Fiona Bruce introduces previously unscreened finds from Lanhydrock in Cornwall and Bodnant Garden in north Wales. Items include jewellery, a rare painting and photos.
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It's not just grand houses we get to visit on the Roadshow.
We see some of the most beautiful gardens in the land as well,
and we've two of them to share with you,
with some unseen gems from two of our most beautifully manicured venues.
One of the things I like best about the Roadshow is that it's one big guessing game.
Thousands of people stagger along,
laden down with mysterious bags and packages,
and their first port of call is what we call Reception.
That's where we get our first peek.
And it's my favourite place on the Roadshow.
I love trying to fathom out what's inside our visitors' bags and why they've brought them.
But I'm just a beginner at this.
People like Henry here are the masters of the game.
Our experts see thousands of objects pass before their eyes at every Roadshow,
and every now and again they come across a really exciting find.
Tonight we're bringing you rich pickings from two recent shows -
from the gardens here at Bodnant in North Wales,
and from our visit to the Cornish coast when we dropped anchor at Lanhydrock.
There it was Bunny Campione's turn to make an exciting discovery.
So this is known as an automaton, which is a singing bird,
or mechanical clock automaton, so it's got everything in it.
Tell me, how long have you had it?
Me, personally, about 25 years, because that's when I married
-my husband and it was his clock, not mine, sort of thing.
But I don't know how long he had it before then.
It just came with him!
Marry me, marry my automaton!
It's by the firm of Blaise Bontems in Paris.
And he founded his workshop in 1849,
and they went right through to the 20th century
but they were well known as mechanical clock-makers.
He then patented a singing bird, which he then became famous for.
In fact, he had all sorts of birds, including nightingales,
and he made a beautiful clock for the Tsar of Russia in 1850,
which had a lovely jewelled egg, which opened on the half hour to reveal a singing bird,
and this was echoed later in the century by Faberge.
The part of it that's a mechanical clock -
its pendulum, if you like - is the little swinging cherub or putto.
-It's absolutely wonderful. There's so much to see.
Yes, there is. I quite agree.
Some of the colouring has gone, some of the feathers of the birds
have seen better days, but that's purely the daylight.
-It's not even the sunshine.
-Shall we get it going?
-Oh, yes, do.
I think I've wound it already.
I know it worked before we came.
Oh, yes, the waterfall's working.
They're very, very high-pitched.
Yes. I was thrilled when we first...
when I first had it, sort of thing.
Like, you know, it was something completely new.
I think here there's a little bit of mirrored glass
-that he's pecking into to get some water.
But it's been moved I think probably over the years it's got covered.
-Unless he's after a worm.
-And the swing is meant to be swinging.
-Yes. Yes, I was going to say...
-It's feeling its age.
So I can stop it.
What more can I say?
What do you think it's worth?
Oh, I don't know.
I've no idea because I haven't seen one actually valued anywhere.
If you would go to the right person, place, dealer,
say at an antiques fair, you would have to pay upwards of £10,000.
Goodness me! Oh, I had no idea it was that, no.
-Shall we get it going again?
-Oh, yes, yes, that would be nice.
So you've sniffed out a nice little box for me here. What's inside?
Yes, this is a scent bottle.
I'm not quite sure who the maker...
Actually, it's a very nice box. Let's just have a look at the box
because we don't often get scent bottles in boxes like this,
beautifully tooled leather.
So you would expect, and you would hope, a quality item inside.
-What do you think this is?
-I believe it could be Meissen.
I'm not 100%.
Right. OK. Well, it certainly has the Meissen look.
It's very finely modelled, very, very detailed.
-The painting is good, you've got these flower-encrusted garlands.
-And it sort of works in the round, it's quite nice,
but what we want to see on the bottom is the Meissen crossed swords mark.
And instead we have a spray of flowers.
-And it's really the spray of flowers that gives it away.
It's quite thin enamelling.
-So, although it's very crisp and it's very competent,
I'm going to have to say that is not Meissen.
Actually, the little garland is extremely well done.
-When you think all those flowers are individually hand made.
That's, you know, it's still a good factory,
and it is actually late 19th century in its original box.
I would say that in its box that's a desirable object.
In the region of £400-£600.
-Are you impressed by that, Hector?
He's probably more impressed by its former contents.
Let's see whether he can detect...
He's not a bloodhound, is he?
So here we have two fabulous watercolours,
one which is signed F Stuart Richardson,
the other which is unsigned,
but you've also brought in
a very beautiful oil by the same artist.
Which has the artist's initials...
-here, and this is Frederick Stuart Richardson.
-Fascinating group of pictures by him.
And we hardly ever see works by him, so tell me a little bit about them.
How have you come across them?
Well, he was my grandfather.
They've come down through the family.
And do you have other pictures? You must have others.
Yes, actually the family have quite a lot, because he was very prolific.
He never went anywhere without his paint and his easel and so on, ever.
I've a couple of photographs here,
one which was taken when he was painting in Polperro.
There he is.
Painting. And the other is a couple of years later with him painting on the beach, when he was...
That's my grandmother, and this is my father here as a little baby.
It was taken... must have been taken in 1913.
Absolutely fascinating. And there he is, painting away,
totally ignoring your father and grandmother.
-And there also seems to be a huge age difference.
-Tell me a bit of that.
Well, he was painting before that in Coverack in Cornwall,
staying at the hotel,
and my grandmother visited with her older sister and niece.
She was 26.
She'd just come out of a long engagement to a doctor.
She was upper-middle-class, careful not to marry into poverty,
but the first day when she visited, he obviously liked her
because he leant out of the window and said,
"Leicester are doing well in the cricket this season, aren't they?" But they hadn't been introduced,
so she didn't follow up the conversation.
But a few days later on the beach, she did send the child over to see what he was painting and he said,
"Well, if they want to know what I'm painting, they can come and see for themselves and ask me."
Then at the end of the fortnight,
she went home and her father said, "How did your holiday go?
"More cheered up?" and she said, "Well, I got engaged."
And he said, "Engaged! Who to?"
and she said, "Well, an artist".
And he was quite shocked. "An artist?! Tell me about him."
She said, "Well, he's 56."
And she was 26 at the time, so he said, "Well, you can just get unengaged."
You know, it would be really frowned upon to marry a quite elderly artist.
Well, certainly a large age gap, and an artist who perhaps wasn't making a great deal of money...
-Very, very interesting. I love the one of him also, Polperro...
..which connects to this picture...
-..which is Polperro Harbour, which is a little bit later on,
and this connects him also to Harold Knight and Dame Laura Knight, because they met at Staithes.
Staithes. He was a member of the Staithes Group.
-He travelled a great deal, didn't he?
And so The Mariner's Shop, which is beautifully detailed
and lots and lots of objects in here,
this must have been influenced from his trip to Holland where he
must have met the Hague School - Joseph Israels and artists like that.
Yes, he did, absolutely.
And talking about the oil, which I think is an incredibly moody piece of painting.
Yes. He was very good at cold, bleak seas.
Some of his greatest paintings have been of stormy, bleak seas,
not of what I call a "chocolate box" sea. He very rarely did those.
In terms of value...
-It doesn't matter.
-It doesn't matter cos they're family objects.
-And I love them.
-The little oil.
-I think is an absolute stunner, really beautiful.
-£2,000 to £3,000?
-Oh, wow! Help!
The Mariner's Shop, absolutely gorgeous, easily £2,000 to £3,000.
And the real stunner, you know, the larger watercolour beneath Polperro,
-certainly £3,000 to £5,000.
They're a terrific group and I love all your history.
-Yes, thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
You've come in with loads of Manchester United material.
Where did you get this incredible passion for collecting?
Well, I've been a collector of Man United stuff
probably for about 40-odd years now.
-Went to my first match back in the '70s.
Got the passion for it and just sort of collected from there.
Tell me, what's a Cornishman doing so far away from Manchester,
supporting that club?
I think it was back in the George Best era,
back at that time when they were doing really well.
I hesitated about doing this because I'm a Sheffield United supporter.
-Yes, don't worry about that.
-But I think we both share
a love of George Best, because I grew up with him.
He was a symbol of everything that was good and vigorous about English football.
-What's the mainstay of the collection?
Or have you got a bit of everything?
I've got a bit of everything.
-From right back to the early ages, right up to modern-day stuff.
It's a club that goes back a long time.
Yeah, yeah. Well, this is one of the oldest things I've got.
This is when they won their Division Two Championship back in '35-'36 season.
-Signed by all the players.
Yeah, here they all are, listed, their positions.
Their positions, yeah.
Nice and complete and torn out of an autograph book.
Exactly, yes. And it goes on to 1936-37 season,
there's just a few autographs of that.
Yeah, I mean it's so rare to find the whole team
and it's nice to have the period sort of autograph album leaves.
-Those are worth £500 to £800 each.
Easily, as an auction estimate, maybe they'd make more on the day.
-What about this one? This is a photograph of Sir Matt Busby.
-He joined the club after the war.
-Yeah, from Man City.
Oh, really? Right.
This would be worth maybe £200 or £300, something like that.
And of course it was a period that had its fair share of tragedy.
Yeah, then it goes on to the Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster.
This album here,
all of Munich.
-And it's signed by the complete team of the Busby Babes.
Duncan Edwards you've got there.
Yeah. Where's he?
Dennis Viollet. Duncan Edwards is here look, the big man on the end.
The terrible date was February 1958.
-Exactly, yeah, 50 years.
-When of course the plane went down in Munich and eight of the lads were lost.
-Some survived, including Bobby Charlton.
-Sir Bobby, yeah.
-Of course, I mean it makes these incredibly rare and of course very, very collectable.
I mean, I've sold these at auction in the past, but this is lovely.
It's complete and a little bit of brown Sellotape but we'd be looking
at £1,500, £2,000 as an auction estimate just for this page.
Yeah. There's quite a few pages like that in there, signed.
And of course it's the '60s when I was born, that I remember perhaps the greatest player, George Best.
Yeah, it goes on to George Best.
I've got a couple of shirts on by George here, got them signed.
Let's have a look at it.
Met George a few times, got his shirts signed by him and bits and pieces.
Here we are, "Best wishes, George".
Does that say "Best"? It's not too clear.
It does, just, yeah.
I mean, obviously, poor old George, he's gone,
but £500-£800 minimum for that.
I think even what I've seen here,
we must be looking at least...
sort of £20,000 or £30,000, if not more.
Yeah. This is only a third of what I've got, really.
Oh, you've got more? I thought this was it.
-Thank you very much, a privilege to see it.
This is a very important part of Cornish history,
and you are the team rector here at the parish church at Lanhydrock.
Tell me about this.
Well, this is the casket or reliquary of St Petroc
and it contained the skull of St Petroc, or the bones of St Petroc,
and as such is a very important part of Cornish history.
He's the patron saint of Cornwall.
-Well, he's the chief saint of Cornwall.
-The chief saint.
That's important to say that, and he came from Wales.
We think he was of royal heritage, from the royal family in Wales,
in around about 600AD.
The origin of this casket really goes back to about 1177,
where the bones were stolen by a monk called Martin
who had a row with the prior and ran off with the bones to Brittany.
Oh, dear! That's not very monk-like behaviour! Not very Christian.
Not at all. And Henry II got involved in all this,
and he was instrumental in getting the bones back again,
and this casket was chosen as the thing to put them in.
This casket is ivory and you were telling me that underneath,
because it's rather bleached here.
-It is, yes.
-I don't dare lift it. Do you dare lift it?
I can lift it.
-OK, so let's have a look.
-And underneath you'll see some rather...
-Oh, I see.
-You see you've still got the colours whereas the top one...
Yes, yes, it's all bleached on the top. Here, let's put it back.
And are the bones still inside?
-Unfortunately not, no.
-No? Well, let's have a look.
Let's see, oh.
it's polystyrene to keep the whole thing in shape so it's not distorted.
So what happened to the bones?
Nobody really knows, but probably at the Reformation it was felt wrong to be venerating bones and so on.
-And Henry VIII's gang probably chucked them somewhere.
So it's just a bit of what, holy dust in there now?
There's a bit of holy dust in there, yeah.
Ah, yes, that's good to hear.
So these are Cornish surfers?
Well, that's how we refer to them, because we don't know...
they look a bit like it, yes.
-And that's the surfboard?
-OK so that would make this a Cornish flagon.
-Oh, I wouldn't say that.
What would you say? Tell me how you got it.
Well, it's my aunt's.
She's had it in her house and we looked at it and admired it lots of times.
-She tells us she acquired it in...late 1940s,
when she opened a restaurant and she was looking for things to dress the restaurant.
With a sort of Cornish style,
with these...these surfing gentlemen.
Well, yes, now we're in Cornwall, you see that's our explanation.
I'm going to take you a little bit further afield than Cornwall.
-First of all, this painting style is absolutely typically Dutch.
-OK? But we have to go even further afield than Holland.
-Because the people who painted this were actually living in Japan.
And the Dutch were trading with Japan in, let's say, the 1660s, 1680s,
and sending out to Japan Dutch imitations of Chinese landscapes.
-So this was actually made in Japan, in the late 17th century,
copying a Dutch idea of Chinese people in the late 17th century.
It's a rare object,
-probably worth between £1,000 and £2,000.
Worth £1,000 to £2,000? No!
Oh, my aunt's going to be delighted, isn't she?
She's not going to believe that. I shall have to have that in writing before she'll believe it.
Now we're sitting here making a television programme,
everybody knows that, but what interests me is that while you and I know what we're doing here,
we're suddenly taken into a very important part of television history.
These are pictures of the Christmas broadcast, Sandringham 1957.
Now that was the first time the Queen did it on television.
-That's right, yes.
-The Christmas broadcast hitherto had a long tradition of being on the radio.
-Suddenly there it is and of course in the technology of the time it was live,
-she had to do it almost as you and I are doing it here.
-That's right, yes.
So what are these to you?
Well, it's part of the history of my father.
He was the superintendent of lighting for outside broadcasts
for the BBC during the '50s and the early '60s.
-So a very important person.
-Yes, he was.
I think he was a specialist in the art of television lighting
and there were very few of that skill around at the time.
And also outside broadcast then was very little used.
-It was always live.
-And always live, yes.
So he was there, these were his sets.
He actually chose the Queen's dress as well,
and set the set up so it would appear proper when you actually watched it on the television.
Television was in black and white in those days.
Today we see in colour but in those days it was about tones rather than colours
and dresses that might be the right colour might be the wrong tone for black and white television.
So he said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, you can't wear that."
-He did, he did.
-A very tough man, obviously.
And then who took the photographs?
The ones of Prince Charles and Princess Anne were by my father,
and other members of the crew would have taken some of the background pictures
but it was my father that took all these pictures here.
-So he was the cameraman in a sense of recording a scene?
-He was, yes.
So there we have the Queen, on that occasion, 1957.
-Wearing the dress that he chose and so he was there, snapping away,
without any sort of...
Without any prohibition at all, he was a very lucky person.
-No royal protocol?
-So that's...obviously that...
-Is this him?
-That's him taken just after the war.
So what was he like?
He was a very talented person,
a lot of personality and quite a grumpy old man in many respects.
And on the set here, the Queen didn't actually know his name,
and one of the assistants, when asked his name, was told, "Oh, that's Mr Grumps"
and we actually had a Christmas card from the Queen to "Mr Grumps".
-But what actually was his name?
Here we have Princess Anne and Prince Charles learning to be cameramen.
-Yes, but they didn't take the trade up.
-Oh, what a pity!
-They might have had a new profession!
-You never know.
So then this is...different dress.
That would be the 1958 broadcast.
I think it was a very impressive, exciting part of television history
and these very much bring it to life.
It's obviously very personal to you,
-have any of these ever been published?
-No, they haven't.
-So we are seeing them for the first time?
-For the first time anywhere.
So the Royal Family doesn't know about them?
I have a feeling that the Royal Family has a set of these pictures here,
I think my father did present them to them.
-So buried in the royal archives.
-But otherwise they're unknown images.
We've got lots of things here.
We've got television history,
we've got Royal Family in a very intimate and informal way,
we've got wonderful records of a period which, as you said,
is now so far away we forget how difficult it was to do that.
So we've got this very exciting archive.
-The copyright certainly rests with you.
-Oh, that's interesting to know.
So they're your images.
They're going to be £1,500 to £2,000.
-Really? I'm very surprised.
-And possibly more.
-So it's a good legacy.
It is. I'd like to keep them.
After all, what would Christmas be without the Royal broadcast?
-Wouldn't be Christmas.
-Not at all.
Now we're leaving Cornwall,
and heading back to glorious Bodnant Garden in North Wales,
where even the green-fingered staff
have dug up some treasure for our experts.
So here we are at Bodnant in Wales with a view of Knole in Kent.
-Well, I'm head gardener here at Bodnant now,
but prior to my position here, I was gardener at Sissinghurst,
and Sissinghurst was the home of Vita Sackville-West
and her birthplace was Knole, so hence the connection.
Vita didn't inherit Knole, as it passed through the male line,
so she bought Sissinghurst nearby to Knole in Kent.
I mean, how did you get this?
Nigel Nicolson, Vita and Harold's son, was clearing out the attic,
and he asked me and a couple of gardeners
to help him carry things out and put everything into a skip.
And he said, "Anything you want, take it away."
There was lots of stuff but this particular painting caught my eye.
Very, very nice. Well, I actually know this artist who painted this called Frank Moss Bennett.
Now he specialised in doing historical genre paintings
and he was born in the 1870s and his great period was 1920s, '30s, '40s.
They did loads of prints of his work and his usual subject matter are Elizabethan interiors
-with people wearing their wigs, very grand interiors.
Because that's what people liked to collect in the 1940s, '50s, '60s.
And here he's gone to Knole,
and actually done a study of the interior of one of the main rooms.
Is this unusual, then, an interior from...?
-It's not unusual, it's unusual to have it without figures.
-I see, yes.
I know this is just one of his studies,
and I'd think that Vita probably kept this
because he would have gone and made lots of studies in the interior.
-And I expect she said, "Oh, I really like that, can I keep that?"
I'm sure. That's why it was there.
Well, Vita loved, she loved Knole,
She was really upset she couldn't inherit the place.
And I just love the early tapestry here and then you've got the ebonised
cabinet here with the vases, fantastic detail.
Well, it's in the original frame, this ebonised-type frame.
-It's not in great condition and it's oil on canvas board,
that is canvas laid onto board. It's wonderful.
Value-wise, it does have a value even though it's just a study by him,
-and I'd say somewhere in the region of about £1,200 to £1,800.
Yeah, now I'll tell you, if it had had figures in it, this size,
-it would have been £4,000 to £6,000.
But I prefer it without the figures.
Well, I love it like this, yes.
Well, this is an intriguing collection that we have here,
some enamelled buttons with a name on,
"E Tusker", a photograph, an enchanting casket
with a fabulous inscription on the top.
What's the connection and who is the lady in the photograph?
Well, the lady in the photograph is my mother, and she was born in 1890,
and this photograph is of her at the age of 19 or 20,
when she would have been attending the Birmingham School of Art
and learning to make jewellery, leatherwork,
enamelling, and all those things.
Excellent. And did she make this box then?
-She did, yes.
-And she sent it in for a competition and won a prize.
-And the prize was?
I really don't know, probably be a small sum of money, I should think.
-How wonderful, and so that would have helped her to make more jewellery, I imagine.
And on the front and the top here we've got an inscription
-and it says, "It's not what I have but what I do is my kingdom."
And then inside, if we have a look,
we have some more pieces of jewellery which I am assuming she made.
-Is that correct?
-Yes, yes, she made all of them.
And particularly lovely, particularly the colour,
-vibrant, strong purples, greens.
And it's quite a strong message on the front of the casket as well and these colours were associated,
-of course, with the Suffragette Movement.
-Yes, so I've learned.
-And that's quite interesting because her elder sister
was very much involved in the Suffragette Movement.
So possibly the influence has come from...
-So she might have suggested it.
-She may indeed.
Yes, definitely, because of course people say that the colours green, white and violet
-were associated with "Give Women the Vote."
And so consequently there's a hidden message,
as there often is in jewellery, you know, whether it be romantic,
-or in this aspect, a political nature.
I've never known that before today.
So really pretty, made with enamels, silver, opal, little amethyst
and some white seed pearls, very delicate in that respect.
-And it's a great reflection of how the Arts and Crafts Movement was working at the time.
From about 1890 into the early part of the 20th century,
using very basic materials to bring a hand-crafted look back to jewellery,
which is excellent and very much led by makers such as Arthur Gaskin
and influenced by Burne-Jones.
But there's another necklace which I think is absolutely exquisite,
-and do you wear this at all?
-Yes, I wear it a lot.
-And my mother explained
that they have to make every single little bit of gold chain themselves.
-With all those little wheels and things.
Part of the Arts and Crafts Movement was that you were making everything by hand.
What's interesting about this piece is that it's with gold,
and normally it's more of the Art Nouveau period,
which was working alongside the Arts and Crafts period,
that was working with gold and finer quality pieces.
So it's absolutely amazing how delicate all these tiny little links are.
And the patience that she must have had
to produce the pieces of jewellery.
It's quite fabulous indeed.
A lovely selection, obviously sentimentally
it's worth a huge amount to you,
and really something that would work exceptionally well within a museum.
If we were to put a value on it, then I think
as a collection if it was sold at auction,
you'd perhaps be looking at somewhere between £1,500 and £2,000.
Oh, good gracious!
Well, she would have been amazed.
-She lived until she was 96,
-but she wouldn't have had any idea about that at all.
Mysterious sound of the Far East.
What a fabulous gong, where did you get it from?
Well, it's been in the family since we were children.
It belonged to my grandmother and we've always lived with it,
but apart from that I know absolutely nothing.
-No, and a real spider trap, yeah, and dust trap.
-But do you like it?
-I do, it's very bizarre, but yes, I love it.
I can tell you where it's from, because it actually says on the back.
-Oh, can you? Oh, I've never noticed!
-I'm glad I've got a job!
Yeah it's signed Klier and Co, Rangoon.
-Klier and Co would be not the makers, but the retailers,
and Rangoon of course is in Burma.
-Yeah, but I knew it was Burmese,
because look at how lively the carving is.
It's made of teak wood and the gong is obviously bronze,
but it's so active.
Of course, the piece is centred by this beautifully carved,
crisp opening lotus blossom,
the very symbol of Buddhism, the symbol of The Buddha.
And of course the Burmese practiced a type of Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism,
which was of course rolled into their local interest
in the natural spirits of the forest and the landscape.
-I've always been intrigued by the paintings.
-Yes, it's lovely.
Now these are spirits or devas as they were called,
and you find figures like this in palace carvings -
around the doorways of Buddhist temples or palace complexes.
It's almost certainly made for the tourist market,
-in and around 1890-1900.
It's a beauty.
Value, my own thought,
-a very healthy £500 worth of carving.
Well, thanks so much for bringing it in.
Oh, it's been a pleasure.
We've enjoyed seeing your gong go. Thank you.
-Thank you very much.
Well, you've brought me two really interesting objects here.
The first is a book of the "Gwynidion,
"or an Account of the Royal Denbigh Eisteddfod held in September 1828."
Now, you're talking to an Englishman in Wales.
-I take it you're a Welshman.
-Very much so, yes.
So you're going to have to tell me a little bit about what the Eisteddfod is, or what the Eisteddfod was.
Well, the Eisteddfod as an institution is the most important thing in the Welsh life.
The culture encompasses literature, art, music, drama,
all that sort of thing and periodically Eisteddfodi are held.
They are gatherings of people who compete.
-It's an annual thing which takes place every August.
Right, and is it something that goes back a very long way?
A very long time. The earliest Eisteddfod was in the 12th century.
So this gathering in 1828 in Denbigh was part of a very long tradition?
The other thing you've brought here is a medal which I'm assuming
-must be one of the prizes won at the Eisteddfod in 1828.
Of course I don't read Welsh, but I can make out the words "Eisteddfod"
How would I pronounce that? Denbigh?
Dinbych is the Welsh word for Denbigh, yes.
This particular medal was awarded for a particular form of poetry called an Englyn.
How do you say that? Englyn?
Englyn is a four-line stanza.
In this instance, the title was "Awyren".
-Awyren in present day terms means an aeroplane but of course...
Because of course there were no aeroplanes at that time,
but it referred then to a balloon.
It's a beautiful object in its own right, and turning it over there's
this really breathtaking image.
I think it's so beautiful.
I guess I'm hoping that the account of the Royal Denbigh Eisteddfod
will have a copy of the poem in it.
-Does it contain the poem itself?
-It does, yes.
I wonder if you'd do us the honour of reading it to us.
Awyren, belen, glud bali,
Derch hynt hyd wybreni
Nwyf wib long, bau nawf, heb li,
A llaw dyn yn llyw dani.
-Of course this medal must be entirely unique.
-Oh, it is.
And therefore of course it has to have some kind of commercial value.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if these two items together
-That's a lot more than I paid for it.
-I'm very pleased to hear that.
-So it is good news.
I looked at this and I thought,
oh, could it be worse?
and then I thought, well, I don't know actually,
who would come up with a colour combination of duck-egg blue and this pinky colour?
And then to mount them with deer heads in biscuit and antlers
and wild boar and lurcher dogs and retrievers,
and then set them on a Chinese carved wood base!
But it isn't, it's all porcelain,
gilded and picked out in black.
The thing is extraordinary
and the more you look at it,
the more interesting it becomes.
Did you inherit these or buy them?
I bought them about 15 years ago at an antiques fair in Buxton.
And I saw them, and just fell in love with them.
What particularly appealed to you about them?
Where I walk my dog there's a deer park and we've always had dogs and...
-The whole combination.
OK. Did they tell you what they were when you bought them?
Um, late 19th century, Parisian.
OK, half right.
I go along with the Parisian.
I think they're pretty definitely Paris porcelain,
but I would put them rather earlier than late 19th century.
The way they've picked out the details here, in black,
was a very short-lived thing
and it's characteristically around the 1860s
and the whole thing is kicked off
by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Balmoral.
You can imagine these sitting in Balmoral with the hunting
and the shooting and the fishing,
absolutely would fit perfectly and that's what's going on here.
Now, combining biscuit porcelain,
that is porcelain without a glaze on it, and glazed porcelain,
here painted with flowers, can work extraordinarily well,
and it does here.
I think it's very, very good,
and I would take a fair bet that these are 1862.
-An exhibition piece for the 1862 Exhibition.
Yeah, I think that's what they are. London.
If you didn't like them, you could grow to like them, I think.
-I've always adored them.
-Well, I can absolutely see why.
I don't normally go for this sort of thing,
but these really do kind of work for me.
-Um, what did you pay for them?
I think if we found these in the catalogue of the exhibition,
which I think we just might, you'd be looking at
£4,000 to £6,000 without any trouble,
so I think you did very well indeed.
-Don't be tempted to break the dogs off and sell them separately.
-Thank you, David.
This is not silver, it's actually electroplated, so why am I interested
in a fish serving knife with a bit of seaweed engraved on the back?
Well, the answer is,
turn it over.
It has some of the finest engraving I've ever seen on electroplate.
In fact, it ranks among some of the best engraving I've seen on silver.
This is absolutely beautifully done.
So what do you know about its past?
Well, in about 1952,
I bought it in a little junk shop in Wallasey for 30 shillings.
-That's not a bad buy.
Well, I think that this slice, together with its fork,
actually tell a story.
And if this was an oil painting, I think it would be entitled "The Fisherman's Return"
because on the blade here we've got I think the fisherman's wife looking rather pensive, rather doleful,
and fish in a basket at the bottom,
and if we look at the fork,
there's the husband out at sea in the sailing boat doing the fishing,
and she's waiting for him to come back.
-But what I find absolutely astonishing about these pieces
is that they're such wonderful quality.
They've got big ivory handles on the end.
Why did they make them in electroplate, rather than in silver?
-So, 30 shillings in 1952, I don't know what that equates to in today's money.
But all I can say is that this is really a work of art.
-This is such superb quality.
That I would think a pair of fish servers of this quality
are probably £400-£500 the pair.
Good gracious! Oh.
-I think they are absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.
-I don't believe it! Oh!
-And the quality of that workmanship is as good as anything I've seen for a long, long time.
Well, the last time I saw beautifully detailed little models like this,
was when I went to see a friend who was a sea cadet
and I remember in one of their cupboards,
he showed me some beautiful little wooden models of ships.
Now I always thought they were for recognition purposes,
for the Admiralty, but tell me more about them.
Well, these models, the top ones, were made for Winston Churchill
by Bassett-Lowke in 1942,
after the Navy had lost a number of ships bombed by the RAF.
And he decided, we've got to stop this,
we're going to have to teach our aircrews how to spot a German boat,
a British boat and an American boat.
Because of course from the air,
ship recognition must have been terribly difficult.
-To identify a ship.
And do you know if they then went into production of these prototypes?
They did, yes. I'm told that Churchill was thrilled by these,
and he then instructed Bassett-Lowke to make a quantity,
so that they could be sent to various places where they'd had problems.
Now of course Bassett-Lowke was very famous for steam locomotives,
-for model steam engines.
And trains, train sets, that sort of thing.
But I'm fascinated by what your father did.
What was he doing in the firm of Bassett-Lowke?
-My father was Bassett-Lowke's best friend.
-And they travelled the world together.
And I have here Bassett-Lowke's sort of signature, really,
which he took around the world, showing people,
wherever they went, he said "I can make the best models in the world".
But this is a watch case, a pocket watch case.
Yes, and in there is the Golden Hind.
Good heavens! Isn't that astonishing?
-So Bassett-Lowke were well known for producing these,
-these wonderfully detailed waterline models.
Originally in seasoned lime wood, which is beautiful for carving.
It's got a fantastic grain.
And because these ships were hand-built in wood,
they were incredibly expensive.
And these boats were the initial...
-Prototypes, exactly, which Bassett-Lowke and my father
took to the Admiralty and this is literally the originals.
I wonder if Churchill himself actually looked at this very case?
-Oh, definitely, definitely.
-Isn't that astonishing?
Well, you've got military ships here of course,
but the bottom case looks like a history of shipping.
Tell me all about that.
In the early '50s it was decided that they would like to produce
a unique set of models all to the same scale,
one inch to a hundred feet.
-And every model there is made to that specification.
There are only two sets of these made.
One is in the museum in Northampton and the other one is here.
Is right here.
Well, I feel rather privileged to be looking at it, in that case.
After the war the Admiralty of course had no more use
-for these recognition models.
So, I suppose the end of the 1940s I think it was, they sold them,
they sold them to the public,
and they do turn up from time to time at auction,
very seldom I have to say, and a model warship, a wooden model hand-painted warship
today at auction can fetch sometimes up to £100.
Now what does that mean for the prototypes?
I mean, heavens, what an incredibly difficult thing to put a value on, I have to say.
That's why we're here, you know!
-Um, I would say, and I'm going to take the whole lot as a collection.
A package if you like, including the pocket watch, that from an historical point of view is just astounding,
and therefore commercially I think you'd be looking at £10,000 to £15,000.
Really? That is a figure which would glow in my father's heart.
Thank you very much.
Some wonderful items there from two beautiful gardens,
and despite the weather forecast and my Mac, the sun stayed out for us too.
From all the team, bye bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Fiona Bruce introduces previously unscreened finds from two recent venues: Lanhydrock in Cornwall and Bodnant Garden in north Wales. Objects uncovered by the experts include a collection of jewellery made for suffragettes, a rare painting rescued from a skip at Sissinghurst and a fascinating group of photographs recording the Queen's first Christmas broadcast.