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If I told you this week the Antiques Roadshow is coming to one of the finest Tudor houses in the land,
you'd probably think of Hampton Court. The chances are the words Layer Marney Tower
won't be on the tip of your tongue. But just look at it! It's one of Britain's best kept secrets.
Welcome to the Antiques Roadshow from Essex.
One of the great things about working on the Antiques Roadshow
is I get to see some of Britain's finest buildings.
And this week I've been brought to the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the land.
Rising from the Essex landscape, it's a pretty impressive sight.
But who on earth would build it?
Step forward, Sir Henry Marney.
He's not a household name, but he was, in fact, Henry VIII's first and most trusted advisor.
From the start of his reign in 1509, Henry VIII showered Marney
with honours, giving him the most important jobs in the land.
And Marney was wise, grave, quiet, totally loyal. The perfect courtier.
No scandal, which might be why you haven't heard of him.
Of course, Henry Marney wasn't the only advisor to the king.
Some are rather better known, like Cardinal Wolsey, who built the famous Hampton Court.
Wolsey and Marney were bitter rivals, both vying for the king's favour.
Sir Henry Marney might have been a modest man,
but when it came to building this place, he couldn't resist
a bit of one-upmanship, because his gatehouse is taller
than the one at Hampton Court.
In fact, it's even slightly higher than the tower of the church next door,
making Henry just that little bit closer to God than local worshippers.
Sadly, Henry Marney didn't see his vision completed.
He died in 1523 and the house was never finished.
Still, you can tell this was a man who wanted to be remembered,
so I'm sure he'd be thrilled to see the turnout here at Layer Marney
for the Antiques Roadshow.
With this magnificent building behind us,
we come down to something which is slightly less magnificent
from the outside. It's a handmade dolls' house
which has been rather sadly covered with gloss paint.
But unlike, I think, a lot of dolls' houses,
the interesting bit is not on the outside,
but on the inside, because what it lacks in decor
and originality on the facade, it makes up in spades in the inside.
It's a wonderful thing. A family dolls' house?
It's been in our family ever since it was made in the early 19th century.
Fantastic. And looking at it, you can see, in fact,
that it has been added to over the years. Yes, a lot of what we're looking at
is early-mid-19th century, then there are some later bits,
but it ends up with a lovely little Christmas stocking
which has been coloured in by hand.
Was that from your childhood, or somebody else's?
No, it's not, it's my daughter
-and she used to hang up stockings for the dolls every Christmas.
There are a couple of pieces of furniture
made by two companies - Schnegel and Kestner
and they were quite expensive at the time,
having been handmade and then imported.
So the interior was something that money was spent on.
So you've got a group of objects here that have
been put together by somebody who wasn't constrained by money,
because these things were expensive,
but also wanted to make something very personal for the family.
What other personal things do you think are in here
that particularly excite you?
Well, the grandfather of the twin girls who first had the dolls' house
was an artist called James Gibbs who I don't know much about.
I think he was quite prolific with watercolours
and with drawings as well, and for his granddaughters
he's done two small drawings especially for this dolls' house,
-and then there are four lovely watercolours that he's done as well.
-May I take one out?
Oh, that's absolutely fabulous!
Well, it's a sort of lakeland scene, presumably in the Alps.
Yes. Possibly, or Lake District, I don't know.
-It could be Lake District. I'm not good enough on my lakes to be able to identify it.
Ah, well that's very nice. On the back it says,
"Painted by James Gibbs in 1835,
There is a James Gibbs
listed as being an artist working in that period.
He certainly exhibited in the Royal Academy at about that time.
-He does not appear to have been widely exhibited other than that.
-But there's no question that the work itself is absolutely exquisite.
-They're very sweet, aren't they?
So we have a lovely dolls' house
with family connections which have been added to over the years,
and as a result, I would say that the house and the contents together,
-I would put at between £2,500 and £3,000.
-Oh, right. OK.
But what I would encourage the next generation to do,
as your daughter did, with the little addition of the Christmas stocking,
-is just put perhaps one thing from the 21st century in there.
-Just to surprise the next generation.
-Very good, thank you very much.
That's great, thank you.
-Isn't it fascinating how you've got the shell as a detail at the top of the building?
And shells were just so popular in decoration.
Where have you brought this from?
We've brought it from Australia, Ian. We were coming to the UK
and one of the reasons was to bring this tray to the Antiques Roadshow
which we watch regularly at home.
Because we don't know anything about its history.
We know which family it came from, but we don't know anything else,
except the date, which we had identified earlier.
-OK, so the date you've identified as...
That is the date letter for 1773.
-Right, and we think it was made by Philip Norman.
That's all we know.
The only problem now is that, unfortunately,
Philip Norman would not recognise this.
It's a naughty piece of silver!
Ooh, should we be showing it on TV?
Well, the object has actually been made
-out of a 1773 piece of silver.
They've done a beautiful job on it, but Philip Norman probably made
a salver or something like that, and it's one of those interesting things.
Always when you look at a piece of silver, you should date it
-in your mind's eye first, and THEN look at the hallmarks.
Now, to me, when I looked at this, to me, 1900.
Now you're saying you know the family from which it came.
-What's the story there?
The story there is that our son, who owns it, is adopted,
and his paternal grandparents passed it to him,
and their forebears go back to Lord Shaftesbury
and to King Edward Ironsides and to Charlemagne.
-So they do go back a long way, so we just wanted to find out
something about the tray.
Certainly, whoever has made it in its present form
has done a wonderful job. This is the most beautiful chasing,
and all the insects appearing in it, the bee over there,
butterflies, the plants.
Very high standard of workmanship.
-So it's somebody good that's done it,
-but also somebody naughty who's done it.
-Because technically, it should go to the assay office.
-And be brought within the law.
-So we should scarper, should we?
Well, when's your return flight?
We could go tomorrow.
I don't think you need to be quite that quick.
But bring it within the law
and then it's going to actually have a commercial value.
-Which, with the quality of this, I would have thought
we'd be looking easily £600, £700, £800.
Right, that's interesting, very interesting.
As it is, it would be a criminal offence in England to sell it.
We don't intend to sell it.
Well, I persuaded my mother to buy it from a church jumble sale
when I was about six, and it was just black.
The lady on the stall said it was a Chinese whistle.
A Chinese whistle?!
Yeah, and she said a part had broken off the back, so...
-Oh, I see, this hole here.
-That part, yeah.
I've been trying to play it for years, but I can't get
-a sound out of it. Other than that, I haven't got a clue what it is.
-Where do you blow it?
Where do you think it was made?
I presume China or Japan, there's writing on the back.
Yeah, we've got some writing here.
There we are, that is actually a signature.
I'll put you out of your misery.
That is actually a Japanese signature and, in fact, the whole decoration
of this piece is typical Japanese metalwork of the late 19th century.
You've got a lovely praying mantis in there.
Look at him with his beady eyes.
He's ready to pounce on something.
I mean, this is exquisite metalwork,
but the fact is, it's not a club, it's not a whistle.
I'm not going to be a musician, then, after all these years?
But what you could be is a flower arranger.
This is a vase for hanging on the wall...
..into which you put a lovely flower.
It's very rare. I've never seen one in metal before like this.
Beautiful thing. But polished, I'm afraid, rather over-vigorously.
Well, when I got it, it was completely black
and I was six or seven, so I...
That's what it should have stayed.
If it had stayed black, I would have given you some good news,
but I'm going to have to disappoint you on the valuation front,
because this late 19th-century little hanging flower vase
is probably worth £300 to £500.
-Yeah, but I suggest, rather than making war,
we make peace and I offer you my little rose.
Thank you very much.
Well, I never had a clue.
So you've brought me a rather battered cookery book.
-Here we are, "Cookery."
-That's all it says.
And it looks as though the upper and lower cover are pretty well off,
-like all the best cookery books.
-It's been well used, I think.
It's an 18th-century cookery book. It's quite old.
-So I gather from inside.
-So how did this come to you, then?
-It descended to me through the family.
-An unbroken family line.
Oh, yes. Yes.
Quite simply, it's called The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy.
And I like the subtitle,
"Which far exceeds anything of the kind ever yet published."
-Now, there's no author's name on it.
The title page simply says, "By a Lady."
A lady! That's all it says.
-That's all I know.
-Yes, she really doesn't give very many clues.
Well, I should tell you
it's actually a very interesting and very important cookery book.
-It's not just important.
I think you could actually say it's a revolutionary cookery book.
It's written by a lady by the name of Hannah Glasse.
-I don't know if that rings any bells.
-None at all.
She lived in the 18th century.
Wasn't terribly rich, she wasn't terribly poor,
but she was terribly important in retrospect,
because she changed the way we cook, the way we think about food.
Up until Hannah Glasse, I think we always deferred to the French.
We assumed that the French were the people who could cook,
and I think we still do, to some degree.
But Hannah said, "No, this is absolutely wrong.
"English cookery can be just as good and I'm going to show you how it's done."
Just look at the title here.
You get a sense of her character from the title page.
Chapter III. "Read this chapter and you will know how expensive a French cook's sauce is."
Already in Chapter III she's having a go at the French
and saying, you know, all very well, but it's expensive.
This is kind of thrifty English cookery.
She says, "Take your hare when it's cased and make a pudding.
"Take a quarter pound of suet and as much crumbs of bread,
"a little parsley shred fine and about as much thyme
-"as will lie on a sixpence when shred," and so on.
So these are quite simple ingredients for good wholesome cookery
and that's why she's so important.
Very rarely do we see a book
which has really changed the course of a kind of history,
and Hannah Glasse's book is certainly one of those,
so it has got a commercial value.
A copy of this would sell quite happily at auction
for £8,000, £9,000.
-I've got to carry that home.
Yes. What a responsibility!
Every week, our specialists are setting us a challenge.
They're bringing along three antiques which,
to my eyes, all look incredibly similar.
But one is a basic model, one is rather better
and one is a wonderful example of its type, the best.
This week it's Will Farmer's turn, our ceramics specialist, of course,
with these Art Deco figures.
Now, one of them, the basic one, is worth about £200,
the better one, up to £2,000,
and the best one up to £8,000.
I'm going to try and work it out later,
but to begin with, I'm going to ask our visitors,
and then Will will put us out of our misery and tell us all.
When we come to the Roadshow,
most of us expect to see rather good furniture.
-I'm looking here at a frankly pretty basic table.
It was my mother's campaign table.
-Hang on. Your mother's. Let's say, who was your mother?
-OK, so you are Mary Whitehouse's son.
-Richard, the middle one of three.
-Right. So this is the table upon which she prepared her campaign.
The table would be covered in papers.
I didn't understand what any of them were.
They were strewn all over the table, she'd always be on the telephone,
and she was brilliant at manipulating the press
and getting stuff into the press that she wanted to talk about.
-She was great at her own PR, wasn't she?
So she fought very hard to achieve
standards of decency in broadcasting,
-very simply, and in publishing.
She was offended by the open sexuality of the 1960s
and she launched this campaign, Clean Up TV Campaign,
-in 1964 in Birmingham.
-The response was huge and it built and built from there.
And that led into the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association,
-which had something like 150,000 members.
-Something like that, yes.
-I just want to read her manifesto, which I think sets her in her context.
"We men and women of Britain believe in a Christian way of life.
"We want it for our children and our country.
"We deplore present-day attempts to belittle or destroy it
"and particularly we object to the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt
"that the BBC pours into millions of homes through the television screens."
So the BBC was her target.
-Her enemy, and I think she particularly attacked
the Director General at the time, Sir Hugh Carleton Greene.
He didn't like her. Actually, she wasn't to be mentioned
by any member of the BBC staff under any circumstance,
and he had a painting in his office,
a large multi-breasted portrait of my mother
which he used to use for dart practice.
-Where is that painting now?
-I've no idea.
-Now, you're the next generation.
-What do you think about her?
I don't particularly believe in what she stood for.
I don't really agree with the campaign, particularly.
I just think she's a remarkable woman because she stood up for
what she believed in, really, which is quite amazing.
What was she like as a mother? What was she like to live with?
-We certainly felt sidelined and secondary to the campaign.
It was rather unfortunate that she started the campaign when we were young teens.
-It was a crucial time for you.
-Yes, no sex and violence
when that's the only thing we were interested in.
-Yeah, you wanted to go and see The Clockwork Orange.
And she actually watched a lot of porn and violence.
-And I began to wonder.
This painting interests me,
because this is clearly a John Bratby of her.
I would have thought he was the last painter
-she would ever have chosen.
-I know, I know. I think it's brilliant.
It encapsulates her as a person perfectly.
-Yes, so you're happy with that?
-I think it's a really striking image.
-It is, yes.
You know, those burning eyes, that passion, is all there, isn't it?
Yes. This was a dress that she used to use for speaking.
I remember that. Yeah, I can remember the film of her speaking.
I'm very glad you've brought it in, because you, the family,
have the responsibility to keep that memory going.
Maybe this has to go to a public collection.
The values are very difficult. A Bratby painting is straightforward.
It's £2,000 to £5,000, depending on the subject.
She'd probably be more because she's quite an important subject.
What's an old kitchen table worth?
Ten quid? You know.
What's all the paperwork worth?
Nothing until you see the story,
and then it becomes a very important social archive.
-Enjoy the painting in her memory.
-We usually keep her behind the door.
Behind! No, no, bring her out. She deserves to be seen.
It's such a great image.
Do you mind if I say that this a very grown-up-looking lady indeed
in this photograph?
She was. She was my grandmother
and she was a very grown-up-looking lady.
And she's dressed really very formally indeed,
with jewellery that I can only describe as utterly stupendous.
Did she wear it with a certain kind of...?
Because she looks quite relaxed.
She wore it with great style, and in fact, as a child,
my very favourite dressing-up dress was that dress,
-once she'd finished with it, yes.
-What, 1950s? '52, '53,
-that sort of period?
-Shh! Yes, that sort of thing.
Well, when you were very young indeed, of course.
-She's wearing a wonderful tiara.
A diamond necklace there with stones the size of marbles,
a pair of diamond drop earrings there,
which are almost beyond belief
and then she's wearing, here, a bracelet.
Do you want the good news or the bad news?
Whatever you should wish to give me.
Well, the tiara was one of seven owned by her mother.
-Seven, one for every day of the week, as you do.
The necklace, apparently, was Marie Antoinette's
and went to an aunt of mine. The earrings I've never seen.
But the bracelet is here.
A wonderful Deco diamond plaque bracelet.
-So this is the piece that has filtered down to you?
-It's all that's left.
It's set with plaques, very Deco with those geometric plaques,
mounted up in, I would assume, probably platinum.
And the central core is a line of large diamonds
in three-by-three formation.
So each of these plaques,
which might be called a cartouche-shaped plaque,
has got a central large diamond and two smaller diamonds.
The total weight of diamonds is probably in the region of 20 carats.
-So it is, really, a stupendous bracelet.
As far as the value is concerned,
the value of it is largely driven by the quality of the diamonds
and actually, when you look at the stones through a lens,
you find they're slightly mixed in quality.
They're not all absolutely perfect well-matched stones.
The impact it makes is extraordinary,
but as always, you know, the jewellers who look at these things
look at it in a rather cold, dispassionate light,
where they get their lenses and they examine each stone, stone by stone.
Now, having said that, on the basis that we've got something
in the region of around about 20 carats,
such a large piece... What shall we say?
Something around about £15,000.
She was a good shopper! Wow!
-Do you know anything about Art Deco?
-No, I like it, but I don't know anything about it.
-Perhaps the basic.
-We've got three Art Deco figures here.
Basic, better, best.
One is worth up to £200,
one up to £2,000,
and one is a beautiful example worth up to £8,000.
I've probably got it totally wrong!
It looks very, very aged,
and you couldn't reproduce something to make it look that aged.
-You sound like a man who knows what he's talking about.
I could be wrong, though. You're going to prove me wrong now.
I just wonder if she's the best one,
and she, although gorgeous, is the better one.
Best, better, basic.
We'll find out.
I couldn't believe it when I first saw this.
It takes me back to evenings in the summer,
when I was sort of sent to bed rather earlier than I wanted to.
And I'd bring out my Orlando books.
And this is the maquette, the sort of study with the original sketches,
by the authoress and illustrator Kathleen Hale,
for Orlando Buys A Farm, a book I remember well.
One of a series done between, late '30s right through, I think,
until about 1970 she was producing these books.
But this is amongst the earliest of them and I would say this looks to me like sort of '40s
and I feel I've got a real artefact, certainly a real artefact of my childhood.
And how did you come by it?
My husband bought it, because he was the same, he'd been brought up on Orlando...
Saw that it was for sale when Kathleen Hale went into a home
and they needed to sell her things so that...to keep her in this home.
How long ago was that?
I should think about 15 years. I can't really remember, but over 15 years ago.
Because I believe she died relatively recently, yes.
-Yes, I mean she straddled the century, didn't she?
But I love the idea of anything that shows the creative process,
and you can feel the author sort of bearing down upon the publishers saying,
"This is my idea for the top right-hand corner, this is for the left-hand corner",
and I love the views, you know, we're looking at these cows from above.
I mean, what a hilarious look at a cow,
but also what a rather sort of captivating way of looking at a cow as well.
-And the pigs as well.
Pigs, which are lovely.
I mean, they don't need any explanation, do they, really?
This is a sort of, you know, lyrical poetry in a drawing, isn't it?
Oh, gosh, it's just, it's just really wonderful.
But it's not exactly the same as the first book, because quite a lot has been left out.
-That just makes it all the more exciting, doesn't it?
-You get closer to the soul of the author.
If this were to come up for sale, I can easily see it making £10,000 to £15,000.
Oh, that's rather nice, it's gone up, then.
We've had a heck of a turnout here at Layer Marney.
As you can see, people are queuing there, and there was at one stage a three-mile tailback of cars,
and then just look up here, because people are all the way up to the gatehouse, as you can see.
Now, what we like to do at the Roadshow is we've got a little clicker,
and here's our clicker lady. Hello.
We work out how many people have come in and so we can tell how big the crowds are.
-So how many have we got?
-We've got 2,458.
Gosh, that's a lot and we're only just halfway through the day.
-Gird your loins - there's a lot more to come.
Well, for all intents and purposes it just looks like a fairly ordinary skeleton timepiece, doesn't it?
-I would think so.
-Do you find it attractive?
-I love it.
I inherited it when I was about 14 from an old aunt, who was probably at that time
probably about 75, 80, and nobody in the family seems to know anything about it.
OK. Obviously the first thing to talk about is the maker, Charles Frodsham,
Strand, but the interesting thing is
-straightaway, we've got two seconds dials.
-And then it's got two pendulum suspensions on the back.
Why on earth would you want to do that?
I don't know. Somebody once said it was going to be a demonstration clock, but I don't know.
They're absolutely right and looking at the number,
883, we can date this pretty much to 1850-1851.
-So I think there's a very, very good chance it was made
-as a demonstration piece for the Great Exhibition in London of 1851.
-Oh! Oh, goodness.
Let's just start the pendulum off,
which is currently working on the...
side with the recoil,
the anchor escapement and you can see that working there
on that little seconds.
-And then just stopping briefly -
you probably have never noticed this,
but there's a knob here, which, by pushing in this knob here,
we are disconnecting the drive to the anchor escapement
and transferring it to the other escapement here.
Oh, I see, yes, yes.
And it is purely to demonstrate the different escapements.
The hands are absolutely superb, have you noticed these lovely... cut-out spade hands.
-Yes, they're beautiful.
-It's the finest quality, the whole thing is magnificent.
-It's got maintaining power, it's got four levelling screws here.
With the spirit level in the middle.
-This is an exceptionally rare thing. I believe it to be unique.
-What, this clock?
-So made for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
I'm quite confident to say that anybody, of which there are many skeleton clock enthusiasts,
would pay a minimum of £15,000 and I think it would probably go for
actually at least £20,000 and maybe a little bit more. It is a unique item.
Most clock people would kill to own it.
There's always a tale behind autograph books.
So what's the tale behind this one?
Well, I used to go to Charlton, when I was a youngster, with my parents.
I went from the age of eight, and get the autographs of the players as they came in,
including the Manchester United players - before Munich, this was, in 1955.
You used to go up and say, "Autograph, please,"
when you recognised them, you did, in those days.
A few years later, disaster strikes and we had the terrible,
terrible Munich air disaster where the majority of the team is killed.
-Players you'd met...
-Oh, terrible, it was a Thursday, I can remember.
And when I was coming home from school and my mother's waiting at the door
to tell me about it.
Oh, yes, I can remember it as if it was yesterday.
Oh, yes, there's Duncan Edwards, who was in the air crash, David Pegg, Roger Byrne, Berry,
he was in the air crash as well, and it was very dramatic,
that match, the first match afterwards.
They played Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup and they didn't know who the team was going to be,
and they had to sign players from here, there, and everywhere they could.
And they won 3-0 and by a wave of emotion, they got through to the cup final that year.
It was obviously a very, very poignant time for you because you, you kept the newspaper reports.
Oh, yes, because it's a memory from that time.
Well, it's also, interestingly, a reasonably valuable memory
because it's an autograph book that's stuffed with all sorts of signatures, there are footballers and cricketers.
-So I think in terms of value, around about £600.
No! 600! Just being a youngster and getting autographs.
Will, you set us a challenge earlier on, to work out which of these three
figures is the basic model worth about - was it £200?
The better one, up to 2,000.
-And the best one up to 8,000.
-I've put them in the order I think.
I reckon this is the basic one because it looks the most basically painted.
It was a toss-up between these two, I've got to be honest. In the end, I thought
this was such an unusual shape - I've never seen anything like this before -
she could either be the best or the worst and I plumped for the best.
I have no idea, is the truth of the matter.
So come on, tell us about them and how we would be able to tell the difference.
Well, I mean, these figures are all about the period.
We are Art Deco 1925-1935,
which really, as we know, it comes out of Paris and the 1925 exhibition.
It's all about exoticism, it's all about Josephine Baker, the rise of Hollywood,
and everything gets about fashion and these gorgeous girls.
And also beautiful bodies.
Oh, fabulous, I mean these girls were sexy, they were sassy,
they were about clothing and dancing, and everybody was having fun.
This is a brilliant era, and of all the factories, and there were many that made figures,
really the best ones are coming out of Europe.
They're coming out of Germany, Austria and Italy. And we start this end
with this figure, which is actually made by the firm of Katzhutte or Hertwig,
the Hertwig Company, and if you look underneath, it's actually
very clearly marked with a little cat inside a house.
And Katzhutte means cat house, so if you've got that mark, you know you've got a Katzhutte.
Now they were, you know, they were
a firm of note, they were a fairly heavy going firm,
they produced lots and lots of figures,
but they were looking over the fence at their rivals and thinking,
"We can do that, we can do it cheaper, quicker, and get it out."
That's what all of this is about, the amount of man-hours that have gone into making them.
So she's nice, she's stylish, she's got a good pose.
But when you move to the middle here, we're going into Austria now, to the Goldscheider firm.
19th century in their origins and massive manufactures of figurines.
And by the 1920s and '30s they were employing some of the leading artists of the day, and it's starting to get
a little bit more unusual, a bit more quirky. I mean, here she is in her tulip dress.
And also, looking at the paint work, there's just so much
-more care and effort gone into her face particularly.
-Exactly. This has been air brushed in, and painted on.
She is beautiful, I think.
She's gorgeous. I've known this girl a long, long time. LAUGHTER
I think we should hear more.
Absolutely. When you get to the end, she's Italian, and the Italians know their fashion.
-Bit of va-va-voom about it.
-Bit of va-va-voom.
I mean, all of these girls are "a la mode", but she is on the button.
She's designed by a lady called Helen Konig Scavini, who actually formed the firm Lenci.
And the thing about Scavini as a senior designer was,
she just had it.
This has got humour, it's called Colpo di Vento, which basically means "in the wind"
and she is literally holding her skirt down, and holding her hat on, and this humour, this comedy
comes through in Lenci and it's what people love, but also if you just pick her up and have a look,
-she's also clearly marked underneath, you've got all the marks there of the firm.
Lenci, made in Torino, and the big thing is look at the faces, and just look at her eyes underneath there.
Scavini did these beautiful, smoky, almond eyes which actually, they are...
again, it's this sex appeal, it's just sexy, it just oozes that spirit of that time.
And they're all fabulous, but she is the one that struck me the most.
Well, you are a very stylish girl.
-Time to put you out your misery?
-Yes, so come on.
-You've got it absolutely bang on.
-Hooray, we've done it!
-So you're a bit disappointed, aren't you?
I'm disappointed. Shucks, you've got it.
That is complete fluke because this was such an unusual one, I didn't know what to make of her.
The Italians know their fashion and it just oozes from this figure,
and that's why this figure, you'd be looking at a price upwards of sort of £8,000 for her.
I mean, value here, we're looking about sort of £200 to £300 mark.
Move to the middle, we're looking at towards sort of £2,000.
When you get to the end, it's all about the quality, it's about
the amount of man-hours that have gone into it, and also about the humour.
Hooray, I got it right. It probably won't be repeated, but now at least, if you have
an Art Deco figure at home, you've got some idea now what to look for.
-Your husband collected jade.
And can I ask you whether you like it.
There's something eerie about it.
Well, neither of my children liked it.
As children, they used to run past it.
It used to be on a shelf along the landing and they would run down the stairs as fast as they could.
-This was the bogey man.
First of all, what part of the world does it come from? That you presumably know.
I'm assuming China, yes.
Yeah, it is Chinese and it's known in China as a Buddha's hand citron.
It is a member of the citrus family, it's almost inedible but it is fragrant.
-The Chinese like putting Buddha's hand citrons into rooms
in order to give the room a perfume and well, I think you'd agree, that it is very finger-like, isn't it?
-Mm, oh, yes.
-The fingers referring to Buddha
make this a very significant Buddhistic symbol.
The fingers appear to be drawing in.
Exactly, that's what's eerie about it.
But that should encourage you, because the Chinese see that as pulling in wealth,
and just to make the point even more auspicious,
we have these little bats flying around,
which also bring wealth and happiness,
so you've got one major Buddha's hand citron and you've got
a second Buddha's hand, and look at the carving on that, the under cutting, the attention to the leaves.
And when you think that jade is an incredibly hard substance,
to create something that complicated in a very, very hard substance is actually really rather clever.
-OK, well the question is - is it going to bring you wealth?
-Bit late now.
-Do you know how much your husband might have paid for it?
Well, the fashion for jade at the moment is quite good, the Chinese in particular like buying jades
of a good quality - this is quite auspicious.
It's difficult to date it exactly when it was carved.
It could be 18th century, I have a feeling it's more likely to be 19th century, but it's a good object
and I think in today's market it would probably fetch
-somewhere in the region of £10,000 to £20,000.
-Good. I don't think he'll sell it, though.
Do you know, I have never seen this engraving before?
Good Lord, really?
I mean, I think it's an absolute joy.
-Who did it belong to?
-What sort of period?
-'20s or slightly earlier, I imagine.
So your grandmother owning this - tell me about her.
-Well, she was a chorus girl in the Gaiety Theatre.
-And my grandfather, his parents actually owned the Gaiety Theatre at the time.
And were not particularly pleased that he married a Gaiety Girl
and I understand cut him off without a penny.
-Oh, that's so sad.
-There we are.
-And of course it is a lady's visiting card case.
The quality of this is above the norm.
Oh, that's good to hear.
Because generally what you find is the top just flips back on a hinge, or slides off, in some cases.
But this one, with this button release, is lovely, a nice sign of quality.
The maker's mark there, we've got the maker George Heath.
-1887 is the actual date on it.
-I mean, for example, look at that engraving. Can you see how that bird just goes across there?
-And all this of course down to the opening of Japan to the West.
Now, as to value... gosh, what is the most gorgeous Geisha worth?
I think you'd be hard pushed at auction to get her for less than £1,000.
Well, that's marvellous.
I think she's gorgeous, not just marvellous, she's wonderful.
It's well known by the people who watch this programme that I'm very excited by railway history.
I just love the way it fits into our lives.
What we've got here are some exceptional things that really go back to the early days of railways.
And here we have, I know, an image of John Dixon, who was an associate engineer, surveyor,
working with Stevenson in those early days.
So where do you fit in?
Well, all these records were in my husband's family history box
and I did go through them 30 years ago and found all these items.
-He is a Dixon, is he?
-Yes, he is, yes.
Right, so we've got a direct link back into those early days.
-This is a letter from Dixon, who was there.
-During the Rainhill trials.
-When The Rocket was first shown. He's describing what he saw.
I mean, I think it's just, you know, I touch that, and I'm there myself.
-Here is someone who was watching The Rocket, a great success.
-All the other locomotives fail.
And that was the beginning of the modern railway history.
And these are extraordinary - very early Stockton and Darlington tickets.
-Very thin bits of paper...
..that were cut out and filled in by the man in the ticket office.
-And again, this is the very beginning of that history.
-I think it's extraordinary, I'm really excited by just the physical contact of these things.
-Yes, they are.
-But most of all I want to know about this. Why have you got a parcel?
Well, this is a parcel which was produced by my husband's great-uncle,
and he had made up a parcel which is the intimate story of the origin of the railways
-and he made it up in 1925 at the centenary of the Stockton to Darlington Railway.
But it says at the bottom that it's to be carefully preserved for
the bicentenary of the Stockton to Darlington Railway in 2025.
This is annoying - we've got 14 years to wait.
-I know, it's all sealed up with sealing wax.
-I'm not allowed to open it.
-So we're not allowed to open it.
-I mean, as to valuing that, I've no idea. Until we know what's in it.
-Until we know what's in it, no.
-It could be thousands of pounds, or ten pounds.
But it's a great time capsule. The letter is a hugely valuable document.
A witness of the Rainhill trials.
I can see that fetching up to £2,000 or £3,000, because it's such
-an important document in terms of the railway history.
The tickets - what's a railway ticket worth?
Not much. These sort of tickets from those early days are going to be
£50 to £100 each, possibly more.
-So I think one of these tickets would easily take me home.
-I don't think so!
I wonder if anyone would notice if I just prised this open here.
I expect they would, and Paul Atterbury would have my guts for garters,
because it says here, "Not to be opened till 2025".
Until next time, from Layer Marney and all the team here, bye-bye.