In a special edition, Fiona Bruce looks at the most talked about finds of the year. Plus a look ahead to the locations for 2017.
Browse content similar to Highlights of 2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
After the hundreds of thousands of miles clocked up
in search of treasures on the Antiques Roadshow,
sometimes people ask if we could ever run out of great finds.
Well, it's that time when we look back on our year
and I can tell you, if this last 12 months is anything to go by,
there's little danger of the well running dry.
From the rarest doll's house figures we've ever seen...
The dream item for me. I couldn't have imagined anything better.
Those are seriously early and important.
..to the most gorgeous jewellery...
There were some wonderful workshops that were making
these types of jewels and they're highly collected now today.
The '70s period is really quite in.
..and an important painting that had been thought lost.
I'm very excited about it. I've never seen it before
and it's by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
-Now, he is a very important person.
-Could it be very valuable?
I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see on that.
Yes, it's been an exciting year, as our team scoured the country
in search of prized pieces, many with remarkable stories.
We're about to bring you up to speed on what happened next
after the experts dropped the bombshell on unsuspecting owners
and I'll be meeting some of those surprised faces again,
here in the sumptuous setting of Cardiff Castle.
Our first update takes us to the silver department.
Between them, our experts have uncovered
dozens of beautifully wrought pieces,
from the finest early English spoons to elaborate oriental services.
For the experts, it's all about rarity,
craftsmanship and high value, and all three came together
when veteran Roadshow specialist Ian Pickford
spotted a tankard at our show at Broughton Castle.
-What a tankard!
How long have you actually had
the good fortune of owning it?
Owning it, only since it was passed to me,
-but I've known it all my life.
But I know little about it.
What we've got here...
The form is entirely European - very English, actually.
It's the form of a 17th-century tankard.
-But it's not English.
So where does it come from?
The market today for Chinese work, Chinese-related pieces,
-is very, very hot.
There's been nothing as good as this on the market,
as far as I'm aware.
So, when you've got something that's probably the best that there is,
I would think we're looking at
between £20,000 and £25,000.
-CROWD GASPS AND MUTTERS
-And it could go more.
The owner of that tankard, Rob Lowe, is here,
along with Marilyn, your wife. You looked pretty surprised.
What did you think when Ian suddenly came up with that value?
Er, it was a shock.
I've always thought it might be valuable,
but nothing like that, of course.
And Ian had said nothing abut it at all until we got on camera.
-That's how it works, you see. We like to do that.
And you were absolutely flabbergasted, weren't you?
Yes, I was, yes. We never thought it was
anywhere near worth that amount of money, so, yeah.
It was a bit of a rollercoaster for you, wasn't it,
-after that valuation?
-Yes, once we got the valuation,
we decided to sell it cos we were nervous of having it in the house
and we took it to various places to get second opinions
and everybody had a different opinion.
We decided to take it to another valuation house and auction house
and they did an awful lot of investigation work
and actually sent it away to a London assay office
to have it tested to determine what age it was.
So they put the silver through a test, a physical test,
to ascertain its age.
Apparently, they can tell the age because of the level of impurities
in the silver and it turned out to be between 1500 and 1600.
That's incredible, isn't it?
And it also turned out to be English rather than Chinese.
Which is what Ian had thought it might be.
Ian quite rightly thought it was Chinese because of its appearance
and because of the rarity of what it turned out to be.
So, you ended up with a silver tankard
-that was even earlier than Ian had thought.
And English, as opposed to Chinese, once these tests had been done
which, obviously, we can't do at the Roadshow.
So, what did you sell it for in the end?
In the end, it went for £36,000, which was absolutely amazing.
So, what are you going to do with the windfall?
We've got two sons and some grandchildren in Australia,
so we hope to visit them more than we would have done before.
-It'll buy you quite a few flights, won't it?
Another visitor to a Roadshow, shown earlier this year, was Jim Dunstone,
who was stunned when oriental expert John Axford
examined his collection of jades.
These Chinese jade carvings,
I think they're great things. They are made to be handled.
They are made by scholars. Where did you get these from?
We bought them in Singapore, when we were there in the 1970s.
We were always told they were sleeve pieces. What does that mean?
Well, that's one way of calling them, sleeve pieces.
They could also be called handling pieces,
because they were designed specifically to be picked up,
handled and turned over.
The idea of them being a sleeve piece,
if you are wearing a long Chinese robe,
you'd be able to store them turned up in your sleeve.
So, they become a handling piece or a sleeve piece
and they are to be picked up, touched.
And so, how tactile they are is very important to them.
-It is. It's a lovely idea.
These all date from the reign of the Emperor Qian Long.
That's what we were told.
Do you remember how much you paid for them in Singapore?
These were all under 100 Singapore.
Nowadays, you're probably looking at £5,000 here.
-Maybe a little bit more here.
Maybe 5,000 to 8,000 here.
And I think this one could easily top £10,000 at auction.
So, I think you've got more than £20,000 here.
I think I'd better up the insurance.
Having been made aware of their value, owner Jim made a plan.
He wanted to sell the pieces and donate the money
to a cause that had special relevance
to him and his late wife, Catherine.
We met up with Jim to tell us all about it in Swanage.
The original idea, with my wife,
was that those things would pay for our house,
once we got back to the UK.
But we got the house without it
and, as my wife was in a convalescent home, dying,
we decided that we ought to do something sensible with it
and we'd both sailed ever since we were married.
What better charity could there be than the RNLI?
I have had occasion to call them out.
So, we sold them and sent the cheque to the RNLI.
And that's what my wife wanted when she died.
The sale of the jades raised £20,000,
which was gratefully received by the RNLI.
Jim went to meet Neil Hardy, its operations manager at the site
of its new lifeboat station to see how his donation was being spent.
We're very grateful for your donation
because, obviously, as you can see from the nature of the project,
a lot of people have put a lot of money and time towards it
and without their help and your help, we couldn't do this
and I couldn't stand here, as a proud volunteer of the RNLI,
and say, "Look at our brand-new lifeboat station."
It's really going to make a difference to the people out there
who are counting on minutes and hanging on.
We will be able to get away a lot quicker.
Well worth every bob.
I think my wife would be very, very impressed and very, very grateful
that the money is going to such a worthwhile cause.
What a generous gesture by Jim and his wife.
We've since heard that a plaque will be installed at the lifeboat station
in memory of her and in recognition of their donation.
Now, we love a good book on the Antiques Roadshow
and our book experts have been kept very busy over the last year.
Here are a few of the most memorable page-turners.
-This is extraordinary. This is an original watercolour.
And it dates, obviously, from about 1900.
It's so typical of this period.
Look at the frontispiece. This is just...
-Well, it's heavenly, isn't it? Absolutely heavenly.
It's a general book on anatomy from 1546,
written by a chap called Charles Etienne
and this is his work on "La dissection des parties du corps",
so on dissection of the parts of the body.
Here we have a wonderful peep and as you look down into it,
you see all the way along the grand central aisle of the Crystal Palace.
This huge leather-bound volume looks like a monster book, doesn't it?
-And it says Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
But further down, it says, "A Motion Picture".
This is signed to Anne Waddington from Alice In Wonderland.
And what this is, in fact, is an amazing presentation script
for the 1933 Paramount film Alice In Wonderland.
It's quite difficult to try and think about
what something like this is worth,
-but I'm going to put £5,000 to £8,000 on this.
I won't give it back to my mum! I'm off!
But perhaps the most exciting find came in to Tewksbury
earlier this year when Clive Farahar was presented
with a cinematic family tale, as he met our next owner, Guy Bowden.
"The Third Man, the draft script."
This was the film that Carol Reed made in 1949. Tell me about it.
My mother was the secretary to the film director
Carol Reed, as he was then.
And when we were going through her effects, we found this.
I knew, growing up, that she'd been part of the filming process...
-..and been his secretary.
But I never realised that she had this in her possession.
So, she actually went out to Vienna with Carol Reed and Orson Welles?
Tell me how this came about,
because this was originally a novella by Graham Greene.
Carol Reed, who was well-known for being quite grumpy,
was presented with this novella to read,
and he said, "I haven't time to read this."
So, he tossed it to my mother and said,
"Could you read this and do me a precis?"
And that's how the script came about.
And here is a picture of her -
a lovely picture of her, I have to say,
beautifully made up and all the rest of it.
Beautifully posed with the rest of the crew.
She was there for the whole period of filming.
So, right from the time they flew first out to Vienna,
to go round and look for locations.
They went to the cafes, they investigated the sewers.
-All the iconic...
-Images that we know so well.
After the show went out, we were contacted by a museum in Vienna,
devoted to the film The Third man.
They were desperate to see the collection.
So, we took owner Guy and his wife, Sarah, to the city.
They just had to stop off at one of the film's classic locations -
the big wheel at Prater amusement park.
We had no idea that the journey to Tewkesbury to the Antiques Roadshow
would take us any further than that.
I had no idea that it would take me this far
and bring us both to Vienna to see the museum of The Third Man.
I was contacted by Gerhard,
who is the director-owner of The Third Man Museum,
and he was delighted to hear that such a thing as this script
and some of the other photographs
and other memorabilia, that my mother had, existed.
The next part of Guy's mission in Vienna
was to meet Gerhard, who owns the museum.
The Third Man, to Vienna, is very important
cos it's one of the most famous movies of movie history
and it's shot in the city and it brings a lot of tourists.
-Oh, wow! Hello, Guy.
-We meet at last.
This is fantastic.
I'm speechless. This is so wonderful.
Yes, I started 19 years ago. I got this huge collection together.
It's supposed to be one of the most important British movies,
great British-Austrian connection. Today, it's a cult movie.
And it's a huge phenomenon.
I think I have something that you might be interested in.
Oh, yes, I think so too.
-Here it is.
Oh, Guy, this is fantastic!
This is very, very personal and everything.
We don't have equivalent items like that.
Gerhard was so thrilled to see the script,
he offered Guy the value quoted by Clive Farahar
on the Roadshow - £5,000.
It's brilliant that the script has found its home here, I think,
because that's where it belongs, and I think, if my mum was alive,
that's where she'd want it to be.
What a perfect home for that script - back in Vienna,
67 years after the release of that famous film.
And it's a good moment to tell you about a very special edition
of the Roadshow we'll be filming next year.
We're producing an entire episode around stars and related objects
from the world of film, music, theatre and TV.
Now, where would be the perfect place for such a programme?
MUSIC: Theme to EastEnders
Yes, next summer, the Roadshow will roll in to Albert Square.
Have you got a story about a brush with fame?
Perhaps the day you met the Beatles
or when your relative worked on a movie?
Maybe you own something connected with an iconic TV show.
Tell us of your moment and memento
and maybe you could be the star of our production
on the set of Britain's best-loved soap,
as we take up residence in Walford East.
We'll be selecting the best stories
for a special day out in Albert Square.
Details are on our website.
Our jewellery team are always fascinating to watch at a Roadshow.
They've mastered the perfect poker face
when confronted with a great piece and an unsuspecting owner.
This is absolutely fabulous.
This is luxury at its height, in terms of the craftsmanship.
We're going to look inside and see the most ravishing brooch,
in the form of a darting kingfisher with its prey in its beak.
Jewellery - it's about love, it's about power,
but it can also be a little bit about scandal.
And who would have thought it with a beautiful bracelet like this?
Everybody likes things like this
because they are really, really super-duper,
I think your brooch is probably worth
something in the region of £40,000 today.
But one jewel, brought in to Joanna Hardy, at Audley End,
turned out to be something of a puzzle.
What was going through your mind when you saw this
-and when did you see this?
-I bought it in 1972
in Collingwood's of Conduit Street,
a jeweller no longer with us, I think,
and I have no idea by whom it was made.
This stone is a tourmaline, which is a natural stone.
And this would have come from Brazil.
There were some wonderful workshops
that were making these types of jewels
and they're highly collected now, today.
The '70s period is really quite in.
Do you remember how much you paid for it?
I just think it is absolutely fabulous
and I think, at auction, you'd be looking in the region
of around about £5,000 to £7,000.
-And the only thing is, there is no signature.
-There is no signature of this wonderful craftsman.
And I would love to know who the craftsman is.
-Maybe he might be watching.
-Wouldn't that be wonderful?
That ring was a real whodunnit.
After it was shown, lots of people in the jewellery world contacted us,
keen to solve the riddle of the ring.
I have found out who made it and so we're here at the Assay Office.
I've invited the owner to come and we're going to hallmark it
with the maker's mark, which is so exciting.
What was wonderful is that, in the end,
we nailed it down to Lawrence Wheaton.
He was born in 1944.
He went to train as a goldsmith
with the Swedish royal court jewellers, Bolin,
which is pretty amazing.
And then he came back to England
and he worked for a workshop before he set up on his own.
And he was also a teacher
at the Hornsey College of Art at the same time.
-And, unfortunately, he died about seven years ago.
But I needed confirmation that it was made by Lawrence Wheaton,
so I managed to get hold of his wife, Pat,
and I showed her the close-up of the ring
and she said, "That's my husband's ring."
And Lawrence Wheaton, now, is going to be remembered
and not lost to the history books.
So, having confirmed the maker of the ring,
the next step was to hallmark it with Lawrence Wheaton's mark,
using a state-of-the-art laser.
So, this is where it's all going to happen.
-This is where the hallmarking is going to happen.
And what have we got on the screen here?
Basically, this is what the general hallmark looks like.
We've got the sponsor's mark,
the crown for the gold and the "750" is 18-carat gold.
And then we've got the leopard's head
which is the London Assay Office mark,
so it shows it's been actually assayed
and it's actually been here to the London Assay Office.
-And the LVW, in the script like that...
-..is for Lawrence Victor Wheaton.
-That's right, yes.
Which is the same mark as he would have had in 1972.
-Yes, that's right.
-So, now you're going to hallmark it.
I've never seen this before.
This green mark is where the mark is actually going to go,
so I'm just going to set it up properly
and make sure it's all straight.
-So, is that done then?
-Yeah, all done.
-I can't...I can't wait.
I can't wait to see it.
Oh, my goodness! That is incredible!
I am now going to present you with your ring.
I wish you a wonderful heirloom to have forever.
Fantastic! Thank you so much!
So, now you know what a visit to the Roadshow can lead to.
That lucky owner, Jane, is very happy
with her newly embellished ring.
When an exciting find turns up at the Roadshow, word gets round fast.
Like when Fergus Gambon showed me something very special
at our Roadshow in Gloucestershire.
Fergus, word's going round the Roadshow
that you've found something seriously exciting.
Something quite, quite, quite extraordinary.
The dream item for me. I couldn't have imagined anything better.
-What is it?
-Well, this guy, he's turned up,
and in this box are three doll's house dolls.
Look at those. Now, those are seriously early and important.
But then what does he say? He says,
"I've got the whole house at home
"with all the furniture and more dolls."
-The doll's house?
-The doll's house that they come from.
Which, if it's early 18th century...
..it's of national importance.
And we weren't disappointed
when Fergus brought the collection to camera.
Can you tell me what you know about it?
All I know is that it's from the beginning of the 18th century,
It's followed the female line of my mother's family
since, I believe, somewhere around then,
but previous to that it was built by some tradesmen on the Isle of Dogs
in 1705 for a lady called Miss Westbrook, whose initial is E,
which I think means Emily, but it might have been something else.
Right. So let's get this into context.
-And this house, the Westbrook baby house, as we call it,
because early English doll's houses are referred to as baby houses,
not doll's houses, until the early part of the 19th century.
There is no other like it. It is totally unique.
So, it was quite unorthodox for the Roadshow,
because the doll's house from which they came was in your house.
So, like never before, we trailed over to your house with a cameraman
and I looked at it.
When I opened it...
those panelled rooms
and that wonderful furniture,
I was looking at something which was unchanged, essentially,
for 311 years.
When you see something that's so well preserved and complete
when one is so used to looking at things in terrible condition,
it's quite difficult to look at things and think,
"That can't be real and genuine."
But it is! It's the importance of this object.
For the house with its contents we're looking at,
um, a conservative estimate...
..of £150,000, maybe £200,000.
That's pretty astonishing.
Fergus, I remember that Roadshow so clearly
and as soon as you saw those dolls,
you had a suspicion, a strong suspicion where they'd come from.
Mm-hmm, I did, I did. But I couldn't believe it would be true, really.
I was, like, "No, I must be wrong."
Just put into context for us, Fergus,
how significant a find it was.
It's massively significant, really.
But this was a doll's house that you knew about already, didn't you?
I knew about it because it's quite well-known
because it was illustrated in a book that was published in 1955,
but it's just in a granular black and white single photograph
and people had been looking at this photograph for years, wondering,
"Where's that house? Where can we see it?"
And it prompted quite a reaction amongst doll's house enthusiasts.
It certainly did. They were used to staring
at this black and white photograph and all of a sudden,
the Roadshow allowed them to see the house in high definition
and in colour and they were really excited
and they realised the importance of it and the beauty of it.
So, there were a lot of reactions.
The other reaction was a reaction to my valuation.
-What, too high or too low?
There were some who found the concept of valuing a doll's house
at £150,000 to £250,000 in some way morally wrong
because you could actually buy a real house for that kind of money,
and I can understand that totally. But I think you have to look at it.
It's not a mere toy, it's a work of art.
It's an important object, it's a great antique.
So, if you look at a painting by Picasso,
that would be valued at many millions of pounds,
I think you wouldn't be offended by that.
You'd understand why that was the case.
And I think you have to look at the doll's house in the same way.
And there were others who felt that my valuation didn't reflect
the importance of the piece at all
and some people said, "I'd have said half a million on that."
So, you can't win in this job,
but I had to come up with something
and, as I think I explained at the time, there's no precedence,
so one has to make a judgement and that's what I did.
Well, it's not just Fergus who's had a great year.
Our paintings team has as well.
We've two updates about paintings.
Both relate to pictures brought in to Arley Hall in Cheshire.
In our first, Amin Jaffer, an authority on Indian and Asian art,
was delighted to tell owner John about a family portrait.
You might think you're looking at a portrait
by a European artist of the 1930s.
In actual fact, this painting was done
by an Indian artist in the 1950s. It's obviously a portrait.
Can you tell me something about the sitter?
Yes, the sitter's my mother.
It was painted in India and...
..the artist worked for Grindlays Bank,
which was where my father worked,
and that's how we got to know...
That's how he came to paint your mother?
-Well, the artist has actually signed his name.
-A very well-known artist in India today, Krishen Khanna.
So, obviously, you have a family relationship with him
-or you had a family relationship with him?
-Yes, my mother did.
I was too young at the time, but my mother knew him.
It's extremely rare to find a picture by Krishen Khanna from 1954.
Do you have any idea of the value of a 1954 Krishen Khanna painting?
None, none whatsoever. It's never been valued.
I sort of mentioned to my mother that I might bring it here today
and she said, "Go ahead, see what happens."
But no idea whatsoever.
Well, I think she would be happy to know that,
were it to be offered at auction,
it would probably be with an estimate of something like
£30,000 to £50,000 today.
-Are you shocked, or am I?
I think you're going to make her a very happy lady today.
What we all wanted to know was how mum Patricia reacted.
We caught up with them to find out.
Krishen painted the portrait
because he'd been short of somewhere to stay
and we said, "Oh, come and stay with us.
"We've got a spare room if you can put up with two small boys."
I can't remember sitting for the portrait but...
..when Krishen was leaving, he...
..gave it to us and we were quite overwhelmed.
Krishen was always very cheerful and, um...
er...exactly the sort of person you'd like to have as a friend.
Krishen Khanna is alive and well and living in India.
We arranged a video call to reunite him with Patricia, after many years.
-Krishen, how wonderful to see you!
How marvellous to see you! Lovely to see you!
-It's been so long.
-What are you doing now? Are you...?
-Painting away like crazy.
-I make a lot of work, a lot of work.
Are those your paintings in the background?
Well, some of them, yes. There are... Yes, yes, yes.
-They're drawings and paintings that my son, Karan, has.
-But I'm doing very large works now.
-Are you? Oh!
That, behind you, is the portrait that I did of you.
That's the one, yes.
She is, I would say, she's more beautiful now.
It's a memory of a very happy time.
-Ah, yes, it is, yeah.
-Love to you and the family.
-Thanks, Krishen. Bye.
How lovely to see Patricia back in conversation
with 91-year-old Krishen after all these years.
We saw Patricia's painting at Arley hall,
which turned out to be a rich scene for art.
Rupert Maas told me about a remarkable portrait,
which he was about to film with its owner, Nicholas.
Rupert, I know we've got to talk in whispers about this,
because the owner is nearby.
Why are you so excited about this picture?
It doesn't look like much, does it?
Perhaps it isn't. It's just a guide to an engraver to show him
how to do the engraving and it's by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
He is a very important person.
He's a wonderful Victorian neoclassical painter.
He's the single most valuable artist that there is in Victorian times.
I was talking to the man who owns it, who brought it in,
and he told me, "Actually, I've got his portrait,
-"the engraver's portrait."
-That's what this is, is it?
We sent the van and we've got it and it's coming up on camera
-and we're about to record it.
He is SUCH a good painter
and when he's not doing, sort of, neoclassical ladies in togas,
he does a portrait for his own purposes.
-This wasn't for sale.
-So this is Alma-Tadema painting his engraver?
Yes, he's off his pitch, but it is the most wonderful portrait
and I'm very excited about it. I've never seen it before.
-Could be very valuable?
-I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see on that.
And we didn't have to wait long
for Rupert to join the owner, Nicholas, in front of the camera.
Now, it really isn't often that I get a picture like this
on the Antiques Roadshow. This is an artist I know very well.
His name is Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
and it's a portrait of your great-great-grandfather
and he was Leopold Lowenstam, a very important man to Tadema
because he was his engraver.
This man, Lowenstam, your great-great-grandfather,
was incredibly important to Tadema.
What I like about the portrait of him is
here he is actually making the plate from a painting by Tadema
and then the light has been diffused
by this wonderful paper screen
that's set at an angle against the window,
so that the light is non-directional.
What an amazing portrait.
You must know something about it?
It was a wedding present, um...
and I think the wedding was in 1883 and then it was...
That's the date of the picture, it's up there.
Yes, and it was displayed in the Royal Academy a year later,
in 1884, at the Summer Exhibition.
In fact, it's actually inscribed with a dedication here
and the dedication is to Mrs Lowenstam,
of her husband aged 41 years.
It's also the year of his greatest success.
He'd only just been made a Royal Academician,
he'd just moved into this massive house,
he was making tonnes of money, he was very happy.
We're talking about Tadema here, not Lowenstam.
He was a very happy, jovial man.
They were close family friends and I think my great-great-grandmother
might have been the governess to their children as well.
Tadema, a very valuable artist in his own day
and in recent times, he's become very valuable again.
In fact, he holds the record for a Victorian painting
at 36 million for an enormous picture
sold in New York a few years ago.
This one doesn't quite reach that,
because it's not of a neoclassical subject and it's not huge,
but it is very, very good.
Er, I'm going to put it at £200,000 to £300,000.
CROWD MURMUR AND LAUGH
-The trouble is, it would never be sold.
-No, of course not.
What a wonderful thing.
Actually, you know, this might be one of the best pictures
we've ever seen on the Roadshow in its entire history.
Well, the story doesn't end there.
It turned out scholars of the work of artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
had been searching for this picture for decades.
After our Roadshow,
the owner decided to have the painting restored.
Our expert Rupert oversaw the process.
So, Stuart, this picture has been untouched for 130 years
and you're the first person to do so.
What sort of condition is it in?
It's almost in pristine state and perfect state of preservation.
There are no cracks.
There's nothing but a little bit of soot that's got trapped
between the glass and the paint layers are in excellent condition.
The only thing is where there's been a small thin amount of varnish
that's dropped back, so some of the colours are not as saturated
and as rich as they should be.
We've brought the picture to Stuart Sanderson,
a restorer I've known for a long time,
and he's very used to Victorian pictures.
In fact, I believe he's restored two very, very important pictures
by this artist, so he's no stranger to them.
He knows how they should look,
he knows what you can do to them and what you can't.
The first thing that happens when you clean a picture
is that these layers of 130 years of soot and dirt come off the top
and underneath, especially when you wet it,
you get this wonderful change.
It's like wetting a stone and suddenly,
you can see inside it and all the colours go ping.
One of the other things about finding a picture of this stature
is the big splash it makes in the academic pond
if you tell the right academic about it.
one of the leading authorities on Alma-Tadema,
received a call from Rupert
and wanted to learn more about this rediscovered work.
I've been working on Alma-Tadema for at least 20 years, probably longer.
Alma-Tadema was one of the major painters, not just in Britain
but in all of the world in the second half of the 19th century.
He was really famous for his scenes of classical antiquity -
maidens in classical drapery on marble benches,
drenched in sunlight.
And I always knew there was a portrait of this sitter,
Leopold Lowenstam, but it was unknown where it was.
So, now I hear that the painting's been discovered
and I'm really excited to see it at last.
The timing couldn't have been better,
as Liz was preparing a major exhibition
of the work of Alma-Tadema,
so was keen to see the portrait for herself.
So, you've seen a lot of paintings by Alma-Tadema, I know,
but I'm fairly sure you've never seen this one.
No, I certainly haven't! It's amazing.
I'm really quite impressed by what a wonderful condition it's in.
So, did you ever think of looking for this picture?
Oh, sure, but I never thought I'd see it.
-But he did show the painting.
-Oh, did he?
Yeah, he showed it and it appeared several times at exhibition,
including in his memorial exhibition in 1913,
-which I think is the last time it's actually been seen in public.
It didn't take long for Liz to decide
she wanted the picture to be part of the exhibition.
The Museum of Friesland in the Netherlands
was where it would debut, not far from Alma-Tadema's birthplace.
Rupert arranged to meet the owner, Nicholas, on its opening night.
-It was a great shock to find out how valuable it was.
But I think you were equally shocked that we brought it along.
I couldn't believe it!
It was as if all my Christmases had come at once
cos you don't see, on television,
how many sort of coloured-in prints and things that aren't valuable
or interesting that I look at, and to see this, that was just...
Well, it was like finding a great big nugget of gold in a desert.
How fabulous does it look, now it's been cleaned
and the frame restored as well?
Yes, it's looking magnificent and it's wonderful to see it here,
surrounded by other magnificent paintings by Tadema.
I think it's really exciting doing my job on the Antiques Roadshow.
It's a bit like Raiders Of The Lost Ark - finding something,
and it's not been seen by the public for hundreds of years,
is the most exciting thing,
and to be part of the process of restoring it,
researching it, presenting it to the wider public, in context,
is a very exciting thing to do.
Surrounded by many of Alma-Tadema's finest paintings,
Nicholas's great-great-grandfather's portrait
was finally back in the spotlight after more than a century.
That touring exhibition visits the UK next July.
And we've our own celebrations to mark next year.
On May 17th, 1977, Hereford town hall threw open its doors
and a young man called Bruce Parker turned to the camera
to record the very first Antiques Roadshow.
We're in Hereford today,
the city that gives its name to white faced cattle and cider,
the beautiful cathedral city on the River Wye.
There are people with all sorts of packages, large, small,
some objects carefully packed up,
others in supermarket carrier bags.
And the people here all have the one idea of finding out more
about that particular item they've had at home,
perhaps through generations,
but they've never had the opportunity to ask anybody.
What I can see is that Arthur Negus is over there
with a very interesting piece of needlework.
And the rest is history.
We're preparing to mark our 40th anniversary, by inviting back owners
who brought along some of the most memorable objects to the Roadshow
to hear what's happened since. To give you a flavour,
we tracked down the owner of one of the programme's famous finds,
Ozzie the Owl, first seen in Northampton in 1990.
I caught up with his owner, Pat Ramsey,
and the man who made the discovery, expert Henry Sandon,
when the show visited Cornwall.
Pat, it's great to see you again.
And we couldn't miss this chance to reunite you with Henry
and a copy of Ozzie. This is not the real Ozzie.
That was one of our most memorable days on the Roadshow,
when you came in. What do you remember of it?
We wanted to know, Mum and Dad, how old he was, you know.
I thought, "It's a good chance. The Roadshow's in Northampton.
"I'll...I'll take him."
It's actually a little drinking cup. You pour out the drink into there
and you can't put the head down
-until you've drunk it all up.
It's a useful way of making sure you drink all your drink up.
It's what we call slipware, made in Staffordshire,
somewhere round about 1700, 1720.
-Oh, my word! What's that?
-270 years old.
-This is pretty rare.
So, I was really shocked, you know.
Well, and YOU were pretty shocked when Ozzie turned up.
-What do you remember, Henry?
-I was petrified of it.
It was the finest piece I'd ever had on the Roadshow
in all the years I'd been doing it and there he was, in my hands.
It was absolutely wonderful because he was an enormous prize.
I don't know what you or your father think it's worth. Any idea?
-We don't know.
-Are you comfortably sitting there?
-Yes, I'm OK.
Something between about £20,000 and £30,000.
-Good gracious! Never!
-£20,000 and £30,000.
-You said, incredibly, you'd brought it in on the bus.
So, I said, "Take it home by taxi"...
..which I thought was very clever and they did.
-They went home by taxi.
But more than that. You went home with a police escort.
Two policemen. Frightened Mum and Dad to bits!
-What did he eventually sell for?
-I think it was £17,000 or £17,500.
He went to the museum, which, you know,
we were quite thrilled that he was in a museum.
-Yes, he's in Stoke-on-Trent Museum.
-And they're very, very proud of him.
-They think he's great.
And, Pat, some of the money went to help children in Brazil.
-Tell me about that.
-Well, it my dad's idea.
Donate it to the Salvation Army,
because they help a lot of the street children in Brazil, you know.
South America, as you all know, is quite poor.
-It's a wonderful legacy, though, isn't it?
I get in contact with them sometimes.
We call her Mrs Owl and the children are the owlets.
-The street children in Brazil?
And now the owlets have baby owlets as well,
-so I think it's all due to this little chap.
-All due to Ozzie.
He means a lot to me and to everybody.
What a great story! And, of course, there have been all sorts of tales
of what's happened to objects after their moment of fame
on the Roadshow since cameras first rolled, back in 1977.
If you've got a good story, let us know.
Contact us via our website.
And we hope to see you as the show tours the country next year.
Let's catch up next with a curious little object
we first saw earlier this year when it turned up
during a Roadshow in Wiltshire.
The question was, what was it?
You brought in this tiny little box and...are many, many questions.
Well, I brought this in on behalf of my father.
There's a code on one of the sides,
a sort of numerical code that he's never been able to crack.
And we just wondered, really, what the story was about it.
It's got a name on the top, which I read as J Jones.
Now, that was the person who probably gave it.
We also know the date, because it's here on the top - 1785.
And then it's got a chain of numbers.
Now that's the enigma.
Eagle-eyed Roadshow viewer Paul Wisken was watching and, Paul,
you were convinced that you could crack this 230-year-old code.
Is this something you do as a hobby?
Um, yes, I've always been fascinated by codes
and, specifically, ciphers, rather than any other type of code,
where you've got a plain substitution of numbers for letters.
Well, here, we've got numbers and symbols,
so how did you go about trying to crack it?
Well, I looked at the numbers around the side
and we have ten possible digits,
but then I noticed some of them have symbols
beside them or over the top, which gives 30 possibilities,
which gives us the full alphabet of 26 letters, plus a few spares.
Then I noticed that there is a repeated sequence
with the two double eights
and they're both preceded by another number
and they are repeated in the way that one is a three-letter word
and the other combination exactly the same.
It's the last three letters of a five-letter word.
And that only gives us - if it is in English - only six possibilities.
Ingenious. And so, where did you end up? What do you think it says?
I think it says, "The gift is small, but love is all."
My only problem is that the first word doesn't say "The",
-if the rest of the code is correct.
-What does it say?
-It says "Htd".
-Oh, that's rather unsatisfactory.
It is, yes. And for that reason,
I'm still treating this as a work in progress.
I can't definitively say that I've got it right.
I believe I have, but if I've got it right,
then the guy who carved it or wrote it has got it wrong.
But I'm not going to give up
until I've proved whether I'm right or wrong.
If you were going to try and crack that beginning there, "Htd",
how much longer do you think that would take?
It will take me probably several years,
even if I was working full-time on it,
because I would have to go right back to basics
and with that combination,
there are one million million million possibilities.
-So, maybe see you in ten years' time then.
-Or maybe 100 years' time.
-Paul, thank you so much.
Well, at that same show, two visitors caught our eye.
Rowan and Thomas arrived at Bowood House
on a baking hot summer's day, wearing heavy woollen suits.
Roadshow expert Mark Hill decided to swelter with them
and put on a spare suit they'd brought along.
You two, me and this mannequin are wearing
some fantastic 1930s and 1940s suits
-by Montague Burton.
Montague Burton founded his company selling clothes in 1903
-and was enormously successful.
By 1929, hundreds of shops, mills, factories.
I mean, he really captured that moment of, sort of,
in a way, would you say tailoring for the masses?
Yeah, definitely tailoring for the masses
and sort of allowing the everyday man
to buy a tailor-made suit.
Tell me the story. How did you get into this?
We're both sort of interested in the tailoring industry
and we're both '30s and '40s re-enactors.
We go all over the country doing re-enacting and World War II events.
-You do re-enactments.
But you seem to have so much more than just suits.
Yeah, I sort of collected all the sort of collectibles
that go with it, really -
anything that interests me and displays the suits and...
-I just love it.
-You've got the habit.
-Yeah, I have, really.
Do we think we're perhaps a little obsessed?
A little bit, maybe. Yeah, definitely.
After the show went out, a viewer contacted us
to say they may have something else for Rowan and Thomas's wardrobe.
So, as they headed to Yorkshire on a vintage weekend,
we took them to meet Penny in her retro cafe,
dedicated to her late grandfather, Stanley.
When my grandfather, Stanley, died,
there were a number of items in his house
that were from his time at Burton's.
He worked there for nearly 40 years and he was very proud of his trade.
And I saw Rowan and his partner on the Antiques Roadshow,
who were actually Burton's memorabilia collectors,
which granddad would think, in itself, was absolutely fantastic.
For two people, young people to take an interest
and a real passion in the things that he shared a passion for,
he'd be absolutely over the moon
and I'm sure he's looking down now, laughing his head off.
-Hi, guys. Fantastic to finally actually meet you in person.
-Thank you very much.
-You look incredible.
-I've got some photographs to show you of him...
-I'd love to see them.
..which... I think we'll agree, he looks quite sharp.
-They're his two sisters.
-And what year would this be?
-Um, that is... It's written...
-Yeah, you can tell.
Big, wide, straight-legged trousers, big lapels.
-Actually, I've got two suits that I'd like to give to you.
And this is him wearing one of those suits,
which is referred to as the christening suit
-cos he bought it for my mum's christening.
-And he wore it pretty much for everything after that.
-Yeah, the navy three-piece suit.
And that's him with my grandmother.
He would be over the moon.
He would think the whole thing is absolutely hilarious.
He'd think the fact that two young, you know,
two young men are interested and are actually as interested as he was...
-And if there was one thing about my granddad
was that he loved to laugh and if he was here now
and he could see you guys, he would be laughing his socks off.
He'd be absolutely over the moon.
-Thank you very much.
-So, here we are.
-It fits quite well. It's really nice.
-Oh, my word, look at you! It looks like it was made for you.
-It looks like Stanley's cut it for you.
-Perfect for vintage weekends away.
-Vintage weekends away, yeah, yeah.
We're going to one this weekend, so fantastic. Brilliant.
Thanks to Rowan and Thomas, resplendent in their new suits.
And if you have a vintage outfit to show off,
do come to a Roadshow. Our dates for 2017 are coming up.
And our final catch-up on items screened earlier this year
takes us back to our day at Audley End.
It's another wartime story which I was fascinated to hear about
when I met Brian Davis.
My mum was a cleaner
in the ministries in Whitehall in the early '80s,
notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
She noticed these from the basement.
They were being practically thrown out.
She was outraged, so she reported it to a senior civil servant,
but he said, "Would you like to take those home to keep them safe?"
And we've had them ever since.
And what do you know about him? Who is this?
Hedley Nevile Fowler. Squadron Leader Hedley Nevile Fowler.
We know he was shot down in May of 1940, and taken into captivity.
He was held in three different camps -
finally, at Colditz Castle.
Colditz, that is a name to chill the heart, isn't it?
It is indeed. But he actually successfully escaped from Colditz.
And what happened to him then?
He was posted to the Armament Squadron,
near Boscombe Down, which was basically as a test pilot.
And in March of '44,
he had an accident and fell out of the sky and was killed.
What a story!
And how can we help you here today, Brian?
Why have you brought this all to us?
So, I really wanted to put it out there,
in case someone knows Hedley Fowler, or is related to Hedley Fowler,
and I'd quite gladly give it over.
So, could we find the relatives of Hedley Fowler?
Well, Brian's back with me now with...
Shirley Wilson and Sydney Craig.
-How are you related to Hedley Fowler?
-He was my mother's cousin.
And was he talked about in the family at all?
-Yes, he was always there.
-Always talked about.
He was a hero to the family. We were brought up with him.
-So brave that he got back.
And he escaped from Colditz.
Took him a year to get back here and then, within months, he was dead.
And when you came along to Audley End, you brought along,
as well as these pictures, this book,
-which is the story of Hedley's life.
-And I know, Sydney...
-His father wrote it. Here's another one.
-Wow, it's fantastic, isn't it?
-Is it a bit emotional for you, Brian?
-It is. It really is, honestly, yes.
-It chokes you up, doesn't it?
And it's that picture we've never seen.
-We have seen a picture in there.
-But we've seen it in black and white.
So, that's the photograph and then this is the painting
-that was taken from it.
-And it's all thanks to you, Brian.
You so much wanted to be able to give these items back to people
-to whom they meant so much.
-I did, yeah.
It's actually down to my mum but, yes, I've had them in my possession.
They're not my family but I do recognise our heroes.
It means a hell of a lot. There are memorable days in your life.
You get married, you have children
and, for me, this is one of those, honestly. It's a lovely day.
-What does it mean to you to have these things from Brian?
-It's our family.
-We haven't got many of us.
-It's just us three sisters.
I mean, we were brought up with him, you know, his name.
-Well done, you, Brian.
-Well done, thank you.
No problem at all. I always wanted him to be remembered
-and all those that went with him as well.
-He is remembered.
-I know he will be.
-He definitely will.
We've come to the end of our look back on this year.
It's time to look forward to next year, our 40th anniversary,
and we'd love you to join our experts
as we travel around the country.
Diaries at the ready because here comes our line-up of venues,
including here, Cardiff Castle.
If you're interested in joining us at one of our future venues,
go onto our website because there are lots of tips
about how to get the most out of your visit.
We'd also love to hear about the special object
you might be planning to bring.
Contact us via our website.
Before we go, we have a sad end to this look back on our year.
A few weeks ago, our dear friend and colleague Graham Lay died.
Graham was a remarkable man,
deeply knowledgeable and well-respected in his field.
But, unknown to many,
he'd battled with cystic fibrosis from his childhood.
His contribution to the Antiques Roadshow
over the course of nearly 30 years was profound,
transforming our approach to filming human stories of wartime.
Here's an extract from a particularly memorable meeting
he had a couple of years ago.
-So, were you captured at the same time?
And what happened to you?
I was taken to a French chateau and shown into a big room
and standing there was Field Marshall Rommel
and, looking out of the window, was Field Marshal von Rundstedt.
Two of the most important officers,
high-ranking officers in that part of the theatre at the time.
That's right. He said, "Is there anything that you require?"
So, I said, "Yes, I'd like a pint of beer."
"I'd like a packet of cigarettes and I'd like a good meal, please."
-And I was served, in his mess,
and on the table was a stein of beer
and there was a packet of cigarettes.
-Not this... This packet?
-That's the empty packet...
-..which I kept.
I think...that the medal group,
plus the story, plus the objects you have
are going to be worth somewhere in the region of
£7,000 to £10,000.
Not for sale.
-Good for you.
-Not for sale.
We'll miss Graham for all he brought to the show
but also as an irreplaceable member of our travelling band
and as a friend.
From the whole team, bye-bye.
Ever wondered what happened after the experts drop the bombshell valuation on stunned owners? In a special edition, Fiona Bruce looks at the most talked about finds of the year and reveals some surprising updates.
Art scholars searched for years for a missing work by eminent Victorian artist Alma-Tadema. Since appearing on the show, the newly restored painting has gone on to be displayed in an international exhibition. The owner of a group of valuable jade figures reveals how he used the proceeds of their sale in tribute to his late wife. There's a twist in the tale for the man who brought the original script for the classic film The Third Man to the Roadshow when he's taken on a surprise trip to meet a mysterious man in Vienna.
Plus a look ahead to the locations for 2017 as the show approaches its 40th year on the road.