Fiona Bruce and the team head to Cheshire for a day of valuations at Arley Hall and Gardens. The experts examine a gold bracelet found mysteriously hidden behind a wall.
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Today, we're at Arley Hall and Gardens in Cheshire,
home to the Warburton family and its descendants since the 15th century.
On the Antiques Roadshow, we're often surprised by the drama
and intrigue revealed by the objects
brought along by our visitors,
but today, I've uncovered one of my own,
because buried within the walls of this estate was found
a love token with a tragic tale.
The token belonged to Rowland Egerton-Warburton,
who inherited this grand home in 1831.
In fact, the house as we see it today is mainly down to Rowland,
and his new wife Mary.
They rebuilt the house,
bringing back the grandeur of Elizabethan style.
Rowland was also a poet,
and among his published works are love poems to his wife.
"If there wouldst a form behold, cast in beauty's rarest mould,
"every virtue there enshrined, which a husband's heart combined,
"seek that form where Mary's bower midway lies, within this tower."
Rowland and Mary were so happy together,
and they spent their years here redesigning the house and garden,
and then, as their 50th wedding anniversary approached,
Rowland commissioned a special bracelet for his wife.
Look at that.
That is a serious piece of gold.
Sadly, Mary only had a brief time to enjoy her gold bracelet.
She passed away just a fortnight
after their golden wedding anniversary
and the bracelet was forgotten about for more than 70 years.
It wasn't until the 1950s that the then lady of the house,
Elizabeth Viscountess Ashbrook
was stripping back some of the panelling on the walls
when she discovered a secret compartment
and, hidden within it, the bracelet.
It must've been quite a surprise.
One can only assume that Rowland, heartbroken,
decided to take the bracelet
and bury it within the walls of his house.
So we have a story of lost love and a remarkable find,
all locked up in one beautiful bracelet.
I wonder what other secrets we'll uncover
on this week's Antiques Roadshow,
which is under way in the grounds and magnificent gardens
surrounding the house.
So, this fine thoroughbred bronze
looks perfectly at home in this setting.
How did it come into your life?
From my grandfather,
who I think must have bought it between the wars sometime,
when he went to house sales
and collected quite a few interesting items.
I remember it as a child, and always loved it because it's a horse.
And then when he died in the early 1960s,
I acquired it as a memory of him.
I remember sitting and talking about it, looking at it with him,
looking at the detail of it.
And you can tell that it's been sculpted by someone very good.
I mean, he comes from Vienna,
and was sculpted by somebody called Franz Bergmann.
He was working around the turn of the century, so around 1900,
-into the 20th century.
And this was one of the things he was absolutely known for,
were these marvellous, marvellous horses.
It looks so alive,
it looks as though it could just walk off there and whinny at you!
All the details are so accurate, it's a real horse.
-It is. Just all the sinews and everything about him...
..is just marvellous.
This is a particularly fine example.
It's highly desirable,
it's desirable for people that collect Austrian bronzes.
It's also desirable for people who are interested in racehorses.
-And you've even got the original box.
-I have, yes.
Which I've never seen before.
A lot of these bronzes have gone down in value, recently,
but interestingly, not so the horses.
-So, I would value this...
..at probably £3-5,000.
Oh, right! Well, that's more than I was expecting, yes.
Very nice, thank you.
Well, there are people watching this programme at this moment in time,
looking at these two pots thinking, "I've got one of those,
"I'm sure I've got one of those".
And you've been looking at
-a similar pot on a previous programme.
-That's right, yeah.
-And you were thinking the same thing?
-Yeah, I saw something similar
a couple of episodes ago,
somebody popped up with a Chinese brush pot
and that intrigued me to bring mine along,
because they weren't dissimilar,
and I thought there might be some value there.
Are we looking at an inheritance, or what?
No, I bought these at an auction, not too far from here,
in Northwich about 25 years ago.
OK. So, this design.
First of all, what I like about it
is that the carving is quite shallow.
-Which is nice.
You've got this chap here.
There's his horse...
and there he is with his bow and his arrow.
And if we look at the top of here,
we can see there's a little cartouche with a goose in it.
And that's basically what he's aiming at.
-I love that little waterfall.
Now, with the other one, we've got this...
What appears to be a Daoist immortal.
He's one of the sort of eight gods of happiness
and he's carrying various baskets.
There is a little bit of symbolism in here.
You've got what appear to be lingzhi fungus sticking out,
which is a symbol of long life.
They've had interesting lives, these two pots,
because they would have stood on a Chinese scholar's table.
So they would take brushes, that's why they were called brush pots.
This one nearly didn't make it through to the 21st-century,
because as you can see, it's scorched.
I can't help but think that this chap got a bit sleepy
and let a candle get too close to it,
which hasn't done it any real favours,
you know, cos...
collectors are looking for perfection.
So, what date?
Well, I'm tempted to think they're 1690
to maybe 1750.
-And when it comes to value,
it's a little bit of a gut reaction.
So I'm going to tell you what I think, and afterwards,
you're going to tell me what you paid for them.
-Don't tell me now.
So, the good one, £3,000.
I think this one may be £1,000, because of the damage.
-That's what I think.
Would you like to tell me what you paid for them?
I paid £3 a pot.
-Not a bad return!
-That's pretty good.
-£3 a pot.
-Yes, £6 as a pair.
-25 years ago.
Take into account inflation, I've done quite well on them.
I think you've done very well!
But we're in Cheshire and money comes to money!
That's very true.
Well, now, this picture is signed
by an artist called Kurt Schwitters,
and it's dated 1942.
Do you know about him at all?
Only what we've researched on the internet.
So you'll know he was an early
-Dadaist in Germany.
And I love the origin of the word Dada.
Did you know they looked through
a French dictionary,
and just put a pin down where haphazardly it fell.
And it was on the word Dada. It means hobbyhorse in French.
It means nothing, in other words. It's all about chance.
-And this is what Schwitters liked.
He liked chance.
The whole idea of machines was the other thing he liked.
He thought that the spirit of man had somehow entered machinery,
so the machine age was important to him.
Chance, dreams, all these things coming together in a picture.
That meant that he liked collage.
He'd pick up bus tickets, he'd pick up bits of ephemera
and stick them on and then paint around them
and then draw around them
and made these extraordinary objects
that are almost more sculpture than painting.
Fleeing the Nazis, he came to England and was interned
in the Isle of Man, went to live in Ambleside thereafter.
-So this is a wartime picture.
What's its provenance?
Well, my husband, who's American,
bought a house in San Francisco in the '80s
and it belonged to an Italian lady.
And when she died, her family just wanted to sell everything.
So it had been there for a long time.
Well, I'm not quite sure how long it had been there.
There was a sticker on the back that said it had been shown in '79
in a gallery in Germany.
-But when someone tried to research it for us,
they could find no trace of it,
and said it might just have been
a small gallery that's no longer there.
So not quite sure how long it was there.
Well, they do turn up on the market, occasionally,
but the problem is, so do a huge amount of fakes.
-And, I'm afraid...
-It's a fake?
-I think so.
I'm sorry to say.
I think there was...
Some people said the K wasn't right on it.
Yeah, you can look at the signature,
but the signature's the easiest thing to fake.
I think really, looking at the picture,
what's harder to fake is just the sheer sort of built-up nature
of a genuine Kurt Schwitters.
-It's just a bit too careful, somehow, for him.
Were that original, thousands and thousands of pounds, of course.
-But it isn't, and instead,
you're looking at about 20 quid on a good day,
-with the wind behind it!
Now, you are Lord and Lady Ashbrook,
and this is a piece that was discussed
at the introduction with Fiona.
It's a box, and within the box,
it contains a piece of jewellery,
-That's right, it does.
Tell me a bit more about it.
It's a bracelet which was given by
who was called Rowland Egerton-Warburton,
he gave it to his wife Mary on the occasion of their golden wedding
So there we are. 50-year span,
very typical Victorian leather box.
What word would we use to describe that? Spectacular?
-Visual, to say the least.
It's discovered in a niche in a wall.
Behind a panel, it was your mother that found it.
My mother found it in the 1950s,
and I think she was fairly amazed.
-Anyone would be, wouldn't they?
-I think so.
Now, such a very personal piece has got a background to it.
A very personal story.
Tell me a bit about it, then.
Well, it was rather poignant
in that they had their golden wedding in that room over there.
And, a fortnight later, she died,
exactly a fortnight later.
So 50 years, big celebration,
two weeks later, she passes away,
which might explain why it became too unbearable to look at it.
Well, that's what we think.
Now, it's this rather beautiful blue velvet lining.
In the lid we see it's by a company called Phillips.
Phillips were one of the top London jewellers, goldsmiths.
So that's a good start, isn't it?
-It is, very good.
-Now, the bracelet itself is a very, very broad,
thick meshwork strap.
-High carat gold.
-Have a look at how very flexible that is.
But that's only one feature, isn't it?
Because there's a far more interesting feature about this.
And for that, I need a good old-fashioned pin.
If I put the pin...
into this little tiny hidden hole
at the front,
the lid flips open,
and there within,
a little rectangular plaque.
Now, if I pop that out, and put the bracelet back in the box,
it's a miniature gold book,
engraved all over the surface with individual pages,
all engraved with names and dates.
For each of the decades up to 1881,
there is a short little synopsis of important events
which had happened in that decade.
For example, their daughter so-and-so was married,
that sort of thing.
All right, well look, let's put the book back in its case.
In its locket. Now,
let's talk a little bit about the potential value for such a piece.
First of all, let's make no bones about it, it is absolutely unique,
this piece. There's a couple of components about it
which do affect the value.
-It's got a monogram on the front,
which limits its appeal purely to within the family.
-But there's another factor.
Bits of the bracelet itself have been cut off to shorten the length.
If I put it back into the box,
you can see quite clearly that it is much shorter.
-That, I'm afraid, does affect the potential value.
If it were not cut up,
it would be worth £10,000.
Because of the fact that it has been cut and shortened,
because of the monogram factor,
£6-8,000 for it.
That's very helpful.
Well, I noticed you in the queue eating a bit of pork pie.
You'd brought your own sandwiches along.
And in the other hand, you were clutching what I recognise
as a bizarre mousetrap.
Where did you get it from?
First thing I can remember of it, my uncle took me into a...
..dark cellar room in his house...
Switched the light on, and then showed me this mousetrap.
Every time I went, he'd get the mousetrap out.
And it's just been...
part of my life!
Well, it's a curiosity,
it has a certain Heath Robinson look about it.
-That's right, yes.
-This particular type has been used
since the medieval period,
and the design is pretty much unchanged.
I reckon your example's
but you know it's had a little bit
of work done in the 19th century,
because it's somehow acquired the handle of a chest of drawers.
And these two little cruciform mounts,
they're almost certainly Victorian.
Someone said to me that it could be a church mouse trap,
because of these... brass pieces here.
God bless them, every one!
But let's have a look.
You get the wooden block, it's made of oak and ash.
There's weight to this block,
they've put sort of metal inserts into it.
There's a little pulley at the top,
connected to a little catch.
And, of course, the crucial thing for the mouse is what's on this,
which is called the bait nibbler.
-So, get a bit of cheese or a bit of peanut butter...
Bit of pork pie!
Bit of pork pie, yeah, we could have primed it!
And, of course, there's almost like a little dished effect,
so before the mouse has chance to make a dash...
..down comes the weight. Shall we give it a go?
Do you want to trigger it off, Alan?
There we are. Yeah!
And it's funny because the weight of this is precisely measured
to kill a mouse, but it's the poshest mousetrap I've ever seen
and I'm so glad you brought it!
I know it's a bit rustic and not everybody likes rodents,
but it's still a couple of hundred pounds' worth.
A time capsule, who doesn't love a time capsule?
The mystery of it all.
And where did you find it?
In the Old Cottage Hospital.
So this has not been opened since 18...
Do you want to pull it out?
I really don't know what this is...
-Look at that!
So it's coins!
I'm looking at the most delightful bronze of a beautiful girl...
So where does it all hang together?
This bronze has always been in my family's living room
on the sideboard.
And as a child, I must be honest, I thought it was a bit rude,
because she's naked.
Was this the conventional thing of children being embarrassed by
-I think so, yes.
No-one else's parents would have
a statue of a naked woman in the living room,
but I must admit, as time went by,
-I realised just how beautiful it actually is.
I was dusting it one day
and I found this signature.
And then I thought, well, perhaps there's a little bit more to it.
And when I spoke to my mother about it,
she said that it was actually given as a prize to my grandmother
for painting. She was an amateur painter, but a rather good one.
OK, so this is one of her works.
This is one of her works.
Well, it's a great painting.
I mean, it's a lovely composition, still life, really good watercolour.
She was obviously very good.
Now, this is your grandmother we're talking about.
-So, I've got photographs here.
-This is her, is it?
-She's got two children.
Do you know the date?
Well, my father was born in 1916
and he looks about one on there.
-He's that one?
So, this is 1916-17, your father is one.
And so she is...in her 20s, I suppose, by then.
Yes, that's Gertrude Dees.
That's Gertrude Dees.
-So, she is the artist of that.
-And, so, the prize comes to her at some point,
-we don't know when.
-We don't know when.
-Let's think about this.
I mean, I think it is the most spectacular thing.
I mean, it's wonderful, it's sensual
and, of course, that takes us into the period when it was made.
You know the artist?
-Well, it's signed on the back.
So, Bertram Mackennal. Now,
he was actually born in Melbourne in Australia in 1863.
-And in fact, he's probably the greatest
Australian sculptor ever,
although much of his work was done in London.
He was one of a generation of sculptors
who was very influenced by people like Rodin,
you know, the way the figure is presented.
The naturalism of the nude comes from French art
and Rodin of that time.
He became very famous.
He did the medal for the 1908 London Olympics.
You know, he was a really big-time, universal name.
And what he was best known for
was a sort of sequence of wonderful nudes.
Often classically inspired.
And this is absolutely classic of him.
-So you're not embarrassed by it any more?
-Oh, no, not at all.
She looks good anywhere!
-Well, that's a good thing to say,
-isn't it? We can't say that about everybody.
-Would you be embarrassed by the price?
even thought about it as being of any value,
because it's always been with us.
Well, if I say 8,000 to 10,000...?
That's a lot.
A lot to have on your sideboard.
-Thank you very much.
-Oh, thank you.
So what sort of clock do you think this is?
Well, we use it as a mantelpiece clock.
It's used every day to tell the time,
but I did wonder whether it was a travelling clock,
because of the fact that
this isn't attached to the base.
And I'm not sure whether the base actually is the same as
-OK, well, you're absolutely right.
It is, basically, a travelling clock.
It's what we call a carriage clock. So that is the bit
that you would take away in your box,
so when you went on any journey, long weekend,
you'd have this and you'd pop it down by your bedside.
And then, of course, this base is 100% right.
It is absolutely lovely.
And it really makes it
from just a fairly, well,
better-than-average clock, to something
-really very, very much nicer.
So, had you had any thoughts on dates?
Well, we were told by the person
that actually cleaned it quite a few
years ago that it was about 1900.
-And we think it's French.
You're absolutely right about the French.
Stylistically, it should
be closer to 1875, 1880.
But I notice that
it has a very high serial number
and the reason I know that is because the serial number
is also on the key and that's a five-figure serial number.
-Can I just
whizz that round? And we will just see that that
number is exactly the same as that number there.
Now, I think there is every
probability this clock was made by a factory
I can't see their stamp, but I just
think that that is the sort of quality they
would have produced.
You probably also know,
-but never used, the alarm.
-Never tried that?
-No. Which is the alarm?
-This little disc down here.
Yeah, I don't think that's ever worked.
So you set it there and then
up there, you've got the little barrel for the
winding of the alarm.
The type of case is a cannelee,
it's an engraved cannelee, which is one down from
the gorge, which is if you like the top quality.
So I love it. You love it.
you're not going to replace it retail for anything
You say, "Oh, dear."
-Shall I reduce the figure?!
Please tell me that you were in a band in the 1970s.
I wish I could!
If it had been, it would have had to be Abba, wouldn't it?
It would have been Abba, definitely.
So whose shoes are they?
Well, they're mine now, but I don't know who they
belonged to originally.
I was passing a charity shop in Knutsford and I saw them and just
spontaneously went in and bought them.
They were £5. I just had to have them.
And they're by a designer called Terry de Havilland.
Even without the name printed inside,
I think they're such statement shoes, aren't they?
-They're made of snakeskin.
They've got this sort of foil covering in bright turquoise,
-a sort of orangey-red silver, and I see purply-blue.
£5? They're now worth about 150.
But they're not going anywhere.
-So when did you tread on it?
-Well, I didn't and I'm glad I didn't.
I found it in the river bank at Chester.
-So they were doing some building work there,
-putting a new river bank in.
And I heard about this, thought, "I'll pop down there.
"See if I can find any early bottles being dredged out of the river."
And then I saw that sticking out of a mountain of soil.
Oh, gosh, I wish I'd been there.
To me, it was just a humble thimble at the time.
Well, it's more than a humble thimble.
It's actually a very early thimble.
Date-wise, we're looking, I think,
at certainly 17th century, might be as early as 16th century.
Base metal ones turn up
fairly regularly, but to find a silver one,
which, of course, there is every probability
that it was actually made in Chester.
-Wouldn't that be nice?
-Unfortunately, no marks on it.
-But what there is, is an intriguing inscription.
There's a strange word at the beginning
which looks a bit like "juicier",
but I don't think that can be how it reads.
"Is thine for..."
Then we've got...
Might be "cuthis", it's C-U
then "this", T-H-I-S,
that runs round here.
Very difficult to work out what its full meaning is.
Well, over the years, I've shown it to a few people
-since the 1980s, since finding it.
And it's flummoxed them, as well.
So, had you thought about value?
Erm, well, when I realised that it
wasn't a Victorian thimble, as I was originally told...
-..that it was probably 17th century,
well, I thought, well, they're quite rare,
and it must be worth £200 or £300,
I would have thought.
I think you need to go a little higher than that.
-800 to 1,000.
At auction, could go more than that.
-But a humble thimble.
-Yes. Well done finding it in the mud.
So are you going to tell me
that you picked this up recently at some car boot?
No, I'm not going to tell you that at all, no!
All right, give me a little bit of its history as you know it.
Well, it was my mum's
and it was, I think,
in a cupboard for as long as I can remember from being a child.
Whereabouts in the world was that cupboard?
In sunny Rotherham.
In sunny Rotherham?
Sunny Rotherham, yes.
OK, all right.
The reason I said,
"Did you find it at a car boot?"
is that I see vases like this from time to time at car boots.
The initial excitement is dulled
by the fact that I know there are so many fakes, so shall we have a look
at this one and shall we decide?
The first thing I want to do is turn it over,
because on the base there,
you will find that this has a nicely polished pontil mark.
The good news is that this is the sort of feature
that you don't find on the fakes.
So, that is a good sign.
The other thing I'm going to look for is...
Here it is.
Can you see that?
I'm looking around here for any
bit that might be ground away, because the copies
that I've found have got the word "TIP" on there,
which I think might be the Romanian word for type,
because the copies, I'm told, have been made Romania.
Well, Emile Galle, he's working in Nancy, down there
in north-eastern France and it is
the centre for all things Art Nouveau.
You get the Paris School,
you get the Nancy School and he's a leading light of the Nancy School.
He produces two types -
he does the studio glass,
they're all individual pieces
and then he produces glass like this on an industrial scale.
He's got several hundred people working in his glassworks.
This is cameo glass, so this is
one layer of coloured glass
laid on top of another, carved through.
The execution is very good,
but you can't really see that properly, so I've got a little gizmo
here to give us more of an idea of the sort of colours
that we're dealing with here.
-So often he made table lamps
with that type of vase as a base and
they were illuminated on the interior
and that is really when they do come alive. So...
I think that's passed three tests so far!
I suppose we're going to have to talk about money, honey, yes?
OK, if it's real.
Well, it's a nice example.
It's in nice condition.
It's as right as rain
and I know for a fact
that if I went to buy that,
I'd have to have at least £2,000 in my pocket.
Oh, my God!
Well done, Mum!
Now, these are two of the brightest pictures we've seen all day.
They initially look like portraits,
they're painted in oil with
charcoal and whilst I'm drawn in by both of their eyes,
I then can't help but notice the incredible clothes they're wearing.
This necklace and this amazing
sunflower brooch on this lady,
and then in the girl's portrait,
you've got two very stylish buttons
and she's wearing a chequered shirt
and a very, very well proportioned cardigan.
If we look, both of them are signed, M Pemberton -
someone who's not initially well-known as a portrait artist.
She was actually Muriel Pemberton.
Well, I've always known her through my mother as Miss Pemberton,
because my mother went to Saint Martin's School of Art in London
in the 1950s, late 1950s,
and was taught, or the Head of Department was Miss Pemberton.
She was taught partly by Miss Pemberton and when my mother graduated in 1959,
she was then taken straight onto the teaching staff, so she was then
working under Miss Pemberton
throughout the '60s in London into the early '70s,
until I was born, in fact, which was when she left there.
My mother has always regarded her as her mentor and liked her work.
It's really exciting to hear you
talk about Miss Pemberton as a mentor,
because that's exactly what she was for an entire generation
of fashion students.
Muriel Pemberton is really important because she was the first teacher
of fashion as a degree course in Britain
and she created that department at Central Saint Martin's.
All the great names - Stella McCartney,
Alexander McQueen - studied at Central Saint Martin's.
If we look a little bit closer, the outline is all in charcoal
and she was clearly a very,
very confident draughtsman,
because to portray someone with quite such bold eyes
and reducing the nose to this very minimal outline
and then this incredibly fashionable hair,
which is again amazing strokes of charcoal.
She knows how to make both a model and the clothes look good.
Now, we don't know the titles of the portraits, but to me
it looks like this could be
an incredibly fashionable mother and her daughter,
who Miss Pemberton might have known and in terms of date...
..to me, they feel '60s.
Because she wasn't known to work in oil,
I think these were probably quite major pieces
and I think if we were able to do a little research, we'd probably find that these were exhibited
in quite a main exhibition place,
possibly like the Royal Academy,
because she was known to show there.
-Have you ever had them valued before?
-No, as I say,
they've been up in the loft for at least the last 25 years.
I don't even remember that one, I was surprised when it came out.
That one, only when I saw it did I re-remember it so, no - not at all.
Because for things that have been hiding in the loft for 25 years,
they are the kind of things
that if we were to put them at auction today,
we'd really hope to put on an estimate on each of them
for about £1,000-£1,500 each.
Oh, wow, yeah.
It's time for this week's enigma,
a challenge set by one of our experts who,
with fiendish cunning and trickery,
tries to deceive us as to the meaning and use
of a particular object
purloined from a local museum.
Paul Atterbury, it's your turn this week.
You've brought this along.
Where does it come from?
It comes from a local museum called Cuckoo Land,
but it's NOT a cuckoo clock.
This is all about the bird.
You've got three suggestions as to what it could be.
-What are they?
-Imagine you're a Victorian photographer
and you're taking pictures of children who keep wriggling around
and don't stand still with a long exposure, what do you do?
Well, you have a device that will help you
and you have this.
you can say to the children, "Watch the birdie."
-This would entertain them and keep them still?
So you wouldn't end up with a smudge instead of a child's face
-on the photograph?
That seems the most natural thing that it would be,
-but you've got a couple of other suggestions as well?
Imagine you're a comedian,
a performer on the stage in the Victorian music hall,
and it's not going very well
and the audience are getting pretty restive.
The whole thing is falling apart and before it gets any worse,
a stage manager comes on,
this device is hanging there and before you can say another word,
-he's done that...
And it means that you leave the stage immediately,
you've been given the bird.
Don't you think, the thing about Paul is, it's the way you speak,
you just believe every word.
-OK, last one?
Now, you're in a golf club in Scotland.
Well, there's a few of those don't allow women, but assuming I COULD get in...
-This is a golf club that DOES allow women, all right?
You've had a very good round and you've beaten your opponent
and you've come in under par.
Oh, I see where this is going, obviously.
What you have to do then is,
you go to the bar
and your defeated opponent has to buy you a drink
and so this is by the bar and so you press that...
..and what you're going to be given
is the birdie round because you've just done a birdie.
You see, what Paul's done,
he's thought of all these expressions with "birdie" in them
and devised the explanations around them.
I think the golf club idea,
so a golf-score keeper, effectively, is very tempting.
The thing about the comedian, I would think,
if people were either applauding, or booing, more likely,
I'm not sure you'd hear.
The point is, it's sitting there and they know what it is.
-You, the performer, know if you fail, that this will be sounded.
I'm not convinced.
I'm not convinced. My great-great-grandfather
used to be a photographer in the very early days
-Did he have one of these?
I've no idea if he had one of these.
He was also a bit of a rogue and he would take the money from his
apprentices and then not teach them anything. He went to prison and it
confirmed what people thought about photographers in the early days, that they were rogues.
-They were pretty dodgy people.
-But I like the photographer's explanation.
What do we think? For my scoundrel of a great-great-grandfather,
I'm going to go for the photographer's "smile for the birdie" contraption thing.
Well, it's very sad...
-..but you're right!
It's in the genes, Paul, that's what it is!
You cheated, I didn't know that.
An enigma no longer.
This vase was clearly designed to impress
and seeing it here glinting in the sunlight -
it's almost dripping with gold -
it really impresses me.
-Does it do it for you?
-It's beautiful, I love it.
-You like it?
-I do, yes.
Right, where does it come from?
It's been in my family for probably three generations now.
I remember it on my nan's sideboard.
-Isn't that wonderful?
The signs of quality are all over it.
This border here with these little...
I suppose they're like little pearls applied around the side,
each one of those pearls is rolled individually
and stuck on one-by-one.
But even more amazing is this panel here which depicts a rather sort of
interesting scene, which, when we pick the vase up,
is revealed to us and it says there
in lovely handwritten script,
Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare.
So here's a scene from that play.
What's also interesting is there's
a dirty great big bolt in the middle of it!
-That shows us that the vase was made in two pieces
and has been bolted together.
But the bolt obscures this rather interesting mark.
When we had it recently restored,
we had the bolt tightened because it had become loose.
That was the first time we found there was writing underneath that bit of it.
-So you don't know, essentially, who made it?
We were told it came from the Great Exhibition,
the Crystal Palace Exhibition,
and that has been the story in the family.
Well, that's wrong, because the Great Exhibition was in 1851,
and this vase is earlier than that.
That script mark partially concealed
by the bolt said something along the lines of
Flight, Barr and Barr,
number one Coventry Street,
and what that is about is
a list of the proprietors
of the Worcester porcelain factory in the period
from 1813 to 1840.
-Number one Coventry Street was their showroom in London,
-just off Piccadilly.
To confirm it even more,
there's an impressed mark there, a crown and then FBB,
Flight, Barr and Barr.
So the good news is,
if there's one Regency porcelain factory which gets hearts pounding,
it is the Worcester factory run by Flight, Barr and Barr.
The quality of what they made is breathtaking.
I'd like to own it and I know lots of other people who would want to
own such a classically wonderful and grand Regency object as this.
So, I think it's worth £2,500.
I would never sell it though, it's about the family history.
Well, I'm always intrigued
when I see something bound in vellum like this.
Vellum is a skin of an animal,
normally calfskin or something like that,
that has been scraped down right so it's pared completely white.
-I didn't know that.
-It has obviously been used, it's grubby,
and the name is Rupert on the front.
-Tell me about it.
-Well, the book belonged to my grandfather.
It's been passed down through the family.
It was my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather
-and Rupert is a family name that's been passed along with it.
Now, I noticed in the front here, it says, "John Flower Coppey,
"November 19th, 1830."
-That's right, yeah.
-So, Flower was obviously a member of the family?
We think he was an uncle, a great-great-great-uncle.
And this is a recipe book with delightful recipes for a family.
Very unusual ones!
And also for animals, as well.
I mean, you go through from lovely things here.
It's for a cold, spelled C-O-U-L-D,
and it says, "Balsam of violets,
"the finest medicine for the cough and the violent cold,"
which is absolutely wonderful,
but the nice thing about it, it's all in the same handwriting.
It hasn't been added to by Tom, Dick or Harry, or anything like that.
It's one person going all the way through
and you have 154 recipes here,
for all sorts of things - to kill rats, to get rid of this,
to get rid of that. "The bite of a mad dog.
"As soon as possible after the bite has been received,
"let part of the wound with a knife
"and then put in a pinch of gunpowder."
Well, a pinch of gunpowder, not into the dog,
this is into the wound of the person who's been bitten by the dog.
"A pinch of gunpowder and then immediately explode it."
Now, most of us would be absolutely on the floor,
we wouldn't care about the bite of a dog, but...
"..immediately explode it and then treat the wound as a common burn."
You would be treating somebody for shock, I should think,
having exploded them, but I suppose
it's a form of cauterisation.
-Now these things aren't rare,
they're quite common, but yours is beautifully done.
Lovely copperplate handwriting.
We have to put a value on it.
What sort of idea have you got?
I don't think it's worth anything, really,
-it's just something that's so lovely to have.
-You've had it...?
All my life I've looked at it, I've been fascinated by it.
You haven't been poisoned by it?
-Not yet, no!
-The value of it in pounds, shillings and pence,
I'm afraid I have to say somewhere between £500 and £800.
-It's a lovely thing.
-I can't believe it.
-Something I suppose you could
read at Christmas instead of playing silly games.
It's staying in the cupboard where it lives for ever and ever.
Well, thank you for bringing it in.
Thank you very, very much. Thank you.
We all know that the British are a nation of dog lovers.
Is that why you have this bag?
Yes, it is. It caught my eye because
it's a 1940s bag and anything to do
with 1940s that features a Scottie dog, and that just shouted at me.
And how do you know that? Why do you know about that?
We used to do a lot of the '40s re-enactments
and we tried to dress and
have all the accessories as near as possible to 1940s.
Everything that you look at,
any films or posters, anything,
features a Scottie dog.
It just was there and it just shouted at me, "Buy me!"
It is the most beautiful novelty clasp,
made of an early sort of plastic.
And it's complete - eyes, everything.
The quality of the leather, it's so supple and soft, isn't it?
So, that is one of the bags.
This doesn't look as smart at all from the outside,
Can I reveal what's in here?
This was a surprise to me.
I thought that all gas masks came...
Usually you just see the cardboard boxes, don't you?
That looks to me like it's a going out, lady's handbag type gas mask.
Yes, you'd be going out and you
wouldn't want to have a cardboard box slung over your shoulder
and so you would have this bag here.
If two handbags ever tell a tale,
this was sort of pre-war almost,
Britain, designed as a cheerful novelty.
a slightly more sinister side of what was going on in 1939.
What did you pay for them?
This one, I picked up for £15
and this one was £25.
So, I was quite happy with the prices of those,
considering how much you can pay for original '40s bags.
Absolutely. It's a piece of history, isn't it?
-It is indeed.
-I think the gas mask is a real novelty and must be worth
double your 25, at least 50.
Maybe to an enthusiast like yourself,
would you have been prepared to pay up to £100 for something like this?
-I would, yes.
is just such clever design.
I've had a look and I can't see a maker's label in it, but it's just
gorgeous design and in a vintage shop,
I can imagine that being sold for well over £100.
Yes. You can easily pay that for any 1940s bag
that's not half as nice as that. Yes!
Well, I've seen a picture of one of these, but I've never handled one.
So, how does it fit with you?
Well, it fits nicely with me.
It fitted even nicer 40-odd years ago when I found it
against the side of a Bronze Age trackway.
The sun was shining and I saw...
..it glinting off the top of the thing
-and I just thought it was a piece of glass.
-Glinting off what?
-So how much of it could you see?
-Just about that much.
-So, we're talking about that?
-I thought it was just the neck and nothing else.
I went up to it and grabbed hold of it
and then put my hands down the side of it and it all came up in one.
For the last 40-odd years,
it's sat on the top of a cupboard at my mother's.
Well, what we're looking at is an onion bottle
and what's interesting about it is, of course, that it's a miniature.
When we say miniature, what we're talking about is 25%
of normal capacity and thus it's a quarter of the size of a normal one.
This one is English.
The Dutch made a lot of them,
but this pontil mark here
is done with a large pipe rather than a bar.
The Dutch used... The pontil tends to be in the centre,
so you've got a little bit of quite
pretty iridescence in there and so you
have an evolution of the bottle
that starts in 1750, which is the shaft and globe,
and ends up in 1760
with the Bordeaux bottle that we know today for red wine.
We are almost exactly halfway through the bottle story
with the onion.
Your little thing found in a byway
up to its neck in mud
is a £750 piece of mud.
That's excellent. I didn't expect it to be that much.
Rupert, I know we've got to talk in whispers about this, because the owner is nearby.
Why are you so excited about this picture?
It doesn't look like much, does it?
Perhaps it isn't. It's just a guide to an engraver to show him how to do
the engraving and it's by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
He is a very important person.
He's a wonderful Victorian neoclassical painter.
He's the single most valuable artist that there is in Victorian times.
I was talking to the man who owns it, who brought it in, and he told me,
"Actually, I've got his portrait, the engraver's portrait."
That's what this is, is it?
We sent the van and we've got it and it's coming up on camera
and we're about to record it.
He is SUCH a good painter and when he's not doing
sort of neoclassical ladies in togas,
he does a portrait for his own purposes.
-This wasn't for sale.
-So this is Alma-Tadema painting his engraver?
Yes, he's off his pitch, but it is the most wonderful portrait and I'm
very excited about it. I've never seen it before.
-Could be very valuable?
-I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see on that.
Well, a beautiful, elegant form,
fantastic whimsical trees
in this fantasy landscape with birds in flight at night.
How did you come to own it?
I inherited it from my mother and it was bought by my grandfather,
I THINK. This is my grandfather.
He owned a tannery in Alderston
and made a lot of money making leather
for army boots for the First World War,
so he had plenty of money to buy things.
-So, he would have been out there, spending, investing.
This is one of the things he acquired?
-I presume so, yes.
-So, in your family memory of it,
what was it always called?
-Did it ever have a name?
it was called the Moorcroft vase and my mother used to call it that and I
had no idea whether it was or not.
When she gave it to me, I said,
"Mum, it can't be a Moorcroft vase," cos, as you know,
it's not got a signature on the bottom.
It's glazed. So, that's what I need to know,
is it or is it not a Moorcroft vase?
Let's look at it, let's just take a second to look,
because what we've got are characteristics of a ceramic vase
-made at the beginning of the 20th century.
-The form is hand-potted.
-The decoration is tube-lined.
We've got these wonderful, fantastic sort of trees,
this dark, midnight-blue landscape.
-Very dark, yes.
-You said there was no signature?
Let's just have a little closer look,
because actually, if we do turn it up
and if we get it in the right light,
and let's hope that it can be seen by all,
just sweeping across the underneath,
under that thick, blue glaze
is a green signature, that to me, clearly sings
I mustn't have very good eyesight!
Trust me when I say it's there, honestly!
I know the colour is actually a very dark, inky blue all over,
but we actually affectionately call these the black landscapes.
They're from an early collection
of experimental wares that he was doing,
testing out new ideas, but this for me is a really early example.
What sort of date would that be?
We're going to be looking early 1900s.
-Maybe something between 1903,
maybe even up to as late as 1910.
There's only been a handful of them ever come to market.
-So, all of that adds together to say that your mum,
you know, everyone was right.
They were right, they knew what they were talking about!
Remember, always trust your mother.
-Maybe whilst not as valuable as maybe ten years ago,
I still think today you're looking at a piece of Moorcroft
worth in the region of £5,000 to £6,000.
Really? That much? Gosh!
I'll have to be more careful when I dust it!
Now, it really isn't often
that I get a picture like this
on the Antiques Roadshow.
This is an artist I know very well.
His name is Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
and it's a portrait of your great-great-grandfather
and he was Leopold Lowenstam,
a very important man to Tadema
because he was his engraver.
If you could say that 20th century British artists got rich,
that's nothing compared to the Victorians and one of the ways
they got rich, one of the main ways was the sale of engravings.
This man, Lowenstam, your great-great-grandfather,
was incredibly important to Tadema
through his dealer Gambart,
about whom, incidentally, my father wrote a book.
So, this is really a sweet spot for me.
I think the etchings were sold for, er...
three guineas each and there were runs of about 1,000 or so.
It adds up and I know that the copyright to Tadema's paintings were
sometimes sold for more than the paintings themselves,
it was SO valuable.
So that's just some measure of the Victorian print trade.
When you first came in,
I was talking to Fiona about it earlier and I got very excited, because you
brought this, this small picture here,
which is actually just painted over
in white over a photograph.
It's done by Tadema for your great-great-grandfather
as an aid, so that he could see how to make his engraving.
It's an essay in tone,
rendering colour into black-and-white
so that Lowenstam could understand it and make his plate.
What I like about the portrait of him is
here he is actually making the plate from a painting by Tadema and he's
got the copper there. He's got a rest made out of wood for his hands,
so he doesn't have to touch the copper
and he's got the stylus or burin there
and here in this jar, I think some kind of volatile,
some acid or something that he can wipe across the plate
to see how he's doing.
A magnifying glass and then the light has been diffused by this
wonderful paper screen
that's set at an angle against the window, so that
the light is non-directional.
He's done the same by tilting the picture that he is engraving forwards slightly
to get the reflection off the glass and so he can really look at it.
The eyestrain must have been extraordinary!
But what a wonderful portrait.
This is what the French call contre-jour,
when the light comes from behind.
It casts his face in shadow
that gives it a peculiar emphasis and gives an opportunity
to really show off about the way he's painted this material of his
working coat here.
What an amazing portrait.
You must know something about it?
It was a wedding present, um...
..and I think the wedding was in 1883 and then it was...
That's the date of the picture, it's up there.
Yes, and it was displayed
in the Royal Academy a year later in 1884, at the summer exhibition.
In fact, it's actually inscribed with a dedication here
and the dedication is to MRS Lowenstam...
of her husband aged 41 years
and this painting, I think,
we know what that painting is.
That's also dated 1883, so it's also the year of his greatest success.
He'd only just been made a Royal Academician,
he'd just moved into this massive house,
he was making tonnes of money, he was very happy.
We're talking about Tadema here, not Lowenstam.
He was a very happy, jovial man, he liked to drink, very charming.
Was he charming to your great-great-grandfather?
Yes, well, they were close family friends and I think my
-great-great-grandmother might have been the governess to their children as well.
-Oh, how interesting.
That I didn't know, because I know that Lowenstam's daughter,
who may be your great-grandmother, Millie?
-She recalled that Tadema was beastly to Lowenstam.
There's a letter in which Tadema...
..really lectures him and takes him
to task and castigates him and calls him names.
I mean, it's unbelievable and it's because the painter himself was
a perfectionist and he expected his engraver to be as well.
And yet there seems to have been this really intimate bond.
You can't paint a portrait of somebody you don't respect
in this way, can you?
-So, in terms of value,
I think that's just white over a photograph
and so you wouldn't say it's actually properly a painting,
but it is by the hand of Tadema, so I'm going
to say £1,000 to £2,000 on that.
Tadema, a very valuable artist in his own day
and in recent times, he's become very valuable again.
In fact, he holds the record for a Victorian painting
at 36 million for an enormous picture
sold in New York a few years ago.
This one doesn't quite reach that,
because it's not of a neoclassical subject and it's not huge,
but it is very, very good.
Er, I'm going to put it at £200,000 to £300,000.
-The trouble is, it would never be sold.
-No, of course not.
What a wonderful thing!
Actually, you know, I think this might be one of the best pictures we've ever seen on the Roadshow
in its entire history.
You know, a palpable sense of excitement
goes round the whole Roadshow team
when something like that painting is brought in.
You could hear the intake of breath
from all the crowd around when Rupert put that valuation on it.
And one of my favourite artists, too. What more could you ask for?
From Arley Hall and the whole Roadshow team,
until next time, bye-bye.
Fiona Bruce and the team head to Cheshire for a day of valuations at Arley Hall and Gardens.
Combing through the objects brought in by visitors, the experts are excited to discover two different items that have spent many years hidden from view - a gold bracelet found mysteriously bricked up behind a wall that is linked to a tragic love story, and a time capsule, buried in 1886, which is opened on camera to reveal its secrets 130 years later.
But the biggest gasps are held back for the discovery of a lost work by one of the most important artists of the late 19th century, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.