing stuff
down here, and actually I've just found something at the back
that I didn't know was there,
and above I use it as a china display cabinet.
It seems to me that that's what it was made for,
-a display cabinet. It's a very feminine piece of furniture.
It's absolutely tremendous, it's got slightly odd proportions.
It's a very tall piece of furniture, the cornice in particular
is a bit on the narrow side,
but the eye is taken by the painting across the frieze which is lovely.
Then you've got these Corinthian capitals which stick out
very prominently on top of the reeded columns
which come down the side in a very architectural way,
which lead the eye down past all the wonderful ceramics,
or whatever one's got in there, to this extraordinary...
it should be a cylinder top,
but it's kind of flattened cylinder top, it's kind of a mixture
between a cylinder and a secretaire, a flat-fronted secretaire,
or a fall-front secretaire. And then on down
into what becomes a pedestal desk,
so you've got storage, the sort of business end and the display end,
but this must have been made for a woman, do you think?
Yes, I was thinking maybe Lady Hamilton or something like that.
Well, absolutely, and original to the early-19th century,
-I think exactly the period you were saying, of Lady Hamilton.
And so let's have a quick look inside, and I think
you might need to help me. Oh, it goes back very easily.
So there we've got drawers,
pigeon holes, as you'd expect and it might look a little bit low,
but in fact this slides out so you can get your knees underneath it.
Here, a little reading slide,
so everything for the, the blue stocking, in a way.
So I think it's...
an absolutely splendid piece, so where could it have been made?
erm... Or one of the centres out of London.
York was a great centre,
Bristol even was a great centre of furniture making,
-but I don't think you're ever going to know for sure.
Now, is this a family piece, or how did you come to get...?
Well, my grandmother acquired it during the Second World War
from an antique dealer in Andover, and she got a lot of stuff from him,
and I think she got it at very reasonable prices.
I think now you'd be looking at
about £5,000 if you were to try and sell it.
So, it's such a decorative piece.
Well, I...I really love it.
-And Lady Hamilton stays in the mind!
-Why did you bring me a toast rack?
-I don't know.
I was thinking, "What'll I take?" And it was there and I thought,
"I'll take it," never dreaming that you'd think enough of it to show it.
I think it's wonderful, what do you think it is?
Well, at first, when I first saw it in a charity shop on a shelf,
I thought it was 1970s, because in the '70s or '80s,
-we had a sort of revival of this brown, didn't we?
-Yeah, we did.
Then when I reached and put it down,
I thought, no, it is different,
it reminded me of like the Doulton Harvest jugs.
So I looked for a Doulton mark, but there isn't one,
so I was disappointed, but it was £6.
You're halfway there, you said Doulton, it's not Doulton,
but it is salt-glazed stoneware.
-Ah, so... Ahh...!
-So, where else was salt-glazed stoneware made?
It was made in Derby, it was made in Bristol, it was made in Nottingham.
I'm going to go for Nottingham.
-That sort of soft colour that you get in the Nottingham ones.
Doulton is often much darker, but it's the same material.
I think this is about 1840s, 1850s.
-And it's so rare, because I've discussed it
with one or two of my colleagues, none of us have ever seen
a salt-glazed stoneware toast rack.
The decoration is Rococo Revival, which was at that period,
but all these things are wonky. You know, and I can see them
thinking, "Let's make toast racks." They had a go and they thought,
"Oh, not very good, it doesn't work very well,
"Give up, don't bother with toast racks." Go on making the jars
and the pots they're good at, so I think there were very few
salt-glazed stoneware toast racks. And it is immaculate.
-I know, I couldn't believe it myself.
So, £6 in a charity shop.
Well, I think this is a...
a very expensive toast rack, I think we're going to say...
Wow! SHE LAUGHS
-Yes, a lot of money.
-It is, for a toast rack,
but it's not a lot for a very, very rare salt-glazed stoneware one.
This is a spectacular group
of late-18th, early-19th century miniatures,
all pastels, and they're absolutely wonderful,
especially with these frames and these lovely swags here.
Now, are they your family?
They're my mother's family, who lived at the Manor House in Frenchay,
-the Tanner family.
And they've just always been passed down to my mother,
her mother and down the family.
-And do you know all the names of the sitters on here?
This one on the right, here, the elder lady,
I think I'd be rather worried if she was my mother-in-law,
-I quite agree, yes.
The ones down here which are absolutely charming,
beautifully observed pastels, look at that.
Um, we come to the name of the artist
-and I see, on the back of one, it's got James Sharples.
Which is very interesting, because in the late-18th century
and early-19th century, if you wanted to be painted,
you'd go, you know, to a really good portrait painter,
and, of course, portrait painters went where the money was.
-Now he was an interesting man, born in Lancashire,
and was supposed to be a pupil of Romney's,
but came down to work in Bath, and he also
worked in New York and Philadelphia, which is really interesting
-for a pastel portrait painter.
-Yes, at that time, yeah.
Yeah, and I would think, you know, these would have been...
I'd have thought that these would have been painted
in the Bath area. He came down to Bath in the early 1800s,
and these look to have been painted sort of 1800-1805,
-that sort of date. Would that tie in with what you know?
And on the back of one of them, from...
My grandfather wrote notes on the back, and he's around, circa 1800.
So is this how you hang them at home?
Um, no, there are some swags that join them all together,
I've got a picture here.
God, they're wonderful!
It's like something off a Wedgwood pattern,
-all those swags there?
And what adds value to these, which I think is so interesting,
is that James Staples worked in America and in England.
-And because he worked in America and England,
er, it would add value because of the American connection.
-Yes. Oh, right, yes.
-So we then come to putting a value on them,
and I think, as I said, if he'd been a normal English artist,
I would have said 4 to 6, 5 to £700.
-I think this is worth certainly £1,000 to £1,500...
I think this one's worth 1,000 to 1,500,
-even though she's quite fearsome, it's beautifully done.
-These are worth 1,000. I think some of the lesser ones like this...
..which are slightly rubbed, because pastel can be rubbed quite easily...
-..are worth, probably, sort of
6 to £800, so it mounts up, you know, you've got one,
-two, three, four, you've got about £6,000-worth there.
-Well, thank you.
-Thank you very much.
"Am I not a man...
"and a brother?"
And there's the figure of a kneeling slave...
"British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society."
-What an interesting object.
-How did it come to you?
in 1960 my mother bought a table from a friend of a friend
who was moving into an old people's home,
and she paid £5 for the table, which was a Victorian card table,
beautiful table, she's still got it. That was in the drawer.
-So it was...
-A complete surprise that it was there.
-And it's basically been in a drawer
for the last 50 years. That's carnelian I believe.
Yeah, carnelian just like my ring, which is also a cameo.
Hm, and I presume that's silver.
-I think that is.
-Or maybe pewter.
-I think it's steel.
This is a seal, and you would need something
really, really strong, so lignum vitae
or maybe rosewood with a steel cuff and then this lovely carnelian...
It's a beautiful thing, and let's see whether it works.
Now, I'm going to push really hard,
and let's keep our fingers crossed
that it doesn't hang on.
Well, it's better than nothing, isn't it?
Actually, it shows you just how finely carved that is.
Thinking backwards to carve that relief and getting all the muscles
and the detail, the perspective of the figure is some tribute.
Now, this is an image I recognise from my ceramics background.
In 1787, Josiah Wedgwood, who was a prominent member
-of the Anti-Slavery Society...
..commissioned one of his artists,
we think it was William Hackwood, a very talented carver of cameos,
to create a special medallion which shows a kneeling slave...
-And that's the same?
More or less in this position, he's actually shown in profile...
-..in the original cameo.
A year later, we know that Josiah Wedgwood
sent over to Benjamin Franklin a whole consignment
of these anti-slavery medallions.
-And because it was such a popular cause
amongst many people in the States,
these medallions were worn as badges...
-Well, rather like, you know, modern political badge.
But as we know,
they didn't succeed in getting slavery abolished until, what, 1833?
-Which is a whole 50-something years later.
Yes, I sort of guessed it was prior to 1830.
Now, this would have belonged...
It would be nice to know who owned that piece of furniture...
This would have been a very, very prominent member I think,
of the Anti-Slavery Society.
This is an incredibly poignant piece of social history,
and for that reason it's going to be worth
a lot more than your average cameo.
I'm going to say it's worth somewhere in the region of...
Well, let's say, £1,500 to £2,000.
Better than a wad of notes, though, isn't it?
Certainly is, and...
Well, the value is meaningless really because it'll go back in the drawer.
What we've got here...
unusually, is face-down,
and it's a mirror...
and what I want to know is...
weren't you dying to get it out of its box
and see what was going on at the back?
-I mean, how long had you had it in the family for?
-All my life.
-You've known it all your life.
-And my father's as well.
So it's been in the family for a long time.
-A long time, and it's been in this case.
-So, very carefully,
with my colleagues, we've taken off the wooden back
and first of all, we've come across some brown paper
with the name "Roberts". Does that mean anything to you?
-Roberts of Rotherham.
-That's it, and that, that's your maiden name.
-My maiden name.
-So that shows it.
-Never seen that before.
-OK, Mr Roberts of Warren House, Rotherham
-was your father?
-So let's just take this away.
I'll put the paper over here.
Oh, my goodness me.
Look at that! Is that green baize? Gosh.
-How fabulous is that?
-Look at this original colour to this lovely, lovely...
That's absolutely astonishing.
-Italian best-quality velvet.
So this is the back of the mirror,
but what's really interesting is...
-Do you see how you've got this line where the colour is different?
-Yes, oh, I know what... Yes.
-And so this was the support
-for the mirror. And it was...
-It's a stand, isn't it?
-Must have been free-standing.
-It's been on a wall for so many years.
It was never meant to be hung,
it was for... It's a lady's toilet mirror.
-Oh, my goodness me!
-Well, let's look at the front and see what we can see there.
-I need your help.
-So if we just lift...
Incredibly heavy! Oh, the dust of ages in here!
Now if we just tip the frame back,
look, out it comes... Wow, what a moment...
-Now, if I support it, perhaps you could just...
That's great, thank you, marvellous.
-And we'll just put it on the easel.
So, here's your mirror.
-What a magnificent thing.
-What we have here is a toilet mirror,
dating from about...1660.
-Oh, it's earlier?
by...let us imagine a young lady of noble birth...
This is a grand piece.
of the crown...the monarch, because we have the King and the Queen...
This is what we call stump work.
-And the stump work are the parts where the embroidery is raised up,
and it is done by stuffing sheep's wool
underneath the embroidery to raise it up off its background.
So if we start down here, what you have is a silk ground
with the outlines drawn out, and then the embroiderer
would have just started with the background, rather as you do
when you're painting a picture, and then...
you do the more complicated bits,
the stump work face here, the stitching forms a little pocket,
you pull the tiny stitches in, it makes it a pouch,
you stuff the face, and then she has the three-dimensional effect.
Now, what do you think these leaves are?
-We guessed at silver or gold?
-Gold leaf that's gone black, is it?
Absolutely right, it's silver thread which has tarnished to the black.
-So can you imagine...
when this was freshly sewn, the vibrancy?
-Must have been absolutely terrific.
the lovely silk at the back, here's more of the velvet along the front,
and what about the tortoise-shell frame?
-It's magnificent, isn't it?
Tortoise-shell was introduced into England in the mid-17th century
through Holland, from the Dutch colonies.
Tortoise-shell was a very rare and very expensive item,
and what they've done here, which you can see
through the tortoise-shell here is, the ground of the frame is covered
in foil, silver foil, and then the tortoise-shell is set over the foil,
so in the candlelight, this would have all scintillated and sparkled.
It's a sign of immensely expensive, good-quality piece of workmanship.
Well, where on earth does one start to put a price on it?
And I think that...
collectors - in spite of its condition -
would be prepared to pay somewhere between £5,000 and £7,000 for it.
That's absolutely stunning.
It was worth coming back to Wells for a second helping.
Glorious objects, and the weather wasn't bad either.
Thanks to the Bishop for letting us camp out in his wonderful gardens.
From the Roadshow, bye-bye.