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Like any antique, a castle needs a bit of care. If it's not looked after, it can fall apart.
By the late 19th century, this place had become something of a ruin.
Its noble residents were long gone, tenant farmers were using the ground floor for livestock.
Thankfully though, it had a knight in shining armour who restored it to its former glory.
All of which means we can return for a second helping of the Antiques Roadshow from Hever Castle in Kent.
This is William Waldorf Astor, Hever's rather unlikely hero.
Astor inherited the family fortune in 1890 and was the richest man in America
but after a spectacular falling out with his aunt, he declared, "America is no place for a gentleman,"
and decided to move to England in search of the life of an English gent.
With a 100 million fortune to his name and a love of European history, he bought
Hever Castle in 1903 and resolved to restore it to its former glory.
And you can see the results here in his study.
Astor didn't just restore Hever,
he transformed it into a place more decorated and elaborate than it had ever been in its heyday.
But there was a problem... Hever Castle was much too small
for a millionaire like him, who liked to hold huge parties.
And this is his ingenious solution...
Look, his very own Tudor village, and its higgledy-piggledy design conceals a guest bedroom,
servants' quarters, kitchens, 100 rooms in total.
And Astor's grand plans also transformed Hever's grounds.
The sheer scale of it all is incredible.
This 35-acre lake may look natural,
but it actually took 800 men to dig it over two years.
And between them, they got through 45 gallons of beer a day,
and a special train had to be laid on to bring them here from London.
There isn't a special train today, but Hever's still welcoming
the crowds, as the people of Kent bring their antiques to today's Roadshow.
Never let it be said that the Italians don't have a sense of humour,
because when it comes to Lenci pottery, they are the masters.
So did you... I've got to ask you if you bought this for a laugh...
-but tell me.
-It's not actually mine.
No. It belongs to my sister-in-law.
-She couldn't be here, so she asked me to bring it.
And all I know is that she inherited it from her grandfather.
Ah, well let's have a look at it, because it is, of course, Don Quixote on his donkey, Rocinante.
I've been practising that... Rocinante!
And I mentioned the name Lenci
because this is a maker whose name...
if I turn it upside... the good thing is, underneath there
is the name and you can just make out... and it's dated as well, isn't it?
Can you read that date for me?
Well, the interesting thing about this particular factory
is that they did incredibly stylish figures, and as I say, they're always incorporating humour.
But in this case you've got a figure that's suffered a little bit with the ravages of time.
For a start off his lance has been substituted by a rather handy knitting needle, OK?
-And I have to say that the Don has lost his head, because he's been glued back on.
But the good news is that your Lenci collectors are very tolerant about damage.
So you're now going to go back to your friend with this
Italian masterpiece and you're going to have tell her what it's worth.
And you're going to have to tell her that unfortunately
the damage has reduced its value to between £2,000 and £3,000.
Oh, my word!
I think she's going to be very happy with that.
Just been having a look inside this ring and there's an inscription and it says,
"When this you see, remember me."
-Can you remember how you got hold of it?
-I found it in a badger hole,
freshly-dug earth and I thought it was the top of a bottle, picked it up, and it was this ring.
My goodness, what were you doing near a badger hole?
I've got some near where I live so it was quite close by to my house.
Yeah, well how exciting, I mean busy little badger obviously and to find this is really quite exciting.
-Er, yes, very special.
Well, it's a lovely memento mori ring, so it's a memorial ring which dates from round about the 1700s
and it's made of gold around the top and the band, and then there's also
black enamelwork on it, which I'm sure you must have noticed, just underneath here.
-Just round there and then also some enamelwork down the shoulders
but unfortunately that's worn away over time
and it's not surprising if it's been down a badger hole for some time,
it really would get worn away!
The wonderful thing about it is that if you look inside the crystal top
that you've got here, there's also hair, plaited hair, underneath.
Oh, is it? Gosh, I did wonder.
It's amazing, and then over the top of that you've got some entwined initials in gold, which would
have been the initials of the person who was being remembered, or maybe even the person who it belonged to.
Because during this period, there was an obsession with death,
so unfortunately there was all this big fashion for memorial jewellery, basically.
Was this given to someone while they were still alive?
Yes, more than likely that it was worn by somebody whilst they were still alive
-and it was there for them to remember that one day they're going to die.
Quite a few examples have skulls on, little coffins, really quite morbid
decoration, but this is more of a straightforward piece with just the initials.
So is it something that you've actually shown to a museum?
-No, I haven't, no, no.
-No, because it is an amazing piece of jewellery,
but it does bring up some rather legal questions that need to be answered, because you found the ring,
it didn't belong and didn't come down through your family, and so is it therefore technically yours to keep?
-Well, it was on my property.
-So does that make a difference?
Well, the best thing that you need to do is to take it to a museum,
explain the situation and then they will basically decide whether it is a piece that you can keep,
or whether it comes under what is commonly known as "treasure trove".
They may find that it is something that is an important piece of jewellery
and should be kept for the nation to see, and therefore kept in the museum,
but hopefully they will release it back to you and then you can do with it whatever you wanted to.
Gosh, I'm glad you told me that, my daughter's been wearing this ring so...
Well, it is something to enjoy and it's interesting that somebody
of the younger generation is wearing something that's so associated with death
because it's not a pretty piece of jewellery,
it's more of an interesting factual piece of jewellery, in many ways.
Now, if it comes back to you and you do decide to sell it, then, at auction,
a piece of jewellery like this will create quite a bit of interest
and will fetch somewhere between £800 and £1,200.
Wow! Gosh, that's amazing. Well, thank you very much for that.
Now as a seafaring nation,
we obviously have a great naval tradition of wonderful ships.
We also have a great naval tradition of wonderful ship models,
and in a way somehow that is a reflection, I think,
of our long-lasting enthusiasm for the sea
and ships and all it represents.
And I'm looking at a really classic model of HMS Majestic,
a battleship of the late 19th century, an astonishing model.
It's amazing to see such detail.
Most of these models were made by shipyards.
They were made by apprentices who were used to engineering skills,
but I detect that this is somehow different. Is that right?
I think so, in that it was made by my great-grandfather in about 1905.
The ship itself floundered and was torpedoed in 1915.
Interestingly, it's very fat in the middle, mainly because he also
not only made the ship, he made the steam turbines inside as well.
Actually, proportionately, it's slightly odd.
Absolutely, and also for floating it on a boating lake,
I suspect it was a little more stable this way.
So this is a working model. So this is him, of course.
That's my great-grandfather, Colonel Kelly,
and he was a colonel in the Essex Regiment and in his spare time
-he made various models, this being one of the most important.
-Do we know why he picked this one?
No, and again, I suspect that there were lots of patriotic magazines of those days.
He was keen on modelling and there were magazines with templates and various drawings
that you could build out of metal and wood, which this ultimately is.
This is a class of ship that was built from the 1880s into the '90s.
At the time they were the latest thing
and it's interesting that it's called Majestic,
because it has echoes of certain liners of that period.
These Olympics, Titanics, these great words are reflective of the quality of the ship.
We could spend hours talking at detail because everything works.
It's a working model. What I want to see is the machinery.
-Can we get into that?
-Indeed. It takes three movements.
One, the funnels.
We have to remove two funnels.
And finally we remove part of the fo'c'sle with...
..and you can reveal the detail that took place.
We've got the boiler and we've got the power plant itself.
Everything is there.
Of course we've got to remember this is where he started.
The machinery he had to build first and then he had to adapt the vessel
around that and this is why he's changed the shape slightly.
Yes, and it fires on meths,
so you've got your methylated spirit tank there.
-Yes, tank there.
-And the turbines.
And I can see that this was the great age of the pond yacht,
of the steamer that worked.
Had he been a lesser man, he would have gone out
and bought a Marklin tin-plate warship,
and wound it up with clockwork and it would have sailed round
the pond just the same, but he went to the greater extent of making
a wonderful model of a great ship of the line of that period.
So, it's a hand-built, scratch-built model,
he's adapted the shape a bit, which is fair enough.
The detail is meticulous, we've got everything that you can think of
that was actually on the ship, and it works.
What more could one want?
I suppose this is a £10,000 model. It could be more.
It's such a splendid thing and it's such a one-off.
-Thank you very much.
We get all sorts of visitors coming to the Roadshow from America,
from Australia, today we have a whole crowd who've come over
from Beijing in China and they all work in television in China.
And you make a programme that is like the Antiques Roadshow in China, is that right?
-Yes, we've got an antique shul. Antiques shul.
-So antiques show?
Even I could manage that.
And I've heard that if someone brings along an item which is fake,
which is not real, that you smash it, you break it. Is that right?
It's the last step of the programme,
when the people go to the last step, the presenter will ask you,
"Are you aware go to the last step, just you, if this not real,
"we will break it.
"If it's a real one, very good one you'll have a big surprise."
-"Are you willing to go to that?"
-I see, so when they...
..we're much more genteel over here. We don't quite do it like that,
but when the person brings along their antique,
they don't know whether the expert will say that it's very expensive
or just break it, they just don't know which way it will go.
No, they don't know, so it's a big surprise to the audience.
-Yes, well to the person who owns it, presumably.
I don't think we're quite ready for that, do you?
-But how fascinating to hear that. Thank you very much.
When I was young, I adored Isadora Duncan.
I think it was the romance, but of course Anna Pavlova
was the greatest classical dancer ever in many people's opinion,
and you have the most marvellous collection of Anna Pavlova memorabilia. Tell me about it.
It belonged to my great-aunt who knew Pavlova and befriended a lot of white Russians
who fled Russia during the Revolution,
and she then went on to become a very keen fan
and a huge collector,
so I have hundreds of photographs and programmes, all sorts of things.
One of the things she bought was this table when Ivy House had to be sold, when Pavlova died.
-And Ivy House was where she lived in Hampstead, Golders Green.
And here we have the wonderful Anna Pavlova in her fabulous garden
-with the furniture behind.
She had tea parties in there apparently, with her friends.
So Anna Pavlova, born near St Petersburg in Russia, 1881.
A great mystery surrounds her father.
But she was a very talented youngster,
became a prima ballerina in 1906 with the Russian Imperial Ballet, Ballets Russes.
She was an icon of her time and so stylish and they said that she had so many fans
that they called them Pavlovatzis, so they followed her everywhere.
They were a huge fanbase, yes.
She really was, and still today, we've got our Darcey Bussell,
but there's nothing like Anna Pavlova.
And some beautiful things here, wonderful pieces of memorabilia,
her ballet shoes, the fans she used, wonderful photographs of her
in the garden with her swans, which of course is very evocative
because of her superb performance in The Dying Swan.
And these were her pet swans. And she obviously had flamingos too.
But she was particularly fond of the swans.
She looked after them and spent a lot of time with them,
studying them to see how they moved and apparently when she died,
the female pined away and died soon afterwards
and then the male died within a month of her.
And, of course, died tragically in 1931 and I think before she died
they wanted to give her an operation for her pneumonia
but they told her that she would never dance again and she said,
"If I can't dance, I'd rather die."
-So she was a true star of her day.
And tell me about this.
It was amongst her collection
and it's a white feather from the Dying Swan costume.
-And we know that, do we? We know it's definitely from...?
-We don't know.
-We don't know.
-All I know is, because she was a friend of hers,
because she knew her, I don't think she'd put a white feather in a frame for any other reason.
Well, I believe it. I'm there. She...
Look at this photograph of her.
So beautiful, and seemingly, when she started training as a ballerina,
the other ballerinas laughed at her, because she had very thick feet and she wasn't as nimble
as some of the ballerinas, but she had passion
-and superb skills.
So she was the most fantastic idol of her day.
I mean, here we are sitting on her chairs, her table.
You have hundreds of photographs, programmes, letters,
-telegrams and so it's a very difficult thing to value.
But I feel that in a specialist sale,
-you'd certainly be looking at £5,000, £10,000.
Well, what I can say is this is an absolute hybrid.
I've never seen anything quite like it.
I mean, the arms are turned table legs.
I think it's one of those things that was put together by somebody
who had all these elements around him and just thought,
"I'll make a bench today." But a pure antique this is not.
I feel it must have got a bit of a story.
It does actually, yes, yes.
I bought it in an auction in 1998 at West Heath School,
where Princess Diana went to school.
-Which is just up the road, isn't it?
-Yes, yes, it is.
And I went to the auction to buy a dancing cup
because she won a cup for dancing, and came away with this instead.
The dancing cup went for a little more than I could pay.
-So you went for a dancing cup.
-And what did that make?
-It made £7,000.
-So you were the underbidder.
I was the mystery bidder and I pulled out at £6,800.
And what on Earth made you buy this instead?
Well, I just saw it and loved it and thought, "She may have sat on this."
-So I just had to have it.
-Well, we can only dream.
I haven't found the initials DS on it yet but I'm still looking.
I hope you didn't pay an awful lot.
I think somewhere verging around £150 to £200.
-That would sound about right, yes.
-You weren't robbed.
So water, water everywhere and we've been driven inside this little tent
to talk about your things, but these come from water, don't they?
-Tell us about it.
-Yeah they do.
I've been field-walking, metal-detecting for some 30 years
and, probably for the last 20 years, I've been going to the Thames
in London and doing surface metal detecting with my dad here.
-Some of the items here, the ring was found by my granddad so it comes down a long line.
The interest in the history and the other two items are items that myself and my dad found.
Marvellous, and so mud-larking, the great pleasure of it is that
your footprints are going into the mud where others have been in the past,
and these things are found on the banks of the Thames.
You wait until the tide goes down and you use a metal detector.
I use a metal detector, and two tides a day, so I pick a tide, normally at a weekend,
go down there and scavenge around the dirty mud,
and it doesn't have to be anything special, it could be just the smallest of objects.
Whether it's a pot shard or a pipe,
it all goes up to the Museum of London for recording
and I've pieces which are on display in the Museum of London,
but the key thing is everything gets recorded.
It's our heritage and we have to look after it. Lovely.
I want to start with this one, which is a pilgrim badge,
and it's fairly evident to me that this was brought back
from a holy place by a pilgrim
who must have crossed the river at London and lost it then.
But what I can say is that he or she had been to the site
where the Virgin Mary was venerated because this is her monogram above here.
It has every letter of the word "Maria" above it,
and it shines above everything else, which of course is the Crucifixion.
It's central to Catholic liturgy.
This is from a Catholic country where this was made,
where teeming sensors, painted ceilings,
silver chalices, plainsong, was something that you could see,
and these people didn't hope to go to heaven. They had been to heaven.
They went to these places because they viewed it as a window
into another world, and they wanted to bring back a souvenir
and perhaps they didn't have much money, so out of gold and silver,
and scented oils and song, they bring something made of lead
to remind them of the fact that they've nearly gone to heaven.
I assume that probably when they crossed the river on a barge,
that that was lost and we can only imagine what that would've felt like
to somebody who'd made a long pilgrimage to somewhere, perhaps Walsingham,
where the Cult of Our Lady was very powerful.
How could you ask for anything more magical? It's wonderful stuff.
And another loss, and another find, isn't it?
That was actually found by my granddad years ago,
field-walking, so would be long before the time of metal detectors
and that could be thing that started it all off.
I think it started it off and it's almost certainly a 15th-century ring, probably contemporary,
with the lead pilgrim badge, but here is nearly pure gold, set with a garnet in the middle.
The stones on the other side are glass. They're rather rubbed.
I don't think that matters. Glass turns up in ancient jewellery
and adds colour where colour was rarely seen in medieval society.
People's clothes were coloured with vegetable dyes,
so bring colour into this, one way of doing it
was to go and visit a cathedral to venerate the shrine of a saint
and the other was through jewellery.
This is much later, much later, 150 years later,
maybe 16th or 17th century, probably more likely 16th century.
-Have you thought about who the saint is?
-I believe it's of St Peter
but I'm not sure. Is it bone or ivory?
It's certainly an organic substance and it now looks like bronze
because it's been lying in the mud.
But what I like about it is it's the sort of knife
that would've been carried by a fairly high-ranking, devout person
to carry the image of a saint with him, to his food,
with an image of a saint on it.
Christianity was all-encompassing, all-focusing, a driving force
in art and spirituality and here we have it again.
But what I like about this is, it's almost exactly contemporary with Hever Castle,
and when you came to a place like this, you brought your own knife.
The concept of a fork was probably quite foreign.
I'm sure it was, in fact, and this is a constant reminder of St Peter,
who is the man that is going to open the Gates of Heaven for you,
which you had seen perhaps by venerating a shrine earlier on.
They're all linked, they're marvellous objects, they make me breathless with excitement
and they make you breathless, don't they? And your father.
The excitement doesn't change. I've been doing it so many years.
I suppose we have to try to measure other people's love of them
and curiously enough, it may not be very valuable,
its value might be measured in low hundreds of pounds.
If you were lucky enough to buy it, maybe £200, £300, £400.
Be utterly delighted for me to have that one.
And an English Renaissance knife handle, it's up for grabs, isn't it?
Is it worth £500, £600? It would be to me.
This one, curiously enough, is easier. This is a very modest,
sweet English ring from the 15th century,
and in my view it must be worth £3,000-£4,000, £5,000, something like that.
How could it be worth less?
I'm amazed. The value... I'd no idea of the values,
the ring especially, and it's secondary to me.
Initially, that's not why I got involved in this,
but when you see it on this programme, when the jaws drop,
-and I actually felt my jaw...
-Did you? Did it drop?
-So thank you.
You dropped my jaw for different reasons.
I don't care about the money. It's so exciting and moving and thank you for bringing it.
You really are a very lucky girl, you know.
You brought these along to the one Roadshow
where we have round about 30 guests from Beijing TV station behind you here.
ALL: Ni hao!
Fabulous pair of Chinese porcelain plaques.
Despite the rain, they're porcelain, it's fine, they won't get any damage in them.
What's so lovely about these plaques
is they are illustrating the process of porcelain production.
You can see this figure sitting here, holding a paintbrush
with a lovely vase on the side here with a dragon
and a sacred pearl of wisdom.
Here we've got a chap wearing the most wonderful spectacles.
-Aren't they great?
I think he may be painting a crane or something. We have a bitong, or a brush pot, here.
The plaque nearer you has the kiln and here are the finished vases
coming out of the kiln. Terrific things. Where did you get them?
They were my great-aunt and uncle's and I remember when I was small,
visiting their home, they were always on the wall, and I inherited them.
-And I know nothing else about them.
-What about you? Did you say, "I want those plaques?"
I did like them and admire them every time I visited.
The detail in them, the colours, the images...just fabulous.
In terms of the date they were made, this style of decoration,
which is known as famille verte, it's a term coined in France
in the 19th century, but it's called famille verte decoration,
was first made during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi.
He reigned 1662 to 1722.
But styles and techniques were copied, so these actually don't date from the Kangxi period.
They date from the 19th century. But they are so beautifully done.
What's also interesting about them is all this calligraphy on them.
I'm not very au fait at reading Chinese Imperial reign marks,
but I guess these are describing what's going on.
Here is our luck.
Would you be kind enough to see if you can help us with these pieces?
-We start with this one up here.
-It means a place to paint those products.
-Painting the bottle. And this one here?
I think that means the guy who is taking charge of this place.
-He's the boss.
-And on this panel?
-Um... Here it means kiln.
And here means open the kiln and it means after the process is finished,
-this one, take this one, take the bottle.
And this means moving the bottle, and then after all this,
they take these away and to the market, maybe.
-So it's the narrative of what's going on in the scenes.
I think they're really interesting, lovely things.
-Very, very nice indeed, and thank you for that.
Presumably you brought them here because you want an idea of what they're worth.
It was more about why they were made and the description, the narrative.
They're made, really, to be decorative plaques.
They may have fitted inside a table screen.
It's not uncommon to see woods, sometimes zitan,
or other Chinese hardwoods, table screens,
with porcelain plaques which are inset into them,
or sometimes they're just framed as decorative objects.
Obviously, if they were 17th century, if they were Kangxi period,
they would be very much more valuable than they are.
-In a Chinese auction, I think these would fetch at least £10,000.
Which is, in Renminbi, that would be...
120,000 Yuan, but terrific things, really nice things to see.
Thank you very much for coming.
-And thank you.
Xie xie and thank you.
My pleasure, my pleasure.
I inherited the Titanic medal, as it's known in the family,
from my godmother, who was my mother's eldest sister.
She in turn inherited it from her mother
and she obviously inherited it from her father, who was David Eaton,
who was shipwright on the RMS Carpathia and he built
the bunks and the accommodation for the survivors of the Titanic.
-Because the Carpathia was a Cunard ship...
..that basically picked up signals
-saying that the Titanic was in distress.
And Rostron, the captain of the Carpathia,
obviously steamed, as you would, to the aid of the Titanic.
Yes, he put huge pressure on the boilers
to get there as quickly as he could.
They shut down every superfluous thing on the ship,
-the electricity, the generators.
The passengers froze.
To get as much speed as they could out of the Carpathia.
Now we all know about the loss of life,
but what many perhaps don't know is how many lives were saved,
and the Carpathia and its crew saved over 700 souls from the Titanic.
Now what's very poignant about that is that
perhaps your relative would have been one of those people
who was pulling those people from the water.
He definitely was, yes, yes.
He would have had to deal with the tragedy of probably pulling a lot of...
A lot of people who froze to death and what a lot of people don't know
is that people continued dying after they were rescued
through being, well, hypothermic.
Well, all the officers and crew on the Carpathia
were awarded a medal and depending on your status,
you were either awarded a bronze medal for the crew,
silver medal for officers and a gold medal for the captain.
-I think there were two or three gold medals actually.
-Yes, there were.
It's a myth that never seems to be quite resolved
-about how many gold medals were issued.
We're fairly certain about the silver medals.
Here is his silver medal, and if we have a quick look at it,
you can see it's a lovely, detailed medal.
We turn it over, it has an inscription on the reverse,
"Presented to captain, officers & crew of RMS 'Carpathia'
"in recognition of gallant & heroic services
"from the survivors, SS 'Titanic'."
Now, it is a remarkably poignant thing and you must be,
how can I say, very, very proud to have this in the family.
Oh, immensely proud, it... Although I inherited it,
I don't believe or accept that it actually belongs to me.
It's a family thing
and it will continue to go through the eldest of each generation.
-You're the custodian for a while.
-I am, yes.
I hate to talk about value when it comes to these items,
because they're almost beyond value,
but given the proximity of the centenary
of the sinking of the Titanic,
of course, interest is strong, and, you know,
if this were to come to auction, this would make £7,000 to £10,000.
Mm, doesn't surprise me, to be honest.
It's a lot of money. But, as I say,
I feel it's beyond value,
-because it will never leave your family.
Well, I've been collecting glass now for about 30-odd years,
and the majority I've bought very, very cheaply.
I have to admit that that one is not mine,
it belongs to my brother, he asked me to bring it along.
-He bought that for 50p at a car-boot sale.
-OK, and what about the rest?
The decanters, for instance?
This was the first one I ever acquired, again,
I got it at an antique fair...
The chap had had it on his stall for months.
I didn't know what it was, he didn't know what it was
and I bought it for £2.50.
OK, well, I mean, talk about manna from heaven,
so you've got great stuff that's cost nothing.
Yeah, love it.
So I'm particularly well-known for decanters
and they're just terrific examples of extremely rare things.
I had never previously handled one of those...
dating 1725, so that's almost 300 years old.
I mean that's just an incredibly rare thing. I mean I've written...
You know, I spent six years writing a book on the decanter
-and I've never handled one until this came into my hands.
So that's just sheer delight, wonderful to see.
You've bought them well and the values are great,
you know, really good values.
This little Lynn tumbler here,
that dates from 1740-1745
and is worth, maybe £300.
I mean look at it, look at how tiny that is,
and that's 300, that's a 300-quid glass.
I paid £15 for that.
15, well, I'll give you 16,
show you a profit, man, don't you fret.
Cruciform decanters. Again, these are all... 1730 is their date,
What happened with the cruciform is that the wine was so disgusting at this date,
that what they did is,
they immersed it in cisterns of iced water
and that form enabled the water, the iced water,
to cool the wine, to chill it to a point
where you couldn't actually taste it,
and that way you could actually drink this disgusting filth
that passed for wine of the period.
But the mystery one, the one that is the most compelling here,
is this little baby, which is clearly the pretty one.
We have a domed and folded foot,
this is a really early 1720-1730 characteristic, right?
And we come up here to gadrooning here and this white...
It's a white wine glass, so we have the slightly pinched-in bowl.
Now Thomas Betts's inventory of 1765 describes these
as egg-shaped mead glasses for champagne.
So the dome suggests to me 1730.
I'm slightly worried about a later repro,
-whether this is a Victorian copy.
But if this is right, this 50p glass is £1,000.
My brother will be very pleased.
It's a bit of a wreck.
-How long has it been like this?
Quite some time now.
And why did you bring it?
I was going to throw it away and I thought I'd just bring it down.
Let's just see what's happened to it.
Oh, my goodness, that is a real disaster, isn't it?
-At some stage somebody thought it was worth saving the bits,
and saving them for the man who came along on his bike with his rivets,
to rivet the whole thing together again.
I mean, the whole thing is heaving, I can sort of feel it.
Dear oh, dear. OK, well, tell me the story behind it.
How did it come to you?
Well, it was my granddad's and it was on his bedroom wall at the head of his bed and it was always there.
And was he a religious man?
He was, yes.
Which is why it was there, because this is a religious theme,
it shows the Assumption of the Virgin rising on clouds into heaven,
and an incredibly elaborate border.
Now do you know your baroque from your rococo?
No, not at all.
The baroque comes first.
It's very grand, very symmetrical, but it's very swirly and whirly.
And then it's followed by the rococo when it gets sort of slightly pushed to one side,
it's shifted, and lots of scrolls and shells enter, so you've got a mixture here.
It's slightly baroque but then there's a bit of rococo,
-so I reckon that this is on the cusp of one moving to the other.
And that will take us to 1730-1740.
And this is a holy water stoup,
and you put water in there and, of course,
whenever you are crossing yourself,
or making a prayer, this comes in useful for making your prayers.
It was made in Italy,
almost certainly by a factory called Doccia and they specialised in
picking out the shade of little bodies like these with stippling.
You can, it almost looks like a sort of five o'clock shadow,
-and you see the way the faces are done, down there.
That's a particular sign of this factory.
The question is it worth restoring a very badly damaged 18th-century holy water stoup?
What do you think?
To get it restored, you're going to spend £200, I guess.
What's it worth when you've done it?
-That's very good, yes.
Now something very odd is going on here,
because a bee has been attracted to these boxes,
because he can see this astonishing gleam of gold in the summer sunlight
and it duped him into thinking this was a buttercup,
because it's buttercup yellow and the presence of gold in sunlight,
for heaven's sake, we're starting on a winning wicket here, aren't we?
Tell me about them with you.
How long have you had them? What's the story?
I think we've had them about 30 years, probably.
They belonged to our father and he was given them by a client.
I knew he had these two snuffboxes but I'd never ever seen them.
It was only when we were clearing out Mum's house that we found them in the loft in a tin box.
-So that's how.
You'd seen them, but you'd not seen them?
I've never seen them.
-Never seen them?
Well, look at them.
These are the ultimate status symbols from the 18th century
and the early 19th century.
These were a sign that you had certainly arrived
and they would be part of very complicated arrangements
-which would probably involve a gold-mounted cane...
..and a superb waistcoat shot with silk, covered in peacocks and I don't know what else,
-and they were objects of great curiosity.
And one tended to use them, there was a slight feeling of souvenir quality to them.
They would come from where you had been, because you were able to travel
in a time when travel was very difficult.
You would take an entourage with you of servants to make the travel easier,
and you would go, more often than not, to Italy,
because it was accessible,
-and it's from Italy that this one comes.
-And it comes from Italy in the mid-18th century.
Have you ever thought what it's made of?
I think it's made of tortoiseshell.
It is, but it's made of a very particular tortoiseshell
-and it doesn't come from a tortoise.
It comes from a turtle, and more complicatedly, it comes from the underside of the turtle,
which has what we call blonde tortoiseshell,
so it's this extraordinary amber effect and we call it piquet work
and tortoiseshell is very malleable, it's curious,
it looks a tiny bit like plastic, I'm afraid, and it reacts like it,
and so you build up the image of gold
-by sawing it out and piercing it...
..put it into a dye and force it against the tortoiseshell and some heat and steam
and the tortoiseshell receives it, it becomes cool and the organic nature of the thing
-grips the gold and it seems to grip it like an absolute vice.
And it's an astonishing sight.
It evokes Italy in every possible way, there's a sort of Arcadian ruin here,
-a tiny whiff of perhaps the Castel Sant'Angelo, which is in Rome.
Superb condition, utterly marvellous object, but that's the 18th century.
The tradition for gold boxes creeps into the 19th century and in some ways
it isn't quite as inspired as sort of the vivacity of this object is extraordinary,
I mean it's alive, it's trembling out of the rococo,
it's asymmetrical, it's wonderful - this is neoclassical.
Everything about it is very severe lines, but astonishingly beautiful as well,
and it's lined with gold to keep the snuff fresh and this material here is also tortoiseshell,
but it's almost jet black.
What did you think the technique was?
-I haven't a clue.
-No, not really.
-No, not a clue.
You could easily be forgiven for thinking it was a painting.
It does look like one.
It's anything but. And the miracle of this one is that it's micro-mosaic.
It's a tiny tessera of probably glass and stone, of unbelievable sophistication
and this is micro-mosaic at its absolutely finest.
Oddly enough, the product probably of Rome, where micro-mosaic
was the technique inherited from the surroundings, the architecture, and then boiled down into this,
distilled into this snuffbox.
But then, the panel was Italian without doubt,
but the box is actually Swiss.
-It has Swiss gold marks inside.
And again, it's in astonishingly good condition,
-because it's still contained in this utterly pristine box.
So 1760 for this. 1820 for this.
we can practically hear the guns of Waterloo above us
-when we look at this.
It's neoclassical, it's unbelievably refined craftsmanship,
perfectly preserved, very enviable, very collectable.
So I think this one here
is worth £8,000 to £10,000 for this one.
And maybe £6,000 to £8,000 for that one.
-Oh, my God!
-That's a lot of money.
8,000 to 10,000! And this one was?
-6,000 to 8,000.
-6,000 to 8,000, oh, my...!
-So it's all right!
-Yes, very good.
-What else is in the attic?
Do you remember earlier I met that Chinese TV executive
who was telling me about the programme in China,
where if someone brings along a fake or a kind of valueless object to the programme,
they smash it at the end?
I've been thinking... Do you think it might catch on?
I don't think it will, actually.
Had you going though, didn't I?
From the Antiques Roadshow, until next time, bye-bye.
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