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They say an Englishman's home is his castle and that's certainly true
of Scotland's most famous writer, Sir Walter Scott.
His magical powers of invention earned him the title
the Wizard Of The North
and enabled him to build his very own citadel.
Welcome to the Antiques Roadshow
from Abbotsford, near Melrose in Border country.
We always like a good yarn here on the Roadshow
and, if these hills could speak,
imagine what stories they would tell.
Tales of bloody battles, border wars, courageous clansmen.
Legends of wizards, witches and warriors.
From an early age, Sir Walter Scott was immersed in the romance and myth of Scotland's heroic past.
As a young boy he suffered a debilitating attack of polio
and to help his recovery, he was sent here, to his grandfather's farm, near Kelso.
Beyond the farmhouse stands the ruin of Smailholm Tower,
built in the 16th century
to defend the Border country from English attack.
Here, the young Walter would sit and listen to his grandfather telling tales passed down from long ago.
With such a dramatic setting, no wonder they fired his imagination.
The young boy grew up to be a prolific writer, whose heroic stories took the world by storm.
His writing financed an even greater obsession,
a place he called the Delilah of his imagination,
Sir Walter was quite the collector, hoarding precious objects that spoke to him of the past.
He strove to give back to Scotland
a sense of its own culture and history,
things he felt were being lost under British rule.
But his home was to be his undoing.
After the stock market crash of 1825,
Sir Walter was bankrupted and almost lost Abbotsford.
"My own right hand shall pay the debt," he said,
and he spent the last six years of his life locked away here in his study, to pay back £130,000.
That's the equivalent of £11 million today.
He almost did it, but the effort destroyed him and Sir Walter died here at Abbotsford in 1832.
The Border people have arrived in their thousands.
Here's hoping for a magical day ahead.
Over to our experts...
The thing I love about Freddie Fox here
is that you can just imagine him
running across the lawns of Abbotsford
and, of course, once upon a time this was a great hunting area.
-How did it end up with you?
Well, it was my former boss.
She gave it to me - well, she died
and it was left to me and my husband.
That's not a bad present, I must say,
and have you any idea whether it's silver or metal or plated?
No, we just always called him "The Silver Fox".
Well, he is double the size of most other foxes I've ever seen,
-that's the first good point.
But perhaps the best news for you is it is silver, it's solid silver.
Ooh, that is a surprise.
It's actually marked inside one of the ears here,
which is quite an unusual place to mark it.
It's beautifully made.
It's got this wonderful big bushy tail down here and textured coat.
I hope you've noticed the expression on the face,
because it looks like the hunt was out
and he's very wary about what's going on,
so I love the pose, I love the expression. It's really, really nice.
But if we have a look at the marks...
it's got 1926.
Couple of Ns here, and that's for the firm of Neresheimer
from Hanau in Germany and those marks prove that it is actually silver.
Now, a silver fox of this size...
pretty valuable. By all accounts, you haven't any idea what it's worth.
Not a clue.
Well, I would think, comfortably, £5,000-£7,000.
That is a surprise!
-My goodness, thank you very much.
-You like foxes?
Yes. We'll have to keep him in a very safe place.
Well, Scottish sunshine and Scottish stones. Tell me about it.
It was bought in a charity shop.
Goodness me! And how much did you pay for it?
I think it was like a job lot.
It was a bag with bits and pieces in and it was about £20,
about three years ago.
-That's a dream, isn't it?
-Yes. It was, I couldn't believe it.
Well, it's a pretty rich cocktail of Scottish nationalistic materials
from the mid-Victorian period, maybe 1860-1880.
Don't forget Queen Victoria was very keen on Scotland
and Prince Albert really embraced Scotland in a very big way
and they used to go rock hounding together.
They'd find all kinds of natural semiprecious and precious stones here
and the jewellers started to emulate the fashion that they had started.
And so we have here a lovely range of them, actually.
There's a cairngorm which is a yellow quartz
and its brother really, the amethyst, which is a purple quartz,
and a little sard here, an orange-coloured stone, and a jasper,
sometimes known as bloodstone.
All of these are native to Scotland, but possibly the most interesting
of all are these little sort of white headlamps -
what do you think those are?
-They are pearls, and I think they're a very special sort of pearl
which couldn't be more apposite to the...to the way
that this bracelet is constructed because they're freshwater pearls.
They have a rather chalky texture,
which tells you immediately what they are. I think they're Tay pearls.
Yet again, Queen Victoria's deeply fascinated with those.
And then the front of the decoration is arranged like a plaid brooch, a sort of Celtic form,
overlaying a bracelet which is engraved left and right with Celtic scrolls
and it's not only a luxurious piece of goldsmith's work
from the mid-19th century, but the box itself is luxurious.
It's got a wooden core, it's overlaid with the finest velvet and the finest leather and gold tooling,
and it closes like a Rolls-Royce door
and I think with all of those rich ingredients comes quite a rich value.
I think somewhere in the region of, well, £2,000.
So from £20 to £2,000.
I think we're definitely going to follow you around the charity shops.
-You'll be stalked.
I love this object for a number of reasons - the first being its shape,
but secondly it's obviously been made for carrying and throwing around
and it's got all this strengthening all the way around it.
Have you any idea where it originated from?
It came through the family
and it's said to be a campaign medicine chest,
for an individual I suppose,
and I've always understood it was about 1680.
It came from my father's uncle,
who was equerry to King George V
and a long-term friend of King George V,
and he's inherited it and so on back down the family.
But I can't think of anybody in the family who was stupid enough
to go and fight for Marlborough, or whoever it was at the time,
in the Low Countries.
It is that, and when we open it up, we'll see the interior...
but just before I do that,
this extraordinary decoration on the top where it's actually...
it almost looks sort of Middle Eastern,
but I think it's actually made middle Europe,
so it could be German or Poland or somewhere like that
but it's an extraordinary
and, I think, very beautifully decorated top.
Now, let's have a look inside.
A substantial lock, which you'd expect,
and lots of strengthening to stop it breaking up while travelling.
And we open it up
and look at that - an almost complete set of apothecary's bottles.
Now, out on campaign,
it was hugely important that you could dose yourself up,
because they really didn't have many people there
to actually help you if you were ill.
If you wanted your arm amputated or something like that,
they could do that in a hurry.
But if you were feeling under the weather,
you had to really dose yourself up
and these are the actual original bottles,
which I think is incredible, because, as you say,
we're talking about something that is up to 400 years old.
Any idea what's in the bottles?
There are legends on the top, but I've never been able to read them.
I think these are 400-year-old senna pods.
So if you had that sort of problem in the field...
Maybe I won't take it out!
But they are, look!
There they are...extraordinary.
It could be a military family, one assumes...
Well, I think not, I think before him largely sitting on land
and spending their money unwisely.
Well, we see lots of 19th-century ones.
One this old is as rare as hen's teeth, so an exceptional piece.
I really can't recollect anything of this age and this completeness that has come at auction.
I would think, to a collector,
we're talking about a figure certainly in excess of £10,000.
-Thank you so much. It's really made my day.
Well, I've seen hundreds of battlefield dioramas,
indeed I've made quite a few of them myself,
but I've never seen one quite as amazing as this.
The detail is just staggering for its size.
Where did you get it from?
Well, my grandfather obtained it from a sale in a guest house...
He bought that along with some wood carvings for half a crown.
-Half a crown?
-Half a crown he paid for it.
My grandmother didn't like the wood carvings, so they went on the fire.
This was always in your grandfather's house, was it?
Yeah. I can first remember this when I was about three years old.
We used to go and visit him, and the first thing I wanted to look at was the battle.
I'm not surprised. And what we've got is,
we've got a First World War battle at a crossroads,
you can see the buildings forming a crossroads of the streets...
and you've got Allied soldiers and German soldiers.
You know, I've got to take my glasses off, because I can't see it otherwise.
In fact, we've got lancers charging at the Germans
and you can see the German soldiers there with their Pickelhaube helmets
with the spike on top, you can actually see the spike.
And if we turn it around... you can see the guns
and look at the wheels on the guns, their individual spokes.
-What do you know about it?
-All I know is
it was made by a prisoner of war from the First World War.
The tile came from the wall of a wash house and the globe came off of one of the light covers
and the figures are made out of the foil that was inside the Red Cross parcels.
Red Cross parcel.
It's incredible! I suppose we have to remember that during the First World War,
-most of the soldiers called up were conscripts, they weren't professional soldiers.
And so they came from trades, you know -
in their civilian lives they had trades of their own
and I have no idea what the man who made this must have done as a civilian.
-He may have been, for example, a silhouette cutter - you know...
-He could've been.
..tiny little scissors, you cut the very fine silhouettes out.
Who knows? He might have done something like that.
But you know, to have made this, he had a lot of spare time.
It was that or twiddle your thumbs.
But, you know, I think the most incredible thing to me
is that every time I look at it, I see something different.
So do I, after looking at it for 30-odd years since I've had it.
-Well...it means a lot to you, I guess.
And to be honest, it means an awful lot to me to see it,
because I've never seen anything quite so detailed before and...
..I would guess we're looking in terms of £1,000 to £1,500.
-It's a really special thing.
-Oh, it's going to stay in the family.
So did you ever play with this doll?
No, I didn't really know anything about it until after Mum had died
and we found all her dolls in a box,
with a little letter about them written when she was 14,
which said it's a Japanese doll given to her by her grandmother
and she called her Butterfly.
-Mm, well, she's not a Japanese doll.
Um, she's a German doll by the firm of Simon and Halbig,
which started in what is now the middle of Germany,
used to be in the East, Thuringia.
They started the factory in 1860
and they started making all sorts of dolls.
She's made of bisque and she's made to look Burmese.
She's meant to be a Burmese mould, character mould.
Now what fascinates me is that is meant to be rounded.
It's known as a pate.
Should be a pate, cardboard pate supporting the wig inside to make it
look like a proper head and you see she's got a sort of hole in the head.
-And it's glued far too much with modern glue for some reason or other,
because it did come off, obviously, and someone glued it on - maybe your mother did.
We would have here "S&H" - which is Simon and Halbig, 1199,
which is the mould number, engraved, if you like,
incised, into the bisque and fired.
And she was registered in 1898.
She's got porcelain teeth.
-Yeah, they're a bit scary.
-Do you think?
I think they're a bit... little sharp teeth...
Ah, yes! Do you know, that actually tells me why closed-mouth dolls are more valuable,
because people prefer them with closed mouths.
She's got the most lovely silk satin dress on, isn't it wonderful?
What I call eau de nil colour.
-And guess how much she's worth.
-I don't know.
-Is that being serious?
Do you think you'd like her a bit more now?
I'm not sure about the teeth still.
-So back in the box?
-I think so.
Oh, poor girl!
Poor Madam Butterfly!
Madam Butterfly, yes.
If we open this vast book, what have we got?
We've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of samples for blazers.
It's actually part of the specialist fabrics that we indulge in, in our mill in Selkirk.
-So, you're still in business in Selkirk?
Because obviously here is a town that was devoted to the textile business and what are you making?
-Things like this?
-We are, but not as many as we used to.
Obviously the fashions have changed,
and now we tend to make a lot more of what you're actually wearing today.
-I mean, it's the great irony.
You know, for years now I've been wearing blazers. The one day I don't,
and you bring this book in.
I had you in mind when I brought this book along.
Well, I'm very, very grateful. What date is it? What's the history?
Well, this one is actually 1940, through the 1940s,
but it's one of about eight books that we have like this,
-and it started around about the mid-1920s.
And they were made for the various sports clubs...schools.
And these are all woven? There's no printing or anything like that?
-No, they're all woven.
-Some of them, to me, are just...
-they're so tasteless they're wonderful, aren't they?
Do you know what I mean? Who'd dare to put those colours together?
I think only in the theatre, nowadays.
Yeah, I mean, the trouble is, you've set me a terrible task now.
I've got to find that blazer.
In fact, books like this do turn up at auction
from mills that have closed.
I think one like this would be several hundred pounds
because it is such a vision of a particular slice of British life.
I thought I'd got enough blazers with 11.
Well, this is one of seven books like this.
Oh, don't. I think I need to go home. Thank you.
The Scots love wonderful turrets,
wonderful battlements and here we are, I think, in the perfect setting,
reflected here in this picture of Edinburgh
and this incredible building, the Donaldson Hospital.
Tell me a little bit about it.
Well, it was built by James Donaldson
and designed by William Playfair,
and it opened in 1850 or 1851, depending on which article you read,
as a hospital for destitute and vulnerable children.
And six years later it was agreed
that they would not exclude deaf children from it,
and therefore it evolved into Donaldson's School for the Deaf.
Extraordinary building. I mean, amazing.
-It's a palace, isn't it?
-It is, it was gorgeous.
-Lovely view of Edinburgh, isn't it?
It is, it shows in the background
the Salisbury Crags with Arthur's Seat and, of course, the castle.
-This is Arthur's Seat here, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
And then this is the castle.
-That's the castle.
-And then we're looking down. Are we looking west?
-West. Scott's memorial?
-This one here? Fantastic.
And this wonderful sort of Greek Parthenon-type thing.
-It's the National Monument.
-National Monument, in fact, isn't it wonderful? It's beautiful.
I mean, it's one of the great panoramic views by one of the great Scottish artists, David Roberts,
and here it is signed large as life,
"David Roberts RA", Royal Academician.
So, I mean, look at the size of this picture.
I mean, we have to step back. It is fantastic.
And what a beautiful painting by one of the great artists of the mid-19th century.
I suppose he's best known for his great paintings of Europe and the Middle East
and he really travelled consistently from the 1830s,
really probably till about the 1850s and he went everywhere,
I mean, virtually all of Europe and, most excitingly for us, to the Middle East.
And so it's really his Middle East works that people absolutely kill for, almost,
in terms of price, I hope not in any other way.
And I love the fact that we have these ladies here washing their clothes.
They don't look very Scottish, do they?
I don't know what that means, but they look more Italianate.
-Do you think?
-They could be somewhere in Rome or something,
but that wouldn't surprise me because, in a way,
he was such a man of the world.
He travelled everywhere and he incorporated it in these pictures.
-He's actually called "the Scottish Canaletto", and you can see perhaps why.
Not so much water, but there is a bit.
-Yeah, it's the Water of Leith, that.
-It's the Water of Leith, is it?
-Water of Leith.
-Depends what whisky you put in it.
Ah, very important, very important, I like that.
Janice mentioned the provenance.
The painting was done in 1851 and it changed hands a number of times
and in 1896, an art dealer in London offered it back to the school
-at the original price.
-That's a lot of money, £200.
£200. But with the help of a public subscription,
-they managed to buy the picture back...
..on the proviso that it remained within the ownership of the trust
and that's where it is today.
-And it's still with the trust today?
Now, can I ask you the important question?
-Has the trust got it insured?
-We do have it insured.
-For a good sum of money?
I would put it up a little bit. I would insure it for £200,000.
Because we don't see these sort of majestic pictures
by the great David Roberts coming up on the market.
If it was of Jerusalem, we'd probably be looking at a million pounds now.
-So, to put it context, I'm not saying that Edinburgh is not as good as Jerusalem.
-But it's purely a market factor. Thank you.
-Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
This bottle has been handed down through my father's family and his family came from Fife.
And it's always been told to me that it was a signal bottle for the smugglers in the family.
-Which is not a good thing, really.
-So, you're boasting.
You come here and boast to me that you're from a long line of smugglers.
-On telly, really!
-Well, there we are.
And isn't it a dreadful thing to have to admit to?
But the signal, the way they used it was that, um, if it was full of red wine or red liquor of some sort,
they would put a light behind it, in the cottage window.
And it would shine very brightly and that would be a signal
to say that the customs men were around and not to come ashore.
And if it was empty and it was just a yellow light, then it was OK.
The coast is clear, literally.
To land the contraband.
I've always been intrigued because it's a very, very old bottle
and I just wanted to have some advice as to how old it was.
This dates from 1760-1790, thereabouts.
The end of the 18th century.
So, it has a particularly idiosyncratic method of manufacture which is the half-post method,
which means that the glass is blown into a mould first
and then the glass is dipped into another layer of glass to double,
so it's double thickness.
-And the second layer comes up to here.
And that is characteristic of Continental manufacture and I think it's Dutch. It's a spirit decanter.
It probably had a cork, because I don't see any sign of there having been a glass one.
And it's quite well engraved.
If we have a look at that, it's got a rose on one side,
thistles coming round here, a kind of tulip on this side,
and back to another floral motif here.
And funnily enough, when I was last here doing a Roadshow up in Scotland,
in Dundee, I went into an antiques centre and there was a sarcophagus wine cellar with six decanters,
almost identical to this and I've never seen them anywhere else,
so I think the decoration is Scottish.
-Oh, I see.
-I've never seen them anywhere else, other than Scotland.
-So this one, 1770, 1780.
The story is priceless.
The value of the decanter...
-What? £200 or £300.
-But give me the story any day.
Thank you very much indeed. That's wonderful.
You've got some Scottish pottery.
-So what's your connection?
-I mean, it's called Mak'Merry.
-What do you know about it?
I only know a little about where it was made - in East Lothian,
about... I'm not sure exactly, about...maybe about 1920.
I only started collecting a couple of years ago
with the interest of having something Scottish to collect.
So, which one started you on this little journey?
-This one here.
-This one here.
We'll look at the mark on this one as this is easier.
It's Mak'Merry, M-A-K Merry
and that was from the village of Macmerry with a C.
And, of course, it was a little bit of a pun, Mak'Merry, Make Merry.
And it was also by somebody called Catherine Blair.
And she married a local farmer just outside Macmerry and she was quite an interesting lady.
She was a suffragette but she wasn't the sort of suffragette that threw bricks and things through windows.
She supported the movement by writing letters and she was very interested in women's suffrage
and women's issues in general and she started off a branch of...
the first Scottish branch of the Women's Rural Institute.
And it started off a bit like the WI, they made jams and cakes.
And one of the early demonstrations they had was pottery making.
And she thought, "Ah, pottery making."
So, she literally took over a shed on her farm and started doing pottery.
-They bought in pieces, so this would have been bought in, white, from another factory.
And she called herself the "heid painter".
And she would help...
She didn't really teach, but she would help with the designs.
She would do designs and women could come in and paint the pieces
and then they could sell them and they kept the money.
So it really was a women's business to emancipate women
and to give women somewhere to go socially,
and also to make a bit of money, because these were poor people.
And this one here, I've noticed...
..it says "Mecca" on the bottom, "XXII" which is probably 1922.
-Because they started the institute in 1917.
It was about 1918, 1919 when they started making pottery.
By the 1930s they'd moved to North Berwick because it was so successful,
and the Queen Mother bought a set, so there's royal approval as well.
-I think this probably is Mak'Merry but it's been signed Mecca, maybe somebody's nickname.
-So, although it's not marked, the body is right, the pattern is right as well.
So, I think it's great stuff.
You can pick it up quite reasonably.
-A pie dish like this, which has so obviously been used...
..you probably wouldn't pay a lot of money for.
-You've bought them more recently. How much did you pay?
-For this one?
-Er, I think it was about £15, £16 for that one.
-I think that was a bargain because that's probably worth about £40 or £50.
-And what about these two here?
-This one, the first one I bought, 47.
Right, well, again that's fine because it's worth £60, £80.
I think this one was the mid-20s, something like that.
Presumably because they didn't know the mark. Well, that was a bargain.
-When I got it, I wasn't sure.
-Not worth as much as this, £40 or so.
-And this one?
-Right, that one I paid quite a bit for.
Right, come on.
Mm. Well, um, it wasn't a bargain.
-But you weren't ripped off either. It's worth about £300 or so.
But I think it's a great collection
and it says something about the Scottish people
and the rural way of life,
so keep on collecting and wave the flag for Mak'Merry.
-Yes, I will, thank you.
-Thank you very much.
Our experts here on the Roadshow have pretty much an encyclopaedic knowledge of their subject
but I've been asking them to select just one special item from their own collection
and something which has been their biggest disappointment.
Now, Mark Poltimore, or Lord Poltimore,
as I should call you, because you're from a rather illustrious family.
Now, biggest disappointment, most wonderful item in your collection.
-Shall we start with disappointment?
-Bad news first.
-Let's get it over and done with.
Exactly. Well, in the 1870s my family went completely bonkers and decided
to invest in one of the swankiest, biggest tiaras ever made by Garrard.
And then times got tough and in 1959 they sold it,
and it made an extraordinary price of £5,500.
And I suppose it kept them in, you know,
port or wine or whatever it was.
-The Queen Mother bought it and gave it as a present to Princess Margaret on her wedding day.
And here we have a wonderful photograph of Princess Margaret in 1960 with the Poltimore tiara.
-With the Poltimore tiara?
-Because that's such a famous photograph.
-And that's your tiara?
-It's mine, exactly.
So that's a big disappointment, my family sold it.
But needs must.
Do you know, I'm not sure it would be you really.
Don't you? Are you sure?
But it was sold when Princess Margaret died.
Do you know what it made?
A million quid. And I could do with a million pounds.
But I do have a postcard on top of my loo.
I don't know what to say to that.
Oh, well, I can see why that is such a disappointment.
Oh, it's so beautiful. Now, your most prized part of your collection.
Well, you may have thought I would have brought a picture in.
-And I love my pictures, but actually this is very personal to me.
This is an album of letters that my father sent from a prisoner-of-war camp.
And here's a photograph of my father, aged 20,
and these are all the camps he went to between 1940 and 1945.
-Gosh, so he was a POW all that time.
-Yeah, all that time.
-And he was caught at Calais.
Calais was the sort of place where they stood firm
to let the rest of the troops leave Dunkirk.
-Of course, yes.
-They were meant to hold off for about four hours.
-The British Expeditionary Forces.
-Exactly, and they lasted for four days.
And quite a few were made prisoner of war, and one was my father.
Goodness me, so what is all this in here?
Well, this was the first letter his mother got, my grandparents got,
from my father and it's a standard card from the Germans
and you just cross out "I am in German captivity"
-or "I am slightly wounded".
-Oh, I see.
And he was called Anthony Bampfylde, that was my family name.
-So hang on, "I am slightly wounded" crossed out.
"I am in German captivity and quite all right. I shall be transferred
"from here to a permanent camp and will send you a new address later."
-So this was something that, what, the Germans organised?
-I guess so.
My father never talked about it and he died when I was 12,
so he was one of these people
that just never, never talked about the war.
And I discovered he wasn't a great tunneller,
but what he really loved doing or enjoyed doing was embroidery, can you believe it?
And he made this as part of an escape uniform. This is a German eagle.
He made that? That's incredible. What did he do with it?
Well, I can tell you.
And I only found this out because of this album.
I didn't know about this album until my grandmother died.
There was this man called Broomhall here who, in 1957,
decided to tell the Express about this escape story
and what happened was that these guys, five of them,
one of them being my father, dressed up as Germans,
they made the uniform and they bluffed their way out of the gates.
And Broomhall only had one sentence of German, which he practised
all the time, which was, "Open the door, you fool, let me out of here,"
which worked very well. But he said it so loudly and so aggressively,
the guard then reported back to the main base and said,
"I just want to warn you, there's this incredibly batey general around, you know, beware."
And the other guard said, "I don't think that is true."
And they found them walking down the road
dressed as Germans, and they were incredibly lucky not to be shot,
because of course they were spies. Here they are -
this is a photograph taken by the Germans,
and this is my father here looking rather fed up.
In his uniform, look at this. Yes, he doesn't look chuffed, does he?
All made by blankets, by inmates.
-And they all got sent to Colditz,
and it's lovely to see these letters
because it gives me a record of what he was like,
and to think that at 20 he was in a prisoner-of-war camp.
He'd be horrified that I was talking to you
and telling the nation about his exploits.
Well, I'm very glad you are. Thank you, Mark.
This takes me back to when I was a teenager.
1st June 1967, queuing up for hours and hours to get that fantastic Beatles album, Sergeant Pepper's.
And this is decorated in the Sergeant Pepper style. How did you come by it?
Well, we got married in August 1967.
We didn't have a fridge and the lady I worked with
said her daughter worked at Philips factory
and she could get me a fridge,
but you had to take what came out of the box,
and this is what came out of the box.
-So you were expecting just a plain white fridge?
And you got it out and you thought they'd made a mistake.
We thought it was a poster.
-Do you know how many they made?
-We were told they made eight.
So a great rarity. And although it's quite loosely based
on that famous design by Sir Peter Blake
of the four members of the Beatles,
standing there with the Madame Tussauds waxworks,
they were certainly wearing this type of uniform.
Just open it.
Immaculately clean inside. Unfortunately, there's no cold drinks inside, on a day like that.
Sorry about that, I could have left some beer in it for you.
We could have done with it on a day like today.
Anyway, for somebody who is a Beatles collector, quite important,
but I think this is more important as a bit of 1960s decorative furniture, really, in many ways.
Is it still working, more importantly?
Yes, it was working until last Saturday when we defrosted it and cleaned it out to bring here.
So for 42 years, uninterrupted use.
-Well, I was going to say it's a pretty cool item, but I think that's rather a bad pun.
But certainly a collector's piece, at auction certainly £500 to £800,
so a good investment and a good fridge.
-Thank you very much.
Standing here in the wonderful landscape of the Borders,
I suppose the last thing I expected to think about was Australia,
but I'm brought straight to it by this wonderful sketchbook,
Sketches In Australia By George Whitelaw, 1857-1864. Who was he?
George Whitelaw was an ancestor of my first wife, my late wife,
and she inherited this from one of her aunts
and in turn I inherited it from her.
What I love about these is they are quite primitive little pen sketches.
-He was no great artist, let's be honest.
-No, that's true.
But what he shows is immensely detailed. You've got what was quite a small settlement, Melbourne.
And of course now think of what Melbourne is today, fantastic high-rise buildings.
-I mean, do we know any background to some of these?
We don't know why he came out there, but he contracted consumption
-and he was taken into a benevolent asylum.
And he obviously managed to get out and walk about and look at things.
-Is that him?
He was only a young man, obviously.
He looks ill in that picture, doesn't he?
Yes, he does, he looks quite gaunt and drawn.
That must be right at the end of his life.
-To me this is the most interesting one,
-because here we have an aboriginal scene.
This was a very, very early period for someone like him to be interested in aboriginal life.
This was something that you just didn't go near, it was nothing to do with white settlers.
And again, looking at the caption on the back,
"The native's home, his house,
"a few sheaves of bark and twigs is all they have.
"They erect a fresh one every night
"and they will not live as the settler, either in town or country.
"..All their clothes consist of a blanket and native rings."
-And he's very observant, isn't he?
This is, to me, astonishing bits of history of that period.
The other one that attracted me was the reference to gold.
-Here are all these people setting off on the great gold rush.
-The gold rush.
-To try to make their fortune.
There are lots of letters as well. I haven't read them, but the one I did,
that did jump out and I did read -
"My dear Mother, you must make the most of this letter
"and keep it in memory of your dear boy, who I believe
"will be at rest in the arms of the Lord long ere you receive this."
A beautiful letter.
And there he is, saying goodbye to his mother, who is back in Britain,
and imagine sitting there, writing your last letter, knowing you'd be dead before she got it.
Quite a remarkable man when you read these letters.
Yes, and obviously you've read them all.
And for someone of his generation to be interested in aboriginal life is extraordinary.
It's a very rare document and to the right sort of person,
in the right sort of market,
particularly in the Australian market,
I think we're looking at at least £2,000.
That's very interesting, but it's an heirloom.
Yes, and I'm sure that's academic, but thank you very much.
Thank you, thank you very much indeed.
The earliest card cases I've ever seen date from the 1820s
and throughout the 19th century they became really, really popular and highly collected today
and the best ones are what are called castle-top card cases,
and the one you've brought along here has a nice view on the front here
of Newstead Abbey, which is Lord Byron's house.
But on the other side, do you recognise this view?
Yes, probably, yes.
-Where do you think it is?
-We're not far from it now.
It's precisely the view behind me of Sir Walter Scott's house, Abbotsford.
It shows how popular Sir Walter Scott was.
This was made six years after his death, so it was made in 1838
by the best Birmingham box maker, Nathaniel Mills,
and it's one of the most common scenes
that you'll see on an embossed card case,
the most common being Windsor Castle.
So how did it come to you?
Well, my dad used to go round the London markets.
He was a butcher and he had a van and this was between the wars
and he went to places like the Old Caledonian Market
and he just had an eye for finely-worked goods,
not very expensive in those days.
So he paid probably only a few pounds.
Oh, I would doubt even that, yes.
Well, sadly this has become damaged here where it's just come unsoldered.
-So it's an easy job to solder that back, and it's marked along here.
But even something in this condition, damaged like this,
-still quite valuable, and I would say £600 to £800.
-As much as that?
-Even in this condition.
-My dad would have been very surprised,
having paid probably a pound or two for it.
-Well, he had a very good eye.
-He did indeed, yes.
In France in the 18th century
there was huge rivalry between kings and princes
to commission the most sumptuous dinner services
and you certainly can't get much more sumptuous than this.
What do you know about its history?
Really, nothing at all.
It came through my father's side of the family, his mother inherited it,
but he died when I was very young and I've never learned anything about it.
Right, originally it would have been, of course, a very large set indeed.
Do you have quite a bit of this set?
Quite a few more pieces, yes.
So this is part of really a wonderful service for dinner, dessert and some special pieces as well.
Louis XVI was the owner of the Sevres factory, and so he felt he was making the very best porcelain of all.
-But his rival, the Duke of Orleans, wanted an even better set
and he went to the neighbouring country of Belgium
for a set from the Tournai factory,
and he asked them to make a service that was unbeatable in quality,
something better than anything Sevres had made before,
and this is what they came up with -
a service of dinner services, plates and dishes, a fruit set,
a shell-shaped dish here from - what an amazing richness - just notice the detail when you look at these pieces.
-Have you looked at them really closely?
I mean, the gilding is sumptuous, individually drawn out, the tracery there is wonderful.
But, of course, these bird panels,
the bird painting is really quite stunning.
There's great detail in that painting.
The painter was JG Mayer, he really excelled at painting birds,
and the colours just sit on the surface and they look really rich there and lavish.
You've got plates from the dinner set.
That's an interesting shape,
a shape exactly copied from Sevres.
That shape had been made at the French king's factory since the 1750s,
and here Tournai, especially for this service, copied it exactly,
but they wanted to do better, and better gilding and better painting.
Do you have a stand for that?
Do you at all? Is there other bits?
I'm not sure, because we have a lot of other pieces, but I'm not sure whether there's a stand.
Because here one's got, this is basically a soup bowl,
known as an ecuelle, and would have had a circular dish on which it sits,
painted with the birds and then all little insects all around in the panels.
That's an interesting shape.
Unusual, isn't it?
Isn't it? Yes. Actually holding it there, it's perfectly designed
for someone who shakes because there you are, it's a trembleuse.
That's why I'm not holding it.
That's right, so you can't... you can't spill the soup or spill the drink from it.
-Would have had a little lid on the top of that one.
-So this one's lost its lid, but again...
-Or maybe not,
-maybe it's still wrapped up.
-It's partly wrapped up, is it?
Yes, so you've got... Well, do have a look for the lid,
that would really finish this off.
It'll just give it a little bit of extra design on the top,
a slightly different design of gilding on this one.
The service was made in 1787
which of course is only a couple of years before the Revolution,
but of course in France in those days, money really was no object
and so much money and wealth was spent on
what might seem a trivial matter of a dinner service to eat off every day.
I mean, it was a huge set, there were well over 2,000 pieces in all.
But the very large part of it is in the possession of the Queen,
a lot of it in the royal collection.
It was bought in the 19th century and the Queen has really quite a large part of it.
-But there are bits scattered amongst collections all over.
And, as you can imagine, this is clearly expensive stuff.
Have you much idea of what it's worth, have you followed the values of these pieces?
No, no, no knowledge at all.
Well, we've got plates like these,
which are the standard form of the service,
and these were worth between £8,000 and £12,000 each.
Then a fruit dish like this from the service is going to be even more.
-What are we saying? £15,000?
-Just for a dish.
Really, it's not bad!
I mean, this is porcelain fit for a duke,
porcelain fit for the Queen, the best you can get.
Yeah, glad I never used it.
That's right, but the condition is so good!
-Um, do try and find the stand for this.
Because then, with its stand,
-an ecuelle is going to be at least £20,000.
And put a lid on that, that's another 12,000, 15,000.
So it's all adding up, isn't it? What are we looking here, sort of...
-..£70,000, £80,000 here?
Gosh, get home and find the rest.
-It couldn't get better.
A real treat for me to see it, so thank you very much for bringing it.
It's been very interesting.
After Sir Walter's death in 1832,
his funeral cortege passed by here on the way to his burial
and apparently his horses stopped for one last time
so their master could admire the view.
And what a sight.
From the Antiques Roadshow in the Border country, bye-bye.