Birmingham University 1 Antiques Roadshow


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Birmingham University 1

Fiona Bruce and the team visit the University of Birmingham's Great Hall. Finds include a bronze lion given as a gift by MGM Studios in the 1950s.


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Our location this week is right in the heart of the country,

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in Britain's second most populated city.

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Today's venue has been a seat of learning for over 100 years.

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It opened in 1909 with 678 students.

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Today it has 30,000.

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So, your starter for ten - I'll have to hurry you -

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welcome to the Antiques Roadshow from - come on, yes -

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from the University of Birmingham.

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These figures show us the range of subjects

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being studied at the University of Birmingham in 1909,

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from art and philosophy to science and industry.

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So we've got Darwin, Plato, Michelangelo, Faraday,

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and Midlanders like Shakespeare,

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all important influences on the Edwardian curriculum.

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The then-mayor of Birmingham - Joseph Chamberlain,

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father of the Prime Minister, Neville - wanted to create

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a different kind of university, that would educate a generation

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that would serve the city, which was growing faster than any other.

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It was known as "the workshop of the world"

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and its industrial output was massive,

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ranging from huge anchors to tiny pins.

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The Great Hall, with its magnificent stained-glass window,

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is a celebration of the city's success.

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It's adorned with images that reflect, not only academia,

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but also the industries the students then went on to work in

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once they'd finished their degrees.

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Our visitors today will get to see more than just a traditional campus.

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The university also boasts the Barber Institute,

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which contains some of the greatest names in the history of art.

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The Lapworth - an Edwardian museum full of fascinating fossils -

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including the Dudley Bug, which was found just down the road,

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and is 425 million years old.

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And then there's the university's very own Botanical Gardens.

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So, fingers on buzzers, everyone, it's time for the team from the Antiques Roadshow

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to take on the visitors from the University of Birmingham.

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-Can you tell me if you're a duchess?

-No, I'm not.

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Why on earth would I ask you such a weird question?

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Well, it's obviously something to do with that, isn't it?

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Yeah, because you know what? That's a ducal crown.

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This form is what a duke would wear - royal wedding, for instance -

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dukes and duchesses present,

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you look at what the dukes wear. That's a ducal crown.

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And how do we know it's a ducal crown?

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Because when duchesses are around, being informal,

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and they don't want to wear their formal crown,

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-they wear strawberry leaves in their hair.

-Ooh, right.

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It is a wonderful piece of Victorian deliciousness.

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It's strawberries and cream, it really is.

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Basically, what we have is a cast brass,

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then you engrave the details,

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such as the strawberry leaves, into here with an engraving tool.

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Scratch it, then you file all these shapes and polish them,

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and then you gold-plate it.

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And this is called ormolu, gold-plated brass.

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Big money to buy this, so where'd you find it?

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My mother saw it in an antique shop, when I was about eight,

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and my father bought it for her,

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and she used to have it on the grand piano with daffodils in.

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Well, it's a grand thing that was on a grand piano, that's for sure.

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Matthew Boulton, that kind of quality.

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Museum quality, sort of thing, 1860,

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engraved glass, probably made either in Birmingham or Stourbridge.

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And ferns are archetypal Victorian engraved motif,

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but we have a bit of an issue here, don't we?

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If we look at it from here, all is peachy, or rosy, or strawberry.

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But if we turn it round here, we have catastrophe.

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What happened?

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-The cat knocked it over.

-The cat!

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How much was your cat worth?

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To me, everything.

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Well, it's made a difference of a thousand to a hundred.

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Right.

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That cat cost you £900 on the value of this otherwise peachy thing.

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-Can we ever get these replaced?

-Yeah, if you want, you could do.

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Cost you a few hundred. But I think it would be worth it.

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Mm. Absolutely.

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Arrr!

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That was a pretty pathetic attempt to imitate a lion.

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In particular, the lion that you see - the head -

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in the MGM logo.

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I understand that this was given by MGM to NATO.

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Can you tell me more about that?

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That's the story in the family.

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My aunt worked at NATO, through the '50s, '60s and '70s

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and, when they were in London, this was presented to NATO,

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because NATO had organised the use of a submarine for a film,

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but because of a disaster at sea,

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they weren't able to present the lion to the submarine,

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so instead it was presented to NATO.

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And, through NATO, it came into your family?

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When NATO moved from London to Maastricht,

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this was given to my aunt.

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So she took it home, and then it was passed on to me.

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And what sort of date are we talking about here?

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It came into the family's possession in the late '60s, '70s,

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and it would've come into my aunt's possession at NATO in the 1950s.

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Right. If we look at the mark at the bottom, you can just see,

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that is the mark of Seiya,

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who's a Japanese bronze artist from about 1900,

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so we've travelled around the world a bit

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to get to this particular point, with this particular maker.

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Erm, this is as good as you get from Seiya.

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He was a very great Japanese bronze sculptor.

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He did elephants, he did lions, and he did other animals,

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but animals, particularly, were his favourite subject.

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I think if this went to auction,

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you'd get somewhere between £1,500 and £2,000

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so it was a very generous gift by MGM all that time ago,

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but having said that, in the 1950s, it wouldn't have been perhaps

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so much appreciated as it is now.

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-Glorious thing. Thank you very much, though, for bringing him.

-Thank you.

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People often have to wait for hours, I'm afraid, to see our experts at the Roadshow.

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At least you're all queuing today here in the sunshine.

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People resort to all sorts of things in order to pass the time,

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like this chap here. Hello!

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-Are you just trying to pass the time, then?

-Fiona!

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-How you doing?

-I'm doing fine.

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Are you just playing to pass the time,

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or have you brought this along to be valued?

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A bit of both. Playing to pass the time and entertain the crowd.

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-You're doing a fine job.

-And hopefully catch Fiona's attention.

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Oh, yeah, you charmer! Is this what you've brought to be valued?

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This is the beautiful violin I've brought along to value, yeah.

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-And how long have you had it?

-It's been on the top of my mother's wardrobe for about ten years now,

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ten, 20 years, and I've been playing it for six months. So I'm not doing too bad, right?

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That's pretty good, I must say. Keep up the good work.

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-You're entertaining everyone marvellously.

-Fantastic.

-Not long now.

-Take it easy.

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HE PLAYS FOLKSY TUNE, OFF-KEY

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Now, you obviously love gold, you're all wearing it.

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Look at this - rings, bracelets, pendants.

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and it seems chance has given you another one. Tell me about that.

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Well, it was, uh...

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seven years ago now?

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Wet Sunday morning, out metal-detecting as usual,

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hadn't found nothing for two to three hours, and then got a signal.

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As soon as I put the shovel in and turned over,

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-I just saw the glint of gold.

-Glint of gold, yeah.

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And that was it, and picked it up, and as soon as I picked it up,

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I tried it on, it went halfway down me little finger

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and as soon as it went there, I thought, that's it,

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I've lost it, because I know it would fit the wife, perfect.

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"Fit the wife perfect". Well, that's fantastic, isn't it?

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But you didn't let her keep it, did you?

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Er, no, I, er,

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it just got the better of me,

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I couldn't decipher what it was meself.

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Um, I actually went to Worcester Museum, and Andrew Bolton at the Worcester Museum

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took one look at it and said, "I'm afraid I've got some bad news.

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"We're having to take that for Treasure Trove."

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Doesn't sound that bad to me, but anyway, as bad news goes...

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-And then gave me the good news and told me roughly what it was.

-Yes.

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-That it was a 15th century gold posy ring.

-Yes.

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And three years later, after backwards and forwards,

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got a letter saying that the museum no longer wished to acquire it

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-and then Anne...

-Got it back.

-Anne got it back.

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I think it's an absolutely wonderful ring, from my point of view.

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I, too, have the luck of the devil. I'm not out with my metal detector,

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I actually don't have one, but I share in all the excitement

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because people bring these medieval rings to the Antiques Roadshow when I'm here.

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So I am terribly excited by this.

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The inscription is "I E Adore",

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from the French "j'adore" - I love you.

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If you look closely, it's entwined with two meeting of hearts.

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Yes, absolutely. And it is a love ring from the 15th century.

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In a way, a museum report will tell you all of that,

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but perhaps what they don't tell you

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is that this is possibly the only souvenir

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of a relationship long gone, 600 years ago.

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Their lives were actually lacking

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in small, gleaming, intensely beautiful objects,

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so gold had an enormous magnetism to them,

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and it's always associated with the enduring relationships,

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because, not only is the ring the eternally renewing circle,

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it has no end and no beginning, but the gold itself is an emblem

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of what we want our relationships to be, and that's enduring for ever.

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And so here's a little message - I'm afraid, from the grave -

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but from the heart through the grave, to you,

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so, in a way, this is a most marvellous tribute, isn't it?

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And what is interesting about the ring

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is the calligraphy is very redolent of the 15th century

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and it's that that, frankly, dates the ring for us today.

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If this were offered for sale, someone would have exactly the same idea as you had,

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which was to give it to your wife here,

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and I would have thought a value of £5,000 or £6,000

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would not be inappropriate today.

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Very nice, but it's still the wife's.

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I think it is. Talk to her a bit - talk to her!

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She's got a lot of gold, look! It's everywhere!

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But that's the best one, isn't it, though?

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Brilliant, thank you so much.

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In this series of the Antiques Roadshow

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we're setting ourselves - and you - a bit of a challenge,

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to tell the difference between three antiques that look very similar.

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Now, this week, John Sandon, our ceramics specialist, has set out

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these three, rather scary, frankly - to my eyes anyway - monkey figures.

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One of them is a basic model, cheap and cheerful.

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One is rather better,

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probably worth about £1,000,

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and one is the best example, worth £10,000.

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Shortly, he'll be putting me out of my misery and telling me which is which, because, to be honest,

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they all look pretty similar to me. But first I'm going to go

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and talk to our visitors, see if they can spot which one is the best.

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Well, Miss Clara is actually owned by the Barber Institute Of Fine Arts

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at the University Of Birmingham and the Henry Barber Trust

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and she is really a star.

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We recently re-displayed this wonderful bronze

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and we found the postcards sold out. She's got quite a following.

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Well, it's no surprise, because you mentioned

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she's called Miss Clara.

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Why was she called Miss Clara, then?

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She was given that name at the end of the 1740s

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because, actually, she was - she's an Indian rhinoceros -

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and she was captured when she was quite young and brought to Europe

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by an enterprising Dutch sea captain,

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and he brought her in to Rotterdam in 1741,

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feeding her orange peel and hay

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and apparently some beer on the way over, on the boat.

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And we also know - rather strangely - that he was told

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it was good for her to inhale smoke,

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so he puffed smoke into her face and she inhaled it.

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Was that to calm her down?

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Because tobacco is a sort of mild narcotic, and it would have been...

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We understand she was very docile and very friendly to her keepers and to the public

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and she started off being exhibited in Holland,

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and then, gradually, she was shown all over Europe

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from Warsaw to Naples, and when she was in Venice

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she was painted by the Italian painter, Longhi.

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And there's a great picture of her surrounded by people with masks.

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That's right, and even some dung and things, it's quite extraordinary.

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Yes. It's difficult for us today to understand how weird she was,

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because we've got the television,

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we can turn on and we can watch wildlife channels all day.

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And we can see rhinos, and we're aware

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of the sad fate of the rhino today.

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But to them, this was... What was she?

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Absolutely, and she came to England on a number of occasions.

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She came in the 1750s three times,

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and, very sadly, she was here in 1758 when she actually died.

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So, 20 years in captivity.

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So, I think people were absolutely fascinated.

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When she went to towns, there were announcements about her arriving

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-and how to buy tickets to go and view her.

-I gather he was a bit of a showman in the sense that,

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if tickets were flagging, he'd say that she was very ill

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-and shortly to die, so now's your chance to get to see her.

-I didn't know that, gosh!

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Clara, well, as I say, she lasted 20 years.

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Yes, she appears in all forms of art, in porcelain,

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obviously on paintings, drawings, engravings, bronzes and clocks.

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I'm pretty sure, because she was such a hot subject of the day,

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I think it's contemporary with her.

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Now, whether it's at the end of her life,

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or it's based on the painting by Oudry - which was done in 1749 -

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-so, if it's based on that painting, he was a Frenchman.

-Yes, yes.

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I think it's very likely to be, probably, '49-'50, that sort of era.

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Well, we put 1750 on the label, so that's reassuring to know.

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Excellent. When she was bought by the Barber, what was she bought as?

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Well, she was bought by our first director, Thomas Bodkin,

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and he is the one who put together our fantastic sculpture collection,

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and he bought her, actually, during World War II from Alfred Spero,

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who was the main sculpture dealer of the time,

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and he bought her in 1942 for £575.

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I mean, I think £575 equates today to roughly £18,000.

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So that's, you know, it's not a hugely expensive bronze,

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that, actually, particularly one of this stature.

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Where does she come from?

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In Germany, there are porcelain rhinos.

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The French fashion for animal bronzes,

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and the clocks are French,

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lead me to think that it's more likely to be French.

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The quality of the bronze is absolutely fabulous. I'd err on the French side rather than the German.

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Interesting, we label her saying, "French-German, we're not quite sure, circa 1750,"

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so that's very interesting to know.

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I think, bearing in mind that clock groups with Clara on,

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can make several hundred thousand pounds,

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um, I think she's probably worth

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maybe as much as £200,000.

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-Interesting.

-I think it's a really exceptional...

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Do you think it's the novelty value, the fact that it's Clara?

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Absolutely. It's a fabulous bronze, I think it's a fantastic story.

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She's as much a draw today as she was in the 18th century.

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We may have to go back and change our insurance valuations anyway.

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-I think it's a wonderful thing.

-Thank you very much indeed.

-Thank you.

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-One is basic, one is better, one is best.

-OK.

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Put them in the right order. Have a go.

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-One of them's worth 10,000, so be careful!

-OK.

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It's sort of matte in colour, it looks older.

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-OK.

-This one's very detailed.

-It's got very sharp teeth.

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I think I'll go with that.

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That is the best.

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God, this is tough.

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That's the basic, that's the better and that's the best.

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Best, better, basic.

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Yeah, why not?

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Best, basic, better.

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Well, John Sandon will tell you later on.

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-Some jewels scream "wear me".

-Really?

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And this screams out to me, "I want to be worn".

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Yeah, I know, I haven't worn them... Once or twice.

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-You have only once or twice?

-Once or twice, yes.

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-Why?

-I don't know, maybe I didn't have the right occasion or whatever,

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was scared or...

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Well, it's definitely your colour.

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So tell me, how did you get this then?

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I got it from my mother, who got it from her mother.

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My mother was Italian, like me. Her mother was English.

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I never knew whether it was something English, French or whatever,

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-that's what was my curiosity.

-Ah, OK.

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Well, the jewel is quintessentially 1905 Edwardian,

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we call it the garland style, these festoons of wreaths

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and laurel wreaths that the designs were taken from.

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Look how it moves, and it is so light.

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I mean, it is absolutely adorable.

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Now, this would be worn - we would call this a "devant de corsage"

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-which means it would be worn at the front of the bodice.

-Mm.

0:19:580:20:01

So then you still had a little bit of a drop here

0:20:010:20:05

for these beautiful drops here to move.

0:20:050:20:07

-Because it's all about this movement, isn't it?

-Yes, yes.

0:20:070:20:10

English.

0:20:100:20:11

-So, English... It was definitely then your...grandmother?

-Yes.

0:20:110:20:16

Well, that would absolutely fit.

0:20:160:20:19

Made of platinum and this emerald...

0:20:190:20:23

fabulous emerald,

0:20:230:20:24

and it could possibly have come from Colombia

0:20:240:20:27

which is where the best emeralds come from.

0:20:270:20:29

Platinum was when you could really make jewellery come alive,

0:20:290:20:34

because it is very strong and it doesn't tarnish like silver

0:20:340:20:39

and 1900 was really when you were starting to see

0:20:390:20:41

platinum being used because they were able

0:20:410:20:44

to get the melting point as high as required to work with it.

0:20:440:20:48

And you've got here the milgrain setting,

0:20:480:20:51

all the tiny details of the little balls of the milgrains

0:20:510:20:54

going around the diamonds, so these are all diamonds here,

0:20:540:20:58

which are cushion-shaped diamonds,

0:20:580:21:00

and that again is indicative of the period.

0:21:000:21:03

You have the two emeralds on either side which are set in yellow,

0:21:040:21:10

so that is very good

0:21:100:21:11

because emeralds need sometimes that warmth of the yellow around.

0:21:110:21:18

I just think, if it went to an auction today,

0:21:180:21:20

I think you would be looking in the region of about

0:21:200:21:23

£15,000 to £20,000.

0:21:230:21:25

Oh, well, I won't wear it!

0:21:300:21:32

You won't wear it? You should wear it even more!

0:21:320:21:36

It's a joy, absolute joy for me to see this, really,

0:21:360:21:38

-thank you very much.

-Thank you, thank you.

0:21:380:21:40

Enjoy it, wear it.

0:21:400:21:41

-All right. She will, she will.

-OK, thank you.

0:21:410:21:45

Well, they say you can't judge a book by its cover,

0:21:470:21:50

and this is actually a rather splendid cover,

0:21:500:21:53

this lovely marbled card cover but you peel back

0:21:530:21:56

this piece of tissue paper

0:21:560:21:58

and there's this absolutely glorious painting of a little cottage.

0:21:580:22:02

Now, what's your relationship with this little painting?

0:22:020:22:06

Well, it's a family item. It came from my parents.

0:22:060:22:10

Beyond that, I don't know.

0:22:100:22:12

I'm hoping to find out

0:22:120:22:14

whether it's a commercial item or a one-off or what.

0:22:140:22:19

Well, it's got tiny, tiny writing round here,

0:22:190:22:23

that looks as if it's been written by a little mouse.

0:22:230:22:25

And I'm going to...

0:22:250:22:27

I can't really read it very clearly with that, but fortunately

0:22:270:22:31

you have made a translation, so what it says is, "Beneath is a residence,

0:22:310:22:37

"cheerful though small. Give it what name you please except Liberty Hall.

0:22:370:22:42

"Tis wire fenced and airy and some people say

0:22:420:22:45

"The guest who once enters can ne'er get away.

0:22:450:22:49

"Pray, lift the latch gently and peep in with care,

0:22:490:22:53

"Lest the tenants you fright and their premises tear."

0:22:530:22:57

Well, shall we do what it says? It says "lift the latch gently".

0:22:570:23:01

I can see there's a little tiny bit of cord here

0:23:010:23:06

and I'm going to lift the latch gently...and what have we caught?

0:23:060:23:12

We've caught two mice.

0:23:120:23:13

We've caught two mice, two country mice.

0:23:130:23:15

But it also gives us an idea of the intricacy

0:23:150:23:19

of this extraordinary bit of scissor work.

0:23:190:23:23

So here we have something that I'm sure was made by hand.

0:23:230:23:27

I would imagine that it was done by a lady of leisure,

0:23:270:23:33

and she created this, what we call a "peep".

0:23:330:23:35

And I would've thought that it was done in the early part

0:23:350:23:39

of the 19th century sometime,

0:23:390:23:42

the 1830s, 1840s.

0:23:420:23:43

Absolutely charming, incredibly commercial.

0:23:430:23:47

And I would say today it's worth between £300 and £500.

0:23:470:23:50

My word, that does surprise me.

0:23:510:23:54

What a wonderful thing you've brought us here today.

0:23:560:23:59

-This is quite amazing.

-You're very welcome.

0:23:590:24:01

It's things like this that I absolutely love.

0:24:010:24:03

What do you know about it, and where's it from?

0:24:030:24:06

Well, it's been in the family for quite some time.

0:24:060:24:09

I believe that it was either bought for, or by, my great grandmother.

0:24:090:24:13

-We had some relatives go over to Chicago, Boston area, around there.

-Exactly.

0:24:130:24:18

But that would be sort of the late 1790s, maybe early 1800s.

0:24:180:24:23

Whether they sent it across or not, I have no idea.

0:24:230:24:26

But it's been in the family for quite a long time.

0:24:260:24:28

-So they sent it across the sea?

-I think so,

0:24:280:24:31

or maybe when it was fashionable in London,

0:24:310:24:33

-it was bought in London.

-Yeah.

0:24:330:24:35

That fits in more with what I think that this is.

0:24:350:24:37

I mean, people think that these are tribal things,

0:24:370:24:42

maybe Indians of the Great Lakes or something like that.

0:24:420:24:47

I think they could've been made by those people,

0:24:470:24:49

-but I think they were made for Western fashion.

-Yes, yes.

0:24:490:24:52

Because, you see, in 1824 I think it is,

0:24:520:24:56

the Hawaiian king and queen visited England

0:24:560:24:58

and their attendants wore feathered robes

0:24:580:25:01

-for part of their cultural heritage.

-Oh, right, yeah.

0:25:010:25:04

-And that started the fashion for people wearing these pelerines, as they're called.

-Yes.

0:25:040:25:09

Feathered capes. And as you can see,

0:25:090:25:12

it's got pieces down the front, but it's a cape at the back

0:25:120:25:16

with lovely feathers there, which are from the peacock.

0:25:160:25:21

-Yes.

-And there are no peacocks in America.

-Right.

0:25:210:25:24

So there is a conundrum deciding where these were made,

0:25:240:25:29

and some were made, I believe, in South Africa

0:25:290:25:32

-by Indian or Chinese craftspeople.

-Yeah.

0:25:320:25:37

Some believe that the people from the Great Lakes

0:25:370:25:40

and the Iroquois made them for the Boston ladies,

0:25:400:25:43

New England and so on, to wear in the evening.

0:25:430:25:47

You've got feathers from a variety of birds, but often these feathers

0:25:470:25:52

-were traded and so on, like they traded beads.

-Yeah.

0:25:520:25:55

You know, they were like jewels to certain people.

0:25:550:25:58

-In fact, they've got four of these in the Smithsonian.

-Mm-hmm?

0:25:580:26:02

-You know, the Smithsonian?

-I've heard of it, yes.

0:26:020:26:05

Which is a big American institute,

0:26:050:26:07

-a wonderful museum of ethnographical and American social history.

-Mm-hmm.

0:26:070:26:14

-And two of them in that collection are in the Ethnographic Department.

-Oh, right.

0:26:140:26:19

And two are in the Department of Social History and Fashion,

0:26:190:26:22

-so even they're not sure exactly where to place them in a category.

-Yep.

0:26:220:26:27

But I think it's the most spectacular thing.

0:26:270:26:31

It's lined with goose or duck down,

0:26:310:26:34

it's a very hard thing to value because they're so rare.

0:26:340:26:37

They don't survive. Feathers get eaten and destroyed,

0:26:370:26:40

they fall apart, but this is in amazing condition.

0:26:400:26:43

I love it and it's difficult to value

0:26:430:26:47

because it's very hard to be specific about where it was made.

0:26:470:26:51

But I would value that at about £1,000

0:26:510:26:54

and if one could be more specific

0:26:540:26:57

as to where it was made, it could be even higher.

0:26:570:27:01

-Right.

-What do you intend to do with it?

0:27:010:27:04

Well, stay in the family, see if I can do a bit more research on it, but eventually it's going

0:27:040:27:08

to go somewhere, some museum or wherever,

0:27:080:27:11

-if we can find out where...

-Well, the Smithsonian have got four, so maybe...

0:27:110:27:15

-I don't think the British Museum have got any.

-Oh, right.

0:27:150:27:17

-They would love a donation!

-We'll see what we can do at some time in the future.

0:27:170:27:22

-Thank you very much.

-My pleasure.

0:27:220:27:24

So what super pots, aren't they?

0:27:280:27:30

They scream Winchcombe Pottery to me, but of course they're not

0:27:300:27:34

made in Winchcombe but they're made out in Africa, in Nigeria.

0:27:340:27:37

-Yes, that's correct.

-How did you come by them?

0:27:370:27:40

I bought them in 1966.

0:27:400:27:43

What were you doing in Nigeria?

0:27:430:27:46

I was working, I was working for rug designers

0:27:460:27:50

and I was travelling extensively.

0:27:500:27:52

-I saw these pots and I just thought they were lovely.

-Yes.

0:27:520:27:55

And I was told that there was a famous lady potter,

0:27:550:27:59

she was the first lady Nigerian potter, and I noticed that

0:27:590:28:05

I particularly liked her work, so I just bought a few.

0:28:050:28:09

-And you went and saw her potting?

-Yes, I've seen her at the wheel.

0:28:090:28:12

-Good Lord. This is Ladi Kwali.

-That's right.

0:28:120:28:14

-These are marked, are they, Ladi Kwali?

-Yes, that's right.

0:28:140:28:17

-Yes, you've got "LK" for Ladi Kwali and the Abuja mark.

-Yes, yes.

0:28:170:28:22

They're lovely pots. It's a super mug, isn't it?

0:28:220:28:24

And it's inspired by Winchcombe,

0:28:240:28:28

-where Michael Cardew was originally the potter.

-Yes, yes.

0:28:280:28:31

-And he went over to Nigeria to train potters over there.

-That's right.

0:28:310:28:35

And one of his great pupils was Ladi Kwali.

0:28:350:28:38

Now this has got an inscription on it, "Hassan"...

0:28:380:28:42

and "Katsina Governor".

0:28:420:28:46

Governor, yes.

0:28:460:28:48

Now, he was the Governor of Nigeria.

0:28:480:28:51

I was told that it was made for him,

0:28:510:28:53

but he hadn't turned up to buy it, so I bought it.

0:28:530:28:57

-Ooh!

-I just liked it, it's just beautiful.

0:28:570:29:01

How much did you pay for it?

0:29:010:29:03

I can't really remember,

0:29:030:29:05

but it would've been a nominal amount, probably £10.

0:29:050:29:08

-Yes, yes.

-For each of these items, really.

0:29:080:29:12

Well, now, Ladi Kwali's pots are very collectable.

0:29:120:29:16

She's one of the great world potters,

0:29:160:29:19

and a mug like that I suppose is going to be

0:29:190:29:22

a couple of hundred pounds.

0:29:220:29:24

A mug like this, especially made for the Governor,

0:29:240:29:27

is going to be probably double that,

0:29:270:29:30

and the coffee pot probably the same.

0:29:300:29:32

The total value of all this must be, I suppose, £1,000.

0:29:320:29:36

Gosh, that's much more than I expected, but they're lovely.

0:29:360:29:40

-Yes.

-And they will become family heirlooms.

-Oh, yes, of course.

0:29:400:29:44

Do you remember earlier on,

0:29:570:29:59

our ceramics specialist John Sandon set us a challenge to work out

0:29:590:30:02

which of these three monkey figurines is the basic model,

0:30:020:30:07

the better model worth about £1,000

0:30:070:30:10

and the best model worth...say, £10,000?

0:30:100:30:13

Now, I had a bit of a go,

0:30:130:30:14

our visitors here have had a bit of a go.

0:30:140:30:17

John, I have set these in the order in which I think they are,

0:30:170:30:21

so basic, better, best.

0:30:210:30:24

But they all look very similar to me.

0:30:250:30:27

First, what are these all about? They're rather strange, aren't they?

0:30:270:30:31

Yes. This is the conductor from the monkey band.

0:30:310:30:33

The first monkey band was made for the King of Saxony.

0:30:330:30:36

Augustus III was famous for his lavish banquets.

0:30:360:30:39

One story goes that a guest made fun of his prized orchestra.

0:30:390:30:42

They said they played like performing monkeys.

0:30:420:30:44

The King laughed at that and someone thought it would be a nice idea

0:30:440:30:48

to make a full orchestra, as monkeys, out of porcelain

0:30:480:30:51

to set out on his table at the banquet.

0:30:510:30:53

And these were created at Meissen in 1753.

0:30:530:30:57

Of course, Meissen, the finest porcelain.

0:30:570:30:59

-Did these become fashionable, then?

-Yes.

0:30:590:31:02

Madame de Pompadour bought a set of 18 monkey bands from Meissen in 1753

0:31:020:31:06

and that set the whole fashion.

0:31:060:31:08

Every palace in Europe wanted a set.

0:31:080:31:11

It seems a very odd thing to collect.

0:31:110:31:13

To be honest, I don't think they're particularly attractive,

0:31:130:31:16

but presumably there were many made, and that's why we've got these three models here.

0:31:160:31:21

Yes. These are the conductors. Singers and musicians would form the set

0:31:210:31:25

and they were copied everywhere.

0:31:250:31:26

In England, they were copied at Chelsea and Derby. They were copied in France,

0:31:260:31:29

and especially in Dresden, where many little factories all made copies.

0:31:290:31:34

That's why there are so many about.

0:31:340:31:35

The only way I could judge them was trying to look at the fineness of the painting

0:31:350:31:41

and of the detail of the faces.

0:31:410:31:43

To begin with, you need to literally weigh the evidence,

0:31:430:31:46

and I'd like to hold them and feel the weight.

0:31:460:31:49

Oh, I see. I didn't do that.

0:31:490:31:51

-But try these two, that one there...

-Very light.

0:31:510:31:55

-And this one.

-Little bit heavier.

0:31:550:31:58

Indeed. Meissen is heavier porcelain,

0:31:580:32:00

so that tells us this is more dense, so Meissen is going to be heavier.

0:32:000:32:05

That's the heaviest. OK. Keep me in suspense, right.

0:32:050:32:09

You did the right thing, looking at the detail,

0:32:090:32:11

how carefully they're modelled and painted.

0:32:110:32:14

Here, his face is quite fierce and he has

0:32:140:32:17

details in the teeth.

0:32:170:32:19

But when you look at these teeth and the modelling there, there's more to it.

0:32:190:32:23

Every little streak of the hair is carefully painted.

0:32:230:32:27

That is a sign of quality, so one can distinguish there is a difference here.

0:32:270:32:31

This actually is the basic one because this is the copy.

0:32:310:32:35

This one is too light, it isn't the quality of Meissen.

0:32:350:32:39

This was made by a notorious faker in France, called Samson.

0:32:390:32:42

And they copied all the things that Meissen made,

0:32:420:32:45

and made different versions of it. So this Samson copy

0:32:450:32:49

has on the back of it Samson's mark.

0:32:490:32:51

Meissen used a crossed swords as a mark.

0:32:510:32:53

That's Samson's version, which is a cross

0:32:530:32:55

with a little line through the middle, it's not a crossed swords at all.

0:32:550:32:59

-OK, so this is the basic one.

-So that's the basic one.

-So let's put him here, right.

0:32:590:33:03

-He's worth £100 as a jolly good fake from 100 years ago.

-OK, got that wrong!

0:33:030:33:09

These two are both from the Meissen factory

0:33:090:33:12

and, in the 18th century, when Meissen first made it,

0:33:120:33:15

they were very proud of their porcelain.

0:33:150:33:17

They left quite a bit of white showing.

0:33:170:33:20

What I like about this one here is the base is left fairly plain and white.

0:33:200:33:25

This one has got more colouring there.

0:33:250:33:27

The colouring came in in the 19th century, so these are both made at Meissen.

0:33:270:33:32

This one was made in about 1830 or 1840,

0:33:320:33:36

but this one is the early example, so this is the best one.

0:33:360:33:40

-You got it right.

-Hurrah! Sheer luck.

-Slipped up on those.

0:33:400:33:45

But this is the best one.

0:33:450:33:46

This was made in the 1750s. The quality for the King's own banqueting table,

0:33:460:33:52

and it really jumps out, the quality, and these are jolly rare.

0:33:520:33:56

Are they? At least one out of three's not too bad, John.

0:33:560:33:59

And you did get the best one right, which is this one,

0:33:590:34:02

and today this is worth £10,000.

0:34:020:34:05

Goodness me! Well, there you are. If you happen to have

0:34:050:34:08

one of these characters from a monkey orchestra at home, now, having listened to John,

0:34:080:34:12

you'll know what to look for, and you can work out if yours is basic, better or best.

0:34:120:34:18

When we think of Brazil, we think of beautiful women,

0:34:260:34:29

we think of sunny beaches and the carnival,

0:34:290:34:32

but rarely do we think about pocket watches.

0:34:320:34:36

But we have here a lovely pocket watch that's been bought in Brazil.

0:34:360:34:41

Yes. My grandfather.

0:34:410:34:44

-He was the buyer?

-Yes.

0:34:440:34:46

And do you remember your grandfather?

0:34:460:34:48

I do, actually, yes. He died when he was 102.

0:34:480:34:52

-102?!

-Yes.

-And do you know when your grandfather bought the watch?

0:34:520:34:56

I think he bought it when he was about 40 years old.

0:34:560:35:00

OK, so that would place it in around the 1920s.

0:35:000:35:04

Yes.

0:35:040:35:05

Yeah, that makes perfect sense because Gondolo and Labouriau were

0:35:050:35:08

Patek's agents from the latter part of the 19th century through to 1927.

0:35:080:35:14

What do you know about Patek Philippe?

0:35:140:35:17

We know it's a Swiss brand, very famous for watches.

0:35:170:35:20

-They are the MOST famous company for watches.

-Oh.

0:35:200:35:24

In the 20th century, they brought watchmaking to a level

0:35:240:35:28

that no-one else has achieved,

0:35:280:35:29

and they are still the greatest watchmaker in the world today.

0:35:290:35:33

And Patek Philippe made a small number of pocket watches

0:35:330:35:37

and wrist watches for the South American market.

0:35:370:35:40

And they were only retailed by a company called

0:35:400:35:43

-Gondolo and Labouriau in Rio.

-Oh.

0:35:430:35:47

And they were very exclusive. And when they made them,

0:35:470:35:51

they had to fulfil four criteria,

0:35:510:35:54

and that was all to do with the movement.

0:35:540:35:58

And within the movement...

0:35:580:36:00

..is a series of wheels

0:36:010:36:06

in the train of wheels, and the wheel train has to be solid gold.

0:36:060:36:10

And the way that you regulate the watch has to be done

0:36:100:36:14

in a very special way, using a special micron adjuster.

0:36:140:36:18

And it had to fulfil all those criteria before it could be

0:36:180:36:21

retailed by Gondolo and Labouriau, who were very pernickety

0:36:210:36:25

about the fact that they would only sell Patek's best quality watches.

0:36:250:36:29

So your grandfather had fantastic taste.

0:36:290:36:32

What's nice about this watch is that it comes with its original

0:36:330:36:37

travelling box as well, and it's in super condition.

0:36:370:36:40

The dial isn't in particularly good condition, but it can be cleaned up.

0:36:400:36:46

It's something that I think that, if a collector were ever to

0:36:460:36:50

acquire it, that's something that he could do.

0:36:500:36:53

We should talk about value.

0:36:530:36:56

Highly desirable, but what's really special is the size.

0:36:560:36:59

It's just that step up from a normal Gondolo pocket watch

0:36:590:37:03

and it makes all the difference when it comes to collectors.

0:37:030:37:07

So, today a collector would have to pay

0:37:070:37:10

between £6,000 and £7,000 for it.

0:37:100:37:13

Oh...

0:37:130:37:15

-You're lucky ladies.

-Yes, very nice.

0:37:160:37:19

This is almost a first for me.

0:37:210:37:24

-I don't do paintings. In fact, I'm pleased to call them flatware.

-OK!

0:37:240:37:29

THEY LAUGH

0:37:290:37:32

But this thing is something else. It's a very interesting

0:37:320:37:37

and appealing gouache painting.

0:37:370:37:41

It's by Bernard Leach, who is credited as being

0:37:430:37:47

the father of English studio pottery.

0:37:470:37:50

He was not just a great potter, but he was a great philosopher.

0:37:500:37:55

And I think, most important of all, teacher.

0:37:550:38:00

He was born in Hong Kong, he went to Japan and he met a young

0:38:010:38:08

potter called Shoji Hamada, and they set up a pottery

0:38:080:38:13

in St Ives in Cornwall in 1920.

0:38:130:38:17

This is dated 1921,

0:38:190:38:25

so this is a very early bit of Leach.

0:38:250:38:30

And then we've got his monogram, "BL", in the middle there.

0:38:300:38:34

Where did you get it from?

0:38:360:38:38

-We won it in a raffle.

-Oh, come on!

0:38:380:38:41

In St Ives.

0:38:410:38:43

It was 1977, we were on holiday, we went into one of the local

0:38:430:38:47

art galleries, they had a raffle with 100 tickets at £25 each.

0:38:470:38:52

-Oh, serious money.

-Serious money, so we thought, "£25 is worth a gamble."

0:38:520:38:58

-Sure.

-"We'll get something."

0:38:580:39:00

And then we went home at the end of the holiday

0:39:000:39:03

and then a couple of months later they wrote and said,

0:39:030:39:05

"You've won this painting by Bernard Leach."

0:39:050:39:08

I think what he's looking at here is a bit of folk pottery.

0:39:080:39:13

And I guess he probably brought this thing back with him from Japan.

0:39:130:39:18

And he's actually given an amazingly good interpretation

0:39:180:39:23

of the pot, I think.

0:39:230:39:25

You didn't keep any of the paperwork, did you, that went with it,

0:39:250:39:28

-when you...?

-We got a letter from the art gallery.

-You've got that?

0:39:280:39:32

-We have...

-In this envelope? OK.

0:39:320:39:34

We have the raffle ticket and the letters.

0:39:340:39:37

-OK. Ah, "Grand Draw".

-That's it.

0:39:370:39:40

"Penwith Special Draw. This ticket entitles the holder to one

0:39:400:39:44

"work from the draw, order of selection to be decided by lot.

0:39:440:39:48

"£25. Work on view in the Penwith Gallery..."

0:39:480:39:52

Well, I've got £25 in my pocket, actually.

0:39:530:39:56

THEY LAUGH

0:39:560:39:57

Leach is greatly revered. You know, he's mega,

0:39:570:40:02

and you're not going to find another one of those.

0:40:020:40:05

Where are you going to go and find another Bernard Leach painting?

0:40:050:40:08

You're just not.

0:40:080:40:10

I think if you were to sell that today - I know you're not going to

0:40:100:40:13

but were you to - one would think in the order of £6,000 to £9,000.

0:40:130:40:19

OK.

0:40:190:40:21

-It wasn't bad for 25 quid.

-No, not at all.

0:40:210:40:24

I think we'd agree that the British summer can be just truly glorious,

0:40:280:40:33

and this oil painting of two bathers by the sea,

0:40:330:40:37

bright summer's day, is just such a splendid image.

0:40:370:40:40

Tell me where you got it from?

0:40:400:40:42

Well, it's quite a simple story, really.

0:40:420:40:44

My wife and I were in a second hand shop about ten years ago

0:40:440:40:48

and my wife spotted it first and she just immediately fell in love

0:40:480:40:52

with it and had to have it, basically.

0:40:520:40:54

We just immediately... There was no decision to be made,

0:40:540:40:57

it was there to be had, so... And the rest is history.

0:40:570:41:01

Was it sold to you as by anyone, of any date?

0:41:010:41:04

Yeah, it was in amongst several other pictures at the time.

0:41:040:41:08

There was nothing there to sell itself so, no, we just sorted it out

0:41:080:41:12

-and bought it.

-And how much did it cost?

0:41:120:41:14

About £20.

0:41:140:41:16

-So you're enjoying it now?

-Yeah.

0:41:160:41:18

Obviously, it's a wonderful subject, but tell me,

0:41:180:41:21

have you done any further research on the picture?

0:41:210:41:23

I know my wife's looked on the internet

0:41:230:41:25

and she'd noticed that the artist in question had exhibited

0:41:250:41:30

at The Academy, but that's about all we know.

0:41:300:41:32

The writing at the bottom, "R Wheelwright", gives it away.

0:41:320:41:35

Roland Wheelwright, who was born in Queensland, Australia, in 1870.

0:41:350:41:41

But actually, he's much better known for his British pictures,

0:41:410:41:44

and so he arrives in England

0:41:440:41:46

and starts painting up at the British School of Art

0:41:460:41:49

under Hubert von Herkomer, and he paints very commercial pictures.

0:41:490:41:54

This dates to about 1920, maybe 1923.

0:41:540:41:58

Throughout his career, he exhibits almost 41 pictures

0:41:580:42:02

at the Royal Academy, so he was a very, very commercial artist.

0:42:020:42:05

I think such a wonderful summer image like this is probably inspired

0:42:050:42:11

by the great pictures of Dame Laura Knight from the Newlyn School.

0:42:110:42:14

Great colour, great light, super subject.

0:42:150:42:18

Now, this painting was probably painted in situ.

0:42:180:42:21

We call it "en plein air", i.e. the artist literally painting

0:42:210:42:25

outside and fresh, free paint straight onto the canvas.

0:42:250:42:29

You almost feel they're about to jump in, but is it too cold?

0:42:290:42:33

I think it would be, yes.

0:42:330:42:35

There was a picture exhibited at the Royal Academy called

0:42:350:42:38

"The Bathing Pool", 1923,

0:42:380:42:41

and I suspect, with a little bit more work, we might be able

0:42:410:42:44

to pin this picture down as that Royal Academy exhibit.

0:42:440:42:47

Oh.

0:42:470:42:49

Really wonderful picture and such a commercial painting.

0:42:490:42:52

Just the sort of picture that we would all see prints on cards,

0:42:520:42:56

greetings cards, and pictures don't get much more commercial than this

0:42:560:42:59

for specialists like me. And your £20 has gone up hugely.

0:42:590:43:06

This picture would certainly make £10,000 to £15,000 at auction.

0:43:060:43:10

She's got a good eye!

0:43:120:43:13

HE LAUGHS

0:43:130:43:15

Wow, that's amazing.

0:43:150:43:18

Well, thank you. Thank you very much.

0:43:190:43:22

All day while we've been at the University of Birmingham,

0:43:230:43:26

we've been looked on by the great heroes of literature, art,

0:43:260:43:30

philosophy and science.

0:43:300:43:32

You know, I think, with the objects that have been brought in today,

0:43:320:43:36

we've done them proud.

0:43:360:43:37

We've had a wonderful day here at the university.

0:43:370:43:39

From the whole Roadshow team, until next time, bye-bye.

0:43:390:43:42

Fiona Bruce and the team of experts visit the University of Birmingham's Great Hall. The finds they uncover include a bronze lion given as a gift by MGM Studios in the 1950s, a 15th-century ring found with a metal detector and a valuable painting of bathing beauties from the 1920s, bought for just £20.