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Today, the Antiques Roadshow comes from an Art Deco treasure
of a building, with a unique history of learning, secrecy and Hollywood.
Welcome to the nerve centre of the University of London - Senate House.
In 1933, construction of this neoclassical colossus
began in Bloomsbury.
The radical design was the brainchild
of architect Charles Holden, seen here on the right.
It was to be a bold, modernist statement.
Holden's attention to detail was absolute.
Even the drainpipes are little crafted artworks in their own right.
As well as an elegant site of learning,
this building has a rather sinister connection.
During the Second World War, the Government used it
as their Ministry of Information,
and the wife of a certain George Orwell worked here.
And he used her experiences as the basis
for the Ministry of Truth in his iconic novel 1984.
And he wrote, "The Ministry of Truth, Minitrue in Newspeak,
"was startlingly different from any other object in sight.
"It was an enormous, pyramidal structure
"of glittering, white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace,
"300 metres into the air."
As befits a Senate House, this is the Senate room,
where the Vice-Chancellor would address the great and the good
and the finest academics of the day.
But this place apparently had another admirer,
none other than Adolf Hitler, who wanted to use it as his HQ,
if he'd succeeded in invading Britain.
When it comes to firsts, Senate House can claim several.
It was London's first skyscraper,
and it was the first university in Britain
to admit women to its degree programmes.
The panoramic view from the top of Senate House has made it popular
with film directors. Batman Begins, Nanny McPhee,
The Day Of The Triffids, all made use of this sky-rise location.
Today, our own directors and camera crews are hard at work
with our experts, in several of the principal rooms
down on the ground floor and the first floor.
Lights, camera, action!
"A peep into fairyland.
"Admission 2p, children 1p."
Shall we do that - peep into fairyland?
I mean, that is absolutely amazing.
What we're looking at is this extraordinary diorama
of painted scenery,
little creatures, elves, rabbits.
How did it come to you?
Well, our grandparents, who lived in Bromley,
lived next door to a lovely, elderly gentleman
who they became good friends with.
And then, through that friendship,
they became friends with his sisters.
When we were young, when we were children,
we used to go round there for afternoon tea in their garden
and it's just one particular time we went,
we were taken through to a room and we were shown this, as children,
which was just the most magical moment ever.
And then it was what - inherited by you or to the family?
Yeah, it was inherited to my grandparents
-and then my mum and then it was inherited to us.
-So, there are
probably about another 15 to 16 of these hangings.
And they're all designed so when you look through it,
you get more and more of a 3D effect.
That very back painting also gives an illusion of further depth.
As a kid, it was just magical.
It still has that amazing effect now.
Let's just talk about fairies a bit
in the early part of the 20th century.
There was this great sort of upsurge in fairies
and the depiction of fairies. It was a form of escapism.
It took you away from reality, took you away from industrialisation,
it took you away from the First World War,
all those horrible things, you could escape into this fairyland.
But let's think about who these little old ladies were.
Because there's a clue.
And, on one of the pieces of scenery,
what have we got here?
Well, actually, what we've got
is part of a really fine, botanical painting,
signed down here by somebody called Lilian Snelling.
And one of your little old ladies was in fact
perhaps the greatest horticultural, botanical artist of her time.
-She was awarded the Victoria medal
from the Royal Horticultural Society, which is their top award.
She was given an MBE.
She produced illustrations.
She produced lithographs.
Over 800 drawings and paintings.
We are dealing with an absolute,
can I say, force of nature without being too punny?
When one looks at Lilian Snelling's watercolours,
we're talking about £4,000, £5,000 apiece.
What is a Lilian Snelling diorama going to be worth?
It's a completely different audience.
I think it's worth a lot.
I think it's fabulous.
I would say £10,000 at least.
It is spectacular,
and it is that moment in particularly English history
-where fairies were king and queen.
-Thank you very much indeed.
Well, let's have a look at what light does to stained glass.
And I must say, that's a really good image.
Tell us about it in your life.
Well...the job I was doing, house clearances one day.
In a skip, there were six of these sitting in the skip.
Took them home, put them in the shed and forgot about them for six years.
Then my wife said last night, this is down here,
so we jumped on a bus this morning and here we are.
These came out of an arts and crafts house.
That style, you know, you go Baroque, rococo, neoclassical,
Art Nouveau and Art Deco, all that lot.
And nestled in the middle of Art Nouveau,
arts and crafts was English Art Nouveau, sort of.
And the artistic, painterly style
that is most associated with the arts and crafts is Pre-Raphaelite,
and these are Pre-Raphaelite.
And you have a look at them and you think, this is very well executed.
There's qualities of scale.
It's not the greatest.
-Oh, no, no, no.
-But it's really not bad.
Basically, the colour is really nice on this.
You have a lovely image.
I've seen the images of the others that you have.
They show the stages of man, don't they...?
From a child up to old man.
Start with a nurse, ends with a nurse.
And here we have young man as pretty boy.
-I think we have. But he's into fashion, isn't he?
You have a little damage here.
It come out of the skip, remember. It could have been damaged there.
Sure. Well, when it comes to value, this is the best.
-Yeah, I'd say.
-This one's 500 quid.
Others not quite so much.
So, let's think.
You got six out of the skip for nothing.
Well, I reckon...
£1,500 at auction.
That's sweet as a nut, that is.
-Better than working for a living, isn't it?
-Thank you very much.
Ink wells made out of horses' hooves are not uncommon.
I've seen literally hundreds of these over the years.
But this is a first because this is a famous horse.
I recognise the name of this horse and that's the first time
that's ever happened. "Ronald" on the front of here
is quite literally a horse celeb.
He is a warhorse of the highest calibre.
And here we have one of his hooves, mounted in silver,
and turned into an inkwell with an inscription on top, which reads,
"Hoof of Ronald, the charger ridden by James Thomas Brudenel,
"7th Earl of Cardigan, at the Battle of Balaclava,
"October 25th, 1854."
-Now, there's a famous date.
How come you've ended up with Lord Cardigan's horse's hoof?
Well...my grandfather on my mother's side,
his great grandfather, who's a chap called John Harwood-Hill,
was a vicar in Leicestershire in the 1830s.
He became the Earl of Cardigan's librarian
and they must have struck up a friendship because, in the 1870s,
this hoof was given to him by the Countess of Cardigan.
-As a gift.
-That explains everything.
I'm no military historian,
so I can make no comment about the rights and wrongs
of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
But this was clearly an animal, whose devotion to his owner
and bravery is beyond comprehension, really.
And, Ronald, being Lord Cardigan's steed, led the charge.
Ran all the way down to the Russian line,
got through the Russian cannons,
ran amok a bit behind the Russian cannons, and then charged back,
survived. Out of the 600 and some horses that went into the charge,
nearly 500 of them were killed. So then he came home
and Ronald survived till 1872.
And parts of him made into relics, including this hoof, of course,
which is marked by EH Stockwell, who are very good London silversmiths.
They've mounted this hoof in 1872.
There are four of these hooves, as you may know.
One of them is in the collection of the Hussars, one of them -
in fact two of them are, because one of them was given to Edward VII
as commander-in-chief of the 10th Hussars -
one's retained by Lord Cardigan's family,
and then there's the one that is on the record as having been
in the ownership of Lady Sawyer, which is this one,
which has now come down to you.
In terms of a valuation, I'm going to be quite conservative.
It's got to be worth at least £5,000.
I love your little collection of images here.
-They're all Central line stations, aren't they?
-Yes, they are.
We've got Bank, Museum, Marble Arch, Notting Hill,
and the closest station to us, which is Tottenham Court Road.
-They're postcards, aren't they?
Hard to tell that in these little frames.
-Who framed them all up?
-So my mother's been looking out for them
for the past 10, 15 years. She lives in Suffolk.
Goes to quite a few postcard fairs,
so she had them framed.
I've been having them in my flats in south London.
Now, these were originally made in the early 20th century.
So, these are well over 100 years old, each of these postcards.
They were drawn by an artist called Philip May
and he was a great graphic artist, I think.
Quite simple in style, but I really, really like his style.
And, to be frank,
most of these were given away free with publications
-in the early 20th century.
So, anyway, you're obviously having a little bit of a problem
-finishing off the set, are you?
-I've two missing.
Essentially, what you have here is £70-£100 worth of cards.
But, I think, actually, as they're framed up as a set,
and they look really, really good, maybe £100, £150
is kind of more like a sort of price for them.
But I hope you manage to complete the set.
Thank you. So do I.
Here is one of the most important manuscripts
that's ever likely to come onto the Antiques Roadshow.
This comes from the library here, of course.
I know it's known as the Chandos manuscript.
What can you tell me about it?
Well, the Chandos manuscript relates to the ownership of John Chandos.
He was one of the most loyal supporters of the Black Prince.
So, we're talking about the middle of the 14th century.
-The reign of...
-And, at this time,
Chandos was following the Black Prince to various battles in France
for the Hundred Years War - Crecy, Poitiers.
And it was Chandos's herald, the sort of PA,
or publicist of the time,
who was with him at these battles, recording what was happening.
And the eyewitness account was then used to produce
this beautifully illuminated bound book.
Oh, and it was the Battle of Crecy, of course,
where the Prince of Wales got his spurs, and also won these feathers,
which the Prince of Wales is famous for today.
He was knighted. This is all part of the current Royal Family's insignia.
It goes right back to the heart of chivalry.
This book, in many ways, epitomises the glory of war,
and how it's then encapsulated, not just in the rich illumination,
but in the storytelling. It's a bit of a spin.
The spin of the Hundred Years War.
In fact, it's not in English, but it is in French, isn't it?
It is, because that was the language of court at the time.
It was a book for the elites, written in French,
with a few Latin phrases thrown in.
Yes. So, it's the most remarkable thing. As far as I know,
it is hardly well known at all.
There is a similar version in Worcester College library in Oxford.
Yes, but I'm talking about printed copies.
Very few. 1842, we think there was a version, but it's...
The text is well known, but as an object,
as something that we treasure, it's almost unique.
And he didn't get his notebook out and write it all down,
he got a monk, presumably, to write it,
as you would write an illuminated manuscript,
a piece of sacred text, or something like that, and in a sacred way,
and put this wonderful illuminated frontispiece here,
showing God the Father supporting Christ on the cross.
Underneath here, this is the bit that's been thumbed most.
The Prince of Wales, here.
He's on his knees, dressed in a surcoat.
And the Prince of Wales feathers are on either side.
This is the first time the feathers had been shown.
And he's saying, "Tres unum sunt."
Three in one are.
Then the "Ich dien" here.
To serve. I serve.
So, it's a combination of different languages and symbolism.
Any contemporary would have understood this.
It does take a little bit more deciphering today.
But it is absolutely exquisite and beautiful.
Is it the most valuable thing you think you've got?
It's the biggest treasure. It is the most valuable item.
It is unique. It's priceless, in many ways.
As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the cornerstones
of English literature.
Now, I know you've had it insured, and all the rest of it...
Can you let us know?
To me, this is a priceless item.
But, for insurance purposes, £2 million.
Well, I think that's ridiculous
because I think, if it came on the open market,
and heaven forbid that it ever would,
I think it would be worth twice that - £4 million.
Well, as a Londoner,
it's great for me to come back to London and see a London pot.
It's terrific, isn't it?
Made by the Doulton factory in Lambeth.
-One of the greatest potters at the Lambeth factory
in the 19th century was Hannah Barlow,
who specialised in incising pots while they were wet
and then decorating them - horses and bulls and cows
and all sorts of wonderful creatures.
She was a wonderful lady, who owned all these animals.
-She had her own zoo.
-Oh, did she?
Yes, had her own zoo! These are just horses
but you can get kangaroos and all sorts of things by her!
I think she's a wonderful woman.
Had this incredible ability to incise and draw these horses.
I think they're terrific things.
-They're so lifelike, aren't they?
It's basically called a loving cup.
The idea is, you'd pass it round the table with drink in
and everybody can take a handle and drink from one side of it.
Oh, right. Very hygienic.
It goes back a long way, these loving cups.
But this is great.
And, um, I think it's absolutely wonderful.
Have you had it a long time?
Not all that long.
I was at an auction about nine months ago and I saw this.
-I've got a bit of Hannah Barlow, but in those days,
I couldn't afford to buy anything really decent.
And I saw this and I thought, "I really must have it."
They're often dated.
This one... Yes, there we are.
She was quite young.
How old would she be then, when she did that?
She'd be in her twenties then.
She came from the Lambeth School of Art.
-Where she was trained,
and, um, Doulton, Henry Doulton,
was a wonderful chap in getting these young girls and boys
from the Lambeth School of Art to come and work at the Doulton factory
and encouraged them enormously.
The prices of Hannah Barlow have dropped down a little bit
-in recent years, I don't know why.
But one day she'll boost up again.
But, I suppose, a pot like this, a year or so ago,
would have been something like £1,000.
Now down, possibly, to about £500.
But it's still a jolly fine pot.
-I love it very much. I'm sure you do.
It's a real statement, isn't it?
So, look after it. Think of Hannah Barlow,
-working in Lambeth.
Well, this is one of the largest ship models
we've ever had on the show.
None other than HMS Victory,
perhaps the best-known British warship of all times.
You must live in a pretty large house to accommodate this.
Unfortunately not, no.
It lives with us in our main room.
We have it on a sideboard against the wall
and we sort of forget it's there half the time, really.
We have to be careful that we don't get too close to it.
-It's quite fragile.
Absolutely. You've two very pretty little girls
and your wife stood behind you.
How do they cope with it?
Well, I do wonder it's still in one piece after bringing these two up,
because they do like to bounce around on the settee,
that's quite close.
-And it's amazing it's still in one piece, really.
Built in around 1920.
The quality's kind of middling, not spectacular quality,
but you have all the gun deck detail and cannons.
-When did it first come to you?
I inherited it from my late father,
who acquired it originally in the late '90s.
-And it came to him from a dealer on the coast in Emsworth.
-Not far from Portsmouth.
-And my dad received it as part payment
for a boat he was selling to this chap.
So, it was cash and this boat as well.
OK. A bit of wheeling and dealing.
The story that came with it was there was some provenance
-attached to it...
-..which related to
the fundraising tour organised by WL Wyllie, in the 1920s.
William Lionel Wyllie, born actually in Camden
just a few miles from here.
One of the greatest of naval and maritime painters.
He was one of the main campaigners to have the original HMS Victory,
which was in a terrible state, in the sort of 1910...
And he realised how important this was
as a national icon and that the ship should be saved.
And he, in fact, spent time touring the UK, giving lectures,
and raising funds to make a start.
I think the restoration started in 1922 and took seven years.
But, I mean, it's ongoing, isn't it?
It is. Yeah. They've just recently repainted it, last year, I think,
-in a lemon yellow and grey colour.
William Lionel Wyllie's attempt to raise the funds worked.
It was saved for the nation.
And it's quite possible that a model like this was used
to show what the restored wreck of the ship
would look like on completion.
In fact, what took me was the detail of the rigging.
There's no sails on this particular model.
No, there's not, no. I also understand it was made
for the restorers to get the rigging precise.
-That was part of the purpose of this model.
We do decorate it every year for Christmas with lights -
fairy lights - and a few small baubles, bit of tinsel.
Instead of getting a tree, sometimes, you know.
Great. It obviously is a ship that earns its keep in your household.
-Part of the landscape.
I would have thought, in a special sale,
with obviously the link to Wyllie,
which obviously we've no absolute concrete evidence about,
it's worth... And it is limited by size, I'll be honest.
Smaller ships could make more sometimes.
It's the kind of piece that might look good in the Victory Hotel,
-you know, on display.
-It's great here.
-You've got the room.
-Value, at auction, £1,500, £2,500, that sort of area.
OK. Been a pleasure.
Really, you have got a very lovely fan.
1780, 1790, this sort of period.
A silk panel here.
So, this is something you've acquired recently?
Yes, quite recently, a couple of months or so.
But it's pretty much to put towards my fashion business
-that I'm trying to launch.
I haven't managed to get any funding from anywhere else,
so I thought, "Why not buy and sell antiques?"
I love that. I love the kind of beautiful objects from the past.
It's good. I don't know what it cost you.
That sounds remarkably cheap.
I shouldn't go into fashion at all.
-Stick to antiques.
-It's a bargain.
You're going to do rather better, I think!
He's got an amazing eye.
Just a really jolly day out.
A lovely, romantic scene.
Flanked to either side by these oval panels,
with musical instruments, floral swags.
It really is a really romantic piece.
Value-wise, they are slightly tricky.
But it's upper hundreds. Is it towards £1,000?
£800, £1,000 - is it a little over that?
That sort of region, really.
The colours are bright.
It's got everything somebody would really like to own in a fan, really.
This is such a celebration of colour.
And I see that it's signed "Nolan."
Who's Sidney Nolan,
who's obviously Australia's greatest 20th-century artist.
Can you tell us how it came to be yours?
In 1987, I was a young company manager at the Royal Opera House.
We were doing a new production
of Mozart's Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail,
And the director, Elijah Moshinsky,
asked his friend, who was Sidney Nolan,
to come and design the sets.
Amazing! So, can you tell us a little bit more
about where does this fit in to the set design?
They did lots of model development meetings
and, during the course of that, Sidney designed four drops
to be used in production. There was a front cloth
and three other backdrops and this is one of them.
This one wasn't actually used in the production
because we ran out of money and didn't have enough to realise them all.
So, I suppose it's unusual from that point of view as well,
because it wasn't actually in the show in the end.
I think that actually makes it even more unusual
because the other designs that were used,
they're captured in images of the set,
whereas this is probably the first time
this design has ever been unveiled to the world on camera.
For me, it's also really interesting because Nolan is most well known
for an incredible series of work about Ned Kelly,
who is this Australian outlaw.
When the Royal Academy had their recent Australia exhibition,
that series was at the heart of the whole exhibition.
What's interesting about this piece though, is that it shows
a really very different side.
He designed many sets for the Royal Opera House.
What's particularly interesting about this one from the '80s is,
if you look closely at it,
-it's a water-based paint, but he's actually used spray paint.
That shows how innovative he was and he was also really interested
in changing, using different materials, using different paints.
When he first started painting in oil,
he actually painted using Ripolin, which is just a household paint.
What I love about this piece, though, is the history.
Knowing it's for a set design, so he designed it to be huge.
But actually, on this scale, it works remarkably well.
Yeah, it absolutely does.
So, if this was coming up at auction,
I'd suggest an estimate in the region of £1,200 to £1,800.
Great. That's really nice, but I'm going to keep it
because it was something that he gave to me.
Talk about decadent. Talk about amazing.
This is exactly the sort of things that members of the Bloomsbury Set
would have sported to smoke their cheroots or cigarettes in -
pipe-shaped cigarette holder.
And we're in the heart of Bloomsbury,
-and you guys are dressed so appropriately.
You clearly know where to find fabulous accessories.
Where on earth did you find this?
Well, this is sort of inherited from my next-door neighbour, in Italy,
in Trieste. I was the only one in the family
to actually appreciate the sort of things she collected.
She collected a lot of bits and pieces.
And so it ended up with me because I deserve it, I think.
You know, things that fit in with the way you guys look,
obviously find their way to you.
Indeed. I believe so.
-It's a very rare thing.
It's made in Renaissance tradition and in Austro-Hungary,
when this was made, which was about 1880, 1890, or a bit before,
they did Renaissance revival pieces,
jewellery, just like you've described.
But they also mounted rock crystal and semi-precious stone vessels,
lapis, with silver and gold on silver-gilt mounts, with enamel,
all in the Renaissance style. That's what this fits into.
Blackamoors were exotic.
He's dressed with a turban from the Ottoman style,
with the crescent on there.
And it's got a little jewel in his turban.
It's so beautiful.
The face is enamelled in black with earrings.
It's so complete. It's like a miniature pipe.
-You get Meerschaum pipes, full size,
carved in the forms of Blackamoors and other subject matter.
But this is a miniature pipe.
In silvergilt. This was gilt once.
The gilt has worn off because you've smoked so much with it.
-And I think the jewel is probably a garnet,
which was typical again of Austro-Hungarian work.
-I've never seen one of these in the flesh, so to speak,
or in the metal. And, um...
something like that, in the right shop in the West End, or in Paris,
or in New York, or in a good auction,
would make at least £1,500.
-Thank you very much.
-A very rare thing.
Well, I must say, this is the nicest piece of engraving
that's been brought in on the series for me.
It is such a beautiful glass.
So, I need to place it in your life
before going any further. How do you know it?
This was given to my husband as a gift by one of his patients,
as a thank you.
OK. What did he do?
I really don't know.
-I possibly can't say.
OK. What do you think of it yourself? How do you see it?
I love it. I love the engraving on it.
It's so intricate.
What you have is a glass that, first of all,
dates from 1740, or thereabouts.
So, it's 260, 270 years old.
It comes from Silesia,
which has had a chequered history and it's now in southern Germany,
Poland. That's where it is, right down Central Europe,
where wheel engraving was practised
to a degree of complex, rococo-style scrolls.
This has come out of a style known as Baroque, into rococo,
where you have... The glass is smothered.
It's called Laub und Bandelwerk, which is framed.
You have trellises and it's all interconnected.
And the quality of the engraving ranges through the glass.
So, at the front, the ship, the galleon we have here,
is very high quality indeed.
But what surrounds it is not quite as good.
So, it's like Leonardo da Vinci might paint your portrait
and others would paint the backgrounds.
That's what's happened here. You've got two qualities.
On the back,
you have an inscription in high German Gothic, which says,
"Words can't express my gratitude to you,
"so let me give you this glass as an expression of my thoughts."
So, whoever gave him this actually...
He knew what he was doing. This wasn't an accident.
This is somebody saying, "Thank you very much indeed."
And isn't that an eloquent...?
If you get it, it makes it a much more valuable item.
To you, it doesn't make it more valuable in the market,
but, to your husband, I can't wait for you to be sitting down
and telling him this tonight when you go home
because he's going to be so chuffed.
So, it's a value in sentiment
which got a tear on the end of my eyelid
but it's also kind of 600 quid's worth of value, too.
So, can I come and be a fly on the wall when you tell him tonight?
I will. Thank you very much.
You're most welcome. What a pleasure it is
to be explaining your own possessions to you! Lovely!
-It's wonderful. Thank you.
It's time for this week's Enigma.
We haven't trawled the local museums here in London,
we've actually had a little help from a friend, Henry Sandon.
Fergus Gambon is here to tell us about our mystery item.
This is Henry's originally.
This is Henry's. He brought it in just for our delectation today.
Now, it can't be a gravy boat
because it looks a bit like one but that's too obvious.
That's what it is.
So, what suggestions have you got?
It's a gravy boat. I don't know what the problem is.
-It's not a gravy boat!
-Of course it is.
What else could it be? It's a gravy boat.
More specifically, it's a gravy boat for soy sauce.
-Or rather, for soy sauce substitute,
which was made using portobello mushrooms
when they couldn't get the real thing.
Why would soy sauce or a substitute for it
have a special kind of gravy boat?
The truth of the matter is, I really don't know.
But I guess also, most 18th-century sauce boats
are very open in their shape.
This idea of enclosing it to keep the contents warm
without the need for a cover is what this is all about.
OK. So, a fancy type of gravy boat.
What else could it be?
It's a communal drinking vessel.
And how would such be used?
Well, if you think through history,
one of the great things that people did when they gathered together
to reaffirm their friendship and love for each other,
through history, is they've drunk together.
-What, like this?
-Like that, or from the side.
-We're not quite sure.
-How could you drink from the side?
The fact it's folded over means it would go everywhere.
Again, it's not totally certain.
But I think, you pick it up like that, and you do it like this.
Some thought it was done when people gathered together at hunts,
that kind of thing. The hunt followers would have used it
-for that purpose.
So, what's your third offer?
-Your final and best offer?
-My third offer...
is that it's a lady's portable urinal.
-And 18th-century she-wee, that's right.
How would that be used, then?
This should be obvious to me.
I'm not the best equipped to demonstrate, I'm afraid.
So, why would it be needed instead of a retiring room, a kind of loo?
People at courts, or people, say, at church,
they had to sit or stand for a long time and they got caught short.
-So, a fancy gravy boat for soy sauce or the equivalent.
A communal drinking cup.
Though it must be quite a messy one.
Or a portable female urinal contraption thingamajig.
OK, what we do we think?
Chaps, I'm going to leave you out of this for a minute.
Ladies, what do we think?
Hands up for the gravy boat thing.
OK. A few for the gravy boat.
Communal drinking cup?
Portable female urinal?
Do you know, I'm going for that.
Because, apart from anything else, the shape, Fergus.
The shape alone, without wishing to be indelicate
at this time of the day, and evening in fact,
it just lends itself so beautifully, I would say.
And actually, people were pretty...
-They were pretty shameless
about their bodily functions.
I can just imagine someone slipping it under their skirts and presumably
passing it to some hapless and very unfortunate flunky.
We're going for the female urinal?
-You've beaten me.
CHEERING AND LAUGHTER
No, it is. That's what it is.
And it has a very, very poncy name.
It's called a borderloo.
A friend of mine went to a very posh dinner party
in a lovely country house.
And he sat down at this lovely, long table, laid with white linen,
18th-century porcelain, wonderful silver.
And there, on the table, was one of those.
-As a gravy boat?
-As a gravy boat.
The occupants of the house had no idea.
So, he had his food, minus gravy.
What a great thing!
-It's a pleasure.
So, how does a book
about fruits from the West Indies
come into your possession?
We actually think it belonged to my grandmother.
-She lived in Bristol.
She was a Lady Mayoress there in the '50s, and she was a great collector.
After my father died, we found this amongst his archive.
-She had scrapbooks and a lot of other things,
but we just came across these and hadn't been aware of them.
Interesting. So, she'd never showed the book to you in her lifetime.
No. I doubt it's seen the light of day for about 70 years,
-something like that.
-Well, it certainly seems it.
It's actually in very good condition,
the original condition it would have been found in,
would have been published in. It's by this lady, Lydia Byam.
-She came from a big family on Antigua.
But, because there were several Lydia Byams,
there's a little bit of confusion about sometimes which one it is.
-But, about the book itself,
published in 1800, and probably done privately,
as it says. It says printed at the Oriental Press for the author.
So, done in a very, very small number of copies.
-It's illustrated with wonderful colour plates,
produced with aquatint, all done by hand.
But these are exotic fruits that people back in the UK
-probably might not have ever heard about...
-Or let alone seen.
Certainly wouldn't have seen.
So, this sort of life-size, I guess, I don't know,
or even bigger than life-size, illustrated depictions
of what these fruits looked like
must have been quite stunning in those days.
-There are supposed to be nine of these in the book.
-Sadly, you're missing one.
-No idea where it is?
No. We think maybe it got framed, and hung a long time ago,
-but, no, we don't know.
-It's a great shame.
-It is a shame.
-Because it's a very rare book.
It doesn't come up very often for sale on the market.
I couldn't find any copies available at the moment.
So, that means it's rare.
And, if it was complete, in this condition,
I think you'd easily see a collector paying
-somewhere around £10,000 for it.
-But it's not complete.
-No. I know.
Despite that, it's still, I think, an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.
-It's a really, really rare thing.
And there are a lot of very good collectors
for books about the West Indies.
-Particularly books of natural history,
which are very, very obscure and difficult to come by.
Well, how extraordinary!
-But it's a lovely thing. Thank you very much indeed.
This has got to be one of
the most unusually-known sports I've ever come across.
Perhaps you can tell me, rather than me trip over my words.
It's a style of wrestling called catch as catch can.
It was predominantly in Lancashire and Cheshire,
but other areas did have it as well.
And this is your grandfather, I believe?
-It certainly is, yes.
-As world champion?
Wearing this very belt, which he was presented in 1905.
-And the belt's 1904, so that kind of makes sense.
-I gather your father also participated.
Yes. He joined a gymnasium in Manchester run by my grandfather.
-My grandfather was teaching him to become a wrestler
with a view to entering the 1916 Olympics.
Unfortunately, my father got injured on the Somme in 1916,
so that put an end to his active wrestling career.
But he became a referee.
And this is a picture of him.
-Refereeing in Leigh, Lancashire,
-He did a lot of refereeing.
He was a referee at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.
Wow! He must've been a good referee.
-You can't get to the Olympics as a champion,
-you get to the Olympics as a referee.
Now, this belt is the silver belt of a World Champion.
And, if you don't mind, if you'll indulge me for a second,
something I've been dying to do all day.
Not that I'm ever going to win the belt of a World Champion.
But if I could just pull it behind me and strike that pose...
..I can feel like it for a minute or two.
Better pop it back before I get delusions of grandeur.
And there we are. So, this is a gorgeous belt.
It's velvet-backed, obviously.
The five plaques are made of solid silver.
They're all marked for London 1904.
And the ropes around the ring here are in gilt,
they've been gold-plated,
so to pick them out and make it look even grander around his waist,
-as it does there.
I gather this bowl, you think, was bought with his wrestling winnings.
Could well have been, yes.
He's a very far-sighted man because this bowl,
which he very cleverly bought somewhere in the late-19th century,
I assume, it's dated 1885...
-..is of a design attributed to a fellow called Christopher Dresser,
who's one of the most important designers in silver
-in the late-19th century.
Your belt here, which he was so proud of,
and I should think thought much more of than this bowl,
is worth around £800.
This bowl is today worth about £3,000.
That is as a surprise.
Clever fellow. And very far-sighted for a man who was much more keen on
wrestling than he was, presumably, on applied art and silverware.
There's really only two names we could think of
when we see this vase.
One was William Moorcroft
and the other is Liberty.
And, lo and behold, yours has got both of them on.
How did it come into your possession?
Well, it was my mother's.
And I don't really know how she got it
except that it's possible it was given to her by one of her admirers.
1930, when this was made,
it's already been an expensive piece of pottery.
This is Moorcroft flambe.
It's a very hard technique to do.
If you fire it too much, all the design disappears.
But if you fire it perfectly, it's wonderful.
This is kind of just a little bit over-fired,
but it's a lovely shape.
The pattern, the tree landscape, everything works together.
Your mother must have been a well-admired lady
because if I had an admirer, who gave this to me,
in cash terms,
they'd be giving me £2,000.
-So that's some admiration.
Do you know, one of the great pleasures of doing this show,
and in fact actually working in my profession is,
I never know what I'm going to be confronted with.
Then, suddenly, to be confronted with an item that is this good,
this superlative, and looks this beautiful,
it's always an absolute joy.
We've got this amazing, carved, little, wooden object.
Now, do you know what it is?
-No idea at all.
-You have no idea at all.
-OK. Well, I'm not going to tell you for a minute.
What I want to know is, where did you get it from?
Well, it belongs to my father-in-law and he got it from a family friend.
And, beyond that, we know nothing at all.
You know nothing at all? You must have admired it as an object.
-It really is beautiful, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
Actually, what it is is a knitting sheath.
It's a tool, basically.
It's not absolutely complete.
It would have had what's known as a prick in the end of it,
a needle in the end of it here.
But I want to talk about the way it's been made
because it is absolutely, exquisitely carved.
-It's essentially folk art.
This kind of object is just in such demand with collectors,
I have to say. The obvious inscription is
that set of initials there.
That looks like an IB.
Had you ever noticed another inscription?
There's a number at the end of it, but, er...
There is a number at the end of it.
Actually, it's the arrangement of the set of numbers that's important
because you can construe it in a couple of ways, can't you?
But I'm going to construe it as the date 1749.
That is really, really beautiful because not only to get
a superlatively-carved little knitting sheath like this
with a set of initials, but with a date as well,
is exceptionally rare.
And actually, really fabulous.
Look at some of the detail on here!
We've got these really incredible little figures.
In fact, actually, they look much older, don't they?
They look Elizabethan, almost. Figures with fans.
We've got some zoomorphic sort of creatures there.
What appears to be a lizard, perhaps, and some snakes.
But what is almost certain is that this was carved
perhaps by a gentleman for his sweetheart.
Now, if we look at this section here, we've got a seal.
And it's a dove with an olive branch.
Now, that should have been connected to that bit with a wooden chain.
And the wooden chain has gone missing.
But, do you know? I can kind of forgive it that,
because it's such a beautiful object
that it might not be quite complete, but it's of such superlative quality
that I can kind of put up with that, really.
But it is really very beautiful piece of folk art.
-I think this is probably cherrywood.
Look at the way it has acquired that colour, that patination.
It is a very lovely item and I doubt that I'm ever likely to see one
as good on the Roadshow again.
-Let's think about the valuation on it.
I think, if this were to go into a good sale,
this would more than likely make round about £2,000 to £3,000.
-It is astonishing, really, isn't it?
So, I can very safely say that the watch is rather older than you,
so I presume it wasn't yours. So, how have you got it now?
Well, this watch originally belonged to my great-grandfather.
He died in the mid '80s and left it to my grandmother,
and she gave it to me.
-Have you ever worn it? Do you use it?
-No. I never.
I think it's too precious, so I just keep it on the side.
OK, it's a Bulova Accutron.
They first came on the market in October 1960.
And this was the first electronic wrist watch.
It has, and you can see there, the tuning fork,
which vibrated 360 times a second,
and via miniature, transistorised, electronic circuit,
it was very much the first full-blown electric wristwatch.
And this particular one is in what the Americans call rolled gold,
so just plated.
But it would have retailed at the time for about 150,
which was a great deal of money in the 1960s.
Production ceased in about '75, '76, having sold 5 million.
And the reason production ceased is because the big Japanese companies
came cracking in with the quartz crystal
and the liquid crystal display of the digital dial.
And is there anything specific you've noticed about that,
compared to a normal watch?
It doesn't have a watch face.
Correct. It's got a skeletonised dial, and this particular one
is what Bulova referred to as the space view.
So you can see right through to all the electronic circuitry
and, particularly, the little tuning-fork device.
What is lovely, it's got an original Bulova strap.
When I see these, most of the straps are worn out and rather poor,
-but this is good.
I did say that there had been many millions produced...
-So, you're probably going to be disappointed
-when I tell you it's not a high-value item.
And condition is so important.
There's slight scratching on this dial, on the glass.
I'm going to say, in that state, about £300.
OK. Quite nice.
It's still nice, you're absolutely right.
Bearing in mind there were 5 million made...
-..it's not bad at all, is it?
12 musical plates.
We're used to musical chairs, but musical plates?
-Where did they come from?
It was bought by my late husband.
He passed an antique shop and he saw it.
He said it's so interesting because the different plate,
the same figure, but the pattern is different...
-But the whole style is in the same genre.
These are French plates from a very well-known part of France,
up in the top north-east corner of France.
And they specialised in producing high-quality, multicoloured,
printed plates of the mid-19th century and beyond.
So this is actually quite a revolutionary technique.
-But the other thing is, there's a sense of humour about this.
-I'm hoping there are musicians in your family.
-But there aren't!
-Maybe, Peking Opera.
Oh, Peking Opera! Oh, no. Yeah.
Well, that's a noise I do not want to replicate.
But, it's funny. Yes, it is that sort of caterwauling sound,
-It is that sound.
And that's the sound which Rossini sends up
in a well-known duet for sopranos, where they sing like cats.
And that's what we've got...
-..on the rim of every single plate -
-cats forming the notes of this piece of music.
Yes? It's in 6/8 time.
-All these cats...
-Oh, that's the story.
Well, it's very much in that satirical vein.
The Rossini Cat Duet.
I'm not going to attempt it, but it does sound like Peking Opera,
-I have to tell you.
-So, these are beautifully printed.
At the centre of each, there is a conductor.
I think there's a touch of the Franz Liszt about him.
He has that wild look.
We go through all the various movements and styles of music.
So, we start off "in dolce", which means sweetly.
"Grave", which means serious,
and "largo", which is slow.
-We go through all these musical moods and we end up with...
It's not sadness.
Well, it is sadness, you're absolutely right.
Cos the only broken plate is the last movement.
-This plate has died.
It is an ex-plate.
It has been smashed.
After a whole 12 movements of musical performance,
it's the last one to go.
Probably somewhere between 1850 and 1870.
A very, very nice set.
Very rare. Transfer printing in colours.
I suppose we ought to compose some sort of a value for you.
-A musician would really like to own these and I would have thought
they might pay in the region of £300 to £500 for them.
-Yeah. OK. Yes.
-And the piece they may have had in mind,
when they put the cats on the staves, goes something like this.
# Meow. #
I'm a good student.
Well, you've brought me the most marvellous, slinky malinky,
diamond and platinum bracelet.
Now, how did it come to you?
I inherited it from my mother-in-law.
It was bought to her by her husband, who may have got it in an auction.
He travelled a lot around the world,
so he may have purchased it anywhere on his travels.
And, were you startled when you saw it?
Yeah. I was startled that it was going to come to me.
Well, I've no idea about the age of everybody in the family
but I think there's another ghost here.
I think this is the ghost of a marvellous lady
living in the Art Deco style,
with a silk dress, perhaps with a geometric pattern to it,
shot with green and blue silk.
She gets out of a motor car, in the Place Vendome,
that's lined with maple wood, with a chauffeur,
and chooses, or at least hints, that that's what she wants.
And then her husband comes along and says he's going to buy it for her.
And he buys it as a caprice. It's not an investment,
it's simply part of the most astonishing arrangement, really,
the last-gasp of luxury at that level, really.
We never saw it again after the Second World War.
This was bought for sheer pleasure,
to wear at some fantastic reception in Paris in 1927,
and we don't know this ghost.
This may be the only evidence we can ever hope to claw her back.
It's platinum, and it's set with
all manner of different cuts of diamonds,
mainly brilliants, and square-cut diamonds here.
I think we can safely give this the label which is often misused,
of being Art Deco.
-That implies it's made between 1927 and the early 1930s.
The reason we can see this - and you almost have to trust me for this -
is there are little references,
not only to geometry,
but also to Chinese works of art.
And they lie here with these circular discs.
This is a progression of design
that we see in the greatest jewellery houses of the world.
And I think this is of sufficient quality
to attribute it to such a jewellery house.
It's combined with very rich, intrinsic value.
We have six, considerably large, brilliant diamonds in here.
And this is rather like a sort of collision
of art and intrinsic value.
There's almost an atomic explosion as they crash together
because this is what everybody wants.
It's of a scale that everybody wants.
It's enviable, and with all of that comes huge excitement.
I don't know about you, but I'm nearly fainting.
-Yes, you are.
I had a chance to look at it earlier
and I combed it all over for a signature
over a number of Parisian jewellers.
So, I might have liked it if it said Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels,
or particularly Boucheron, who I sense actually made this jewel.
I did look very hard for these engraved signatures,
I didn't find them. What I did find
was that it had little guarantee marks for platinum on the side,
a little wolf's head, and then a maker's mark,
not a retailer's mark, which, in a lozenge mark,
which actually rather rubbed.
Unfortunately, I can't make any sense of that.
So, we've slightly lost height in not being able to pin its provenance
down to a specific, Art Deco, Parisian jeweller,
but we can see it's of the finest possible quality.
I'm sure that if you wanted to buy it,
in any distinguished jewellery shop, anywhere in the world,
you would have to pay £150,000.
Oh, my God!
Oh, darling! We're both going to cry.
I could buy a Bentley now.
-No - thank you.
Set me off now, you silly old thing.
That was a really emotional moment, wasn't it?
That lady clearly wasn't expecting that valuation at all.
Such beautiful diamonds.
So, we love to see you on the Antiques Roadshow.
From all of us here at Senate House in London, until next time, bye-bye.