Antiques series. Caroline Hawley and Christina Trevanion indulge in a bit of antique shopping in France. Paul Martin explores the story behind a Dali painting.
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For many years now, you've been coming along to our valuation days
laden with antiques and collectables,
putting our experts through their paces.
You can sell this in your pyjamas on a Sunday afternoon
and it will make its money.
And during that time,
we've all learned a great deal about the items we've valued and sold.
Now we want to share some of that information with you,
so if you want to know more, you've definitely come to the right place.
This...is Trade Secrets.
We British are a proud island race,
out on a limb on the edge of the great continent of Europe.
But for centuries we've looked to the continent for trade
and travel, and inevitably,
little pieces of Europe have found their way to our shores.
The "Flog It!" team regularly get presented with items that
have made their home here, in Britain,
so today's show is all about how to spot the very best.
Coming up, European pieces to take your breath away.
We crack an Italian whodunnit.
Signed Carelli, but Carelli is a very popular Italian name.
We discover the secret of the German elephant in the room.
That adds so much more significance to the object, doesn't it?
And send Christina and Caroline on French leave,
and no, it's not a booze cruise!
-Oh, my goodness, are you serious?!
-Yes. Happy French hunting!
Oh, you star.
There are certain objects we quite often see on the show that
you bring in that we associate with certain countries or areas,
like Black Forest woodcarving, French bronzes, Danish glass.
It is quality because they specialise in that
particular genre, and quality, as we know, always sells.
So, what constitutes a European classic,
and what should you be looking out for?
We're an island race, and so we tend to look in at what we've
produced in the past, but if you go abroad, go and have a look.
If you go to Germany, look for KPM plaques, WMF, Meissen -
look for their history, not ours.
A good European collectable is one which is indicative
of the quality of the works that each country is renowned for.
So, for example, Russian enamelwork, French clocks
and watch movements, and I think buy the
best example you can from each particular country of source.
The Europeans produce wonderful items across the board,
just like the British.
If you want to go, for example, ceramics,
then Meissen is a good favourite, even the later 19th century Meissen
figures are still sought-after, the quality is always very high.
We're never short of items that hail from across the water,
and it's a joy to see European classics cross our tables.
If Denmark and France are known for glass, Italy for painting
and Switzerland for watches,
you can't look at a porcelain doll without thinking Germany.
I've seen plenty of them, in all shapes and sizes,
though none quite as large as the one Anita Manning came across.
-Catherine, this certainly isn't a baby doll.
-No, she's quite big.
One of the biggest dolls that I've seen for a wee while.
'The doll collectors like aspects of dolls which are a wee bit unusual.'
This doll was well-fancied
and I think one of the reasons for that was the sheer size!
She was a big girl!
Tell me, where did you get her?
I know that she was bought in 1930 for an aunt of mine,
and I inherited her.
-You became her adoptive mother!
So, if we turn her round to the back...we can see
the markings of Armand Marseille, we have "AM",
and we also have the number 390, which is the head mould.
'Armand Marseille was one of the leading doll manufacturers'
in Europe from the middle of the 1800s to the 1900s,
they were German manufacturers.
They lasted such a long time because of the quality of the product.
Not only did they make these wonderful doll faces
and bodies, they made faces that were full of character.
She has this wonderful colour blue in her eyes, which is good,
and we have an open mouth with these dainty white teeth.
I think it's the original hair, it's a bit sort of fly-away there,
she looks like she's been dragged through a hedge backwards.
I've got to take into consideration that a doll has been played with,
it's been carried about by a child, dragged across the floor.
All the articulated limbs were there, the fingers
and toes were there, for its age it wasn't in bad condition at all.
Price, I would say between £2-300,
-would you be happy to sell her at that price?
-Yes, I would.
-Tell me, does she have a name?
-No, she never had a name.
Maybe her next owner will give her a name after all these years.
I hope so.
Well, I've always liked the name Anita myself,
but what about the bidders?
Did they like the look of this slightly dishevelled piece
and the name of its classic German maker?
The Armand Marseille German doll, I'm bid 100 to start it.
-120, 140, 160, 180...
..200, 220, 240, 260, 280, 300...
-Yeah, very good.
-At £300, anybody else left?
At £300, and we're away at 300.
-Bang on top estimate!
-Oh, that is...
-Big is beautiful.
-Big is good.
The doll collectors, I'm sure,
think of their dolls as little people,
and like people they have different faces, expressions
and characters, so character in the face is a very important thing.
An unnamed doll, but one with a big hitting name on the label.
Proof that collectors will pay a little more for something
out of the ordinary, especially when it's from a quality maker.
Appearances can be deceptive.
Adam Partridge found an item that looked like it came from
exotic shores, but it turned out to have origins much closer to home.
It came from the Isle of Wight,
where my mother used to look after an old army captain.
-Who died when he was about 92,93.
And what do you know about the army captain
and where he might have got it from?
Well, he was over in India, there was this rogue elephant
and they were going to shoot it, and he said,
"Well, no, I'll have a look at it first."
So they chained it between two trees so it didn't stampede, and they
lifted its hoof and found out there was a piece of wood in its foot.
So he dug it out and bandaged it all up and the elephant...
-Remarkable story, isn't it?
-..recognised him from then on.
That adds so much more significance to the object, doesn't it?
We could have just launched straight into telling you what it was,
what it's worth and off to the auction with it.
A fantastic yarn,
but what's an Indian elephant got to do with Europe?
A German firm mainly made them, one called Junghans.
This is almost certainly made in Germany circa 1900,
you see great big ones four times the size in gilt bronze.
This one is the one that was made for the domestic market,
for people to have in their homes.
It's not bronze, it's made from spelter,
but they were made en masse, mass produced.
'The difference between spelter and bronze
'is quite easy to distinguish,'
spelter has a sort of tinny quality -
I do that because I sort of ting my ring on things,
and you can tell from the sound, a more tinny sound to spelter.
It's also more lightweight
and it's a white metal rather than a yellow metal.
So bronze, if you give it a little scratch in an unseen place,
it'll come up yellow.
If you scratch spelter, it'll come up white.
Shall we put 100 on it, discretion, 10%, or not?
-I know the auctioneer will do his best.
-So we'll put 100-150?
-Can I move the pendulum round?
I'm dying to see it swing. There we are.
'Every firm do their run-of-the-mill things'
and then they have their feature, their pride of place things,
and these Mystery Clocks,
these Elephant Swingers as they're known as, were one of those.
They're quite a distinctive thing that Junghans made,
which I think contributed to the strong result of this one.
Quite sought-after things, these. £100 for it, straight in.
100, 100, 100
- 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180.
In the room at 180.
With the clock ticking, the buyers once again recognise
German quality, and the price went up and up.
..390...400, is it?
400, 410. £410, and I sell then at £410.
£410 online, and the hammer's gone down.
That's an awful lot of money for a spelter clock.
Clocks are made all around Europe,
and there are major centres for these - the Black Forest, Bavaria
and the wonderful carved cuckoo clocks,
there were loads of German clock manufacturers.
Also Austria, we see the Vienna clocks, also French clocks,
which often came as garnitures, as a set of three with the clock
and a pair of vases or candelabra that
stood either side on the mantelpiece.
So there's plenty to look out in terms of
European clocks and clockmakers.
The French have given us myriad other first-class designers,
like Louis-Francois Cartier and Rene Lalique,
whose works are well worth looking out for.
And when it comes to sculpture,
there's another name that stands out from the rest,
as Will Axon explained at our valuation day on HMS Victory.
'Pierre-Jules Mene could be considered
'the pioneer in a group of artists that were producing'
animal bronzes in France, 19th century, specifically Paris,
they were known as the Animaliere group of sculptors,
because that's what they specialised in, animals - dogs, horses,
domestic animals, anything where they could really
show off their grasp of the animal's anatomy and form.
This has been made from a mould.
You make the bronze and the mould still exists, doesn't it?
So when Mene died in 1877,
the moulds of the bronzes were passed on to his son,
and of course that meant that he could keep producing
the bronzes, but you wouldn't say it was by Mene necessarily,
because it wasn't in his lifetime.
So you've got to be a bit careful, even though it is signed "Mene",
that's signed in the actual mould itself.
'One way to try and ascertain as to'
whether a bronze is produced in the lifetime of an artist or not
is really to look at the quality of the casting.
Mene was well-known,
he was involved in the process of making a bronze,
so he would checking it along every stage just to
make sure that the quality was kept high.
On the later examples, this line here,
the crispness of the base, you lose a bit of the definition.
As soon as that starts going a bit wavy or it's not quite
parallel or true,
you've got to be a bit suspicious.
Again, handy hint for people at home buying bronzes,
because they are easy to reproduce, that's the danger.
'Say the facial features of the animal aren't quite right,'
you would expect that it's been rushed through the process,
which wouldn't have happened within his lifetime.
So I think, in this case,
the signature within the bronze itself was a little bit soft around
the edges, shall we say, wasn't quite as crisp as you would like.
If we were definite that this was within his lifetime and he'd handled
it and so on, I would have said the value would have been
high hundreds, but I think, because I'm erring on the side of caution,
that it might be a later model. I'm happy to try it at 2-300.
Yes, because I wouldn't sell it at less than 150.
Listen, I don't think you're going to have any trouble...
-I shouldn't think so.
-Good subject, good name, nice quality.
You've ticked all my boxes, Sandy, see you at the saleroom.
-Thank you very much.
-Not at all.
-Lot 500, the bronze group, the greyhound and puppy.
-I've got to start you at 140.
Not over yet.
-140 here, 150, 160...
-Good, come on, we've got some interest in the room.
The chap over there against the wall's bidding quite heavily.
-He's going to try...
-He's going to get it for 190.
I think that's it, at £190, you done?
Yes! It's gone.
We were in the right ballpark figure certainly for price achieved.
If you were talking one made within Mene's lifetime,
a big group of, say, two horses, one sold recently for 17,500 upwards.
It's that sort of money, that's the difference.
Make sure to check the definition of those edges to tell
if it was made by the master himself.
But even if it wasn't, all may not be lost
if you can identify great craftsmanship.
Chances are it'll still be a fine piece that won't leave you
out of pocket.
As usual, Michael Baggott has some wise words on buying
When one considers Europe as a whole for a source of antiques,
because you have all the excesses of baroque within Spain and Italy,
and it cools off towards France, then you get the simplicity
and beauty of Swedish and Finnish antiques.
So whatever your tastes veer towards, you will find some thing
or some style or some maker that you can cleave onto and collect.
Ever since the days of the 18th century's Grand Tour,
when intrepid Britons fell under the spell of Europe and its vast
array of artefacts and antiques, we've been going back for more.
The challenge for today's travellers is how to separate
the wheat from the chaff.
In 2012, James Lewis was sure he'd found a pearl of the Mediterranean.
Giuseppe Corelli - a well known artist,
well known for painting subjects exactly as these.
Vesuvius erupting is probably the most common scene
of any Italian picture in existence.
-They are everywhere.
So they're not rare scenes, but they are well painted.
Now, they're not framed,
which would indicate that they're not on the wall. And there's a hole.
-That hasn't been put in today, has it?
-No, some time ago.
'Damage is always going to be something
that you have to take into consideration.
With an oil painting, it's often easier to put right,
especially if it's a simple, small hole in a canvas.
When we looked at that pair, there was a small, little tear.
'Very easy to patch it on the back, fill it in with a bit of oil.'
-So, £500-800, I should think.
They might even make £1,000 or above.
Fingers crossed the right people are on the phones and on the internet.
That would be rather nice.
James was confident about the attribution of the painting.
The trouble is, in Italy, the name Corelli is pretty common.
There were several Corellis painting in the 19th century,
and that was a cause for concern to auctioneer Anita Manning.
I was a wee bit worried, Paul, when they came in at the beginning,
because they looked like the typical 19th century tourist pictures
that were sold on the harbour.
Signed Corelli, but Corelli is a very popular Italian name.
So, I looked at them...
We had Giuseppe Corelli, Gino Corelli...
-So, you're not sure?
-I'm not sure.
What I've done is I've sat on the fence a little bit on this
-and catalogued it as G Corelli.
Would this turn out to be a European classic by Giuseppe Corelli
or just a tourist piece?
Let the bidders decide.
Look, James. Look how many phone lines...
They're all lined up down the front.
Starting at £400. I have two bids.
I think that says it's Giuseppe, don't you?
Go on, think about it. Come back to us.
There's the 12.
That's what I thought it was going to be.
-Oh, it's made more.
It's with Clare. Clare's the last phone left. At £1,300.
1,300. All done at 1,300?
Yes. Put it there, fabulous. Good call.
Good call, both of you.
The bidders were convinced this was a sought after Giuseppe Corelli.
As these paintings show,
the "Flog It!" regulars don't always agree
when it comes to the tricky business of attribution.
If in doubt, consult the auction catalogue or get specialist advice.
"Attributed to..." means there's some uncertainty
about who painted it.
"After..." means it's a copy of a known work or painter.
And if they state the name of the artist,
you should be on safe ground.
Here are a few things to think about if Classic European is your thing.
If porcelain dolls appeal,
keep in mind that damage to the head can reduce their value.
Shine a strong light inside to check for cracks.
Junghans mystery clocks are also desirable,
and there are lots of fakes around.
If you're not sure, consult a horologist - a clock expert,
who will know exactly what to look out for.
And if you follow these tips,
you should be getting the Classic European antique you've paid for.
Throughout history, Britain's political relationship with Europe
has always been a bit ambivalent,
but we've always appreciated the very best of European culture.
"Flog It!" expert Caroline Hawley is something of a Francophile,
as she explains.
When I was a child, I used to go to France with my parents on holiday,
and I loved everything about France and all things French
and that has stayed with me.
Especially the Art Nouveau period, 1895-1905...
I don't know what I don't love about France.
This lovely piece I've brought today is, not surprisingly, French.
There were three main centres of paperweight making
in France at this time.
Baccarat and Saint Louis, both in the Alsace-Lorraine region,
and Clichy in Paris.
This one is a wonderful piece of Baccarat.
It's what's called a millefiori paperweight,
which, in Italian, is literally "a thousand flowers."
I don't know if there's a 1,000, I haven't actually counted.
There might be.
It has certain characteristics which are specific to Baccarat.
These lovely silhouette canes here.
There's a cockerel, a dear,
something that looks a bit like a dog, I'm not sure.
And these canes are made up of many different glass rods
fused together to form canes
and then cut at a cross section to expose these beautiful patterns,
covered over with a beautiful clear glass stone
to cause the magnification
which makes what is altogether the most beautiful paperweight.
What is interesting about this one is that it's dated and signed.
Things to look for with the Baccarat signatures and dates are rare dates.
This one is a fairly common date - 1848.
I have to look very carefully to find it and so will you, I'm sure.
It's down here. There's a little B above 1848.
This is a wonderful piece of quality Baccarat glass.
Consequently, it has a value of towards £2,000.
One field in which European makers have excelled for centuries
is silverwork, but when it comes to the 20th century,
there's one man who stands out from the crowd,
a master of his craft who many have tried to emulate.
The one name that everybody screams about is the name
that's on the back of that broach. And there is is. Jensen.
He was from Copenhagen
and he originally graduated in 1892 as a sculptor.
You can see from almost all of his designs over the period
that he used his techniques and influences in sculpture
to do his broaches.
Georg Jensen was a proponent of the Art Nouveau style,
but no-one had seen anything like his silverwork before.
By the 1920s, he was the talk, not just of his hometown Copenhagen,
but of the world, with workshops producing everything
from jewellery to cutlery, and even tea sets.
During his long career, he was prolific,
and there's a lot out there to choose from.
But be warned, it comes at a price.
The rarer early pieces are hugely sought after and may be recognised
by their typical Art Nouveau decoration of pods and flowers.
If you keep your eyes peeled, you could chance upon something
like this early wine cooler, sold in 2008 for nearly £30,000.
Jensen encouraged free rein amongst his designers, and the work
of Johan Rohde and Harold Nielsen is collectible in its own right.
You can tell who made a piece by examining the back.
The Georg Jensen stamp will date a piece
and the number identifies the designer.
Don't limit yourself to pieces made within his lifetime.
Jensen died in 1935, but his company is still going strong
and remains true to his philosophy of artistry in design
and excellence in craftsmanship.
Jensen's work may be at a premium, but his legacy is strong,
and his influence lasting.
Look out for the work of silversmiths
Hans Hansen and Bent Knudsen
for that minimalist Scandinavian style at a more affordable price.
Some of the finest antiques to come out of Europe
are pieces of furniture.
What I'm about to show you,
I think is one of the greatest examples I have ever come across.
Quite frankly, it doesn't get any better than this.
It's a kneehole desk.
It's designed and made by a Frenchman -
Andre Charles Boulle - who was born in 1642.
He was a cabinet maker to Louis XIV,
and royal cabinet maker to the Palace of Versailles circa 1700.
In England, during this time, we had desks quite similar.
Kneehole desks, marquetry detail on the top,
but our marquetry was all inlaid with pieces of wood.
In France, Andre Boulle was using something completely different.
He was using mixed media.
He was using metal, brass,
pewter and tortoiseshell to inlay the geometric floral detail.
We'd never seen anything like this before,
and it certainly had the wow factor.
Since then, this work has come to be known as Boullework
in honour of the great master himself.
This is the work of a genius.
You're always telling us about the hidden treasures you manage
to unearth at your local car boot sales and flea markets,
but, to be fair, more and more people are getting wise to that,
and the bargains are definitely thinner on the ground.
So, what can be done?
Caroline Hawley thinks the answer lies across the Channel.
Fellow expert Christina Trevanion
wonders if there's anything there that'll float her boat.
So, Caroline, you called me a couple of weeks ago.
There was something about France, something about shopping,
-there was definitely something about pain au chocolat.
I'm intrigued. Tell me where we're off to.
-You've heard of the booze cruise, Christina.
Well, this is more of an antique, collectible hunting cruise,
and it's so doable.
Six hours from Portsmouth to Caen, and an hour from there
is one of my favourite shopping experiences in France.
A lovely antique fair in Lisieux.
-And you will love it.
-You're going to have to put a padlock on my wallet.
I'm a bit worried about letting those two loose en France!
After the ferry, they travel across Normandy by car
to the town of Lisieux
to visit one of the regular antique markets,
or brocantes, as they're called.
-What a feast for the eyes! This is amazing.
-Do you like it?
It's just so beautiful, isn't it?
I just literally could look around all day. It's just gorgeous.
And, as you were saying, there's all sorts of everything.
The one thing I get every single year, before I do anything else,
is buy this book, which gives me all the brocantes, vide-greniers -
which are car boot sales - in this area.
-So, this is the Bible...
-That's a really good starting point.
-..for the French antiques hunter?
So, I'd really like you to show me something that is
quintessentially French, something that is absolutely from this area.
-Have you seen anything?
-Yeah, I have. I've seen something over here.
Oh, cool. Brilliant.
You can pick those guides up in any region of France
or get a local paper.
I would really look for something a little bit different, something out
of the ordinary, something French, something quintessentially French.
If nothing else, it's going to be a wonderful memento
of a fabulous day out in France.
THEY SPEAK FRENCH
-Christina, it's an armoire of marriage.
-What does an armoire...
-It's a cabinet?
-It's a wardrobe, yes.
But it's from this region... Quelle region?
HE SPEAKS FRENCH
La Ferriere, 45 kilometres from here.
-La Ferriere. And all carved by hand.
And it's the middle of the 19th century.
The price would be 1,990 euros,
which is about £1,700.
-Just shy of £1,700.
-Yeah, just shy.
-That is quite a lot of money.
It's a lot of money, Christina, but for the quality.
I think it's beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
But, obviously, it's quite big.
I was thinking more along the lines that we might buy a little
bit of jewellery, something we can slip in our suitcase rather...
Yes, but you wanted to see something from the region!
We'll go and look for some smaller things.
I don't think you'll be getting that one home on the roof rack!
It's great to see these locally made wardrobes,
but we do get French furniture in the UK.
The advantage of coming here is that you're likely to get terrific choice
and tip-top condition with pieces historically made in the area.
Good quality items have high price tickets.
It is worth trying to negotiate, though,
because they're very amenable to negotiation.
But the good things tend to command good prices.
But there are lots of bargains to be had.
Look at this damask. And the quality of it...
The French spend such a lot of time at the table,
and these napkins are just such beautiful quality.
The initials on them...
They would be embroided by a young girl
before she got married, as part of her trousseau.
So, she would have her initials before marriage, and then,
when she got married, she would then put the initials
-of her married name.
-Her beloved on.
I do think these are beautiful. Would these be a really good buy?
I have seen them in England, but not in such comprehensive sets.
You don't always have them monogrammed
so beautifully in England.
Here, for instance, a set of 16... 68 euros for 16.
That's phenomenal, isn't it? Could you pay more in a shop now for them?
You would, yeah. They're beautiful quality damask.
That translates as about £57.
And even better if you're an "AL".
Yeah, quite, yeah. I'll have to find a CT somewhere.
I think they're really, really beautiful
and I've been listening to everything you've told me
and I think now - less looking, bit of shopping.
-I'm going to try and impress you.
-So, wish me luck.
-Bonne chance, mon amie.
-I'll see you later.
See you later.
As Caroline pointed out, fine dining is in the French blood,
so a market is a great place to look out for anything
that makes the eating experience a pleasure,
from the affordable to the extravagant.
For somebody to come over here, whether they're buying or not,
just to soak up the atmosphere
and the culture of the French,
it really is a beautiful experience, and so doable.
I think this is really quite wonderful.
It's not to everyone's taste - it's really rather brash
and really rather funky,
but made by Baccarat, the glass firm.
So, often we see these back in the UK with just the glasses,
we don't see it with the glasses, the stand and bowl
and then the decanter as well in here.
Really nice. Very gaudy.
Like I say, not to everyone's taste, but great fun.
Look at this. I love my suits,
and this is fabulous.
Wool, mohair, locally made.
The skirt - this is so nice, but 50 euros, I don't know.
It isn't Chanel, but it has that sort of look about it.
Chanel used a lot of this sort of fabric,
especially during that period.
-Oh, merci. Merci, madam!
I've just bought the most fabulous suit, really lovely,
for about £30, which is unbelievable.
I mean, you cannot get a one-off suit anywhere for £30.
And I will wear it a lot,
I love it, it's gorgeous.
The French are known for their style,
so if you're interested in vintage clothing,
you've got a good chance of finding something very special
in the home of haute couture.
Je pense que c'est la periode de cinema...
Oh, the Hollywood...
-And how much would that cost me?
That's 30 euros, isn't it?
-Yes. Nice hat.
So what date would you say that...? That's rather lovely, isn't it?
-Maybe '70s, this one.
-It's jolly comfy.
-Jolly comfy, I like that. Have you got a mirror anywhere?
Oh, that's quite nice, isn't it?
Christina had the Franglais down pat.
So, combien for the...deux?
I'd be happy with that,
I think they're both really nice pieces, so thank you very much.
-Thank you. Merci.
I've come across these,
which is more than just a carving set.
There's actually this item here
which you put the leg of lamb in
so when it's hot it saves you from getting your hand burned.
Twist it up like this, which holds it firm,
and then you can carve it with the knife.
You've got the fork and I think they're very stylish -
they've got this Art Deco look.
They've got horn handles, which isn't to everybody's taste,
but they were fabricated pre-1947,
so I'm OK with that, that's fine.
The gentleman said I can have them for 8 euros,
which is fantastic - it's not £6. So it's £2 apiece.
They've got to be bought, haven't they? Oui. Merci, monsieur.
THEY SPEAK IN FRENCH
Everything is just laid out so beautifully.
The atmosphere is really relaxed, really chilled out.
Just really good fun, really good fun.
I found these napkins, look.
CT. How nice is that?
Christina, she will love them!
My tip would be absolutely bring a phrasebook,
try and learn your numbers
or at least have a pen and paper to hand
so that you know exactly what you're talking about
when it comes to negotiating and dealing.
It's actually so easy to come here, it's so doable.
You can either do it as part of your family summer holiday,
if you happen to be in France,
or you can actually come over for a day trip or a long weekend.
It really is achievable.
It looks like they've found plenty to make their trip worthwhile,
but don't forget, there's a six-hour ferry ride home.
-I've bought something especially for you, Christina.
Oh, my goodness, are you serious?!
-You found some!
-Happy French hunting.
-Oh, you star!
-Wow, well done, you.
And I said to you this morning...
-I'm really touched, what a lovely memory of our trip.
Thank you so, so, so much.
-Right, come on, we better go, we've got a ferry to catch.
-We'd better go.
Still to come - a whirlwind trip to the cold outer reaches of Europe
takes in a camera that would delight any spy.
It was a real kind of 007-for-the-lady thing, wasn't it?
An intriguing royal Russian saga.
It's got tantalising clues
that would be lovely to think that it is part of that Romanov dynasty.
And a mystery clockmaker that had our hearts aflutter.
If the rules were that we can bid on these things...
-I'd be bidding against you.
-It would be us two fighting over it.
There are other ways to enjoy European artists
without necessarily buying and selling.
Over the years, I've had the privilege
of visiting numerous British museums and galleries
to enjoy their wonderful exhibits.
And one of my favourites, and most surprising, was at Kelvingrove.
This striking painting of the crucifixion
called Christ Of Saint John Of The Cross
is by the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
Such is its beauty and power
that in the last 50 years
literally millions of people from all over the world
have made a pilgrimage here to Kelvingrove to see it.
Standing in front of it, you can really see why, can't you?
For me, this is one of the most amazing images
of Christ on the cross
that's ever been painted.
Most people think it's a gimmick, but it wasn't.
Dali was a devout Catholic and a very religious man
and to attempt something like this I think is incredibly brave.
It's just wonderful,
these darkening skies over this sort of floating water below,
which is his fishing village in Spain -
it's almost like two pictures going on at once,
but that's done in the Renaissance style.
It's devoid of a crown of thorns, nails and blood,
and, for me, I think this is my favourite picture
of the crucifixion.
I'd rather look at this than any other.
The idea came to Dali in a cosmic dream in the 1950s
and it's called the Christ Of Saint John
because Dali had a lot of images from the 16th-century friar St John,
which helped him put this composition together
and in order to get that angle of Christ on the cross
he hired a Hollywood stunt man
to hang form gantries in his studio
and he spent hours getting those angles right.
I mean, that's not just a one-off,
this is a well-trained artist doing what he does best -
And it is, the brushstrokes are remarkable.
It's very, very moving, very evocative and incredibly powerful.
It's almost as if that's Christ's viewpoint
of what's going on in the world below him.
As a member of the surrealist movement in the 1930s,
Dali's early paintings depicted strange landscapes
with fantastical animals,
and littered with dismembered and distorted body parts,
painted in exquisite technique.
These unforgettable images, combined with his flamboyant behaviour,
gained Dali the reputation
of an eccentric, perhaps even mad personality.
So the arrival of one of Dali's artworks to Glasgow
in the relatively conservative early 1950s
was bound to cause a stir
and it was all down to the vision of one man,
Tom Honeyman, Glasgow's Director of Museums at the time.
Honeyman visited Dali at his home in Spain.
Dali had just finished Christ Of Saint John Of The Cross
and, bowled over by what he saw,
Honeyman thought this would make the most amazing centrepiece
for the art collection here at Kelvingrove.
Now, was it a moment of madness or inspiration?
To find out, I'm meeting Neil Ballantyne,
Kelvingrove's current director.
Well, in 1952 a lot of people would have said it was madness, but...
And a lot of criticism at the time, but I believe the last 60 years
has more than proved the correctness of Honeyman's decision
-to bring the painting to Glasgow.
What was the reaction
when it first arrived in the early part of the 1950s?
Well, there were a number of protests outside Kelvingrove.
Some of the art students from the Glasgow School Of Art
were quite shocked at the amount of expenditure.
I think Dali has always aroused quite a lot of criticism.
He saw the painting in London
just before he decided to make the purchase
and he saw the reaction of the public there
and he was convinced that the people in Glasgow
would feel the same way. And he was absolutely right,
something like 50,000 people came to see the painting
in the first three months of display in Glasgow.
When you leave here, it really is that iconic image you take with you.
-Look, thank you very much.
There are many European items we expect to see at our valuation days,
but more often than not
you bring in something that takes us all by surprise.
Now, we may think we know a lot about the best Europe has to offer,
but think again. There's always a lot more to learn.
If you were going to formulate a collection of European items,
you'd sort of think, well, Venice is great for Italy
and, you know, the Dresden area for porcelain...
I would just say to you, try and make your collection as broad as possible.
You should always go to antiques shops when you're on holiday.
Oh, wow, I always do busman's holidays myself, you know,
I think it's great.
If you're interested in European collectables,
as Philip says, it doesn't have to be all about the classics.
There are more unusual pieces that are worth a shot.
Adam found a snappy little number
that wouldn't have been out of place in 007's kit bag.
Anne's little vanity camera.
It was a real kind of 007-for-the-lady thing, wasn't it?
-If we press that button there, we've got a compact.
And, in here, this one comes out for your lipstick.
'I mean, how many times have you had a picture taken and thought,'
"Let's just have a quick zhush up before we have the picture done?"
I think it's a great, ingenious thing.
That pops out, and there is the camera, isn't that cute?
Really lovely. So it was made in the mid-1950s, German-made.
And I believe the firm also made lighters,
in the same way, lighter cameras, and musical cameras as well.
A really good and rare novelty item.
I was very excited to see that,
I don't think I've seen one in the flesh before.
-Any idea what it's worth?
-I think that's a pretty good guess.
I would prefer to put it slightly less,
if you're agreeable,
-to put 150-250 as the estimate.
-And a reserve of 150 so it doesn't go for less.
-Thanks for bringing it in, it's a lovely little item.
Would Anne's compact Petie camera realise a petit price?
One of my favourite lots today,
German Petie vanity camera.
Will you start me at £100?
110, 120, 130, 140.
Any advance on £150?
All done at 150.
Hammer's gone down, that's sold.
I think someone had a real bargain there.
I thought it might have made a bit more than that.
Never mind, Adam. Some lucky buyer got a two-for-one deal
at a compact price too!
Definitely Germany's a great source of vintage cameras.
They have fantastic engineering in everything they produced, I think.
And, of course, the most famous name in cameras, the Leica cameras,
were also German manufacturing.
While Germany can boast first-class modern optics,
James Lewis found a French gem
from three centuries earlier that was just as ingenious.
when he was working in Paris in the late 17th century,
around 1680, 1690,
invented the Butterfield dial,
and that is what we have here.
The idea is that we have this little section here called the gnomon,
which works in the same way as a sundial.
You lift that up,
so that it points directly into the air at a right angle.
And you use the compass
to point it in the right direction
and you will see that it casts a shadow over the time.
But this isn't a piece of equipment
that you could have travelled around with,
because the angle of the gnomon here
is particular to the angle of longitude
of the town you are in.
The lovely thing also is it's in its original fitted case.
Have you never taken it out?
-I've never taken it out.
If that had been in my home
I think it would have been just about the first thing
that I would have done is to open the case,
take it out, look underneath, but I'm always fiddling with things.
Simon Beauvais, maker.
So some time...
probably 300 years ago approximately,
Simon Beauvais was sitting in his little workshop
I thought "Simon Beauvais?!" Never heard of him. Never heard of him.
So I thought, "I'll look him up online." Couldn't find anything.
Looked in the clocks and watches reference books,
couldn't find anything,
So he just can't have been a very prolific maker,
he obviously just made the odd thing.
If he made more, they're not recorded.
It's worth 300-500.
-It's a good little thing.
-It's a lovely little thing!
James and I thought this was just so beautiful
we didn't care if it wasn't by a renowned European watchmaker.
We did care that neither of us could buy it.
If the rules weren't that we can't bid on these things...
I'd be bidding against you.
..it would be us two fighting over it!
-Here we go.
-The little Butterfield brass pocket sundial.
Will you start me at 300?
200? 200 bid.
Any advance on 380?
-400, back in.
-Yeah, come on.
At £400. Any advance on 400?
All done at 400? 400...
£400, it's gone.
The precision of the sundial was clear,
but sometimes the attraction of the piece is less obvious.
Philip came across a painting from Europe
that wasn't quite what it seemed.
-Lisa, this is just absolutely lovely.
-I've always liked it.
-So this is a painting?
-I think so, yes.
-It is and it isn't.
Because, it's a porcelain plaque.
So let's just move that over there.
So, now, we have here this really wonderful, 19th-century
painting on a porcelain panel,
and it's of a young girl,
looking quite wistful with this landscape beyond.
'The thing about that plaque was, anyone can paint a face,'
anyone can paint eyes, look at the hands and feet.
I want you to have a look at that girl's
fingers and her fingernails - that's painting.
The mark we're looking for is KPM,
and that's the sceptre mark you can just see
-impressed into the porcelain.
And that is the best.
It's the King's Porcelain Manufactury - KPM.
Actually, it isn't really that, that's the sort of English version,
but I can't pronounce the real one.
They just produced the finest quality porcelain plaques.
If this were to make £100-£200 at auction that would be good?
No, I wouldn't sell it for that.
I'd rather keep it, because it's more sentimental value.
What about the sort of 300-500? Is that getting close to the mark?
You're absolutely right, cos I think at auction
you could estimate it at probably £1,200-£1,800.
What I want to know is, if this makes £2,000,
Selena, what are you going to spend the money on?
Is that a definite horse?
-Or a maid...
-Or a maid?
..or a day out shopping in New York.
A day out shopping in New York?
-So you don't want much, really, do you?
'I'm with Selena'
part of the way, you know.
Horse - not really for me.
Trip to New York - sounds great!
And a maid? Well, I'm not going to go there.
is the very beautiful 19th-century KPM porcelain plaque.
What may I say for that to start? What do we say?
About £1,500 to start me?
£1,500 to put me in?
1,500 may I say? 1,500 with Mervyn.
1,600 at the back.
1,700 with Mervyn. 1,800 in the room.
'It certainly seemed as if Selena would get one of her three wishes.'
2,800, still there at 2,800 in the room.
This is great, they absolutely love it.
3,000 bid. 3,100?
At £3,000 in the room.
Last call against you selling at £3,000 then...
Bang, that hammer's gone down! £3,000!
Whenever you pick up a porcelain plaque
and it smells quality at you, you're always hoping
when you turn it over you've got that impressed KPM,
because that just adds the Gold Seal, that's the standard,
and they're quality things, they're a quality item,
so you don't see them every day.
But it does make your heart skip a beat when you do see one.
KPM stands for Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, by the way.
And that painting was a very unusual example
of European fine art at its best.
When we talk of Europe we think about the countries
we've seen so far, but what about the vast territory
that straddles both Europe and Asia,
and which is attracting growing attention
from collectors and dealers alike?
You've probably heard of Carl Faberge,
who designed jewellery for the Russian royal family.
Well, he had a lesser-known competitor whose works
also made it to these shores more than a century ago.
Works like this cutlery set, spotted by Charlie Ross.
-We've got a name on here, haven't we? Marchak.
What can you tell me about that?
I gather that he was known as the Cartier of Kiev.
I love that expression! He was the Cartier of Kiev.
And I'm told also that Marchak made cutlery for the Tsar.
-So he was the business, really.
Yes, so he was high-class.
If you happen to be
of a certain standing, social standing, economic standing,
you want something made, you want it made by the best.
And if not the best, certainly the second best.
You don't want it just knocked out.
You want to say to people round the dining table,
"This was made by Marchak."
And this one here?
What a marvellous question. Caviar, you'd have to be...
I think that one possibly for caviar.
You'd have to be a multi-billionaire to use
-that one for caviar.
-I just wondered about that.
I've had a chat with a colleague, and we think £800-£1200
is a sensible estimate,
but to be absolutely certain,
I'm going to ring up Kate Bateman, and ask her to do
a little bit more research so that we don't get it wrong.
There is a chance that we've undervalued,
-so at the moment it's 800-1200, reserve 800, with discretion.
Thank you for bringing in such an interesting piece of history.
Thank you very much indeed.
What did Kate's detective work undercover?
Marchak are still going, so we contacted Marchak
and they got quite interested and said there's no record of this,
but they fled the revolution themselves and moved to Paris,
so they lost quite a lot of their records.
Clearly, it's solid silver, it was made for somebody
who had some money and was influential
and liked to show off their wealth.
Whether or not that was somebody connected to the Royal family
is very hard to prove.
The mystery continued.
Many of today's Russians are keen to reclaim
their pre-revolutionary heritage,
so, when it came to auction, would they gamble on a royal connection?
Let's start at £1,000.
Straight in. 1,100 here.
At 1,100, 1,200. 1,300.
'It went right through the top estimate,
'so clearly the bidders weren't playing Russian roulette.#
(My valuation was wrong.)
'The under-bidder, I knew, was Russian.'
I had spoken to her before the sale.
She had rather pooh-poohed it,
whether she was trying to pull the wool over my eyes
I don't know. She'd said,
"This isn't the quality I was expecting, etc, etc,
"I'm not really interested,"
then proceeded to sit in the back of the room and bid her socks off!
I was a bit surprised by that.
At 7,200, you sure you're finished?
At 7,200, one last chance to think about it, madam.
At £7,200 on the phone, done at 7,200...
At 7 ,500. 7,600.
Down here at 7,600.
This is what auctions are all about, when it goes like this.
-You just can't beat it.
Goes then at £7,600...
-Thank you very much.
-Thanks ever so much.
But did it go back to Russia?
It was a local person who was looking for things to buy
as an investment, and just thought that that might be a good investment,
and I think probably right.
There's a finite amount of Faberge and Cartier,
and when these things come on the market
they tend to be only available to the deepest pockets.
So, go for Marchak.
A full set will be beyond most of us,
but if you chance upon even a single piece by Joseph Marchak,
the Cartier of Kiev, you'll have found some real Russian quality.
So, what's in a name? We're familiar on Flog It
with many of Europe's classic makers, and each country
has its own unique artistic heritage,
so delve a little deeper -
there's a wealth of lesser-known treasure to be found.
Petty cameras are perfect entry-level cameras,
but if you're into serious makers look for German engineering
brilliance with names like Zeiss and Leica,
and check your attic.
This long overlooked Leica Lexus I sold in 2012
for a massive £600,000.
But if you simply fall in love with something particular to an area,
you can overlook the name and enjoy it for what it is -
fantastic European craftsmanship.
Now it's often the case that some of the visitors
to our valuation day know more about their item than we do,
and that's certainly the case for Christine,
a regular to the valuation days up in the North of England.
She had a lot to tell Kate Bliss this about a very interesting
pair of French brooches back in 2006.
What have we got here?
We've got some plastic jewellery.
I love plastic jewellery, plastic brooches.
-But these are by a very special lady, Lea Stein .
-And what do you know about Lea Stein?
-Only that she was from Paris.
-Her husband worked in plastics, and she experimented,
I think magically, with the colours
and the effects that only plastic can give you.
In fact, when she was working from the '60s to the '80s
she was very little known outside Paris
and it's only recently that she's gained really
international recognition as a jewellery designer.
Lea Stein brooches I do collect, I collect other brooches, too,
but they're not my real passion.
And I would say these ought to be anywhere between
-£20 and £40 each at auction.
So, if you're happy with that, we'll put them in
with that estimate and hope that we've got a real collector
there like yourself prepared to give a good price.
Yes. I'd like that.
I wanted to spend the money on my greatest passion,
which is novelty salt and pepper pots, or cruets,
as I prefer to call them.
The Lea Stein Paris plastic
brooches in the form of cats, rather pretty. What am I bid on these?
20 to open? 20 I'm bid, and five.
-Yes, there's interest here, Kate.
And five. 40. And five. 50.
At 50, and five.
At £55. Are we all finished?
At £55 then, first and last time...
Yes, great result. There are cat lovers here.
I have now got, as of this week, 3,005,
and they're displayed all over the house.
You've got sea life and seaside in the bathroom,
the kitchen is mostly food-based.
I've got storybook characters, I've got pixies and elves.
I've got a farmyard on here.
And, not on display, in here,
are Christmas ones.
I love them because of their immense variety.
Their colours, the feel of them, their smallness,
and it gives you something to look for when you're out and about.
I can go to flea markets, zip round the room, really,
cos I'm only looking for things with holes in their heads.
Some of them seem to have distinct personalities.
How about this one here?
I brought him from over there, actually,
because he's in a storybook.
He's very realistic and he's absolutely beautiful,
and it's so nice being surrounded by all these little people.
The cruets aren't for sale
because I just love collecting them, amassing them, really.
I'm quite proud of the number I've got.
And they're all listed in a book. I can't sell one.
It would leave a gap in the list.
Well, that's the best thing about collecting -
it's a never-ending progress. You sell something, you buy something.
But, remember, always trade upwards.
And if you've got something you want to sell,
bring it along to one of our valuation days.
Well, that's it for today. Join us again soon for more Trade Secrets.
This episode is dedicated to all things European, and features items that range from classic continental finds to lesser-known delights.
Flog It! regulars Caroline Hawley and Christina Trevanion cross the channel to indulge in a bit of antique shopping in France, and presenter Paul Martin explores the story behind a breathtaking Dali painting.