Handmade Flog It: Trade Secrets


Handmade

Antiques series. Paul Martin examines the philosophy behind Shaker furniture, and Thomas Plant reveals a close family connection with an eccentric 19th century potter.


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Transcript


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For well over a decade now, Flog It! has offered you

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the chance to have your antiques and collectables valued

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and sold in auction rooms all over the British Isles,

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and sometimes for a great deal of money.

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And during that time, we have all learned a great deal about the world

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of fine art and antiques that we, as a nation, cannot get enough of.

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So today, I want to share some of that knowledge with you.

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So stand by to hear some more trade secrets.

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For me, craftsmanship is the central part

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of the appeal of any piece of fine art.

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Now, until relatively recently, everything was made

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by hand - furniture, porcelain, jewellery.

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So today, we are celebrating all the handmade items

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that light up the Flog It! valuation days.

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Coming up...

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a meeting of minds at valuation day...

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I absolutely love this wonderful, big pot.

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Oh, that makes two of us.

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..Caroline is caught out by a talented amateur...

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I was very surprised when I was told that these were handmade,

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because they are beautifully made.

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..a rare pair of handmade treats smashes our estimate...

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£2,600!

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-Even I am sitting down now.

-Absolutely amazing!

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..and can you guess which of our experts heads back home

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to explore great craftsmanship near his birthplace?

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Now, I don't suppose for one minute that the unknown maker

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of this leather blackjack, which dates to around 1690,

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had any idea that today this would be worth around £1,000.

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But it is, it is a hardy survivor.

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This was meant to be used, abused really, filled up with ale or wine.

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And there's the spout. Look, there is the handle.

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Pour it away. Look, use it for a few months and chuck it.

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It is a relevance that it was made by an amateur.

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But is that always the case?

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If it is unsigned, go for some nice, early naive work.

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I think if you're looking for something that is handmade,

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you are looking for a truth and honesty of its design.

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You're looking for something of its period.

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But also always look for quality.

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It could be a carved bit of wood, it could be a carved bit of marble.

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And you are actually thinking in your head,

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"You couldn't actually get that made

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"or even buy the materials for what it would cost to make now by hand."

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You'll find quality in all types of handmade items -

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in professional pieces, of course, but also an amateur works.

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Well, here we are in Lincolnshire,

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and what better thing to fly in than these two iconic World War II

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planes, which look as if they could be just flying into one

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of the dozens of airfields that were around here in the Second World War.

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I don't know the models. Can you tell me a bit about them?

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Well, I presume this is the... this is the Spitfire.

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And then I have been told that it is the Mosquito.

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I was very surprised when I was told that these were handmade,

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because they are beautifully made.

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They really are. And somebody spent an awful long time on them

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in his shed. I think it was

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Ken's grandfather who made them in his shed.

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Well, they have come into the family from my grandad,

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who worked in the railway yard at Doncaster.

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He was quite a handy sort of chap.

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Yes. And he'd make old model planes, cos he had a workshop.

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And it got me to... As a boy, used to make model planes.

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So you think he made these?

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Well, we think so, yeah.

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You know, they are very, very indicative of that period.

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You could almost see the guy in his shed making them, you know,

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watching the planes go overhead.

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It's naively made.

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And this one, the detail in this.

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You can see underneath the work that has gone into it.

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He must've been very proud of them.

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And they are working models, aren't they?

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-The propellers go around.

-Well, yeah.

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I could tell they were handmade when I looked more closely at them.

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There was no uniformity in them. There were differences.

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But they were very, very beautiful things, though.

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There is a lot of people that are interested in World War II

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memorabilia. There are a lot of people interested in planes.

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I think they could get £40 to £60.

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And if we put a fixed reserve at £40

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-and hope that they fly.

-That's right, yes.

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Fingers crossed. Anyway, they are going under the hammer right now.

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Let's put it to the test.

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£30 bid. Two now. Making it two.

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It's two. And five.

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Anywhere else, now five. 35? 38? 38 bid, 40 do I see now?

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38, going to bed 40 surely.

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40. Selling at 40.

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£40, it's sold, the hammer has gone down.

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£40 was a very, very cheap price for these airplanes. It really was.

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It seems such a shame.

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Somebody has spent an awful long time making these.

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As always, a known maker, a known artist makes all the difference.

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To my mind, it doesn't matter who has made them,

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it is the fact that they have been lovingly and carefully handcrafted.

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Love and care is evident in the work of enthusiastic hobbyists.

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-Is it a hobby or a profession?

-No, it's a hobby.

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You can't make money at it.

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And in pieces designed back

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when craft was a more mainstream activity.

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So this will fit into sort of a large Victorian house.

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It will also fit in to a small cottage.

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If you're going to look at one area that is quite interesting, that

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has got a lot of different regions to study and can fetch good money -

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19th-century American quilts.

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Beautiful, handmade social history, but quite valuable.

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One such quilt crossed the Atlantic to the Cotswolds,

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the home of Arts and Crafts.

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Once there, it caught the eye of Charlie Ross.

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Well, this quilt came from the United States.

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-Right, as indeed you do.

-Yes, as indeed I do.

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-I am from Boston.

-Right.

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The quilt is from Pennsylvania.

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It was made in about 1880.

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It recently hung in an American quilt exhibit back in Georgia.

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I liked the quilt. It appealed to me.

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And part of me wanted to know more about it.

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-The pattern is called 1,000 Pyramids.

-1,000 Pyramids.

-Right.

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-There's probably more than a thousand pyramids.

-Not quite.

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-But there's a lot. There are only a few that repeat.

-Yeah.

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So if none repeated, it will be called a charm quilt.

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But since there are a few that repeat, it's just called a scrappy quilt.

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-Good Lord, we are learning a lot here.

-There you go.

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She had a passion for quilts.

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She had - although she repeated it rather sort of ashamed,

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because she didn't want her husband to know - over 50 quilts.

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-We moved into an English house with no closets.

-Yeah.

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So I'm thinking I'm need to pare back on some of my quilt collection.

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-Right.

-So I brought this along with me.

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It's hugely enjoyable to get somebody...

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and unusual to get somebody along to Flog It!

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that knows considerably more about something than you do yourself.

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You might say in my case that is not rare at all.

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Just to cut out the pieces to do it would take several days.

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And then sewing each one of these by hand,

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you're talking several weeks.

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-I bought it at an estate sale.

-Yeah.

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And there was a piece of paper stitched to it loosely, and it said,

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"Made by Aunt Meg for my nephew."

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A quilt made by me would not be worth anything at all.

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A quilt particularly stitched as this was,

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that has a splendid charm to it.

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I can't imagine that it is worth much less than £100 to £150.

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If we estimated it at that, perhaps a reserve of £80?

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-That will be fine.

-Would that be satisfactory?

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Was it hard to choose one to get rid of first or do you think this

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-is your worst one you're selling?

-No.

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I have another one that is similar to this.

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-All right, so you have got a double.

-Yeah.

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And so I sort of thought, well, if I was going to thin the herd,

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-that I would pick one that I already had.

-That's sensible.

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-You're sounding like a proper collector.

-Thank you.

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Let's hope you get the top end.

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-It's going under the hammer now.

-OK.

-This is it.

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203, American patchwork quilt.

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1,000 Pyramids pattern.

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At 110, who's going on? 120.

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-130. At 130 again.

-Great.

-Oh!

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At 130 then against you.

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Selling then at 130...

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Yes! The hammer has gone down with a boom.

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Apart from its value as an object,

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if you actually

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put down the price per hour, it's a jolly cheap thing.

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Yes, a fantastic bargain

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and an amazing piece of heritage for the lucky bidder.

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Handmade objects do involve hours of great skill and offer

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something unique, like this walking cane Mark Stacey spotted in 2010.

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We've got here what I think is a piece of fruit wood.

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So it's come from like a walnut tree or an apple tree

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or something like that, a pear tree

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that somebody first of all has carved out and then has started...

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Once he's got it down to a particular shape,

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he has then started to carve all these little details out.

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The quality was exceptional.

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I mean, there was so many things going on in this cane.

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I mean, I love the fact also, as soon as you've touched it,

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you knew there was 150 years of history there,

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because the warmth of the wood...

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There had been so many greasy paws all over that.

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It had added that lovely warmth, the patina, it was wonderful.

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I think this is a love token.

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Oh, do you?

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I think somebody in the 19th century wanted to create something

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interesting for a loved one.

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This, I think, is absolutely charming.

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This little polyagonal design here.

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Because in each of these, there is a little leaf

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of a different animal.

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The one I find that is particularly charming is the squirrel.

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We've got these entwined hands there.

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And then all the way down here,

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they have done a spiral twist with this lovely decoration of hops.

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When you are looking at items like this,

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they are sometimes very symbolic.

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You know, you find hearts, pairs of birds, snakes.

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All these are symbolic of love, longevity.

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And sometimes, you know, we don't know the meeting, because maybe

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they're items carved and they were very specific to that person.

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-I'd certainly want to put it in at £100 to £150.

-Yes? Oh, lovely.

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I love this next item. And they say you can tell a man's

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profession by his walking cane, and this is just absolutely gorgeous.

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We know there is an awful lot of collectors out there

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for walking canes and that sort of thing.

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Big market, very big market.

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They will like this. Yes, they will like it a lot.

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The wooden cane we are on to now. This is fun.

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300.

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With me at £300. Against you in the room.

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£300, Lydia!

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At £300, commission bid.

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Are we all out and clear? I sell?

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Thank you. £300, excellent.

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This is a one-off piece. It was exquisitely carved.

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That will appeal to collectors.

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Generally, though, anything from this period

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with that quality of carving will be desirable.

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Symbolism features often in handmade items.

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The maker of this cane could have crafted it for a sweetheart,

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just as sailors used to spend long periods at sea,

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fashioning scrimshaw for their loved ones back on dry land.

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You've brought a lovely piece of scrimshaw in here.

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What is the story behind this?

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I don't know a lot about it.

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-It was in the house ever since I was very small.

-Uh-huh.

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That's really how it got there. Who brought it? I do not know.

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Scrimshaw is quite an interesting art,

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because it is quite a naive form of craftsmanship.

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But also it is, by definition, quite a refined

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and painstaking way of decorating either whales

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or walruses' teeth or possibly sometimes bone.

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It is thought to have been primarily sailors who would undertake

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this form of craft using knives or needles

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to scratch away at the surface and to actually make the design up.

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Normally, they represent the... Why don't I just turn that over?

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The ship that they were serving on.

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And there it is, a nice masted galleon there with billowing sails.

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I mean, sailors did a lot of different craftsmanship,

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from weaving through to quite exquisite embroidery and needlework,

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so to extend their ability to engraving is kind of really

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not that unusual.

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And they spent hours and days and weeks and months at sea.

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They had to fill it in some way.

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Now, if that ship were traceable

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or if it were known as to where that sailed, who might have

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sailed on it, that would potentially add value to the piece itself.

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The more detailed, the better.

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The more skilful the artist, the better.

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But if something is either named or indeed dated

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and to give it sort of a real root back in history

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and a degree of provenance that goes with it is helpful.

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I think, date-wise, it is going to be probably mid 19th century.

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You can't get much scrimshaw for 100 150, so shall we say 200 to 400?

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-Yes.

-Put a reserve on at £200.

-Yes.

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-Make that firm?

-Yes.

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Thank you for coming in today and bringing it.

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-No problem, I enjoyed it.

-We'll see what we can do at the auction.

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There we go, a very nice piece of scrimshaw.

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And a lot of interest in it.

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-At 300. 320. From Australia.

-Oh!

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They are an international collectable.

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It crosses all sorts of barriers, potentially,

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in terms of appreciation.

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At 440, net bidder had it. Any more bids from the room?

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We sell then to Australia at 440.

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It is just a fascinating thing that the word scrimshaw will be picked up

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on a word search, and somebody as far away as Australia chased it down

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and succeeded in buying it, which is wonderful.

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Scrimshaw may be highly collectable, but it is also easily faked,

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so do your homework to make sure yours is genuine.

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And like ivory, it is controversial.

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But it is perfectly legal to buy or sell if it dates

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before 1973.

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Scrimshaw was generally created by talented amateurs

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with time to spare,

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as was a wonderfully unusual item that Mark spotted in 2012.

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Now, you have brought this charming little object in.

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Can you give me a little bit of the history of it?

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It has been in the family, so I have lived with it all my life.

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It was worked by a relation of my father's.

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-Oh, wow. So it has come right through your family.

-Yes.

-Wonderful.

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This type of wool work pictures is remarkably rare these days.

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I mean, I loved it because it was so 3-D

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and the colours were beautiful on it.

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It almost hadn't aged at all.

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The nice thing with something like this is you don't have to do

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too much research on it, because the main information

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-is already there, isn't it?

-That's right.

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You've got the name - Mary Ann Lawrence.

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And the date - 1837.

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-And she was aged 13...

-I know.

-..when she did this.

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Now, you wouldn't get many 13-year-olds today doing such

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-lovely handwork, would you?

-No.

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Condition for this sort of thing is everything.

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And this really was in remarkably good condition.

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The colours were strong.

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I loved those strawberries tumbling out of the bowl,

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it was just wonderful. I would have loved it.

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What we have got here is something a little bit out of the ordinary.

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This 3-D effect.

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She has worked this lovely wicker basket in sort of felt, I think.

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And then she has hand sewn and handmade these lovely little

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strawberries, including the little seeds and the leaves.

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And they are tumbling off there. You've got wildflowers.

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-And it must have taken hours of work, mustn't it?

-Absolutely, yes.

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And patience.

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The beauty of this is the naivety.

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This is a handmade item from a lady of leisure, really,

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who had time before television and radio to sit there sewing.

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It transported me back to a Jane Austen novel.

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In an ideal world, I think, if we want to show that

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it's from a private source,

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we would want to put an estimate of something like 300 to 500.

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-Would you be happy with that?

-Yes.

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So we put a fixed reserve of 300?

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Hopefully, that will bring in all those buyers.

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Jane was so confident about the colourful wool work

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that she upped the estimate.

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But would the bidders agree?

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Going under the hammer right now, my favourite item of the whole

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valuation day - the strawberry wool work diorama.

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There it is - pretty and unusual thing.

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And I bid £410 for it.

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Against you all at 410.

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All done then at 520?

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Finished at 520?

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-It's gone at £520.

-Mid-estimate.

0:17:560:17:59

Well, that's OK, that's OK.

0:17:590:18:01

-Hopefully, a museum has bought it.

-Yeah, you never know.

0:18:010:18:04

-Yes, that'd be nice.

-It would be, wouldn't it?

-Yes.

0:18:040:18:07

This would have gone to a specialist dealer or collector

0:18:070:18:11

in that type of folk art.

0:18:110:18:13

I would associate that, of course, with a sort of naive painting.

0:18:130:18:17

It would look lovely in a room

0:18:170:18:19

full of Georgian-period oak furniture.

0:18:190:18:21

I agree, and I'd be happy to have it in my home.

0:18:210:18:25

Some handmade items can be rough and ready,

0:18:250:18:28

but this needn't detract from their appeal.

0:18:280:18:31

Hours of work, pride and passion have gone into their making,

0:18:310:18:35

so they represent great value.

0:18:350:18:37

In some cases, you can pick up an antique piece for less than new.

0:18:370:18:41

Handmade textiles are a popular collectable, not surprising,

0:18:410:18:46

as they are often the result of great skill.

0:18:460:18:49

But be sure to keep them in the best conditions, away from moths

0:18:490:18:53

and potentially damaging sunlight.

0:18:530:18:56

Scrimshaw is highly sought after,

0:18:570:18:59

but if it is suspiciously cheap, it is probably fake.

0:18:590:19:02

Good authentic pieces command great prices.

0:19:020:19:05

In 2012, this cane, dating back two centuries,

0:19:050:19:09

sold at auction for a whopping £46,000.

0:19:090:19:14

The owner had stored it on top of a cupboard for 60 years.

0:19:140:19:18

So what else is worth considering?

0:19:180:19:20

I think one of the most important things is to keep your eyes open

0:19:220:19:25

for antiques of the future.

0:19:250:19:27

Now, if you know a local maker producing quality items

0:19:270:19:31

that you think will stand the test of time, then why not invest?

0:19:310:19:36

At the end of the day, if it doesn't go up in value, at least you

0:19:360:19:39

have bought something that you love and it has put a smile on your face.

0:19:390:19:43

It's going to make you feel good, and that is what it is all about.

0:19:430:19:46

Here at the American Museum in Bath is one of the best collections

0:19:490:19:52

of original Shaker furniture in the world.

0:19:520:19:56

The Shakers were a religious community in 18th-century America.

0:19:580:20:02

They believed in order, simplicity, sharing and no clutter.

0:20:020:20:06

And their furniture became symbolic of their faith.

0:20:060:20:10

Shaker designs sprang from a religious philosophy

0:20:130:20:16

that rejected the values of the world at large,

0:20:160:20:19

a world that was deliberately set apart from everyday American

0:20:190:20:23

life during the late 18th and early 19th century.

0:20:230:20:27

And this is what I am talking about - the simplest

0:20:290:20:32

and purest of furniture you will ever find, and it is so practical.

0:20:320:20:36

Every time I look at Shaker furniture, it always makes me smile.

0:20:360:20:40

Life is so simple when you declutter.

0:20:400:20:43

And the Shaker belief was all about sharing things.

0:20:430:20:46

You couldn't have clutter, else you would never find anything.

0:20:460:20:49

Because they had to share their tools, their utensils,

0:20:490:20:52

their blankets, absolutely anything.

0:20:520:20:54

And when you look at the furniture, you'll never see

0:20:540:20:57

a piece of Shaker furniture that has been identified by its maker.

0:20:570:21:00

You see, they didn't want to know, they didn't want single

0:21:000:21:02

ownership of that either.

0:21:020:21:04

Mixture of words were used,

0:21:040:21:06

all highly coloured and polished as well.

0:21:060:21:09

This is a cherry wood top. They loved fruit woods

0:21:090:21:12

but also hardwoods - actually some maples - and lots of softwoods.

0:21:120:21:15

You will find softwoods always in the pine carcass.

0:21:150:21:18

It is sort of a lightweight, cheap wood.

0:21:180:21:20

It is a bit like a soapbox, really, but no-one looks at the inside.

0:21:200:21:24

But just looking at the simple banks of drawers,

0:21:240:21:27

there is absolutely no ornamentation.

0:21:270:21:31

There is no need for decoration.

0:21:310:21:33

It sort of takes the eye off of what the whole thing was supposed

0:21:330:21:36

to be about in the first place.

0:21:360:21:38

This is very humble.

0:21:380:21:39

But when you take a closer look at this chest of drawers,

0:21:390:21:42

you think, "Hang on, look at the overhang on the top."

0:21:420:21:45

I've never seen an English or European

0:21:450:21:47

chest of drawers like this, with such generous overhangs.

0:21:470:21:50

You see, now, this also doubles up as a counter, as a tabletop.

0:21:500:21:54

Very functional, very practical.

0:21:540:21:57

And somebody has been using this as a worktop,

0:21:570:22:00

because can you see all these draw knife marks?

0:22:000:22:02

There is an indication of an awful lot of work going on here,

0:22:020:22:05

which is great, because that is what it was meant to be used for.

0:22:050:22:08

And also, it has got a drop-leaf section here,

0:22:080:22:10

so you can fold that flap down and move the thing

0:22:100:22:13

back against the wall, get it out of the way, declutter again.

0:22:130:22:17

Cleanliness was next to godliness here.

0:22:170:22:19

# I love Mother... #

0:22:190:22:21

The Shakers strove to lead pure and simple lives,

0:22:210:22:24

and their furniture reflects this.

0:22:240:22:26

This simple and elegant designs were way ahead of their time,

0:22:260:22:29

and almost by accident, they became art objects.

0:22:290:22:32

# May have his throne

0:22:320:22:34

# And the miser, his gold

0:22:340:22:37

# The monarch, his palace

0:22:370:22:40

# And the princes

0:22:400:22:44

# I covet none of this

0:22:440:22:47

# For I the gospel call. #

0:22:470:22:49

Take a close look at the picture rail,

0:22:490:22:51

because you've got these hand-turned pegs which have been

0:22:510:22:54

driven into this wood, which has been painted with a blue ground.

0:22:540:22:58

But the great thing about this is,

0:22:580:23:00

you don't just hang your clothes on it or your tools,

0:23:000:23:05

but when you've finished using a piece of furniture

0:23:050:23:08

and space is of a premium,

0:23:080:23:10

you can pick your piece of furniture up

0:23:100:23:13

and you can hang it out of the way.

0:23:130:23:17

You see, they were always in the pursuit of perfection,

0:23:170:23:20

improving things, moving along. A simple thing like this stove.

0:23:200:23:24

OK, it is a very basic wood burner.

0:23:240:23:27

Here is the hub of the burner.

0:23:270:23:29

But also it has got an extension on the top. As this heats up

0:23:290:23:32

all day long, so does that.

0:23:320:23:33

So that is going to give off twice as much heat again.

0:23:330:23:36

You see, it's genius, isn't it?

0:23:360:23:39

And I love this as well - the old rocker.

0:23:390:23:41

And this is so typical of a ladder-back chair.

0:23:410:23:44

It looks like an English one -

0:23:440:23:45

ladder-back here with the rush seat.

0:23:450:23:47

But what sets it apart is the fact that it is an American one and

0:23:470:23:50

it has got these lovely mushrooms terminating at the top of each leg

0:23:500:23:54

where it joins the... I love that. And that is so comfortable,

0:23:540:23:57

you just want to hang on to that and caress it.

0:23:570:24:00

But this I have to show you, because Shaker furniture hasn't just

0:24:000:24:04

influenced furniture designers, but all designers of the 20th century.

0:24:040:24:07

If I hold that up, that does look like a bit of Philippe Starck,

0:24:070:24:11

doesn't it? Let's face it.

0:24:110:24:13

But it is just the simpleness, it's just...

0:24:130:24:15

You don't need a lot of weight there -

0:24:150:24:18

it's just a functional little side table or candle stand.

0:24:180:24:22

Beautifully symmetrical. And again, so pleasing on the eye.

0:24:220:24:26

# For I the gospel call

0:24:270:24:30

# And a kind, loving mother

0:24:300:24:34

# Which is better than them all

0:24:340:24:38

# The king may have his throne

0:24:380:24:42

# And the miser, his gold

0:24:420:24:45

# The monarch, his palace

0:24:450:24:48

# And the princes... #

0:24:480:24:50

I would love to live my life in a space like this,

0:24:500:24:54

because I know I would be on top of everything and, you know,

0:24:540:24:57

I'd have more time to read and more time to think

0:24:570:25:00

and I'd be a happier person.

0:25:000:25:02

That is what Shaker furniture does for you.

0:25:020:25:04

# Which is better than them all. #

0:25:040:25:08

Thomas Plant is a man who loves to look at all the beautiful

0:25:120:25:15

antiques you bring to our valuation days,

0:25:150:25:18

but he is also a collector of some rather mutual handmade objects.

0:25:180:25:22

These are pilgrim shells.

0:25:290:25:30

They're carved mother of pearl with scenes from the Bible.

0:25:300:25:36

They are carved in the Holy Land - Palestine or Israel.

0:25:360:25:39

As you go on a pilgrimage, you want to bring something back.

0:25:390:25:43

And these are souvenirs.

0:25:430:25:45

But you can buy these souvenirs now or you could have bought them

0:25:450:25:48

in the 19th century, bought them in the 18th century.

0:25:480:25:51

The reason why I like them and why I want to collect them is not

0:25:510:25:55

that I'm over religious, not that I'm religious at all.

0:25:550:25:58

But I find that anything with religion

0:25:580:26:01

associated to it

0:26:010:26:02

is going to have a deeper sense of thought put into it.

0:26:020:26:07

The applied design, the workmanship,

0:26:070:26:10

the craftsmanship is going to have that extra bit of love.

0:26:100:26:14

We have scenes of the Madonna, Jesus and Joseph,

0:26:140:26:20

scenes of St Andrew with his cross and the Last Supper.

0:26:200:26:25

The man or woman who has carved these has used many tools.

0:26:260:26:30

He has probably used a sharp blade or a small chisel to carve out

0:26:300:26:33

the faces of the Last Supper.

0:26:330:26:36

Down below, he has used a file to do this beautiful pierced design

0:26:360:26:41

and then a smaller tool to do the frieze around the rim.

0:26:410:26:46

Now, the substance they are carved out of, mother of pearl,

0:26:460:26:51

gives it that certain extra something,

0:26:510:26:54

because it makes them shimmer.

0:26:540:26:56

Earlier examples are painted as well.

0:26:570:27:02

And you can get massive ones with different scenes

0:27:020:27:06

from all scenes of the Bible. They are sometimes cased in leather.

0:27:060:27:09

But they're like 500 quid.

0:27:090:27:12

Each one of these is reasonable at £50 to £80 each.

0:27:120:27:15

Everything starts with the patronage of the church

0:27:150:27:19

or of a religion.

0:27:190:27:21

And I feel that the people who have carved these have devoted time,

0:27:210:27:25

effort and quality into them.

0:27:250:27:28

And I really enjoy them.

0:27:280:27:29

Still to come, James is blown away

0:27:350:27:38

by British craftsmanship at its best.

0:27:380:27:40

No, no, no, this isn't an everyday scent bottle you have.

0:27:400:27:44

Just look at the quality there of these individually

0:27:440:27:48

hand-cut flower heads.

0:27:480:27:50

And Mark explains his appreciation for one piece

0:27:500:27:53

of handmade porcelain.

0:27:530:27:56

To me, she appeals because she is a bit more of a one-off.

0:27:560:28:00

Many of the great names in British antiques have stayed true

0:28:030:28:06

to the art of making things by hand - hand-painted ceramics,

0:28:060:28:11

hand-carved stone, handmade furniture.

0:28:110:28:13

We see a lot of these items at a Flog It! valuation day.

0:28:130:28:18

But the ones that stand out are those with a great name attached.

0:28:180:28:22

Items made

0:28:220:28:24

by the studios, by artists and craftsmen

0:28:240:28:29

are more valuable in the market today

0:28:290:28:33

because each of these pieces is unique.

0:28:330:28:37

Names are better to collect because if you have got

0:28:380:28:41

somebody that is popular today rather than an amateur,

0:28:410:28:43

the likelihood is it will be collectable in the future.

0:28:430:28:46

So rather than an amateur...

0:28:460:28:49

It's a brave bet to take a chance on somebody who is an amateur now

0:28:490:28:53

getting better in the future,

0:28:530:28:55

but I would always say, go for big names.

0:28:550:28:57

Most people that have a skill and hand-make objects

0:28:570:29:02

are proud enough to put their name to the object.

0:29:020:29:05

One thinks perhaps of Robert Thompson - Mouseman -

0:29:050:29:08

who put a little mouse on his pieces of furniture.

0:29:080:29:10

So, of course, it helps to have a recognised name

0:29:100:29:14

to anything that's handmade.

0:29:140:29:15

I would suggest you have a look closely at mid-20th-century

0:29:180:29:21

studio pottery.

0:29:210:29:23

There's wonderful handmade pieces

0:29:230:29:24

that are just thrown on the potter's wheel.

0:29:240:29:27

And here is a brilliant example from 2011 -

0:29:270:29:30

studio pottery with a celebrated name.

0:29:300:29:33

It certainly got Anita fired up.

0:29:340:29:37

I absolutely love

0:29:380:29:41

this wonderful big pot.

0:29:410:29:43

-Oh, that makes two of us.

-Tell me, where did you get it?

0:29:430:29:48

It was a gift from my grandmother when she died

0:29:480:29:51

and it was left for me.

0:29:510:29:52

It is a big studio pot.

0:29:520:29:55

That means that it wasn't factory made or mass-produced -

0:29:550:29:59

it was produced in a small studio or workshop.

0:29:590:30:03

And every pot that they put out was an individual piece.

0:30:030:30:08

It is the studio of Charles Brannam.

0:30:080:30:11

Charles Brannam was one of the great potters of the late 19th,

0:30:120:30:17

early 20th century.

0:30:170:30:19

His father owned a pottery who made in the main utilitarian wares.

0:30:190:30:25

Very plain pots, household stuff, very boring stuff.

0:30:250:30:29

But Charles was an artistic child

0:30:290:30:33

and he persuaded his father to give him studio space.

0:30:330:30:38

When we look at the decoration here, we see these almost stylised fish.

0:30:380:30:44

They have made this pattern or this image by scraping out the clay

0:30:440:30:50

while it was still wet to make the lines which form up the pattern.

0:30:500:30:56

And this was very typical of this studio or workshop.

0:30:560:31:00

Individual studios would crop up where we had craftsmen

0:31:000:31:05

and artists rebelling against the mechanisation of the industrial age

0:31:050:31:11

and wanting to get back to the individual,

0:31:110:31:17

the skill and the craft of the individual.

0:31:170:31:21

And Charles Brannam's studio pottery was one of these,

0:31:210:31:26

and thank goodness for them

0:31:260:31:28

when we look at what they were making.

0:31:280:31:30

What did you like about it?

0:31:300:31:32

First of all, as you say, the feel and the colours.

0:31:320:31:35

As a child, I don't know, it was just so different.

0:31:350:31:38

-As a child, can you remember...?

-Yes, the fish.

0:31:380:31:41

And sometimes they would scowl at me.

0:31:410:31:44

-Yes.

-This one looks like a glaring fish, doesn't it?

0:31:440:31:49

Handmade objects have the life

0:31:490:31:53

breathed into them by the artist.

0:31:530:31:56

It's his thoughts going on to the object.

0:31:560:32:00

And for me, that is the essence

0:32:000:32:04

and the pinnacle of good work.

0:32:040:32:08

I would've put a value of between £100 and £200.

0:32:080:32:12

It is fairly low and fairly wide,

0:32:120:32:15

but I think a collector would be prepared to pay £100 for that.

0:32:150:32:21

I think it is certainly worth that.

0:32:210:32:23

But what did those in the saleroom think?

0:32:250:32:27

A lovely, large stoneware vase by Charles Brannam.

0:32:290:32:32

I've got two commission bids at 100, starts me straight in.

0:32:320:32:36

-Yes!

-Yes, that's good.

-Yes!

0:32:360:32:38

Ten will go. At 100. 110. 120.

0:32:380:32:43

130. 140. 190. 200.

0:32:430:32:47

-Yes, go.

-220.

0:32:470:32:49

-240. At £240.

-We'll take that.

0:32:490:32:53

At £240 for the last time...

0:32:530:32:57

Yes! £240. Somebody out there really wanted that.

0:32:570:33:02

Anita knew that the collectors would be interested in that piece

0:33:020:33:05

of Brannam pottery.

0:33:050:33:07

But does a good name always guarantee success?

0:33:070:33:10

Have a look at the vase here.

0:33:100:33:13

And here we go - CH Brannam of Barum.

0:33:130:33:16

-Good.

-And he has set up the part of the factory that

0:33:160:33:19

was in charge of doing this what we call sgraffito decoration.

0:33:190:33:23

I thought the vase was really boldly decorated,

0:33:230:33:26

so it really struck me as a strong design, strong colour.

0:33:260:33:30

Good strong bit of studio pottery.

0:33:300:33:33

I mean, I can sort of see that...

0:33:330:33:34

If it's a perfect piece, fetching at sort of between £150

0:33:340:33:38

and £250, that sort of level.

0:33:380:33:40

But because of the damage, I'm going to say to you...

0:33:400:33:43

Can I sort of tuck it at about £80 to £100?

0:33:430:33:46

Studio pottery is really driven by makers and designers.

0:33:460:33:50

So, did auctioneer Claire Rawle share Will's enthusiasm

0:33:500:33:54

for this damaged pot?

0:33:540:33:56

This is the Brannam Barum pottery vase,

0:33:590:34:02

designed by Frederick Brannam.

0:34:020:34:04

I think with Brannam,

0:34:040:34:06

you almost expect a bit of damage.

0:34:060:34:08

I do collect it myself, and you sort of accept the fact.

0:34:080:34:11

Start away here £45.

0:34:110:34:13

At 45. Do I see 50 anywhere? At 45 it is, then.

0:34:130:34:17

Come on.

0:34:170:34:19

You're sure? 45 with me, then.

0:34:190:34:21

No, that has to stay with me, ladies and gentlemen.

0:34:210:34:23

No, they were sitting on their hands.

0:34:230:34:25

Maybe all the locals have already got enough, I don't know.

0:34:250:34:28

A few years ago,

0:34:280:34:29

Brannam or Barum pottery was making a lot of money.

0:34:290:34:32

It is like a lot of things, it has dropped. And I wasn't sure

0:34:320:34:35

that the colour didn't put people off.

0:34:350:34:37

It is not a traditional colour for that factory.

0:34:370:34:40

What would Claire's advice be for Brannam collectors?

0:34:400:34:44

Go for the pieces that with the deeper colours - the deep blues,

0:34:440:34:49

the deep purples. This had the right decoration on it.

0:34:490:34:51

It had a fish on it, that is very popular.

0:34:510:34:54

But I think go for the darker colours.

0:34:540:34:56

The Brannam Pottery stopped producing in 2005.

0:34:560:35:00

When a factory has closed,

0:35:000:35:02

it obviously means they are not producing any more wares,

0:35:020:35:05

so in that instance, if there is a finite supply of something,

0:35:050:35:09

then of course, they're going to be more valuable than something

0:35:090:35:12

they are still making today.

0:35:120:35:14

But if Brannam is it your thing, what else is worth your vote?

0:35:140:35:18

Artists like Lucy Rie, Hans Coper, Shoji Hamada,

0:35:180:35:23

Bernard Leach, of course.

0:35:230:35:25

If you just learn those, you won't go far wrong.

0:35:250:35:27

Well, with studio pottery, there are some of the big names

0:35:270:35:31

that maybe some of the viewers would have heard of,

0:35:310:35:33

such as Bernard Leach, of course, everyone has heard of.

0:35:330:35:35

Alan Caiger-Smith, again, producing wares that are very collectable.

0:35:350:35:40

If you come across any with those stamped on the bottom, snap it up.

0:35:400:35:44

Rarity, name and design.

0:35:440:35:46

James Lewis was lucky to discover all three on a sunny day

0:35:460:35:49

back in 2010.

0:35:490:35:52

If you were a lady of some social standing

0:35:520:35:56

in the Edwardian period,

0:35:560:35:57

this is the sort of bottle that would have adorned

0:35:570:35:59

your dressing table, containing the finest French fragrances.

0:35:590:36:04

The engraving in this glass is just phenomenal.

0:36:040:36:07

It's just beautiful quality.

0:36:070:36:09

Stourbridge was at the heart of English glassmaking industry.

0:36:090:36:15

It is of wonderful quality.

0:36:150:36:18

And it is likely to be by a factory that became

0:36:180:36:21

known as Royal Brierley in 1919.

0:36:210:36:24

Just look at the quality there of these individually

0:36:240:36:28

hand-cut flower heads.

0:36:280:36:30

And the stylised leaves.

0:36:300:36:32

And the lovely quality of decoration all the way around.

0:36:320:36:36

It was wheel-engraved, so... And some of it was acid etch,

0:36:360:36:41

but these were engraved and then polished, so the piece would be

0:36:410:36:44

held against a grinding wheel and each piece polished out.

0:36:440:36:49

The work is fantastic.

0:36:490:36:51

Then you go to the cover.

0:36:510:36:53

This is known as repousse work, which is embossed

0:36:530:36:56

from one side to another.

0:36:560:36:58

There is a little button on the front. If we open that...

0:36:580:37:02

-It's quite tight.

-There we are.

0:37:020:37:03

Now, if you look at the underside,

0:37:030:37:05

the underside is the exact opposite of the decoration we see above.

0:37:050:37:09

So it has been hammered through rather than cast in a mould.

0:37:090:37:13

-Have you noticed the initials there?

-I noticed that, yeah.

0:37:130:37:17

-WG.

-Well, it is WC...

0:37:170:37:19

-Ah, WC.

-C?

0:37:190:37:21

-WC - William Cummins.

-All right.

0:37:210:37:25

Very nice silversmith from the early 20th century.

0:37:250:37:28

A piece like that would certainly take a decent period of time.

0:37:280:37:32

How quickly would it take? It depends how quick the workman was

0:37:320:37:36

and, I guess, whether he was being paid per hour or per piece.

0:37:360:37:40

An everyday silver-top scent bottle is worth £40 to £60,

0:37:400:37:45

-something like that.

-Yeah.

-This one...

0:37:450:37:49

I think is worth three or four times that.

0:37:490:37:52

-I think we ought to put 100 to 150 on it.

-Really?

0:37:520:37:55

I think it is very pretty. And do you know?

0:37:550:37:58

I would say that if it didn't make that 100, 150, just keep it,

0:37:580:38:01

it doesn't matter.

0:38:010:38:03

-I'd rather see it not sell.

-Oh, yeah.

0:38:030:38:05

Than see it sell for less than that.

0:38:050:38:07

One of the finest scent bottles that I have ever sold from this period

0:38:070:38:11

was by the great jeweller

0:38:110:38:14

from the Russian court, Carl Faberge.

0:38:140:38:17

Anything by the master Carl Faberge will fetch a premium.

0:38:170:38:21

In 2012, this wonderful gold-mounted smoky quartz perfume bottle

0:38:210:38:26

went for nearly £30,000.

0:38:260:38:29

We didn't expect to reach quite those heady heights, though.

0:38:290:38:33

This Stourbridge-style silver-mounted scent bottle.

0:38:360:38:40

Lots of interest in this. £100. On my right, at 100.

0:38:400:38:44

Anyone going on at £100?

0:38:440:38:48

-Quality always sells, doesn't it?

-It does.

0:38:480:38:51

I think £100 was a disappointing result.

0:38:510:38:55

Was I just over-optimistic?

0:38:570:38:58

Maybe I was just wrong.

0:39:000:39:01

Not to worry, James - some you win, some you lose.

0:39:030:39:06

At least the bidder got a real bargain.

0:39:060:39:08

And at least you didn't have to work as hard as Thomas,

0:39:080:39:12

who ended up with a real handful.

0:39:120:39:15

What, are you pulling this?

0:39:150:39:16

-Are you doing some of the work?

-I'm letting you do it all.

0:39:160:39:19

All right, stay here.

0:39:190:39:20

This carved Cupid,

0:39:200:39:23

sleeping Cupid, I don't think I could have lifted it on my own.

0:39:230:39:26

It was that heavy. That's why it came in on the wheels.

0:39:260:39:30

It was from a house that was bought,

0:39:300:39:32

and it was left in the garden, by the pond.

0:39:320:39:34

-Really?

-Just left there.

-It is what I believe to be carved marble.

0:39:340:39:38

The reason why I believe it to be carved marble is just here.

0:39:380:39:42

We can see the marble coming through.

0:39:420:39:44

And it has been very well weathered.

0:39:440:39:47

So this is a hand-carved piece. This is not done by a machine.

0:39:470:39:52

It would have been a sculptor chipping away at the marble

0:39:520:39:56

with his chisel and his hammer, working extremely hard.

0:39:560:40:00

And then, once he has done that, rubbing it down, polishing it.

0:40:000:40:03

When it was new, it was probably like the surface of a pearl,

0:40:030:40:07

with that shimmer.

0:40:070:40:09

Cupid has wings. The bow has been discarded here.

0:40:090:40:14

And his quiver of arrows is covered.

0:40:140:40:18

So, from an allegorical perspective, I think the story is that Cupid

0:40:180:40:24

is sleeping and the abandonment of pleasures in one's life.

0:40:240:40:29

-That's sad, isn't it?

-It is sad.

0:40:290:40:31

He had had enough of making love, you know, between people.

0:40:310:40:36

He was having a rest before he went off on his next quest

0:40:360:40:39

and shot his arrows.

0:40:390:40:40

So I quite like the story behind it as well.

0:40:400:40:43

-19th century.

-OK.

0:40:430:40:44

Carved in, I suppose, 1860, I would say.

0:40:440:40:48

Michelangelo carved cupids in marble -

0:40:480:40:50

you can see them all around Rome and Florence.

0:40:500:40:52

Caravaggio painted them in the 17th century.

0:40:520:40:55

So, this is definitely a 19th-century copy of.

0:40:550:41:00

It this had come in dirty but perfect...

0:41:000:41:05

So, if it had been covered in all this filth,

0:41:050:41:09

that would have made it really special.

0:41:090:41:12

That would have been really, really hot to trot.

0:41:120:41:15

I would've put a couple of thousand on it.

0:41:150:41:16

Have you got any idea of value?

0:41:160:41:19

As long as it covers the cost of the petrol to get here.

0:41:190:41:23

It will do more than cover the petrol.

0:41:230:41:25

-I would put a value of £100 to £200.

-Fantastic, yep.

0:41:250:41:29

-Shall we get it to auction? Shall we?

-Let's do it.

0:41:290:41:31

-Come on.

-OK, let's go.

-I'm pushing!

0:41:310:41:33

I won't ask the porter to carry it. It is the lying marble figure.

0:41:350:41:39

But there it is. What about 150 for it?

0:41:390:41:42

Yes, 150. 200 now.

0:41:420:41:44

And 210. And 20 and 30 perhaps.

0:41:440:41:48

At £220. 230 in the room, then.

0:41:480:41:51

And I am going to sell it for £230.

0:41:510:41:55

A flurry of activity settling on £230. That is a good result.

0:41:550:41:59

-It is a brilliant result.

-Absolutely brilliant.

0:41:590:42:02

I think, if you are relaxed about an object

0:42:020:42:04

and you put it up for sale and you say,

0:42:040:42:06

"You know, let's not put a reserve on,

0:42:060:42:09

"the gods out there will look after you."

0:42:090:42:11

And they did this time.

0:42:110:42:13

Handmade ceramics is a popular collecting field.

0:42:160:42:19

One of the best-known of the Arts and Crafts ceramicists

0:42:190:42:22

was William De Morgan,

0:42:220:42:23

who drew his design inspirations from times gone by.

0:42:230:42:27

One of his many devoted admirers was David Barby.

0:42:270:42:31

These are absolutely superb examples

0:42:320:42:36

of a major potter of the 19th

0:42:360:42:39

and early 20th century -

0:42:390:42:41

William De Morgan.

0:42:410:42:43

Like David, Anita is also a big fan.

0:42:430:42:46

William De Morgan was one of the most important potters

0:42:460:42:51

in the Arts and Crafts movement.

0:42:510:42:54

He was a close associate of William Morris

0:42:540:42:58

and the other pre-Raphaelites.

0:42:580:43:02

They're important because not only were they William De Morgan,

0:43:020:43:04

but they are both different in technique of decoration.

0:43:040:43:09

This one is a rich, ruby lustre.

0:43:090:43:13

Gorgeous example of his early works.

0:43:130:43:16

This is more in the Persian palette -

0:43:160:43:18

so we have got these rich turquoises, purples and greens.

0:43:180:43:23

Both subject matters are galleons.

0:43:230:43:25

He made various wares.

0:43:250:43:28

He made a wonderful chargers. He made wonderful pots.

0:43:280:43:33

But he is perhaps best known for the tiles that he made.

0:43:330:43:39

And these tiles were used to decorate our houses,

0:43:390:43:42

our fireplaces, to make wonderful, big panoramic scenes on.

0:43:420:43:47

So he was a man of great importance.

0:43:470:43:50

William De Morgan established three small potteries,

0:43:500:43:54

producing similar wares, not just tiles, but also vases,

0:43:540:43:58

large chargers, which were for the decoration of fairly wealthy homes.

0:43:580:44:04

And it covers a period of Arts and Crafts

0:44:040:44:06

right through to the earlier part of 20th century.

0:44:060:44:10

The most important thing about these tiles

0:44:100:44:13

is the wonderful hand decoration.

0:44:130:44:17

And that really is what makes them superb.

0:44:170:44:21

The depiction of the subjects, the way that the material was handled.

0:44:210:44:27

All of these things make these tiles really quite superb.

0:44:270:44:31

I thought they were the best of what I have got, actually.

0:44:310:44:34

The colouring and the detail on them,

0:44:340:44:37

just seem to stand out against whatever else I've got.

0:44:370:44:41

These are absolutely stunning.

0:44:410:44:43

We were taken away from the mass production,

0:44:430:44:46

the machine made into the craftsmen

0:44:460:44:51

and the artist who was hand decorating

0:44:510:44:54

each of these tiles, and, boy, can you tell the difference.

0:44:540:45:00

The price I think they should realise at auction

0:45:000:45:02

is £350 to £500, hopefully more.

0:45:020:45:06

This is billed as the big one, THE big one -

0:45:060:45:08

two William De Morgan tiles brought in by Pat.

0:45:080:45:11

And you have got your granddaughter, Charlotte, here. Lovely name.

0:45:110:45:14

Charlotte, you might witness a bit of history here.

0:45:140:45:16

We might see these tiles really take off big-time,

0:45:160:45:19

that's what I'm hoping.

0:45:190:45:20

We put a valuation of around about £350 to £500 -

0:45:200:45:24

sort of tempting them in, wasn't it?

0:45:240:45:25

I had a confession or I HAVE a confession, Paul.

0:45:250:45:29

I put a price on those that I'd like to have bought them at.

0:45:290:45:32

Wise man.

0:45:320:45:34

But they are going to fetch a lot of money

0:45:340:45:37

because they are absolutely superb.

0:45:370:45:39

When you think in terms of art pottery from the 19th century,

0:45:390:45:42

-the name that comes to your mind immediately is...

-William De Morgan.

0:45:420:45:45

William De Morgan, followed by Martin Brothers and so on.

0:45:450:45:48

But William De Morgan is up there.

0:45:480:45:49

Let's hope we can get you four figures.

0:45:490:45:52

This is it, they're going under the hammer now.

0:45:520:45:54

This got as much if not most interest in the sale today.

0:45:540:45:57

The two framed William De Morgan square pottery tiles

0:45:570:45:59

in black frames.

0:45:590:46:01

1,800, Margaret, phone.

0:46:010:46:03

1,900 in the room.

0:46:030:46:05

£2,000, Margaret's phone.

0:46:050:46:08

2,100. 2,200.

0:46:080:46:11

-Fantastic!

-2,300.

0:46:110:46:14

-Look, there's someone.

-2,400.

-2,400!

0:46:140:46:17

-2,500.

-I'm going to need to sit down!

0:46:170:46:20

£2,500.

0:46:200:46:22

These tiles are rare.

0:46:220:46:24

And these were two examples,

0:46:240:46:27

two wonderful examples

0:46:270:46:30

of different periods in De Morgan's potting.

0:46:300:46:36

-Unbelievable.

-Everybody done?

-No.

-At 2,500.

0:46:360:46:41

At 2,500. Tell him to get his trousers on, for heaven's sake.

0:46:410:46:46

2,500.

0:46:460:46:48

-In the room, the bid.

-Yes!

-2,600. At 2,600.

0:46:480:46:53

2,650.

0:46:530:46:55

2,650. He has had time. All done.

0:46:550:46:59

-That is incredible. £2,600.

-That's amazing!

0:46:590:47:04

Even I'M sitting down now.

0:47:040:47:06

These tiles commanded a wonderful prize at auction

0:47:070:47:13

and deserved every single penny.

0:47:130:47:15

Wow, five times the top end of the estimate -

0:47:190:47:22

what a wonderful Flog It! moment.

0:47:220:47:25

And I'm sure it was the condition of Pat's tiles that sent them

0:47:250:47:28

through the roof.

0:47:280:47:29

Now, if you don't have any William De Morgan tiles hiding

0:47:290:47:32

away at home, what else should you be keeping an eye out for

0:47:320:47:35

when it comes to handcrafted items?

0:47:350:47:38

Studio pottery is a good bet,

0:47:410:47:43

but check with your auction house to see what is hot and what is not.

0:47:430:47:48

Remember these names - Brannam, Elton Ware,

0:47:480:47:50

Bernard Leach, Lucy Rie, Hans Coper and Alan Caiger-Smith.

0:47:500:47:55

Pieces by a factory that closed are limited, making them more desirable.

0:47:580:48:03

Beautiful handmade pieces which demonstrate huge

0:48:050:48:08

amounts of skill can be snapped up for relatively little money.

0:48:080:48:12

So keep your eyes peeled when you're out and about.

0:48:120:48:16

At £100.

0:48:160:48:19

-Quality always sells.

-Yes.

0:48:190:48:21

A big name like William De Morgan

0:48:210:48:24

is a clear winner, but be alert for work by his

0:48:240:48:28

Arts and Crafts contemporaries, William Morris, Voysey,

0:48:280:48:31

Ernest Gimson and CR Ashbee.

0:48:310:48:34

And go with your gut feeling.

0:48:360:48:38

If you like it, buy it.

0:48:380:48:40

In the late 19th century, a group of people formed a movement later

0:48:450:48:49

to be known as the Arts and Crafts movement, which championed

0:48:490:48:52

traditional skills and methods to make beautiful handcrafted things.

0:48:520:48:57

Almost at the same time,

0:48:570:48:58

a chap called Edmund Elton discovered a passion

0:48:580:49:01

for pottery just down the road from where Thomas Plant grew up.

0:49:010:49:05

Here we are at Tickenham Church.

0:49:100:49:12

This is the church where I was baptised.

0:49:120:49:14

I may have cried all the way through the service, but my godmother,

0:49:140:49:17

Julia Elton, was here to comfort me.

0:49:170:49:20

Julia Elton has played a huge part in my life.

0:49:200:49:22

Her great grandfather, Sir Edmund Elton,

0:49:230:49:26

was the Baronet of Clevedon Court and a potter.

0:49:260:49:30

The pottery was called Elton Ware.

0:49:300:49:32

Little did I know it at my christening,

0:49:320:49:35

I was surrounded by all this stuff, the Elton pillars,

0:49:350:49:38

the Elton candlesticks, and it has become a huge passion in my life.

0:49:380:49:42

Sir Edmund and his assistants handmade thousands of pots,

0:49:430:49:47

vases, jugs, whatever you can imagine.

0:49:470:49:50

The great thing is, they were all unique because they were handmade,

0:49:500:49:52

thus making them terribly collectable today.

0:49:520:49:56

I am off to catch up with Julia, my godmother,

0:50:070:50:10

and also see lots more of Sir Edmund's work.

0:50:100:50:12

HE RINGS BELL

0:50:120:50:14

-Julia!

-Hi!

0:50:170:50:20

Julia, tell me, where does Edmund fit into the family tree

0:50:220:50:29

-and where do you come?

-Well, I am his great granddaughter.

0:50:290:50:33

He was the eighth baronet, and, interestingly, his father,

0:50:340:50:40

also an Edmund, who was a bit of a black sheep,

0:50:400:50:44

actually was a very good painter.

0:50:440:50:46

Behind me in this room are hung two very nice oil paintings

0:50:460:50:50

that he did in Italy.

0:50:500:50:51

So the father must have passed down his artistic flair to his son.

0:50:510:50:55

I think very much so,

0:50:550:50:56

because the Eltons generally are not known for their artistic talents.

0:50:560:51:00

We have three pots here on the table. Which is the earliest piece?

0:51:000:51:04

The earliest piece is this rather crude piece here.

0:51:040:51:07

He began just fiddling about with clay and then the glazes, and he used

0:51:070:51:12

to put the pots in the kitchen oven when the cooking had been done.

0:51:120:51:19

You can see, crude as it is, that it has got

0:51:190:51:23

the beginnings of what became so distinctive.

0:51:230:51:28

You have got a piece down here which is an extraordinary piece.

0:51:280:51:31

-Can we have a look at that?

-Yes.

0:51:310:51:33

Where did he get his ideas for these shapes?

0:51:330:51:37

Well, they were influenced by the Japanese.

0:51:370:51:39

I mean, this is a very extraordinary piece

0:51:390:51:42

and it is rather Japanese, I think.

0:51:420:51:44

You have got this mythical beast here with horns, teeth,

0:51:440:51:50

but also the mouth of a fish and then the scales of a serpent.

0:51:500:51:55

Yes, and then back to the fish tail at the end.

0:51:550:51:58

From these lovely colours, glazes and extraordinary shapes,

0:51:580:52:04

we have this fabulous gold.

0:52:040:52:07

In about 1902, he begins to think about metallic glazes.

0:52:070:52:12

He is, in fact, as you see with this, putting these slabs of metal.

0:52:120:52:18

Do you think this is almost like an iron glaze on here,

0:52:180:52:21

-to give it this gilt?

-Well, it is allegedly gold and platinum.

0:52:210:52:26

-Gold and platinum?

-Absolutely.

-He didn't scrimp, did he?

0:52:260:52:31

-He didn't scrimp.

-He didn't scrimp on this.

0:52:310:52:35

And then, in about 1909, he starts doing what they call crackle,

0:52:350:52:41

-which is wholly metallic glazes.

-So this is all gold?

-This is all gold.

0:52:410:52:47

Do you think he charged the correct amount for these parts?

0:52:470:52:50

No, I shouldn't think so for a minute.

0:52:500:52:52

I don't think he was really interested in money.

0:52:520:52:55

Certainly, the reason there is such a lot in north Somerset

0:52:550:53:00

is that Sir Edmund himself gave it away to everybody.

0:53:000:53:05

What happened to the pottery and the legacy? What was left?

0:53:050:53:09

Well, mountains of pots.

0:53:090:53:11

Finally, my grandfather took down the kiln and broke up the pottery yard.

0:53:110:53:15

All Sir Edmund wanted to do, as far as I can see, is to be a potter,

0:53:150:53:18

and he completely took his eye off the estate.

0:53:180:53:22

And in 1919, he sold off £73,000 worth of the estate in their money.

0:53:220:53:28

We have always said in the family,

0:53:280:53:31

it is the most expensive pottery that has ever been made.

0:53:310:53:34

It is said, if you dig around you can find shards of Elton pottery.

0:53:430:53:50

Certainly here you have got a bit of the green glaze with the terracotta.

0:53:500:53:55

It is brilliant that you can actually find shards of broken bits

0:53:550:53:59

of pottery, mistakes, still in the path here just digging it up.

0:53:590:54:03

Absolutely fascinating after all these years.

0:54:030:54:05

The sheer volume of Elton Ware produced

0:54:070:54:11

and all the different pieces and styles means

0:54:110:54:13

prices vary from £30-£250.

0:54:130:54:16

But whatever it costs, you can be sure you're getting

0:54:160:54:19

an original from an eccentric whose life's work was potting.

0:54:190:54:24

Edmund Elton, the baronet who had lots of money

0:54:260:54:29

to indulge his passion, to really enjoy potting.

0:54:290:54:31

He enjoyed potting so much he made some great errors

0:54:310:54:35

but also made some great glazes.

0:54:350:54:37

It was so interesting to see the start of British art pottery,

0:54:370:54:40

and he paved the way.

0:54:400:54:42

There is something about handcrafted items, each one of them is unique.

0:54:470:54:52

They have their own personality which gives them extra appeal,

0:54:520:54:56

as Mark Stacey appreciates.

0:54:560:54:58

This, to me, is a very interesting figure.

0:54:580:55:01

We have all seen Royal Doulton and Royal Worcester

0:55:010:55:04

and Coalport porcelain figures which are mass produced.

0:55:040:55:07

This intrigued me because this is handmade.

0:55:070:55:10

And it is signed underneath, Maggie Padgett.

0:55:100:55:14

I don't know very much about Maggie Padgett, but I bought it

0:55:150:55:18

because it just looks very interesting.

0:55:180:55:20

It is very well modelled. You can see instantly this is handmade.

0:55:200:55:26

I mean, the hair is individually done, it is not machine done.

0:55:260:55:30

You haven't got 100 of these coming towards you

0:55:300:55:33

as you are splattering the paint on.

0:55:330:55:35

All these are painted by hand,

0:55:350:55:37

the hands are modelled individually here and placed

0:55:370:55:41

on the long evening gloves that are modelled to look like that.

0:55:410:55:45

The face I think is... There's something sort of naive about it.

0:55:450:55:50

To me, that is what gives it its charm.

0:55:500:55:52

When you look underneath, you can see it is not all finished,

0:55:520:55:56

like a mass-produced figure would be.

0:55:560:55:59

You can see where the potter has moved the clay around.

0:55:590:56:03

I find that really rather charming.

0:56:030:56:06

There is now a collecting field for some of these studio potters

0:56:060:56:10

from the '20s,

0:56:100:56:12

'30s, up to the '50s, because they are becoming identifiable

0:56:120:56:17

and they are becoming more collectable because they are limited.

0:56:170:56:21

You know, there aren't going to be 500 of these figures,

0:56:210:56:24

or 10,000 of these figures.

0:56:240:56:25

Each one also is going to be slightly different

0:56:250:56:28

because it is handmade.

0:56:280:56:29

But I think, to me she appeals,

0:56:290:56:31

because she is a bit more of a one-off.

0:56:310:56:34

If you are a regular viewer,

0:56:420:56:44

you will know how much I adore the handmade.

0:56:440:56:46

I have even had a go myself a few times.

0:56:460:56:49

It's becoming something.

0:56:490:56:51

Pick a little bit up like that and you just start to twist.

0:56:510:56:55

It is nice and bendy, isn't it?

0:56:570:56:59

I'm actually feeling quite nervous.

0:56:590:57:01

And I am always delighted to see your wonderful handmade pieces

0:57:020:57:05

at our valuation days.

0:57:050:57:08

I can feel my heart beat - it's really racing right now.

0:57:080:57:11

I didn't want to put this down.

0:57:110:57:13

You know when you feel something and it touches your soul?

0:57:130:57:16

You can caress wood, you can love wood, it tells a story.

0:57:160:57:20

-You're spot on there, aren't you?

-Yes, that was good, wasn't it?

0:57:220:57:25

Some of them can fetch great prices.

0:57:260:57:29

-Sold.

-£150. Brilliant.

0:57:290:57:35

Lovely study of The Heavenly Stairs, c1880.

0:57:350:57:40

£500.

0:57:400:57:42

-Happy?

-Oh, yes.

-That is going to give someone so much pleasure.

0:57:420:57:46

And whether they are by a talented amateur...

0:57:460:57:48

..or professionals at the top of their game,

0:57:510:57:53

I hope you keep them coming in.

0:57:530:57:56

That is it for today's show.

0:58:000:58:03

I hope we have given you some useful pointers and some food for thought.

0:58:030:58:06

So if you're hungry for more, join us next time on Trade Secrets.

0:58:060:58:11

This episode is dedicated to handmade antiques and collectables. Presenter Paul Martin examines the philosophy behind Shaker furniture, and the Flog It! team offers up collecting tips. Thomas Plant reveals a close family connection with an eccentric 19th century potter.


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