Fiona Bruce presents from the grounds of BBC Caversham near Reading. Items featured include a communion book once owned by Wilfred Owen and a vintage Aston Martin.
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Today we're back at this beautiful Victorian mansion
in Caversham in Berkshire.
And behind this imposing facade
are various departments of the BBC,
including BBC Radio Berkshire
and the BBC's written archives which contain
every historical document related to the BBC,
back as far as its founding in 1922.
So, we're on home turf for this week's Antiques Roadshow.
The building as we see it today was rebuilt in 1850
after the existing one was destroyed by a fire.
Ironworks manufacturer William Crawshay, known as the Iron King,
owned the mansion, but he didn't get round to insuring it.
Not that it mattered -
he was so wealthy, he could rebuild the whole thing,
and this time around an iron frame,
and it was one of the first houses in England to be built in this way.
Behind me is where we're going to be holding today's show,
and soon our usual tables and chairs will be put up there.
Some of this parkland was designed by the great Capability Brown
in the 1760s.
He's widely regarded as England's greatest landscape architect.
He wasn't scared of moving hills and making lakes and flowing rivers,
and his designs often featured ha-has,
those hidden boundaries separating the park from garden,
and keeping deer at bay while providing a seamless landscape.
This refined setting has attracted some important visitors.
In 1789, Thomas Jefferson visited
while he was on a tour of English gardens.
He was the US ambassador to France at the time,
before he went on, of course, to become America's third president,
and he thought Caversham Par, was beautiful,
and described it as a large lawn,
separated by a sunk fence and well-disposed with clumps of trees.
I suspect he'd be impressed to see
this magnificent Cedar of Lebanon tree today.
It was part of Capability Brown's design, and 220 years on
it's providing a wonderful backdrop
for our team on the Antiques Roadshow.
It's a really good-looking table, but why the exercise books?
The exercise books came about
through the efforts of my grandmother.
In the '50s, she decided to try and prove that this piece of furniture,
which had come down from her family,
had been in her family and my family for generations,
to prove that it was actually a piece of Chippendale.
These books represent the efforts she put into research
in trying to prove that they were Chippendale.
It's that magic word in furniture, isn't it?
Chippendale. Everybody hopes that they have
-a piece of Chippendale furniture.
And so, did she feel, then, that she couldn't get
-the correct value for this piece of furniture?
-Very much so.
Dealers would come down from London to look but were offering her
what she thought was silly prices, and saying...
Silly prices low?
Low. "You have no bill of sale, we don't think this is Chippendale,
"how can you say this is... Where's the bill of sale?"
So, if Chippendale is a magic word in terms of furniture,
then provenance is the next sort of magic word that you need,
-and I see, they wanted provenance, they wanted proof.
-Very much so.
And she said, "I'm jolly well going to give it to you."
In the form of these books.
And that's what she tried to do.
And so, this was the start of it all, book one,
when she was trying to give those dealers the proof they required,
that it was in fact by Chippendale.
Chippendale, in 1754,
published a directory of designs for furniture,
and it's really what... He'd been working before then,
but it's really what established him
as being a top-class furniture maker,
and that's why this word of Chippendale
is attributed to so many things,
because workshops all over the country and overseas
were referring to this directory and working in his style.
So, looking at the table, well, to start with,
it really is a weighty piece of furniture, isn't it?
It's quite elegant looking.
It's quite surprising when you try to lift it, just how much it weighs.
It is great quality mahogany.
In fact, it dates from around 1740,
so it was made at some point in the reign of George II, around 1740.
Maybe slightly before that date.
I very much like these outset corners
and the way that they're reflected in the frieze.
And then the cabriole leg that was all the rage
in this sort of mid-18th-century period.
So, Chippendale or not, it is brilliant quality.
In fact, my instinct is that it is NOT Chippendale.
I'm glad it's you standing here today and not your grandmother,
-because she was obviously a very determined lady.
-Very, very determined lady.
I think it was almost certainly made in Ireland.
-Ah, that's interesting.
-It has that quirky combination of features
that you don't quite see in this form,
and I just don't feel it's quite as mainstream as Chippendale
would have been, even in that sort of period.
-And, as such,
-Goodness me. Right.
That's quite a surprise.
Now, I hear that you're a great fan of the Antiques Roadshow.
-Is that true?
And I also was told that when you were driving down,
who were you driving with?
-Who were you driving with?
Now, what happened in the car as you were driving here?
Made us play the theme and sing to it.
You made them sing the theme?
-And you played it?
-Yeah, yeah, we did, yeah.
-But also, when you came to my table,
you had arms sort of laden with jewellery
and I just thought, my goodness, there's a girl after my own heart,
and on my same wavelength,
because when I saw the collection and the variety that you had,
that really intrigued me.
So tell me a bit about your collection
and why you collect and what it means to you.
I just buy what I like,
and I always have, from a very young age,
loved sparkly things and pretty things.
And I guess I've got a design background
and I like clean lines and I like fancy stuff.
-I like it all.
-This one here, which is sort of the Odeon-esque style,
tell me about this one.
It was bought almost exactly ten years ago,
actually, for my engagement.
And I just got it at a little...
I went up to my local little antiques junk shop
and I said to him, "I'm after Art Deco,"
and then I saw this and I was like, yes!
You were buying your own engagement ring?
-I didn't trust him at all.
So, that's ten years ago.
-And then we have over here something very different,
-and where did you buy this?
-The same place.
-The same place?
-Very typical '60s with this bark finish.
And you've got these marquise stones and the round brilliants,
and, yes, that would have come from an earlier piece of jewellery
and put into a later mount which they did a lot of that in the '60s.
But the one piece out of all the jewellery that you showed me today,
just made me go, "Oh, I love it," was this ring here.
Now, this is such a bold ring for anybody to buy.
And of course, you've got these ones here which are quite...
um, sort of discreet in comparison.
So, how... Where did you buy this and how did you buy this one?
I got it on an internet auction site,
and I was just kind of searching one day
and I was, I don't know, looking to treat myself.
-As you do.
And I saw it and I just, I kind of had to have it.
It is just the detail.
It's a 1940s, quintessentially of that period.
And this is just a wonderful amethyst.
This very rich, velvety purple.
So, we have this one here,
and it's 18 carat white gold with synthetic rubies.
With those wonderful diamonds, sort of cushion shaped diamonds.
And I would say at auction
you're looking in the region of about £1,500 for that one.
And then, this ring here, the '60s with the marquise,
you would be looking in the region of about £900 for that one.
How much did you buy this for?
Well, it's a very bold move, but I think you did very well,
cos in the right auction today,
I would say that would go for at least £2,500.
Now you will all definitely be singing on the way back, won't you?
-Well, thank you so much, for bringing it in.
Well, this toy dinner service is mid-Victorian,
so it dates from the same time as the house here at Caversham.
And I suppose I can imagine
fortunate little children playing with this
in a house like this, learning how to entertain in style.
Do you have a memory of it being played with?
No, not that all. Not at all.
So where did it come from?
It was in the house
which my great-grandfather and great-grandmother had,
and then, when they both passed away, it went to their daughter,
who was my great aunt, who never married.
And when she died in the 1980s,
everything was being cleared,
and there was a lovely corner wall cupboard that I rather fancied,
and I was told I could have it, but I would get what was in it as well.
And this is what was in it.
-Oh, so this came free with a cabinet, then?
Oh! A lovely thing to find, I suppose,
cos it's really everything's there, it's so complete, isn't it?
When you look around you've got all the shapes
for serving the different courses of dinner.
You've got some splendid big tureens,
a large soup tureen,
these are vegetable tureens
and they've got their separate stands,
and even the little ladle there which would go inside.
So you'd learn to serve the soup and vegetables
-on to the right sizes of plates.
So you've got dinner plates there, those will be soup plates.
-Soup plates, yes.
-And then these, well, two different sizes,
so for other courses, little dessert plates,
and you've got vegetable dishes,
and lots and lots of platters for serving wonderful food.
What fun one can have with it.
In there. And so little, different landscape views.
They all look like different views.
I believe so, yes. And some of them are marked on the back
-as to where they are.
-Right, so let's have a look.
Oh, I see,
on the printed mark, there.
-So that's a view of Tewkesbury church.
So you would learn about your popular views of England
as you played with the service.
And of course, there it tells me what I need to know which is,
who made it? And there's the stamped mark which is Minton.
-And little letter BB means "best body".
-That was their trade name for this earthenware.
And little stamped in code
is the year stamp to say that was made, well,
that would be 1870.
Often these little sets were given as a special christening present
in some way, and played with.
Normally these child services are in blue and white
like the sets that you would have had for,
grown-ups would have had in the same houses.
Red's an unusual colour,
but I think it's actually rather attractive.
-Very subtle, isn't it?
-Yes, it is, yes.
So, surviving in remarkable unbroken condition.
So, quite, I suppose, a lucky find inside your cabinet.
-Because I suppose it's going to be worth £700 or £800.
It's a lot more than I thought.
Wow, that's some colour, isn't it?
It is. The colour's, as you're probably aware,
down to uranium in the glass.
It is very slightly radioactive,
but also it's a very nice colour,
and under ultraviolet light, it does change colour suddenly.
I've got a small collection of this stuff
and I'm planning to have a display with a switch,
to put the ultraviolet light on.
You won't be the first.
This is an area that attracts...
people of a certain persuasion.
They tend to all be technical.
-What's your background then?
-I am an engineer.
You be had to be, that or a chemist.
It's true. Uranium oxide is used as the colouring agent.
This little...what is it, a dish, I suppose, dates from 1891.
That is provable because it has a design registration number that
dates it to George Davidson & Co of Gateshead 1891.
It's called Primrose Pearline,
Pearline being a series.
You had blue Pearline and yellow Pearline.
So, are you going to show us how radioactive it is?
Because there's the key.
This is a...
a fairly basic Geiger counter.
IRREGULAR RAPID BEEPING
And that's what happens when you hold it up to the piece.
I'm getting messages. Hold on.
They're calling me back!
So this is uranium glass, which is the generic name for this type.
It's not harmful to health?
If you've just got it under a display case, I don't think it is.
The only way it's dangerous is if it gets broken
and you breathe in the dust from the breakage.
And what sort of money are you paying for your...
I've got a collection of getting on for ten pieces now.
I've paid between about £10-40 for them.
That's one of the better ones.
That was about... I think about £35, I paid for that one.
It's worth £35, exactly what you paid for it.
It's certainly worth 35 quid to me
in terms of how nice it is to have it on the shelf and look at it.
You brought your little battered case to the table and opened it up.
Yours was the case that kept on giving
because all these fabulous
pieces of scrimshaw kept coming out.
And sailors passed their time
by doing all these lovely little designs,
usually depicting places they'd been and ships they were on.
These were actually made by my great-grandfather,
who was a merchant seaman in the 19th century.
He made these when he was at sea.
You know exactly who did it and when they were born
and you have photographs of the family.
I mean, it's extraordinary.
And a group of wonderful scrimshaw like this
would go for between
£4,500-6,000 in a maritime sale, easily.
And I can't believe you've brought these here to me today!
Well, this is a very, very lucky young lady in here.
What a beautiful bed.
-Tell me about her.
-Well, her name is Winnie.
She's always been Winnie.
And she was given to a sort of aunt of my mother's.
Not a proper aunt but she was more or less was an aunt to my mother...
..when she was a little girl.
And then my mother had her when SHE was a little girl.
-And now I've got her.
Well, she's a lovely little French doll.
And she's from, you know, she's probably 1880,
as with this English bed.
Very, very smart bed.
And the trunk bought from Cramer and Son in Regent Street, London.
Now, what we don't understand now is just how rare this was.
Dolls were very expensive.
-A doll's bed like this was very expensive.
And a trunk full of clothes, amazing!
-And is this the little girl?
Yes. That is the little girl who was given the doll.
Her name was Isabel Salt.
And she did come from quite a grand family.
Her father was Sir Titus Salt of Saltaire.
This is a picture of Isabel Salt...
..with my mother, and she gave that picture to my mother,
and I believe she was actually wearing fancy dress in that picture.
And they did entertain royalty...
..so, possibly that was some event like that.
Well, exactly. That is the sort of social area
we're talking about here.
-Yeah, I think it was.
-And Winnie has seen all of this.
Yes, she has!
I hope she wore her ball gown at the time.
-And not her nightdress.
-Not her nightie!
I think I'm going to lay her down before she gets her ball dress on.
It is very rare to find such a beautiful array of clothes.
-You must have all looked after these very, very well.
Well, she's always been terribly special.
I can remember when I was a child,
it was a great thrill to go and see Winnie.
She was always there.
And when she was in my great aunt's house, she was always in that house,
and then when Mummy had her, even now,
every time I went to see my mother,
you know, I had to go and see Winnie.
This is an amazing bed.
This is one of the best beds I've seen for a doll of this period.
-Is it? Oh!
-It's so special.
And you can tell that Winnie has been greatly loved.
-And much as we don't want to talk too much about it,
because she's just so special...
-But she's also valuable.
With this little set up,
with the trunk and with the bed and with Winnie herself...
..they would easily make £800-£1,200.
-If they were sold.
Really? Well, they won't be.
It was found in the south of Holland,
on the Dutch/Belgian border near Maastricht, by a friend of mine,
who found it as a heap of rust.
And when he saw
this heap of rust, he thought, "There's something in there."
And he then buried it in his stables in horse manure,
to get the ammonia to work,
to get rid of a lot of the rust,
and he managed to unearth this.
Wow. Well, I hope he's cleaned it since then.
-Yes, he has.
-I think the lovely thing about doing this show
is that from time to time people bring us in something
that we've never seen before.
What it is, very simply, is it's a folding key.
I think it's probably going to be 16th or 17th-century.
I mean, I suppose being a folding key,
one's going to assume it was made
for something that probably travelled.
That's what we were thinking.
So maybe a travelling chest or something of that nature.
You really rather hope that somewhere there is a wonderful chest
sitting full of treasures, they're waiting for this key to be found.
-And you could reunite the two.
But, look, I think it would carry a presale estimate
of between £200-300.
Now, these very pretty little flower vases or posy holders,
I would normally associate with Victorian ladies
in massive crinoline dresses.
I wouldn't necessarily have you down
as an owner of them, so...
So perhaps you could tell me why
you're particularly interested in these.
As a result of a break in the family,
and that my grandfather was killed at the end of the First World War,
we... The family history was not known
and has not been passed down through the generations.
I then researched my grandfather and found that he had...
There are three generations of silversmiths before him,
all called William Neal,
and I have been collecting their silver ever since.
Amongst that has been these four posy holders
and I'm very pleased to say
I have four granddaughters who will use these on their wedding day.
And walk down the aisle with them with flowers in.
And then they will stand as they do here on the table
at the head of the wedding breakfast.
-So, we've got representation
from one, two, three, four, five generations of your family.
And you've presumably bought these not too long ago?
Over the course of the last eight or nine years.
Right. You probably know that the idea was
that you'd take them to a dance
and if a gentleman gave you flowers,
if you pinned your flowers into your posy holder,
you had accepted his gift.
They would then either carry them with them and dangle them
from their dresses or they would put them on their little tripod stands
so they could be shown off.
Over the last sort of 20 years, posy holders have boomed
and then slumped again in their collectability, shall we say.
I think if you've been buying them for the last eight or nine years,
that's probably quite a good thing,
because they've sort of fallen off their great high perch
which was a little longer ago than that.
They are all, nonetheless, quite valuable things.
These two are, as you probably know, a pair.
This one is absolutely gorgeous with its openwork pierced edge.
It's just a little bit extra.
It's just a little bit uncommon.
And therefore probably worth a little bit more than the rest.
These are 1870s and this one is 1864, as you know.
Now, you've bought them recently.
So I'll tell you what I think they're worth now.
-Go on, then.
-I won't faint.
-Hopefully you won't faint.
-But then they're presents for very special relatives.
I'm going to say that if we said that one was worth 850.
These two about 750 each.
And this one about 650.
-Which makes £3,000.
Right. I think I need to go back to the auction house
and get a discount.
That's exactly what I didn't want to hear you say!
But still, they're going to very good homes.
-So it shouldn't really matter.
I've always fancied an Aston Martin.
And as for a 1934 Aston Martin, it doesn't get much better than this.
This is your car, you lucky thing.
It is, yes. It is indeed.
Now, it was used in the RAF, I gather?
Yes, that's right. There were two people, in fact,
who we know owned the car.
One was a Group Captain, the other was a Sergeant.
-And this is during the Second World War?
-During the Second World War.
And obviously, they bought...
I think one of them bought it pretty well at the beginning of the war
and it stayed in the RAF right through to about 1948.
I can just imagine, dashing pilot gets out of his Spitfire,
climbs into an Aston Martin, roars off the runway.
Well, you see, that's what I like, the idea, you know,
the car is sitting there outside the Nissen hut.
And somebody shouts, "Scramble, scramble!"
So they all rush to the car like this,
and drive out to the Spitfire and off they go.
-And you think, yes, that must be wonderful.
And then you come back and you pick up your mates
and you go off to the pub and you have your pint.
And it becomes part of the team then.
The RAF team, in a sense.
And it's such a romantic, glamorous, dashing history, isn't it,
-for this car?
-Well, it is. It is.
And now you're driving it round the country lanes.
Are you feeling glamorous and romantic and dashing?
Oh, very much so. When I don't feel too tired.
It's a heavy car to drive.
-Because you've got this massive steering wheel.
Because that's the only way you can get the car round a corner.
I mean, sometimes, you know, if you're at a junction,
you're trying to change gear,
because you have to, what they call, double declutch.
I know that, yeah.
And you have to remember that you have got the centre accelerator.
You've got to turn the wheel, you've got to indicate,
and by the time you've done all that, you're exhausted.
So you feel worn out at the end of it.
But otherwise, it's fine.
-It's a gorgeous, gorgeous thing, I have to say.
-Thank you very much.
A Royal Air Force observer's flying logbook.
Who did this belong to?
This was my father John Mitchell's logbook.
And he died recently aged 97.
He was in the war.
To begin with, he did a bomber tour.
And then he went to Canada for specialist navigation training.
And worked on an astro simulator there,
so became an astro navigation expert.
On return to England, from 1943-1945,
he was assigned to Churchill's special crew -
at the beginning it was the York Ascalon, which is his VIP aircraft -
and flew Churchill to North Africa,
to Cairo, to Yalta, and Moscow and Tehran,
and during that period he found foreign banknotes
and got some of the VIPs who flew on the aircraft,
because it wasn't just Churchill,
it was all the major generals, and DeGaulle...
Actually he flew the King at one point.
And he collected these notes
and got some of the VIPs to sign them.
We have a banknote here
which your father has got signed by two reasonably famous people
from World War II, as far as I can tell.
And I think most people will know their names.
We see Bernard Law Montgomery,
of the Desert Rats.
-And of 21 Army Group who landed in Normandy.
And then underneath it, Louis Mountbatten.
-Again, another very well-known person.
So, your father is there, flying these V-V-VIPs
-around the world.
He went to the Yalta Conference.
And if we look inside the logbook here...
..we can actually see that flight here on 3rd February, 1945.
Your dad saying, here he is, duty as navigator.
And as we've said he was the master navigator.
-And it's from Luqa...
In Malta. To Saki which is in the Crimea.
Which is the closest airfield to Yalta itself.
-And list of passengers.
Right Honourable Winston Churchill.
Then, on this banknote, the Russian one, there,
Winston Churchill himself.
-Do you have any more of these?
Yes, I've got a number of other notes signed by various people.
Tedder, Auchinleck, Anthony Eden,
the Turkish Prime Minister.
If we were going to have to say a price for them,
I think you would probably be having to look at somewhere between...
for the logbook and your unique notes.
-I've never seen anything like this.
So thank you very much for bringing them along.
-It's a great pleasure.
Here in this gentle breeze we've got the most curious gang
of little people here, nodding away.
And they just make me smile.
But tell me, how did you end up with a collection like this?
Where do they come from?
Well, I go on holiday to Mevagissey in Cornwall every year.
And about 20 years ago I stayed in a bed-and-breakfast down there
and the lady had a little collection of them
and I just fell in love with them
because I thought they were so quirky.
So, she sold me this one, the first one I ever bought,
and then every year we've been down there, we've been looking for them.
And this is the little collection I've managed to accumulate.
So, over how many years has this taken you to put these together?
About 20 years ago I started,
but to be honest I haven't seen any for about the last ten years
-when we've been down there.
-So they're getting a bit hard to find?
I think they are, yes.
Well, they are the most wonderful creation of a fantastic mind.
And they are the work of an artist potter called Bernard Moss.
-And he actually was born in 1923
but ended up settling down in Mevagissey in around 1949.
And one of his loves was this sort of mechanical element,
making things move, making things bounce.
Hence the nodding figures.
The one story I love about him
is the fact that he took one of his nodding figures
up to Heal's of London,
took it into the ceramic buyer's office to show him,
feeling that Heal's would take these on board,
and he was rejected.
They said, "No, thank you. Not for us."
And as he walked out of the store feeling very dejected,
he bumped into a very well-dressed gentleman who actually said to him,
"What's the matter? What's the problem?"
He explained, got the little nodding figure out of his bag.
And the gentleman said, "You go back to that office and tell him
"that Mr Worthington says we require one dozen of them.
"Thank you." He was the director of the store.
And what came out of that was this lovely relationship.
And if you look, your three nicest figures for me
are these at the front.
-Which, as you can see, all have on them, Heal's for fabrics.
-And from thereon after,
he had an order each year of between 80-100 figures only
that would be given to their best customers.
What were you paying for them?
The first one I paid £20 for.
And the most I've paid for on the others is about 70.
Well, I have to tell you, that's a good buy.
-Because a standard nodder at the back here
is £200 now. A double, £250.
And one like this with the chick, you're looking in excess of £400.
Collectively, on the table,
you've got somewhere in the region of £1,500-£2,000 worth of figures.
-Well, these have made me smile.
-I've made you smile.
Take them home and continue to smile. They're just fun.
And I think what better way to finish,
shall we just let this little Sputnik
have one last bounce over the planet?
What a fantastic brass dog collar.
Can you imagine the size of the dog that is came off?
-Probably a mastiff or something like that.
"Mr G A F Bush is the master I own.
"I know nothing of you, and so let me alone.
"Best I foolishly fancy your hand as my bone."
Well, as you probably know, it's probably a late 18th,
-maybe early 19th century brass dog collar.
What's really nice, it's got
a little handmade lock with it, as well.
And it fully works, as well.
With its key. Excellent. It's fabulous.
Where did you get it? Is it something you've bought?
It was. It was at an auction room and I paid the grand sum of £50.
Well, you did fantastically well.
Personally, I think it's probably worth 300-400.
-Yeah, it's fabulous.
-Thank you so much for bringing it.
You know, I've been handling Japanese figures like this
for over 40 years,
and I've never seen this particular model.
I've not seen it illustrated anywhere either.
Where did you get it from?
It belonged to my aunt, who had a guesthouse in Jersey.
She bought it from an elderly lady
who lived on the island of Jersey about 45 years ago.
And that's all I know about it.
Well, how interesting.
And you inherited it? And do you like it?
Yes, very much.
And how do you make it stand?
It's not happy, is it?
It's not very happy at all.
You go round it very gently.
And if you have people in who might be a bit...
-It gets moved.
-I don't even want to try it.
Interestingly, had you shown me just the stand,
I would have known who this was by.
-Yeah. That is a classic bit of gilt,
wood stand by a very well-known maker,
one of the best, called Miya-o.
And it's spelt M-I-Y-A, hyphen O.
And people who don't know read it as "meow."
Cat bronze man.
He was working in Tokyo in the 1880s.
And did some absolutely splendid figures.
Do you know what's going on here?
Well, I was told that he was probably an overseer
for people who were working in paddy fields.
Hence the stilts, so he didn't get his feet wet.
Or didn't get his clothes wet.
Yeah. At least you're not saying, oh, he was a stilt walker.
Was just sort of entertaining people.
I think he's an absolutely fantastic figure.
I mean, just look at the quality of that hair engraving.
It's a knockout.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
So, how much are we going to put on here?
I think he would probably be 1,800-2,500.
Yes. Very nice, thank you very much.
Well, this is one very attractive lady.
And I believe your mother shared my opinion.
She did. It belonged to a friend of hers.
But every time she visited, she absolutely loved this picture.
And eventually her friend agreed to sell it to her.
Did she? Now, don't mind me being a bit cheeky,
but did your mother tell you how much she paid for her?
And this was some years ago?
Yes, I think probably in the '50s.
-So, a lot of money then.
A lot of money in the 1950s.
Was she a big art buyer, your mama?
Not at all. As far as I know,
she never had anything else in our house that was any value at all.
But this, she just fell in love with.
Well, this is a girl who a lot of people fell in love with.
We both know, because it says on the back, Countess Sophie Potocka.
And one person who fell in love with her big time
was a 19-year-old Frederick Chopin.
One tends to think of Chopin and George Sand,
that's the usual lady in his life,
but she was the first. She was a Polish opera singer.
-Oh, was she?
-And so they had their love of music together.
This is a picture on porcelain.
But not just any old porcelain.
This is on Viennese porcelain.
As far as the date's concerned, it's late 19th century.
The quality just shouts at you, it really does.
And not just the quality,
but when you look at the border
and this wonderful and opulent gilding
all against this lovely burgundy ground,
it is a treasure in every sense of the word.
It's not easy to paint on ceramic
because quite often some of those colours don't materialise
until you actually fire the piece.
So, it is a tour de force.
It's not only a tour de force from a painting point of view,
it's a tour de force from a potting point of view.
Because to actually make a flat circular plaque like that,
it really takes some doing.
So, £150 back in the '50s.
You know, a fair chunk of money today.
So, what price a pretty face?
If she turned up at auction...
..the estimate would be between £3,000-4,000.
I'm sure if the Countess was with us today,
she would be delighted to know that everybody still loves her.
When it comes to First World War poets,
arguably the most famous and the most important is Wilfred Owen.
You've brought something in that actually relates to Owen.
Can you just give me a bit of background on it?
When Wilfred Owen came to Dunsden, which is a village close by here,
he came with very high religious ideals
that had been pressed on him, really,
by his mother through their family life,
and through the person that gave him this small book.
And then Wilfred Owen himself came down to this area from Birkenhead.
How long was he in the area here for and what did he do?
Well, he was here for two years.
He was the lay assistant to the vicar of All Saints Church Dunsden,
-the Reverend Wigan.
-So, this book that you've brought in,
was actually given to Owen.
Yes, it was given to Owen by the priest of the church
that he was going to when he was living in Birkenhead.
-And it was given to him on the day that he was going to be...
He was going to take his first communion.
-On his confirmation day?
-Yes, that's what I'm trying to say.
-So that's what it... We have the inscription here
that is to him and we just read...
"Wilfred Owen, from his affectionate old pastor WCF,"
I think it is, "Robson."
-And then February 6th, 1910.
"Confirmation day. And the Lord bless thee and keep thee."
You know, the great irony, of course, of Wilfred Owen's life,
is that he was killed literally one week before Armistice happened.
This is something that really is close to my heart in particular,
that Owen owned this book.
That he touched this book, that he read this book.
It has some value because there's so little Owen material out there,
that we know actually belonged to him or relates directly to him.
So I think that if this came up for auction
it would make, to a collector,
to a museum, even, a First World War museum,
something like the Imperial War Museum would be interested.
I can easily see it making somewhere between £3,000-4,000.
-It's just the fact that Owen owned it.
-Absolutely. It's a wonderful little thing.
Well, it says, Her Majesty's Yacht.
-So how did you come to have a cup off Queen Victoria's yacht?
Well, it was my mother's great uncle
and he was an officer on board the Royal yacht.
And when she went on her last voyage,
she gave each one something personal of hers.
He handed it down to his brother who was my mother's grandfather.
And then to my grandmother.
And then to my mother. And then to me.
And down to you.
So this was made by Copeland for the Royal yacht,
for Queen Victoria, in around about 1890-1900.
So it's well over 100 years old.
-It's been touched by a Queen.
It's your breakfast cup.
-My breakfast cup.
-And it's worth £150.
Well, it's very nice that it's £150.
I think I'll drink some more tea out of it,
and maybe then sell it.
There's nothing more exciting for a specialist
than to be presented with a box
because you never know what's going to be inside it.
-An exquisite clock.
It's a feast for the eyes.
So, tell me about it.
a wedding present to my grandmother in 1904.
From either her cousin or her uncle, I'm not sure...
Those Victorian families were rather like that.
..who lived in Paris.
And I know nothing else about him, except that he lived in Paris,
and he gave her this clock as a wedding present.
Well, I always thought that there was a protocol with weddings,
that nobody should outshine the bride.
She was very beautiful, my grandmother, but...
It's a visual feast.
And it's faded over 100 years.
When this was new, this would have been gilt,
the paste would have glistened.
It would have looked magnificent.
-This is such a typical French clock.
Really top end.
-Made in Paris.
1900. The decoration we're looking at, these really sumptuous colours -
you've got turquoise, blues, lilacs, reds, everything in there -
this is all enamel work and it's called champleve enamel,
which I believe in French is raised field.
-That's right, yes.
-But what they actually do,
is they scoop out the metal.,
so this is all carved out, engraved out...
-Yes, and then it's filled in...
-..with the enamel,
and then it's polished back,
and then it reveals this wonderful colour.
And then they enhance it with this wonderful engraving,
so you might not have noticed but there's even engraving there.
-And then it was fire gilded.
So that would have been a mercury gilding,
it would have been a beautiful rich gold colour.
And the clock itself
is a miniature cartel clock.
You can see you've got the bow here.
That would have been designed
to hang it on the wall. Not only can you hang it on the wall,
because I know it's also got a strut on the back.
-Yes, it has.
-So a lady could have it on her dressing table, as well.
-Well, it's a wonderful clock.
Very, very pretty.
As you can probably tell, I'm rather in love with it.
If it came up for auction,
I would imagine it would come with an estimate of between £700-1,000.
Yes, yes, yes.
That's very interesting. Very interesting.
-That's a pleasure.
Well, this is something I really didn't expect
to see here today in Reading.
A bronze by South Africa's foremost sculptor
from the early 20th century, Anton van Wouw.
What can you tell me about it?
Well, this is a family piece.
I married into a South African family,
and it's been in their family for quite some time,
and now we have it in England.
Of course, Anton van Wouw is predominantly known for
his large municipal works,
for instance, the figure of Kruger which is in Pretoria.
Born in 1862 in Holland.
He then moved to South Africa in the early part of the 20th century.
You know, this is called The Accused. If you look at it,
you can see that this was actually sculpted from life,
which is what he preferred to do, he didn't do it from photograph,
it was all done from life.
And you can see, gosh, he is the accused, standing in the dock.
It's beautifully, beautifully executed,
and beautifully observed, as well.
I think he's very, very moving.
-It's very moving, yes.
-I defy anyone to look at him
-and not feel his sadness.
You know, that is very apparent.
If we look at...
We can see the signature there.
And it's dated 1907.
Which is basically, he was at his height at that time,
even though he didn't actually die until 1942.
These works were mainly, actually, cast in Rome,
cos that's where a lot of the best foundries were, actually,
was in Rome at the time,
and this is one of those such pieces.
The strongest market for these bronzes is in South Africa
but the market is quite volatile. It is very up and down, I have to say.
So, realistically, I would think, certainly in the UK,
you'd be looking at an estimate somewhere in the region, at auction,
We would never sell it. It's a family piece that will stay with us.
Well, that's nice to know. Yeah.
My mother-in-law bought it in the Lanes,
from an antique shop in Brighton in 1973.
And it was rather grubby but she rather liked it
cos she liked primitive pictures.
Now, let's look at it.
It's an incredibly primitively painted
oil on canvas.
And it depicts a scene at the Battle of Waterloo.
Tell me what it's about.
It's a British cavalryman, a dragoon,
fighting two French cuirassiers at the Battle of Waterloo.
Which actually means you can just about time it
-to about 2.30 in the afternoon.
-He's got what is called a sabretache
hanging at his side which shows that
he's a dispatch rider.
And in fact if we look at the writing on the bottom,
it says, "Thomas Abbott attacked by two..."
-What's that word?
"..while riding dispatch.
"18th of June, 1815, at Waterloo."
And here he is, Thomas Abbott,
and here are the two French cuirassiers.
He seems to have wounded one but I wonder if he got away?
He apparently survived the battle and got the Waterloo medal.
-So he's listed as having the Waterloo medal.
Now the interesting thing is,
that you'd have expected this to be painted around that time.
But, in fact, this oil on canvas is a Victorian copy.
This would have been painted in the 1860s.
It has the Highlanders here. Which regiment is that?
42nd of Foot, Black Watch.
Black Watch. There they are, with their tartan.
-And then the French over the other side,
and it also has this poor drummer boy right in the corner.
And by the drummer boy, a burst cannon.
And there seems to be a very, very...
small signature there.
"J Miller pinxit",
which means painted it in Latin.
Well, it's a wonderful picture.
The picture itself...
has a value. Not as much as you'd like to hope, I suppose.
I think, today, it's worth something in the region of £600-800.
That's fine. I'm not going to get rid of it
cos it has too nice a story attached to it.
Harry, you're only 16.
But you've brought along
one of the oldest objects we've seen on the Roadshow for a while.
Certainly of this kind.
And you know quite a lot about it. What can you tell me?
Well, it's a late, mid-to-late 17th century stumpwork box.
Now, tell us about stumpwork.
It's raised embroidery,
which sort of died out into the Victorian era.
We're talking Charles II.
Charles II. And I'm wondering if that's what it depicts.
It's anti-Puritan, you know, with butterflies and these little pearls.
It's sort of celebrating a return to prosperity to Britain, essentially.
Now, where did you come by this, Harry?
This isn't something that's just lying around in your bedroom.
No, this doesn't belong to me, actually.
I'm the tour guide of a historic house
called Milton Manor in Oxfordshire.
-Which is not far from here.
And this is, I think, is one of the jewels of the collection.
Well, we're so glad you brought it along.
It is just exquisite.
-Oh, I think so.
-And it's such a rare survivor of its kind.
John Foster's going to be looking at it.
I've spoken to him already. I know he's hugely excited.
-So, he's your man.
-Great, thank you.
A fabulous piece you've brought us in to look at today.
It looks as if any minute this wonderful eagle on the top
is going to fly away and take everything with her,
so before that happens,
tell me how you came by it.
My grandfather worked in Colebrooks game department.
Colebrooks was a huge butchers in the centre of Reading
and my grandfather was travelling between houses,
buying and selling game
and I think that when he was in the big houses,
he saw things like this and he absolutely loved them.
They weren't very well off.
They lived in Liverpool Road in Reading down by the railway line.
This was broken.
The bird had come off at the ankles
and the elephant heads were all very loose,
so I think that he was able to afford it
and was intending to mend it but never quite did.
-Got round to it.
-I took it to a restorer in Woodley.
He did it all back and he put the bird back on
and it's now sitting in pride of place
on top of an equally fabulous Chinese cabinet
in my front sitting room.
Wonderful. It's, in fact, Japanese.
This is called Shibayama,
and it's a Japanese technique of inlaying and relief decoration
that they've been using to decorate pieces like this
since the 18th century.
You've just got these fabulous panels, of which there are four.
This piece itself is not in fact 18th century.
In fact, this dates from the 19th century and it would date within
the Meiji period, so 1868-1912.
And what we have here is
a koro, or sort of covered urn.
Very much a sort of, you know, Japanese shape.
We have lacquer.
It's on silver, so you've got silver here.
These wonderful elephant heads are silver.
The eagle on top is silver.
If I just take off the cover there, we can see inside, again,
we've got silver both inside and out there.
The one thing you might not have noticed, or maybe you have,
but if we turn it all the way over there, we'll see a signature...
-..on the underside.
We know that that's by an artist called Kuroki,
and he was making this type of Shibayama and lacquerware
in the Meiji period.
Today, in fact, the Japanese market is becoming stronger and stronger
and actually these are the pieces they're going for.
Condition is key and the condition here is very good.
All of that said, I think if this came up for auction today,
it would easily fetch between £3,000-£5,000 at auction.
I just love it.
So, over the years, we've seen on the Roadshow
quite a lot of stumpwork
and needlework, stumpwork being the raised panel sections of this box.
You can date it quite easily to the reign of Charles II,
sort of 1675-ish,
because his image is on top.
Now, how has something like this...
Because usually, when we see it, it's faded, torn.
How has something survived for so long in this condition?
Well, it came from Milton Manor in Oxfordshire
which is where I'm the tour guide,
and the house was unoccupied for about 40 years
and then when the family decided to move back in,
a maid discovered this in one of the old sort of servants' bedrooms
wrapped up in brown paper and a tablecloth.
So she brought it down and said, "Ta-dah!"
-The tablecloth is an interesting thing.
-The white gloves...
Usually I always think people go a bit over the top with white gloves.
With something like this, absolutely.
-It's so important.
-Because the salt from your fingers will rot this.
You know, it should not be touched, basically.
-So for a young chap like you, why have you brought this in?
Look at it, it amazing. I think...
All the visitors that come to the house are fascinated by it.
You know, you have to push them away, you really do.
And it's just beautiful. Every time you look at it,
you notice a different detail.
The quality is incredible,
and that's what's fascinating for everybody that looks at it.
And what research have you done as to what it was for,
-who made it?
we can be fairly confident that it was made by a gentry family
called Calton because it's exactly contemporary
-with the building of Milton Manor.
-So it was...
The house was in the hands of the Calton family for about 100 years
and then my employer's family got it 250 years ago.
-So we think it's stayed with the house its whole life.
That's interesting in itself because with something like this,
you're showing where your allegiances lie.
-You've got the royals on the top there
and when you think of what was going on politically around that period,
you had just the end of Oliver Cromwell,
you had then the return to the monarchy,
from the Commonwealth, of Charles II,
this was saying, "I am for the royals."
And you have the royals there.
Are these the sort of...
I have no idea. Tell me.
Well, that's the thing.
I don't think we'll ever really know,
but why not be the owners of the house?
-They're giving themselves status just below the royals.
But showing they are below the royals.
-Again, it's like a "We're for you."
And then when you spin it round,
it's full of all the symbolism from couples, leopards...
Rebecca, presumably, at the well.
And another sort of well-known biblical story of Abraham and Isaac.
Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac
and was stopped at the last moment by God.
And again, it just sort of shows that allegiance, not only to God,
but to the royal family of the day.
You've got a mixture here of woolwork,
needlework and most stunningly of all, stumpwork.
Which is basically like the raised panels, stuffed panels.
Stuffed with straw and all sorts of bits and pieces in there,
but to give it this 3D image.
And wooden hands.
I know, they're amazing.
-Someone with the intricacy to carve...
-I've never seen it.
-..in such a detailed way.
Pearl, seed pearl details.
Rabbits, butterflies, I mean, you could go on about this endlessly.
Like I say, it's just stunning to see it like this.
Obviously, you know what it's for.
Yes, it's a lady's toilet box.
Exactly. And then when you open it...
All lined. And I know you've got the mirror here.
I've left it out because it was just a little bit delicate in here.
Little scent bottles.
-And then drawered section inside.
And then these, all silver mounted.
-It's just... It's staggering to see.
I mean, this is museum quality at its best.
At auction, easily £50-70,000.
-Oh, my God!
Shame it's not mine.
Er... It is a shame it's not yours.
I can't believe it's travelled down in our car
-and it spent the night in our sitting room.
I've never seen anything like it
and I don't think I will in a long, long time. Thank you.
Well, that was a great moment, wasn't it? What a reaction.
And what a survivor, down through the centuries.
To see something like that here on the Roadshow,
that is a real thrill for us and for John.
And talking of the Roadshow,
this is what it looks like as our day draws to a close.
We're taking the umbrellas down, people have departed,
everyone who has come today has been seen and has gone home
either thrilled, as that chap will, or thinking, well,
maybe we'll just stick it back in the cupboard.
Let it gather dust then.
From the whole team here at Caversham, bye-bye.
Fiona Bruce and the team are in the grounds of BBC Caversham near Reading.
Items featured include a communion book originally owned by the poet Wilfred Owen, an Aston Martin first driven by an RAF group captain in World War II, and a remarkably well preserved, finely embroidered stumpwork box from the 17th century that brings gasps of delight and surprise when its value is announced.