Fiona Bruce and the team return to Audley End in Essex. Items include a giant bronze cockeral and a table that was supposedly used to sign Napoleon's abdication.
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There have been generations of aristocratic families
living in this majestic house since the early 1600s.
It's elegantly formal on the outside and hugely imposing on the inside,
but you might be surprised to learn that in the 1820s
this was a grand playground for eight children
who were allowed to indulge their passion
for painting and toy-making,
creating objects that tell vivid tales of their lives.
Welcome back to the Antiques Roadshow at Audley End
near Saffron Walden in Essex.
The children were the offspring of the third Lord and Lady Braybrooke,
who were considered very liberal parents in their day.
The nursery was the centre of the children's world where they played,
slept, argued and ate, all under the supervision of their governess.
This is a watercolour by one of the girls of the nursery.
And it's a brilliant insight into what life was like then and it looks
just the same now, with the wooden panelling,
over there on either side of the fireplace.
And it's so skilfully done.
And that's because their drawing master was Caleb Robert Stanley,
a well-known watercolourist who was commissioned by Queen Victoria
to paint all of her palaces,
and painting interiors was hugely popular back then.
These watercolours done by other members of the family
are so useful now in showing us what the decor
and furnishings were like back in the 19th century.
In the corner of these pictures is the original doll's house.
It's enormous and with ten rooms fitted out
with pre-Victorian worlds in miniature,
this children's plaything has become an important record
of the house and life back then.
The furniture and the furnishings are made from odds and ends
gathered by the children, so this curtain material here in the nursery
is left over from the 1770s Adam dining parlour,
and then the vibrantly coloured wallpaper in many of the rooms
is Regency and culled from trunks and boxes of the period.
I would have given my eye teeth to have a doll's house like this
when I was a child and I bet our experts would be thrilled by it.
English Heritage now own and cherish this lovely house and grounds.
Over to our specialists examining the treasures brought in
by our visitors for today's Roadshow.
I always say that the finest things come in the best packaging,
particularly in my subject of clocks and watches,
and this is a cracking good box.
Octagonal, tooled leather, don't you think it's rather special?
It looks it to me, yes.
Am I going to be disappointed with what's inside?
I don't think so.
I think it's rather unusual.
Let me be the judge.
Wow. You're not wrong.
That is fantastic.
Have you collected it or is it a family thing?
No, it came from my grandfather, who was a potter,
and he used to buy musical movements for putting in the bottom of jugs,
tankards, and he used to buy quite a few thousand of these movements
from Rouge in Switzerland.
-This was a gift to him from Rouge
as a thank you for all his orders.
That was a lovely gift, wasn't it?
-It was indeed.
-So what sort of date do you reckon this is?
I would think round about the 1920s, early 1920s.
I think you're absolutely right.
I'll slip it out of there.
It's such a beautifully fitted case, absolutely gorgeous.
Collectors are so keen now on things of A, the finest quality, and B,
the finest condition.
And just looking at this,
the enamel on the chaptering
and this lovely powder blue enamel all around
is absolutely mint.
The thing of course is silver and this simulated water,
in other words the mirror,
is rotating within that chaptering and the little fellow,
the little gondolier, is pointing to the time there
-which is just after half past seven.
-Better put that right.
Well, as you say, you have the little key in there
and then we just turn him upside down,
lovely enamel, silver and a full set of Swiss marks here
and of course there we've got the two squares,
one aiguilles for the rotating of the table up there
and that's just to wind the movement,
but what a wonderful thing.
If I was being really picky,
I would say there is a tiny bit of damage to his hand,
which could easily be restored.
Find another one and the answer is, I don't think you would.
I really don't think you would
and when I said it was a generous present when it was new,
it would have been a great deal of money.
It's a pretty good chunk of money today as well.
I hope I'm going to surprise you.
I think if you went to a...
..decent shop, seriously,
you'd be paying £6,000.
-I beg your pardon!
So, here we have a lovely piece of Victorian invention.
Tell me about it.
OK, so this is an ear trumpet which my great-great-grandmother had
and as we understand it, she was almost stone deaf
from quite a young age,
so she carried it everywhere.
And here she is?
Yes, here we see her with her five daughters.
She also had four sons and as you say, holding her ear trumpet.
She was obviously a wealthy lady.
Probably quite reasonably wealthy.
This is outside their house in Gravesend called Dashwood House.
I don't think it exists any more.
They were a family of auctioneers.
Auctioneers! So they were involved in the antiques business.
So, an ear trumpet, one of the great inventions of the Victorians,
who were always inventing these fabulous things
to look after people.
This, we have here,
We can see here the maker is "Rein & Son, patentees,
"inventors and only makers" and then "The Strand, London,"
so a very good piece.
What I love about it is the fact that
it has actually got this lovely grill.
Did you ever think about what this was for?
Well, they say it was to stop flies.
-Somebody said even earwigs.
If you think you were using it...
do we know when she became deaf?
We don't know exactly. There is a story that quite early on
in her marriage, they employed a maid who was cleaning the windows
and fell out and screamed very loudly
and ever since then, Granny Cooper was deaf.
It's a great story.
I'm not sure if that would make somebody deaf.
We also know that if she was going to have an extended conversation
with somebody, she didn't use the ear trumpet,
but she had a yard-long tube
which she offered you and you could speak into the end
of this long tube.
But we don't have the tube any more.
That gave her great control, didn't it?
I think so.
So, it's mid-19th century in date.
It is silver-plated so it's not solid silver, but in value terms,
I would put it at £300 to £400, but as a family,
it's much more important than that.
That's right, exactly.
This type of bench can often be quite a conundrum.
Is it a piece you've had in the family for a long time?
It came out of my parents' Elizabethan manor house
which they inherited in the 1970s,
but we think it was probably in that house from 1920 or maybe before then
because they inherited the furniture with the house.
-The whole thing.
-Lock, stock and barrel?
Exactly. When they moved out about ten years ago, it came to me.
My mother calls it a Suffolk bench, my children call it the ugly bench.
What's your opinion of it?
I really like it but I don't know what all the carving is about.
Isn't it wonderful how furniture becomes part of one's life?
I think that's what is so fascinating about it.
You have pieces you have grown up with
and you become very fond of them
but you don't necessarily know what they are.
-I wouldn't call it a Suffolk bench.
It is what is often called a settle
because you settle down in it
and that idea is a late 17th/early 18th century idea
but what about the carvings?
Are they old, are they Elizabethan?
I don't know, I hoping you will tell us.
So many of these are made up, often they are Victorian pieces,
completely Victorian. The frame of this,
the actual bench is certainly Victorian, late 19th century.
It is a question of looking in detail at some of this carving.
Let's start with this central figure.
He is rather nice with his arms folded.
A pilaster, a flat figure, with this Elizabethan costume.
That is clearly a 16th century piece of carving.
-So, the other two are the same period
and looking in detail at these, they are period Elizabethan carvings,
but they would never have started off,
never ever been used in an oak bench or Settle.
-We can only speculate, really,
as to where these panels would come from.
They might have been from a piece of furniture
but more likely from a panelling, wainscoting around a fireplace,
the centre part of the room where everyone is focusing,
that is where you spend money on a carving.
Is the central bit all one big bit of panelling?
No, it has all been reframed.
They probably have nothing to do with each other
and nobody will be quite sure about that.
-Someone put it together?
Let's think about the value.
-It's only worth in today's market only about £500 to £800.
Very little but if you add up,
you've got three panels there worth probably £200 each,
so you've got £1,000 worth of panelling.
-So, the fear is, if you sold this,
and I know you aren't going to, somebody would break it up...
-That would be such a shame.
-..sell the carvings,
probably put plain panels in and put it back in auction and get £200
-for the rest of it.
-Well, it's staying as it is, that's fine,
So, I've seen a couple of bronzes today
and then you turn up with just the monster of all bronzes.
-Where did you get it from?
-It comes from Belgium.
It was at my aunt's house in Belgium where I spent my junior years.
During the First World War,
he spent the whole war underground and when the second war broke out,
we were in Belgium,
so we dug him in the ground again
underneath a magnolia bush so after five years of war,
we had a bit of trouble finding him because we couldn't quite remember
where the hell we put him.
Obviously to keep it safe.
To keep it safe, otherwise it would be used to make cannon shots
and all that kind of thing.
Just like in this country,
iron railings were all taken away during the war,
weren't they, to be used up?
What do you like about it?
Well, I was born in Tottenham, though my accent
is not English as you can gather.
I am a Spurs supporter, therefore the cockerel is the emblem of Spurs,
and that is why we love him even more.
-As long as we do well at Spurs, that's fine!
It's got the maker's mark there - it's not a maker I have heard of,
but almost certainly Paris school, last quarter of the 19th century.
None of that matters, cos this, to me,
is all about the quality and basically the size of it.
Although at some point it has been buried twice in its life,
the colour is beautiful.
It is exactly how you want to see it, this lovely nutty brown.
It is just such a good-looking piece.
So, whether or not a Spurs supporter would be interested in buying it,
I don't know. I think the market for this would be in France
and at auction, easily £3,000 to £5,000.
Well, that causes a problem because I have two daughters
so what the hell do I do...
-..to divide it up?
-It's not a bad problem to have.
Not a bad problem.
So, all this stuff here is entirely the fault of the Roadshow?
Indirectly, yes. A couple of years ago,
I was watching and there were some waterwork blueprints...
..and I said to Amelia that I would really like to have one of those
on my wall and she said, "Well, if you can find one,
-"you can have one on the wall."
-What generosity of spirit.
-So, you went on the internet,
you tracked something down
that fitted the bill and what did that cost?
£100, actually, including p&p.
What did you buy?
I bought 650.
It was 23 kilos.
-You wanted one drawing?
-One drawing on the wall.
you only had clearance for one drawing on the wall.
You know what you've got, obviously?
This is a mass of working drawings for locomotives
from the famous company, Robert Stephenson & Co.
How on earth does something as important as this
-end up on an internet site?
-I have no idea.
-So, you're just the buyer?
-I'm just the buyer.
They were in somebody's attic, is all I know.
Do you like railways?
-Up to a point?
-Up to a point.
-But not up to 600?
Let's just look back at what they are.
It's the greatest name in British railway history, Robert Stephenson.
he started a company in Newcastle
which was actually to build locomotives.
This was the beginning of the railway age
and so he starts with Locomotion No. 1.
Of course, the most famous name is the Rocket.
It wins the Rainhill Trials, it sets the pattern for locomotive building.
In the 1830s, he is selling locomotives to America,
he is selling locomotives to Egypt.
It is becoming a mega, mega industrial business.
That's the key thing because what we have got here
is a wonderful range of designs for locomotives for various companies.
This is for an Indian company, as you can see.
That is for an Irish company.
This one here is for the Highland Railway in 1917.
So, by mistake, or slightly by mistake,
you have become the keeper of a great chunk
of a very important archive.
There are really two values to this collection.
One is what it represents as a history,
or part of the history of British engineering
in the 19th and early 20th century.
The second value is, of course, what are they worth?
Was your £100 well invested or not?
-What do you think?
-650, that makes them 15p each.
Was that a good buy, do you think?
-I hope so.
-They are going to range from at the bottom,
£10 each to £100 each so,
do the maths. Let's take an average of £50.
-That's a lot.
-500 times £50.
That wasn't bad for a punt!
I'm not sure what I will do with them, really.
-Put them back in the wardrobe.
-Well, yes, sit on them.
Where did you find this?
I found it about six years ago at a London auction house.
Prior to that, it had hung in Lehman's Bank's boardroom in London
and only came out for sale after the failure of the bank
-and came as part of the contents.
-So you bought it at a really good time.
Lehman Brothers had just gone down, the market crashed, money was short.
You've bought a really good image by the great Edward Bawden.
It is a picture of Audley End and of course the tree is pretty much
the main focus of the picture,
-whereas Audley End is a little bit further back.
-Tucked in there.
So, tell me what you paid for it.
A shade over 3,000.
OK, you bought it very well.
I absolutely love this artist's work.
There is something very uplifting and powerful about it but certainly,
£6,000 to £8,000.
-Thank you very much.
-A super picture.
We've got a little group of letter openers and page turners here.
How many of these do you actually have?
Upwards of 600.
You see, I wanted you to share that fact because this is a tiny,
tiny tip of the iceberg of your collection.
Now, what got you interested in the first place?
Well, this was my baby, my first baby.
I am French, my husband is English and we live in England,
so any time we had off work, off we went to France.
After four years of going to Paris,
I thought, "Let's go somewhere else."
We went to Israel.
At long last, we had...
well, a second honeymoon, really.
Fabulous. This was the result?
This was your souvenir.
-My starting point.
Then I bought another one and another one and 600 openers later,
I am still buying.
The thing is, you look so normal!
So, let's talk about actually what a letter opener is,
because actually it's not to open a letter, historically.
Historically, it was to open a letter when a letter was a letter.
Only royalty and the nobility knew how to read and write,
so only they used to write and the letters they wrote were rolled up
in parchment or whatever
and they used a letter opener to break the seal.
They used to have a seal on the letter and that was it.
So, really, what we do is open envelopes, we don't open letters.
Exactly, so these are envelope openers, in fact,
not letter openers.
And then over on the side, we have page turners.
Now, page turners of course were used for exactly that,
to turn the pages of a book,
so that you didn't get your grubby fingers all over the vellum
or the parchment. This is one dating from 1887,
for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee and it's got her picture there.
And I suppose the one that is most mysterious to me is this.
Now, what do you know about this one?
I don't know anything.
I'd like to know why that animal is trying to get hold of that lady.
I don't think it is a lady, actually.
I think it could be a bloke.
-And who do we know that wears skirts in Europe?
Well, apart from the Scots, I don't know.
Ah, yeah, never thought of that.
Was that a light bulb moment?
Because I think that this is made of olive wood.
-It looks to me as if this is a creature
devouring this figure here,
or trying to.
And I'd like to think this is a dragon.
-And I wonder whether it is a Greek representation
of St George and the Dragon.
That would be fabulous.
Let anybody say that we're wrong.
That's my theory, anyway.
It's a lovely piece of naive folk carving
and I think it probably dates
from the 1880s, 1890s.
These are not probably going to be surprising values to you,
but I think that if we look at everything on the table together,
I would have thought we've probably got, doing the mental maths now...
..something around £600 to £700.
Now, I'm not saying that all 600 are going to be worth...
But, you know, the thing is it is a fascinating area of collecting.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
It would appear to be
a sort of late Regency tip-up table, nice mahogany top.
Lovely mahogany top, actually.
Have you always had it?
-Or did you buy it?
-We bought it at auction in 2002.
And I thought, "Wow, it is just a beautiful table."
-It is so simple.
-It looks like it's all been nicely cleaned
-Yes, when we bought it, it was very scruffy.
-And we got a great friend who is an expert restorer
-who did it for us.
-Where does it sit in the house?
It sits in a beautiful beamed sitting room.
We have a bed-and-breakfast now,
but it is just an occasional table.
We have sometimes allowed people to have breakfast on it,
but it is protected by a glass top.
-We had a glass top made for it.
But when you opened it up and you saw that, what did you think?
My heart skipped a beat.
Well, you would think it would, wouldn't you?
I'm not going to embarrass myself
with my schoolboy French.
My French is awful, I'm afraid.
But it does say, basically, it says, "On 5th April 1840,
"Napoleon Bonaparte signed his abdication on this table
"in the King's study, basically, in Chateau Fontainebleau."
And you think, "Wow, that's quite something, isn't it?"
-But, and I suppose this is really where
you've got to question the whole thing -
is it likely that Napoleon would be signing his abdication
on an English table?
I mean, if it was his later abdication,
when the English had beaten him, as it were,
they might have been nasty to him and said,
"Now you've got to sign it on an English table."
But I think it's very unlikely that in the Chateau Fontainebleau in 1814
that they would have furnished it with English furniture.
After all, they were never great mates.
And so I think it's very unlikely
that this was from that event.
So what's going on?
I just think it's most likely that the plaque
has come off something else, or somebody has wanted to create this.
So, I think we've probably got
a perfectly genuine little brass plaque on a perfectly genuine table,
but they don't go together.
They don't match, yes.
So you can still give breakfast in your B&B on this table
and it would be slightly economical with the truth
by suggesting that they're having breakfast
at the table Napoleon abdicated.
So I suppose we have to come to value.
Had it been the table, then we would probably have to get you a chair
to sit on because it would be a lot of money.
But I think now...
..it's a very nice thing.
And it might be worth £1,000, £1,500, that sort of level.
-But what a great story.
I love furniture with stories.
And I'm sorry to have to debunk it.
But that's an interesting, different slant that we hadn't thought of.
-So thank you for that.
What I absolutely love about jewellery
is that I'm always surprised.
There's always something that comes and shouts out at me and I'm going,
"Whoa, this is amazing."
And this is exactly what happened today.
What are you thinking when I'm saying that?
I'm just surprised, really.
-Why are you surprised?
-Well, I mean,
it's been in the family quite a long time,
on my father's side.
He gave it to my mother.
I don't remember her wearing it very much.
Before she died, she decided to split her jewellery into two
and give it to my sister and me. I haven't worn it very often.
I'm sort of getting the feeling that you're not so enamoured by it.
I think it's very beautiful.
It's just I don't have many occasions
when I can actually wear it.
This is absolutely fabulous.
This is luxury at its height,
in terms of the craftsmanship.
You can see through the sunlight here the piercing of the platinum.
This is platinum, it's diamonds.
The beautiful articulation of this brooch is quite superb.
And what is amazing - I can turn it around the other way...
..and it still looks superb.
That is craftsmanship at its best.
This would all have been hand-done.
And platinum was very new to this period, 1900.
It came in a French box, a retailer in Rue de la Paix.
It's not signed.
I can't find any signatures on it.
But because it has come in that box,
I would imagine that it was made in Paris in the 1900s.
And you've got this echoing of the sort of crescent moon here too,
which was a very used motif at the time.
This is the Belle Epoque style.
In England, it was the garland style
and in France in 1900, we call it the Belle Epoque.
I mean, it is just to die for.
Absolutely to die for.
I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to see something like this.
In the right auction house, this,
I would imagine at auction would get about £10,000.
I need to wear it more often.
What we've got here from a design perspective
is a design solution to that age-old problem of what you do
to keep your tea hot when it's in the pot.
But before we begin, before I talk more about it,
I'd just like to say something about this trolley.
This tea trolley, which my grandmother had a very similar one.
So, all of a sudden, it's 40 years ago, I'm back in the dining room,
and I'm admiring the silver plate tea set you sit on the top.
So I've got to ask you, do you use them?
Very occasionally. We are rather tea-bag-in-mug people.
I think most people are.
But if we've had friends round, perhaps having an afternoon tea,
something like that, then I will get them out
and we use them and they do really work.
So, how it works - we've got this outer casing, this shell of chrome,
which is held down, held in place by a catch.
Lift the outer cover and inside we've got this inner felt lining.
It's that that insulates it and keeps the liquid warm.
So you pour in with the kettle, hot water goes in, replace the lid,
so that's how they work.
Date-wise, we're talking mid-1930s to late 1950s.
They were a very popular design.
This design here was the most popular.
And it was called the Heatmaster.
Made in the Staffordshire potteries for about 20 years, up until
the late 1950s. There were other names that applied to this design.
Staywarm, Everhot, all these sort of very 1930s buzzy names,
that describe what they do.
Just to give you a kind of general idea.
I mean, something like this, nice design with the ripple effect,
that's going to be about,
sort of, £40, £50.
And we're talking shop prices here, in a retro shop.
In a vintage shop. The egg cup, we're talking
perhaps £10, £15.
And the trolley,
probably £40-£50. But lovely things.
Really lovely things. And they mean a great deal to you.
Yes. They do. Thank you very much.
This oil painting and these two prints depict a particularly large
gentleman. He seems to be quite a character.
Where did you first come across him?
I came across him in Maldon in Essex,
it's the town that I live in,
and he was a grocer there in the 1740s.
And became famous for becoming known as the Fat Man of Maldon.
Right. So this is Edward Bright?
It is Edward Bright, yes.
I mean, he was the fattest man in England, wasn't he?
He died in 1750, weighing 44 stones.
-He came to Maldon when he was 12 and a half,
-and he already weighed 10st 4lb.
-And he was apprenticed to a grocer in Maldon.
By the time he finished his apprenticeship, aged 19,
he weighed 24st.
He then opened his own grocer shop.
He actually fathered six children.
That's unbelievable in itself, isn't it?
It's amazing, yes.
So you've become a kind of obsessive researcher
since you found the painting.
I have done lots of research,
I actually now do give talks about him
because a lot of the local people have been so fascinated by him
and his whole story.
Looking at this oil painting, where did it come from?
The oil painting itself, I bought at an auction.
And I understand that before that,
it had been from the estate of Frederick Fox,
who was milliner to the Queen.
And how have you found these two great prints?
The one at the top, of him sitting in the chair,
-belongs to the Bright family.
And I've been allowed to borrow it from Bill Bright.
He is a five times great-grandson of Edward.
I love this print down here.
It says, "The surprising bet decided."
Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
This waistcoat had been sent to his tailor to be enlarged just before
his death. And after Edward died,
a lot of the locals got together and had this wager that, first of all,
if five men resident in Maldon could fit into the waistcoat.
In fact, seven did.
Goodness! There is a fantastic history about this, isn't there?
And what do you think about the painting?
Do you think it's a, kind of, an original?
Have you questioned who it's by?
When I bought it at auction, it was sold as being "after Ogborne."
Now, David Ogborne was a painter from Chelmsford.
And research has proved that he did paint a picture of Edward Bright.
And I... Really, the question I'd like to ask is,
is this by David Ogborne?
Are we ever going to be able to prove it?
Or is it just a copy?
The painting, I believe,
is a provincial artist copying the print after David Ogborne.
And you'll see, there are differences.
On the print, you've got two buttons that have sort of opened up through
his weight. And on the painting, there's three.
And his belly is kind of pushing his jacket open.
But there's a provincial feel about the painting.
I still think it's contemporary,
I still think it's an 18th-century painting,
but because of his popularity and because he was so famous,
the Ogborne print would have been copied a great deal.
It would have been a fun thing to do.
So the oil painting, as much as it is a copy,
it's a really fabulous provincial copy and it's certainly worth
I have to ask the question,
what did you pay for the oil painting a few years ago?
-I paid, I think, with VAT and the premium...
..it totalled about £470.
Oh, well, you've done very well.
Which was below the estimate.
You've done very, very well.
And I think certainly from my point of view,
I'm on salads for the next month.
Chinese monochromes really are quite fabulous, I think.
They have this amazing, timeless nature to them.
-Do you know how old these are?
The best guess we've had is 19th century.
Best guess is 19th century? What about you?
-What do you think?
So you all think they're old? Amazing.
Cos they look so amazingly modern.
They're called monochromes because they're all one colour.
But two of these are porcelain, this one and this one.
And these other three are more unusual cos they're made in glass.
They really are lovely. I want to know how you got them.
My grandfather bought them.
He was Australian.
He was Agent-General for Queensland and he lived in London, but
he travelled backwards and forwards and he seemed to, on the way,
he acquired quite a few really nice antiques,
and especially quite a few Chinese things.
The two porcelain vases here are not marked,
but the three glass vases, if you turn them upside down,
they all have a four-character mark of the Emperor Qian Long.
HE READS MARK
..which means, "Made in the reign of Qian Long."
He reigned from 1736 to 1795.
So somewhat older than we thought.
Yeah. They're 250 years old.
And that's this, this and this.
-And all three.
-And all three of them.
And what's so nice is this little stand here
and this little stand here,
whether they were exactly contemporary with the vases,
they are 18th century stands,
and that's really nice to see that with them.
The vases here,
they haven't got imperial marks, they're not imperial porcelains.
They're very nice things, and again,
this one dates from the beginning of the 18th century,
-and so does this one.
So they're the best part of 300 years old.
-300 years old, goodness.
-And these, again, look so amazingly modern.
I love Chinese monochromes.
I have one or two at home.
But sadly, mine are all cracked.
When it comes to the value of these pieces,
they are quite tricky. Have you had any ideas before?
No. We tried to get them valued by local valuers, and they didn't know
and said they were going to go away and research it,
but they didn't seem to be able to find anything out.
Well, they are quite unusual pieces.
A little vase like this did come up for sale two years ago
from the ET Chow collection, and that made a fair sum.
So, to have a stab at all five of them,
I'm going to try and do this quite quickly.
-Are you paying attention?
I'm definitely paying attention.
Qian Long-marked imperial glass vase with a stand,
These are the works of art the Chinese really want to own.
These were made by imperial command.
You are a very lucky girl.
Well, my sisters and I, my cousins...
Don't tell them.
Don't tell them.
Now, we were talking down here in reception,
but I brought you up here because I think this story needs telling
away from the hullabaloo of the Roadshow.
How did you come by these?
My mum was a cleaner in the ministries in Whitehall
in the early '80s,
notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
She noticed these from the basement.
They were being practically thrown out.
She was outraged, so she reported it to a senior civil servant,
but he said, "Would you like to take those home to keep them safe?"
And we've had them ever since.
And what do you know about him? Who is this?
Hedley Nevile Fowler. Squadron Leader Hedley Nevile Fowler.
And this is him
as a young boy. Such a charming photograph.
-And this is a painting of him.
What a handsome devil he was.
He was indeed, wasn't he?
And what happened to him? What do you know about him?
Well, we know he was born in London in 1916,
schooled at Rugby,
then we think the family relocated to Australia.
He joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1936,
came back to England in '37 attached to the RAF,
and at the outbreak of war, he was sent to France.
We know he was then shot down in May of 1940, and taken into captivity.
He was held in three different camps.
Finally, at Colditz Castle.
Colditz, that is a name to chill the heart, isn't it?
It is indeed. But he actually successfully escaped from Colditz.
-How did he do that?
-He, with two Dutchmen,
they had the uniforms of Polish engineers.
And fake papers.
And they literally, during the roll call of work, walked through the
length of the castle, and walked out of the place.
-And he just walked out of there?
-He literally walked out.
They were nearly thwarted. They got to the very last gate,
and the counterfeit key they had wouldn't fit.
They were stood there wondering what to do, whether the game was up,
and in fact a sentry turned up and apologised and let them through.
-A German sentry.
-A German sentry.
-Let them out.
-Let them through.
And what happened to him then?
He was posted to the Armament Squadron,
near Boscombe Down, which was basically as a test pilot.
And in March of '44,
he had an accident and fell out of the sky
and was killed.
What a story!
-So this is this man's story...
-..and your mum found all this stuff, just being chucked out.
And how can we help you here today?
Why have you brought this all to us?
I thought to myself, it's not right that this fellow's forgotten,
or I have it, so I really wanted to put it out there,
in case someone knows Hedley Fowler, or is related to Hedley Fowler,
and I'd quite gladly give it over.
It's possible someone might be watching, and if they are, and
they are related to him, you'd like to give this back to them?
Absolutely. I certainly would.
I would love that to happen.
-Well, I hope it does.
-So do I.
If you know of, or are related to, the family of
Squadron leader Hedley Fowler, we'd love to hear from you.
So often on the Antiques Roadshow,
we're thinking about things that are historic and heroic,
but sometimes it kind of takes a turn for the dark, doesn't it?
-Tell us what you've brought.
Well, my great-great-grandfather worked at Broadmoor Hospital
from 1873 to 1912 and he was chief attendant,
so we've brought photographs
and a book that he wrote about the patients, and about staff.
And this is him, standing on the right.
So we have here a photograph of the relatively new
Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.
-But we should think about what it was really for.
-I mean, it was for the criminally insane.
Mostly murderers, attempted murderers, arsonists, that kind of thing.
So it's serious, serious crime, just as it is today.
Now, this looks like a photograph of a brass band.
This is really not what you expect from a lunatic asylum.
-What's going on here?
Well, they always had patients actually playing in the band,
up to about 20 at a time.
My great-great-grandfather was the leader of the band.
That's him, Charles Bishop Coleman, there.
This is Jack the Ripper suspect James Kelly, and right next to him is Essex
criminal George Stratton.
It's a pretty amazing form of occupational therapy, isn't it?
It is! George Stratton helped James Kelly escape from Broadmoor.
He later committed a terrible crime against one of the attendants, and
it meant that he ended his days at Broadmoor.
James Kelly came back 38 years later.
He just walked up to the gate and asked to be readmitted, and they
-It's so good that he wanted to come back!
He felt the King owed him his living to his death, and that's exactly what
Well, I think it's just incredibly rare to get this sort of inside view
of what life was like inside Broadmoor...
-..to have your ancestor's diary recording people coming in...
-Tragic stories, really.
-Yes, they are.
Are there any stories that you find sort of particularly moving in here?
Well, obviously, the escape of James Kelly is particularly interesting.
There's an awful lot of sad stories in there but there are some amusing
ones. There is another one where some patients are actually warbling
away in the middle of the night
on one of the wards, and they have to be separated because, actually,
it causes a disturbance.
I like the idea of noisy neighbours when you're trying to sleep.
Yes, exactly. There's a great story, I think,
in here about finding a little cache of sheets that had been stashed away
so that somebody could sneak back and turn them into an escape rope.
Absolutely. Yes, yes.
And I think they hid some clothing as well, because they knew of course
that their uniform would be very noticeable outside of Broadmoor's walls.
It's a sort of reminder that there's a kind of black humour in
this quite tragic situation.
There's quite a bit of gallows humour in that book!
-The commercial value is almost irrelevant.
It's got such an important window into social history.
We won't part with it, but it's knowing how to look after it all, really,
so that we, you know, have it for future generations.
So, my grandmother saved it all for me.
So I'm very fortunate to have seen it all, really.
-Well, thank you so much for bringing it.
Over the years, I've done some recordings with a number of objects in them,
but I don't think I've ever done one with quite so many of more or less
the same object. What an extraordinary collection.
How on earth did you come by all these posters?
My wife and I, we own a shop in Burnham-on-Crouch.
Last year, we purchased the building next door and we knew there was a
doorway between, an old boarded-up doorway between the two shops.
When we took the boarding down there were all these...
-Have you got a picture of the shop?
-Yes, this is the shop.
That's our original shop, here, and we bought the building next door.
And there was a concealed doorway between the two.
And this was just insulation, or packing, or...?
It was just rolled up, scrunched up, wedged between two lots of wall.
-How many are there, do you think?
-In total, there's just over 100.
Some are in fair condition. Some are in atrocious condition.
Well, I mean, it doesn't take a genius to work out quite what's going on here.
We have Wednesday August 5th 1914.
It doesn't say '14, but it is '14. "Britain and Germany at war."
It was declared on the 4th, and so, the next day,
this is the terrible news.
And this must have been a day or two before, "Our ultimatum to Germany."
And very quickly, the war escalates.
-And here we are, Friday August 7th,
so probably the day before, when it happened, "British cruiser sunk,
"131 lost, official."
There were casualties straightaway
and it was a naval war to start with.
And so, you know, this is telling us the history of the First World War,
the early weeks of the First World War, in all these newspaper posters.
There are stories of spies being shot, Germans being rounded up as spies.
Obviously, if you were a German in the UK, you were suspicious.
But it happened the other way round, because there's another
lovely one which says, "British tourists held as hostages."
-That's right, yes.
-Well, you know,
they were going to be putting up with sauerkraut and wieners for...
That's a bad holiday experience, that one!
It's an incredibly atmospheric collection, really, isn't it?
It is. I mean, when I discovered them and started pulling the panelling
off, the stench in the air...
..of the stale air was quite overwhelming.
And the hairs on my arms started to prickle when I realised what it was.
So what on earth are they worth?
And this is the big question, isn't it?
If, archaeologically, you go to the bottom bag in your suitcase,
it's a bin bag full of, basically, confetti there, shredded.
So they're not worth very much. So then the second bag is sort of
And if each of those is worth £10...
-Well, that's £300 to £400 there.
-In that bag.
And then the top bag are in, by and large, pretty nice condition.
It's a little bit torn but it's a great one.
These ones would be worth perhaps £20 or £30 each.
I'm not great at maths but, having added all those various bags up,
you've got about £1,000 worth in all.
For newspaper wrappings.
-Expensive fish and chips!
Yes, very expensive and historic fish and chips.
You'd think, looking at these, that we were in 18th-century Italy.
They're warm. They're luminous.
They're absolutely beautiful little pictures.
But, actually, we're in Ireland, aren't we?
-He's known as the Irish Claude.
-And his name was...?
James A O'Connor.
That's right. And actually, there's a date on one of them, 1839.
They're very late, because he died only two years later.
-But I just thought they were completely lovely.
The light in these is almost magical.
-It is, isn't it?
-It's certainly meant to be a divine light.
I'm not quite sure which god, but the point is,
there is a very mysterious and mystical light in these pictures, and that's
what does it for me. They're incredibly romantic.
Is that what you saw in them when you first bought them?
It was probably the romance of them that attracted me to them.
I bought them initially because I liked them.
I thought they were very suitable for where we were living and they were
the kind of pictures that you can hang anywhere in the house.
Well, aren't they? And it's a lovely little pair.
Impossible to understand how he's painted them, they're so clever.
And the luminosity of the light under the trees...
-..and the sunset in the distance and the silvery light in this one,
which actually is rather Irish, isn't it, that one?
-It is, isn't it? Yes.
-Anyway, lovely, lovely things.
I don't think I've seen such pretty little pictures all day.
Anyway, what are we going to put on them?
What did you pay for them?
Well, I think they're worth about £2,000 to £3,000 now for the pair.
He's a handsome brute, isn't he? Where did you get it from?
It belongs to my sister. It was left to her by her deceased husband.
It's been stored away for quite some time.
I don't really know much about the piece.
-It was bought at an auction quite a few years ago.
-And you don't know how much was paid for it?
-Well, I've seen a lot of silver knights of this type.
I've never, ever seen one as large as this.
Normally, they're half the size.
This is a German one.
-But I think it's a post-war copy of an earlier one.
-But it's still fantastically well made, and let's just have a look,
and it has this splendid sword that actually comes out of the scabbard.
And it's beautifully made.
I mean, that's a really terrific blade and of some length.
It's really a fabulous thing.
The attention to detail is wonderful.
We've got this swinging ball and chain, which just gives me the shivers,
looking at it. Let's have a look at it in a bit more detail, because it's got
this bone carved face here with this fantastic eagle on top,
the suit of armour, beautifully done.
A lot of the smaller ones were made by a firm called Neresheimer in East Germany.
This one is made somewhere else.
The marks don't tell me where, but I love it, actually.
I don't normally like these things, but this one is so beautifully made.
Things like this, even though it's a copy, are quite collected.
I think, you know, one of this size... As I say,
I have never seen one before,
so I think it's got to be worth somewhere between £3,000 and £4,000.
-Happy with that?
-I hope your sister is.
-Otherwise she might use that on you!
So on this glorious summer's day, you've brought me a Christmas card.
Why do you have this Christmas card? What's so interesting about it?
Well, it's from 1950,
Christmas 1950, and my parents had a number of these printed to send to
family and friends, and inside there's an insert...
..with Churchill's speeches. It was soon after the war, of course.
My dad was in the RAF for six years, and he was quite a fan of Churchill...
-..and he decided this was a nice thing to do, presumably, and sent
these out to family and friends.
But he sent one to Churchill himself and he had a reply,
a handwritten reply from the House of Commons, from Churchill.
Churchill was very good at replying,
often done by a secretary and often done with a sort of standard reply
that was often with a printed signature, but I'm pretty confident
that what you've got here is a handwritten letter from Churchill.
It's not always easy to tell, but because it's such a...
-a sort of one-off thing...
-..I'm pretty sure that it's right.
-So, "Thank you so much for your Christmas greetings which have given me
"much pleasure," and then signed Winston S Churchill...
..and dated, obviously, December 1950.
So despite the fact that, you know, they're quite...
Churchill items are quite common...
..I've never seen one of these before.
-And I doubt that most Churchill collectors have seen this before.
It's in nice condition, it's, you know, as it was.
-So, you've got two of them.
-Two cards, yes.
And the other one's in good condition, as well?
-Well, I reckon that the card itself, to a Churchill collector...
I can see them paying somewhere between £100 and £200 for it.
But with the letter, with the accompanying letter,
I think you could be looking at £500, £600, £700...
-..for that. So, you know, you may add it all up, you've got,
you know, another letter, another card back at home.
-You might be getting close to four figures.
But it's a really nice, unusual piece of Churchilliana.
-Yes! Thank you very much.
I have seen a lot of diamonds, but for me to look twice at a diamond,
I have to instantly fall in love with it, and I fell in love with this.
But before I tell you why I fell in love with it,
I want to hear your story. How did you get this?
Well, it belonged to my husband's grandmother.
She was the eldest of three sisters and, as I understand it,
each sister received one on her 21st birthday. So, they were born round about
the turn of the century, so about 1920s.
And whereabouts were they? They were...?
Primarily in India, with the British Army.
-Do you know whereabouts in India?
-I'm sorry, I don't.
I'm guessing sort of Shimla and that area, but I don't
-Well, you have mentioned a magic word there, "India".
And, of course, before 1726, all diamonds in the world came from India...
And there were alluvial...
alluvial deposits there, so there was no digging, and it was in the
Hyderabad mines in Golconda.
There is something particularly wonderful about a Golconda stone, and, in
fact, we now know that it's because it is with no nitrogen in the carbon.
That makes it the purest form of diamonds that you can have.
And when I'm looking at a stone... You've heard of the four Cs, the cut,
the clarity, the colour and the carat weight.
Well, for me,
there's a fifth C that is equally important, and that's character.
-And for stones to have character today, it's actually a rarity.
And why this, for me,
is making me fall in love with it is because of the way it has been cut.
It has been cut completely by hand.
On this perfect summer's day, look, if I just move it,
you can just see the fantastic sparkle that it's creating, and that has
been created by this wonderful craftsman who's cut this diamond
back in 1890.
Nowadays, you still do have it cut by man and by the hand, but the
technology is so advanced,
there's so many instruments now and machinery that is now cutting stones,
and so they have become quite uniformed, whereas this, you can see the art
of the craftsman. We call them cushion cuts,
old-cut diamonds, but they're going to get rarer.
And it's in this wonderful platinum mount.
Do you enjoy wearing it?
I do wear it occasionally but not too often in case something
happens to it.
Well, you know, I think it's just an absolute stunning stone,
I really, really love it.
-And I wish you very well to wear it.
Do you have an idea of the value at all?
I think once it was suggested that it was sort of 1,000, 1,500.
Are you ready for this?
Should I sit down?
I mean, you know, I haven't taken it out of the mount, and one would need
to do more analysis of it for the cut and the clarity and the carat weight,
but I would say, at auction,
you would be looking in the region of around about
Wow! Thank you!
He'll be very pleased when I get home.
Thank you very much.
And that's what we love to celebrate here on the Antiques Roadshow,
exquisite craftsmanship. It's a dying art.
And you could tell that Joey fell in love with that diamond, and who can
blame her? From all the Roadshow team here at Audley End,
until next time, bye-bye.
A return visit to Audley End in Essex sees Fiona Bruce and the team of experts meeting thousands of visitors who are bringing family treasures for appraisal. Amongst objects brought to camera are a table that was supposedly used to sign Napoleon's abdication and a giant bronze cockerel buried in both world wars to avoid being melted down for ammunition.
And there is a cautionary tale when a man brings in 650 design diagrams after bidding for just one following an interest prompted by watching Antiques Roadshow.