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I'm in the Leicestershire countryside, a few miles from Melton Mowbray, the rural food capital,
home to Stilton cheese and the humble pork pie.
But there's no time to be thinking about eating today, because we're here to Flog It!
And continuing our tasty theme, we're in a rather tasty location.
Our setting today is the resplendent grounds of Stapleford Park.
With a history dating back to King Arthur,
and connections to William the Conqueror,
it seems to be the perfect setting for our team of experts
to get stuck in to all those antiques and collectables.
MUSIC: I'm So Excited by The Pointer Sisters
And it seems there's already quite a queue dishing out items
for our experts to sample.
Forget the furniture. Think of the weather!
Elizabeth Talbot and Mark Stacey are already watering at the mouth.
I feel quite excited about it, actually.
-I'm very excited. I'm trying to contain my excitement.
Gosh, you've got a lot of interesting things, haven't you?
Well, that looks rather nice.
-That's lovely, isn't it?
-I got that in Edinburgh.
-It's like Christmas, isn't it?
You never know what's going to come out of the bag or the box,
and I'm really excited about it, I think we're going to have a wonderful day.
And it looks like we're going to have a great day here in Leicestershire.
And here's a taster of what's coming up on today's show,
just to whet your appetite.
Our experts' valuations get a bit woolly.
-How much does a sheep cost?
-I don't know, I don't ask.
Cos I don't think you're going to get much sheep out of this.
They ain't as dear as you think, you know.
And we soak up all the excitement of the saleroom
when we watch our favourite items being sold.
No, that person hasn't got their bidding card.
And I slow the pace right down and escape to the tranquillity
of an architectural gem.
When the sun moves round, later on in the day,
that glass is going to sparkle like a jewel in the crown.
The Grand Hall is filling up, and our experts are raring to go.
Being in fine foodie territory, it's rather fitting -
our first valuation celebrates fine wine.
Here's Mark to tell us more.
You've brought a charming pair of bottle coasters in to show us today.
Can you tell us where you got them from?
Yes, they were rescued from the dustbin.
-From the dustbin?
-From the dustbin, actually.
But we've had them in the house since about something like about 1956,
or something like that, as long as that.
They actually belonged to a cousin of my father's.
And he cleared out the house, and these were completely black.
He didn't realise that they were silver-plated.
-And we rescued them.
-I'm glad you rescued them, because it would have been a shame
-if they'd been thrown away, wouldn't it?
I think they're very attractive,
but we can't really leave them to the family,
because you can't split them up.
-It would spoil it, wouldn't it?
-Oh, yes, it would. It would spoil it.
-And who do you give them to?
-And would they want them these days, cos there's not...
-That's another thing, you see, would they?
-Well, I think they're charming.
-I mean, they're silver plate, as you say.
They're, I would have thought, towards the end of the 19th century, late Victorian.
But I love the little piecework decoration, and I love the shape,
and this sort of cast decoration of the trailing vines.
-Which leads you to imagine a nice decanter of claret.
Or port, do you know what I mean?
So it's actually... They're lovely from that point of view.
They've got nice turned bases as well,
with little silver-plated roundels in there,
and in some cases the little roundels would have been used
-to put a family motto or a crest, or armorial design, on there.
But these are perfectly plain, so somebody could replate that
and put their own crest or initials on if they wanted to.
Now, have you thought of the value on these pieces?
We hope that they're worth, sort of thing, at least £100.
I think they're certainly worth that,
-think they're worth that.
The market is always difficult.
The good thing about them is they're a pair,
and people like wine-related items.
And if you live in a nice big Georgian house,
these would look lovely on a sideboard with your decanters,
full of drink in there.
I would think we're probably looking at something like £150-£200.
-And we would put the reserve at £150.
-Possibly with a 10% discretion for the auctioneer, if that's OK,
so if he gets to, sort of, £140, he can still sell them,
but hopefully, we'll get between the two figures.
-I can't promise above £200.
But auctions are live events, you never know.
-Depends who's at the sale.
Well, it sounds like Dennis has the measure of auctions,
and we'll find out if we'll be raising a glass to a great result
later on in the show.
Now, Elizabeth's in the Orangery next door,
where she's joined by an old favourite.
MUSIC: "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones
Well, it's not unusual to find a piece of Clarice Cliff on Flog It!,
but Barbara and Roger, you've brought quite an unusual bowl here.
What's the story or history behind it?
Well, um, I saw this in my mum's house,
about 20 years ago, I think, now, and I thought it was a Clarice Cliff.
It was quite, you know, unusual for Mum to have something valuable or with a name to it.
And she just said, "Oh, I bought it in a coffee morning,"
and I said, "Well, don't give it away, will you?" SHE LAUGHS
"It's got some value, I think," and she said, "Oh,"
-I pestered, and in the end, she said, "Oh, take it with you," on one of our visits.
So, do you like it?
Um, not really. I think I was just proud I had a bit of Clarice Cliff,
in a way, and perhaps if I felt someone was coming,
-I might put it out to say, "I've got some Clarice Cliff!"
-It's not your taste particularly.
-It doesn't appeal, no, not really.
-How about you, do you like it?
-I don't like it at all, no!
-That's it, blunt and to the point, you don't like it at all.
I mean, Clarice Cliff, as we all know, is very much, um...
-You either love her or hate her work.
It's not to everybody's taste, by any means.
But a bowl such as this,
which dates from the early parts of her creative period, 1920s, 1930s,
is from the era when the colours were bright,
-the patterns were modern and unusual.
They didn't conform to the traditional, staid way
of presenting decoration on a bowl.
So as you see here, the floral pattern,
-which is bright and cheerful and asymmetrical...
..is on this strange, speckled, sort of cafe-au-lait, muddy brown band,
-which covers the majority of the surface.
-So it's quite an odd piece.
-So it's a piece of Clarice Cliff,
and it comes from the Bizarre Fantasque range,
and if we look on the bottom, it's very well-documented there,
you'll see that the marks are printed there,
and also the name of the pattern, Canterbury Bells,
is very efficiently painted on the bottom,
so there's no question about what it is there.
Now it's not a pattern I've seen sell very often,
so there are two ways of looking at it.
-It's one of the rarer patterns.
-It's not the rarest, it's one of the rarer.
But sometimes that can actually be a bad sign,
-because it could mean that it wasn't popular in the day.
She designed it, she decorated pieces, and it was limited production.
The condition of it's good, though,
structurally, physically, the bowl is in very good order.
There's a teeny, tiny, pin-head sized chip on the foot ring,
-but really hardly anything to worry about.
So have you any concept, then, knowing that it's Clarice Cliff, of which you were very proud.
-SHE LAUGHS Yes, I was.
-Do you have any concept of value at all?
I'm not very good at selling things. I usually give them away, which must be a thing from my mum!
-I would say £50 at the most, I think.
Any advance on £50?
Well, I thought, as it's a rarer item, not being made, it would be more expensive.
I would think that you need to double your £50,
and I won't be surprised if you didn't treble your £50
as a bottom estimate, and I'd have thought that that would sell quite comfortably
-for between £150-£250.
You sound... More in line with what the expert across the table was thinking, which I think is right.
You know, it's a good, sound, big piece that's in good order,
and for what you get, £150, £250 is, I think, very fair.
Well, unusual it may not be,
but will it charm the bidders in the saleroom? Stay tuned to find out.
Back in the Hall, Mark has spotted a rather real love-it-or-hate-it item.
-How are you?
-Very well. And you?
Now you've brought a little Doulton figurine,
but it's a very interesting story attached to this, isn't it?
Well, it's my son's and he lives in Belgium,
and he bought it at Waterloo Market.
And he wants to get rid of it, cos he wants to buy himself some more sheep.
-Some more sheep?
-More sheep, yeah.
-He's a gamekeeper, you see, and he's got a little...
-Oh, I see.
-How much does a sheep cost?
-I don't know, I don't ask.
Cos I don't think you could get much sheep out of this.
-They ain't as dear as you think they are.
-Are they not?
-OK, well, let's hope they're not.
So why do you think he bought it? Was it because it's very British?
Well, he liked it, and he'd seen one advertised on the internet
on his phone. He seen what that went for so he thought
he might make a bit of extra money.
-Whether he can or not, I don't know.
Do you remember what he paid for this in Belgium?
I think he paid 155 euros.
Which is £135, something like that, which is quite a fair bit of money.
I've not had one of these. It's very much a British thing.
-It symbolises the war effort. Doesn't it?
You've got a soldier really with his bag there
and his orders in here wearing his hat.
But modelled as a great old British Bulldog.
I mean, it is by the Royal Doulton factory of course
and we've got the mark underneath here.
-Yeah, I did see that.
-Which is Royal Doulton with a crowned lion above
and the registration number as well, which is rather nice.
It's fully marked so we know who it's by.
We know the date, it's going to be early 20th-century,
the mark on there is between 1902 and 1932.
So I think it's probably for the First World War.
And it's just a lovely subject, isn't it?
-I think it is, I think it's wonderful.
-You really like it?
If that was mine I wouldn't sell it.
Really? Does it stir up a great patriotism?
When he first showed me I said, "Why do you want to sell it?"
He said, "I'm short of money." I said, "I'll buy it."
"No," he said, "you won't. It's going to an auction."
-In my glass cabinet it would look lovely.
-With my other dogs.
I'm sorry he's not selling it to you now.
-I know, he wouldn't.
-He's a meanie, your son.
Tell him from me. He's very mean not letting you have it
but I'm glad he's left it in for the show.
-Yeah. I think so.
-I would probably put an estimate of 150 to 200 on it.
-We'll put a reserve fixed at 150.
Even after commission, we should get his money back at least.
He'll be happy with that, his money back.
Hopefully it might go over 200. Fingers crossed.
If they like it like we do then it should be well away.
Wonderful large chair, Pamela. The intention, presumably,
-is that you wish to sell it.
-I do, yes.
What is the story around it?
It was in the kitchen but we bought a larger dining table,
so it looks a bit squashed in there, so I think it can go.
-So was this your after-dinner reclining chair?
-And very pretty, isn't it?
-It's a lovely, lovely chair.
-Is it a family heirloom?
-No, it's not.
I found it in an old barn in a very sorry state
and I thought, "Oh, I'll rescue it." So I had it reupholstered and...
But with the new dining table and chairs, it's just a bit too big.
-So, time to move it on?
-It's time to move on, I think.
So, presumably, having found it in a barn,
-it didn't cost you a great deal to start with.
But you've probably spent a little bit restoring it and...
I mean, this is quite a complicated shape to have reupholstered
-and so on.
But I think your choice of fabric is good because it sort of...
To the extent that you've not stamped
your personal taste on it overly.
What you've done is let the chair shape particularly speak for itself.
So I think it's a good choice and it wears well, so that's nice.
The chair, as you say, Victorian,
a Victorian lady would have sat on this.
It dates from the early part of Victoria's reign
and...often come in two chairs, one slightly bigger than the other
and they're often called ladies' and gentlemen's chairs.
It's a typical spoon back, this wonderful sort of curved spoon
with deep buttoning which has been really well reproduced there.
And then these lovely scrolls which were
popular at the period right down to these wonderful sinewy legs.
And this is all done in walnut, which carves really well.
-I wondered what the wood...
-It's walnut carving.
-Do you think the casters are original?
-I think they probably are.
The original casters.
So you have the component elements of a chair that just needed
some TLC to the wood and to the upholstery.
Now, do you bring it with any expectation of value?
-No, I've no idea.
-No, not a clue.
Chairs are one of the first things to bounce back after the lower value
price is achieved at auction for furniture and the prettier the chair
or the more evocative of an era the chair, stylistically, the better.
To be fair to you, I think the current market value
for a chair such as this is round about £120-£180.
-Oh, that's wonderful.
-Pleased with that?
-Good. Yeah, very.
Go back ten years, they were making at least double that,
so we have in real terms come back quite a way,
but they are picking up and, as I say, the market is still moving
so it may yet be towards the top end of that rather than the bottom.
-I think £120-£180 is a realistic estimate.
£120 reserve, if you'd like a reserve. Would you like a reserve?
-What do you think, 100 reserve?
-100 reserve, that's fine.
We'll put £100 reserve on it and see it fly.
-Oh, let's hope so.
-And all your hard work will pay off.
-Thank you. There was nothing else in the barn, was there,
-that you can go back and retrieve?
-No, there wasn't.
Pamela's chair may not be high value,
but there's a big market for some antique chairs.
This set of George III mahogany dining chairs
sold at Sotheby's in 2011 for a shocking £67,250.
And the price of a Chippendale can rocket sky-high.
This armchair is worth around £30,000.
Now, that's what you call costly cushioning.
I'm here on the streets of Leicester,
which is a wonderfully busy and diverse city.
Now, there's around 240 faith groups that run across 14 different
religions here and one of them
is the ancient Indian religion of Jainism.
It's estimated there's around 12 million Jains worldwide
and throughout the 1970s many of them left India to come
and settle here in the UK
and it's estimated there's around 1,000 Jains here in Leicester.
So why am I talking about Jains?
Well, because the only Jain centre in the world is right here.
And what a building it is.
You'd never guess, but it was originally a congregational chapel.
This striking marble front is typical of traditional Jain style
and imported from India, where there are over 10,000 Jain
monuments and temples.
Inside the centre, original church features blend beautifully
with traditional Indian design.
The organ was removed, the altar has been lowered
and the balcony was taken out to create this marvellous upper hall.
The old church ceiling has been preserved
and the windows are still stained glass, in keeping with what
was originally here before but adapted to show images from Jainism.
The centre opened in 1988 and its aim was to be internationally
recognised as a hub for Jain heritage and religion to be shared.
It's also a place of worship, study and meeting,
and it's also the first place in the Western world to have
consecrated images, which means senior monks in India have
performed a ceremony of consecration over the figures,
allowing them to be worshipped.
So this makes this centre a unique draw for Jains far and wide.
I want to find out more about the religion itself.
Smita Shah is the centre's president.
Tell me a little bit about the fundamentals of Jainism.
Jainism is an ancient religion and the word Jain is derived from Jaina.
Jaina means to have victory over one's self and to conquer one's
desires and passions, for example ego, greed and so on and so forth.
So, Jainism's cardinal principle is non-violence - ahimsa -
and it's ahimsa in a very subtle form.
So it is about interdependence of nature, human life and animals.
And you're vegetarian?
Therefore, most Jains practise vegetarianism and also,
it is very subtle in the sense that even
when I'm coming from home to pray here, we enter the temple and
-we say nisahi three times, "Nisahi, nisahi, nisahi."
-What does that mean?
It means that if in my journey, if I have harmed anybody inadvertently,
from the tiniest form on insect, that I ask for forgiveness.
Do Jains worship gods?
It's a very interesting point, Paul, because Jains worship Tirthankars.
Tirthankars are the ones we revere and we equate them to God.
They are the ones who show us... And they are divine,
spiritual creatures who show us the path to nirvana.
This is the only place in the world that brings together the two
main sects under one roof -
the Svetambara sect and the Digambara sect.
There are actually five individual temples within the centre here,
one for each sub-sect.
Although Jain art and architecture is breathtakingly beautiful,
Jains firmly believe their temples are first
and foremost religious buildings and any artistic
qualities are subsidiary to their spiritual requirements.
Having said that, you can't ignore this, can you, once you're inside?
My word, it's spectacular.
This is as elaborate as you'll find a temple in India,
with its shimmering glass wall tiles everywhere, lots of colour.
It's a kaleidoscope of colour and this lovely, big,
heavy white marble shrines with figures dotted around.
But the most striking part of the centre has to be the wonderful
carvings in the Svetambara temple at the heart of the building.
At first glance, these pillars look like they're made of wood
but they're not, they're made of yellow limestone, and it took
250,000 man hours to carve these 44 columns and assemble all together.
They were then transported here to the UK in small sections.
It then took ten artisans one year
to jigsaw the whole thing back together.
And the carving here, this intricate carving,
that depicts mythological figures from Indian culture.
But let me show you the ceiling above here,
because it took six craftsmen six months to carve this one circular
section with this wonderful, repetitive form of pattern.
All of this has been done by hand with mallets and gouges,
gently into all that wood.
Up there, those figures are deities and they protect the temple in life.
Everything around us, that's inner consciousness.
The atmosphere here is really calm and peaceful, it's so relaxing.
Yet on the other hand,
the centre is a vibrant place of worship not
just for the people of Leicester,
but from everyone from all over the United Kingdom and worldwide.
It's now a place of pilgrimage
and it's been a real privilege for me today to come here
and admire the outstanding craftsmanship,
but also gain a little insight into this ancient Indian religion.
Well, it certainly has been lights, camera, action,
but we're not going to stop there, right now we are off to auction.
We've got our first four items, now we're taking them off to the sale.
Dorothy and Dennis rescued these pretty little wine coasters
from the bin!
But there's nothing trashy about Mark's valuation of £150-£200.
Clarice Cliff may be an old friend of the show, but Elizabeth
was thrown by the bowl's rare pattern.
Time will tell whether her estimate of £150-£250 was spot on.
And Fats is reluctantly selling his son's Doulton Bulldog,
which Mark valued at £150-£200.
Pamela's chair may have been discarded in a barn,
but with the tender loving care she's given it,
I'm confident it will fetch Elizabeth's estimate.
This is where the action takes place,
Gilding's auction rooms in the heart of Market Harborough.
I'm ready for this, I hope you are, because anything can happen.
It's an auction.
This is what I like to see. A packed auction room, full of bidders.
We've got the ingredients of a classic sale
so don't go away because there could be one or two surprises.
In a moment, auctioneer John Gilding will take the rostrum.
I'll catch up with our owners. I know they're feeling really nervous.
This could get exciting.
28 bid, 28, 28...
Don't forget to factor in commission rates the auction house
will charge when buying or selling in the saleroom.
This can vary from anything around 16% to 20% plus VAT.
And there's often lotting fees to take into account.
So always check in advance before you take the plunge.
And we've got a great atmosphere in Market Harborough today,
so without further ado, let's get cracking with our first lot.
Good luck, Fats, good luck, Mark, the British Bulldog is up for grabs.
It's in battledress, it's in khaki.
Hopefully it will get £150-£200.
They do make around £200 at auctions
so hopefully we've priced it right at 150 to 200.
It's Doulton, and I gather your son bought this in Belgium recently
and he paid top money for it anyway, didn't he, around £200?
Well, yeah, he did, actually, but, we'll have a go.
We'll have a go. That's what it's all about. We'll do our best. And this is it. Here we go.
Now, this is a good one.
This is the Royal Doulton khaki-coloured British Bulldog.
We are in business if the auctioneer says this is good.
Never seen one of these before, so there we go.
Bit of an unknown quantity. £100, open to bidding.
At £100 I'm bid, at 100. And ten on the net. 120. 130. 140.
-There's a phone line.
-140, I'm bid 140. You're out on the net at £140.
And the telephone's out.
-150 on the telephone.
-We got the reserve.
I'll take the bid on the telephone at 150. At 150 I'm bid.
160 on the net.
On 170 on the telephone. The net's out. At £170 I'm bid.
All out in the room? I shan't dwell. It's £170. And selling at 170.
That's a good price. It's a good price.
We nearly got that £200 but well done, Fats. Well done.
You cannot knock that for a great start.
Let's hope we're on a roll.
Guess what's coming up next.
It is the most obvious if we talk about antiques and collectables.
Yes, you got it. Clarice Cliff.
And it wouldn't be Flog It! without Clarice, would it?
-No, I suppose not.
-Thank you for bringing a piece in.
-And I know this is your first auction, for both of you.
Gosh, you've left it a long time, haven't you?
-You've never been to an auction before?
-Sum it up.
-What do you think?
-It's exciting. Don't scratch my nose.
We were warned that might buy such a lot.
Everybody says that, they're frightened to itch their hair or their ears.
-It's not that bad really.
-It isn't that bad, is it, no.
Lovely bowl here, please. Bidding starts with me at £100.
100. £100 I'm bid at £100. 110 anywhere, quickly.
At £100. 110 bid, 110 bid, 110, 110.
120 bid, 120 bid, 120.
You're all out in the room. All out on the net.
At £120 I'm bid.
All done? Thought this would be more.
I'm watching you all carefully. Finished away then at £120.
We shall pass on that lot, please.
I can't believe it.
Clarice, you've let us down.
That's very rare. That's very rare.
In Flog It's 10 years of being on the road and finding all the Clarice
I think only three times it's let us down.
MUSIC: That's Life by Frank Sinatra
It's a gorgeous Victorian walnut ladies' chair with original casters.
It belongs to Pamela
and we're hoping for around about £150 for this.
-That would be wonderful.
-A little bit more, even.
It's quality, it's absolute quality. Now, you found this in a barn.
-Not in this state, though.
-No. I felt sorry for it...
-Chickens living in it?
I rang a friend and it was reupholstered
after two or three weeks. It's lived in my kitchen for five years.
-And you've used it every day.
That's what it's all about, great value for money, and you can't go wrong with Victorian furniture
because you don't have to be precious about it, do you?
It's built to do a good job, but actually, this chair particularly is
a classic archetypal Victorian chair with a button back and lovely sweep.
-It's a really pretty chair.
-I like the shape.
And it's made of walnut, one of the most desirable and collectable woods.
Let's find out if the connoisseurs are here right now, shall we?
It's going under the hammer.
110, I'm bid 110.
110 I'm bid, 110, 110, 120, 130, 130, you're out in the room.
-At £130, and I shall sell then if you're all done.
-All out on the net.
-All out in the room and selling at £130.
That's good, that's good.
-You're happy, aren't you?
-I am, very. Yes, that's lovely.
Thank you very much.
That's all right, you've had the enjoyment out of that, now hopefully
someone else will use that and get another 10 or 15 years out of it.
And you can't go wrong when you invest in good-quality,
mid-priced antique furniture.
Start shopping in the antique shops and auction rooms.
What a brilliant find.
Well, I've just been joined by Dennis and Dorothy
and we are just about to sell a pair of silver-plated
wine coasters which were rescued from the dustbin.
But you've hung onto them, all credit to you.
-Oh, yes, we've had them on...
-On display, polished up, used?
-It doesn't get better than that?
-It's classic recycling.
-And I love them actually. They're really...
-It was those fruity vines
-How well you know me, and fruity vines, Paul.
But, there was the condition really. I liked them a lot. And a pair.
-People like pairs.
They're quite interesting actually. Yeah, very, very pleasing.
A great decorator's item and they're a bargain for what you put on.
They are. £150. I mean, hopefully they'll sell.
It's such a strange market at the moment, we just don't know
until you get them into the saleroom.
-And now is the moment of truth.
-The pair of coasters.
Lovely pair of coasters here, please. £85 only bid. 95, 110.
-I'm tempted at 110. 120 bid, 120, 130, 130?
-There's someone bidding, Dorothy.
-130 and 140.
-On the net at 140.
-150 in the room.
-150 I'm bid, 160 on the net.
170 at the door.
170 I'm bid. 180 on the net.
£180 I'm bid. Are you all done? All out in the room.
All out on commission and selling at 180 to the net.
-Done it. £180. Very, very happy.
For something that was going to be thrown in the dustbin.
You see, you've got to keep... Good job he was alert!
-And it's all down to finding the one pair basically.
-That's right, yes.
-You're pleased as well.
-I am. As they say, in darts, 180!
Pleased with that.
Standing at the door, £55.
Well, he polished up his goods, got a great price
and impressed Dorothy to boot.
Now, during my time in Leicestershire,
I visited the home of someone willing to go to any length
to wow a lady.
Now, what would you do
if you wanted to impress Queen Elizabeth I?
Well, for a start, you'd build a house fit for a queen.
Something like this one. It's Kirby Hall.
Building work started here in 1570 under Sir Humphrey Stafford.
Lord Chancellor to the Queen.
Shortly after his death,
the house was completed by Sir Christopher Hatton,
one of the Queen's favourite courtiers, built in the hope
that one day she might stay whilst on one of her trips
around the country.
And my first impressions today are this is fairytale architecture.
It's one of the most gorgeous houses I have ever seen.
Christopher Hatton was a glamorous figure in the Elizabethan court.
It's thought that he first caught the Queen's eye
with his excellent dancing.
Kirby was at the forefront of new ideas and design
and the courtyard here is particularly innovative.
As you can see we've got these wonderful classical columns,
or pilasters as they are known.
They run around all four sides of this courtyard on two levels.
The upper level and the lower level.
Now, throughout the 16th century, smaller classical columns were being
used as architectural ornamentation.
But this is the very first time in this country
that detail like this has been used to unite all four sides
of the facade of this incredible building,
creating this very powerful, dramatic effect.
Architecture started to reflect the revival of ancient Greek
and Roman art in the 16th century.
Kirby embraced this trend with relish.
The richly carved decoration in the courtyard is one of the most
exuberant displays of architectural ornamentation in England.
The carvings were copied from masons' pattern books,
a kind of catalogue where you picked the design you liked
and then had it replicated.
Kirby's design was groundbreaking for its attitude towards symmetry.
Everywhere you look you can see it is absolutely perfect.
It signalled a brand-new attitude towards building, telling us
that the Renaissance ideas of balance and proportion
had finally arrived here, in England.
The window at the extreme right is longer than the others.
That's because it was designed to give off
extra light for the lord, who sat at the high table in the hall.
This layout has been balanced visually
in the left-hand corner by another long window,
which is purely aesthetic.
In the past, architects would have not worried about maintaining
this sense of symmetry.
Kirby achieved this while keeping within
the traditional layout of the grand home of the period.
Despite all the great effort that's gone into
this wonderful building, it is a bittersweet story.
There is no real actual evidence to suggest the Queen
ever bothered to come and visit, let alone stay.
And because its various owners were adamant that the best rooms
should only be used for royalty,
they were never lived in, and it just seems such a waste.
After Christopher Hatton I died,
the house was handed down through the generations.
But in 1857 the 11th Earl of Winchelsea ran up
such huge gambling debts and was so short of money that the only way
he could pay them off was to strip the lead off the roof
of this impressive building, leaving the house to fall into ruin.
But that was by no means the end of the story.
Although the house remains derelict,
the rooms are empty and the building is largely roofless,
the gardens have been brought back to their former glory.
What we see here is the restoration of the 1690s parterre garden.
It's a lovely example of cut work and was created in the 1990s,
by which time the hall was under
the guardianship of English Heritage.
It's thought one of the reasons this parterre style
was a popular choice in this era was because the gravel path meant
you could hear people sneaking up behind you.
The layout of the house, with one room leading on to another,
meant it was impossible to have a conversation in private.
Therefore, it's thought any delicate conversations would be taken
outside under the guise of walking in the gardens.
Kirby was described in 1694 as having "ye finest garden in England"
and apparently Christopher Hatton IV
was so dedicated to it, he committed so much time,
that it caused him to miss many commitments in the House of Lords.
He was so serious about the construction of this garden
that he demolished a complete village to create
what he thought would be a better-looking backdrop.
There was once a medieval church on that grass mound,
and he got rid of all of that,
plus several houses running all along here.
These formal gardens were designed to be most impressive
when admired from above,
and this mound was used as a viewing platform.
All the work carried out on the hall from the 20th century onwards
has been in the spirit of repair rather than reconstruction.
Yet, when you look at the stonemason's work
it's still as crisp and clear as it ever was
and it gives us that wonderful sense of magic and culture
that this place would have exuded back in its heyday.
For me, this has been a real treat,
and I can guarantee it will be a great day out for you as well.
Welcome back to our valuation day here at Stapleford Park.
There's still lots of people here, and they're all happy, aren't you?
-Let's find out what else our experts can unearth.
We see a lot of tiles in our business, antiques,
because they were very popular for generations.
I must admit I've never come across a set of tiles like this
with the various sporting subjects on them.
-They're lovely, aren't they?
They came from my father-in-law, who died seven years ago,
and he used to work at the local garage in Melton Mowbray.
And also used to do a lot of restoration of fireplaces
and we assume that, obviously,
when he was taking a fireplace out that he retained a lot of the tiles.
That's what it looks like to me, as we've got some with stains on
which look as though they've been around the fireplace.
-Did he mount them as trivets?
-Yes, he did.
He mounted them for our copper kettles that we have at home.
He's done a very good job on them.
They're nicely done
and they fit very nicely into the style of the time.
Of course, they're by the very famous firm of Minton's.
John, do you know much about the Minton factory?
No, I don't know a lot.
I've got one or two pieces of porcelain from Minton
but I know it's one of the top factories.
Yes, it's one of the oldest firms in the country,
founded in the late 18th century, and right throughout their history
Minton's have been known for great innovations.
They employed the best artists
and craftsmen in the potting industry,
and we know them a lot from majolica,
because Minton again produced the finest Victorian majolicaware.
They're really quite a long-established firm
and came up with a lot of good ideas.
And these are one of them, I think.
So, in terms of auction, I'd like to put them in
with an estimate of £150-£200, with a £150 reserve and hopefully
people will see what we see in them and they'll go for the top end.
-I think they're really lovely, John.
Would you like to put them in for auction?
Yes, no problem, because they're just lying around in the attic.
-Let somebody else enjoy them.
-Yeah, fine, you know.
I think they're really fun, I think they're really good.
I like the colour of them, I like everything about them
and I think they could well set the auction room alight a bit.
I certainly hope we'll get £150 if not £200.
-If not a bit more, actually.
Well, let's hope someone in the saleroom loves them as much as Mark.
I've moved outside the hall for a rather special valuation of my own.
Well, I think if I do this and move my bishop here...
I've decided to do my valuation outside
purely because of what I found inside.
And this is Jan and her chess set. Hello there. Did you like that?
-Tell me a little about this, because this is cute.
It really is.
And such small proportions. They're ivory. Did you know that?
-I did have an idea they were made of ivory.
Yes, really exquisite. The detail is lovely. Where did you get them from?
I lost my mum a couple of years ago and we found them
amongst her items, and I think they were possibly my father's.
He was in the forces and did a lot of travelling,
so I don't know if that's how he came about having them.
I do like them. They're quality, aren't they?
-I'd say these were made around 1900.
They're lovely. And the thing is they're complete.
-And, as far as I can see, there's no damage.
-I don't think there is any.
-Did you ever have a chessboard?
-So you've never played?
-No, I can't.
It's quite astonishing how many people don't play the game.
Its origins are from India 1,500 years ago.
And it's been played in its present form ever since the 15th century.
So it's nice to think that some things don't change,
isn't it, really?
Time has stood still.
And just think of the people throughout history,
probably here in this magnificent house we're at today,
Stapleford Park, have played chess.
I think the first chess world championship
took place in around 1886, so there's certainly a big history.
-Have you any idea what they're worth?
No, I have no idea at all. No.
-Would you be happy if they sold for £100?
I think there's a lot of chess collectors out there
that just collect the pieces.
They really do. They don't need the boards.
But I think if you put these into auction they might
just do the top end of what I'm going to say,
-which is £150 up to £200.
-Really?! Goodness me! Gosh!
-Shall we put them into auction with a value of £150-£200?
Would you be happy with that?
-And a reserve at £150 with a 10% discretion?
So we can encourage some bidding.
And in the meantime, can I teach you?
-Would you like a game?
-I would like. Yes.
There's no time like the present. Come on.
I thought I'd sneak you away from the busy valuation day and bring you
into the Orangery because it's such a pretty setting, isn't it?
-That's true, yes.
-Now, you've brought these candlesticks in.
Can you tell us a little bit about them?
I inherited them from my father
and I think it was my aunt that won them at the Gymkhana.
-At the Gymkhana?
-So they're quite old, aren't they?
They're pushing on for the 100 years old here.
That's really what I find quite interesting about them
and the actual candlesticks themselves are quite
a regular piece that we see.
I tend to refer to these as dwarf candlesticks
-because they're tiny little ones.
But the nice inscription here is "Long Clawson Gymkhana, June 1922.
"Bending 1st prize goes to Merry Legs,"
which I thought was rather charming.
Now, could that be related to your aunt?
Yes, yes, because the whole family...
My father and grandfather bred horses and he was also a doctor.
-So they won first prize at this Gymkhana?
And Long Clawson is nearby, is it?
-It is, it's about six miles the other side of Melton.
So it's local interest. Yes.
I mean, sometimes it's difficult to predict with these
sort of things because inscriptions can devalue
-a piece as much as increase a value of a piece.
-Oh, right, yes.
And these particular candlesticks are what we call filled.
So when you pick them up, it won't be the total weight of the silver.
-Oh, I see.
-They'll be filled at the base with a material to give them
an extra weight so they sit firmly on the table.
-So the actual silver is like a sheet of silver
-that's gone on there, but it is silver.
-It is? Oh, I see.
I didn't know whether they were silver plate or...
No, they are silver, they're hallmarked
and they're rather charming. They need a jolly good clean,
they've obviously been in the cupboard, have they?
No, they weren't. I just found them in a box up in the box room last night.
-Oh, right, so you haven't seen them for a long time?
I thought, "I'll bring them along," cos obviously I don't want them
if I haven't been using them.
-Exactly, we certainly don't need them on your dining room table.
I think if we were putting them in to auction, we'd be
looking at something like £60-£80 for the pair, something like that.
-Didn't think they'd be that much.
-That's a surprise, is it?
Well, I'm going to have first prize today then, for surprising you.
I think they're great.
Hopefully somebody locally will want to buy them for a piece of history.
-Do they still have a Gymkhana?
-I don't think so.
They did until a few years ago,
-but it seems to have gone out of fashion to what they used to be.
What I would do is mention this
in the cataloguing to the auctioneer,
because that will hopefully add a little bit to the value of them
and encourage a few extra bids.
And we'd better talk about a reserve.
I suppose if we put a reserve around the £50 mark...
-That would be all right.
-Cos you don't want to give them away for nothing, do you?
Hopefully we'll get a bit more.
Well, there you go, Anne,
you got that straight from the horse's mouth.
-A little world of miniature here in front of us, Angela.
Do these date back away in your life or have you recently acquired them?
No, they date right back to when I was a youngster.
I was given them to put in my doll's house and I played with them.
And then, when the doll's house went,
these were just put on one side and they've been around ever since.
50-odd years, probably, sat in that box.
The doll's house, I think, was bought by my parents,
but this was given to me by my grandfather's cousins
who didn't have any children themselves and they had a hardware
shop in Sleaford, donkey's years ago, and that's all I know about it.
How they acquired it, I don't know.
OK. It's quite interesting because it is made out of a stamped
and pierced metal, and is of German origin.
There are two factories that it might be.
It could be Marklin, Rock and Graner or it might be Waltershausen.
And they specialised in doll's house and other small-scale toys,
particularly made out of metal, which was machine-made.
But very, very fragile and made for children in a period
where toys were made but children were not supposed to play with them.
So they are quite delicate and fragile,
and it looks as though some of these have suffered a little bit
over the years with a bit of damage.
I can remember throwing the back of that chair away when it broke off.
It's quite interesting.
We have a little table which has fallen over a bit, that's lovely.
A little salon suite, the two chairs and the settee.
Almost a bit of a laundry basket there, maybe.
-This, you tell me, was a...?
-A little treadle sewing machine.
It was intact at one time,
but I think the box it has been kept in has suffered a bit.
I think this is probably my favourite piece.
This little wall mirror with a little arm for a candle to stand in.
Yes, I can remember a piece of metal being at the back of it
-to give the effect.
-A proper little mirror. How super.
The plus side is there is so much there,
so many different items all in one go.
The downside is that there is the damage.
So if you weigh those two elements up, there are records of toys
of this nature from those factories
making anywhere between, I gather, £100 to £500 per piece.
I think that is too exorbitant for these.
I think, as a collection, you would offer them
for auction at around £200 or £300, that would be the sort of level.
And if you would like to reserve on them, we can place that on for you.
A low-end estimate.
If you think there ought to be a reserve,
-but I don't really want to keep them.
Well, how about we put on a very low reserve of £100, just in case nobody
turns up at the sale and you're not giving them away for the sake of it.
I've been meaning for years to take it to an auctioneer's and just
sort of get rid of it, really, because it's not doing any good.
It's just sitting in a box.
-Time for it to move on.
So, on that note, let's get over to the saleroom
and hope we can make Angela one happy lady.
And here's what we're taking to auction with us.
Mark was bowled over by these Minton tiles,
which he's hoping will fetch £150 to £250.
I honed in on Jan's chess pieces and I'm confident that
their excellent condition will pitch them around £150 to £200.
And whilst Angela seems happy to let this miniature furniture set
go for next to nothing, Elizabeth is convinced it's worth at least £200.
Anne's candlesticks may not be solid silver,
but Mark's hoping they'll fetch a solid price in the saleroom.
Well, we're back in Gilding's auctioneers in Market Harborough,
and the sale is in full swing.
But before we crack on with our lots,
I had a chat with auctioneer John on the sale preview day
and picked his brains on those Minton tiles.
You will like this lot, I know you will.
We're in the right part of the country to sell this item.
Hunting territory. Now, this is a whole hunting theme going on here.
15 Minton tiles.
And we've got a value of £150, hopefully £250.
All sorts of hunting.
Well, I'll be very disappointed if we don't make that,
because this is...
I sell about 28,000 lots a year
and I've not come across these before.
-And I daren't tell you how many years I have been selling.
Are these early Minton, are these circa 1880,
or something a bit later?
I would have thought you are about right. 1880, 1890.
-I like the rat hunting.
-It's an amazing collection.
Do you think this would go somewhere in a shooting lodge may be? In a fireplace?
It could have been a fireplace
in a shooting lodge but I've got a gents' washroom or a cloakroom.
You've got a cheeky grin on your face
and hopefully we can double our estimate here.
Hopefully, that would be good.
So, what are we waiting for?
Let's get back to the sale and see if John is right about those tiles.
Going under the hammer right now, one of the greatest names
in ceramics, Minton, but it's in the form of 15 tiles.
They belong to John, but sadly he's not with us today.
-But we do have Sue, his wife, and these were your father's.
So quite fitting that you're here today to say goodbye to them.
-Yes, that's right. He's probably up there watching.
-You think he is?
Did he come home with lots of tiles?
Oh, he was a big collector of everything.
Probably sick of the sight of them.
-That's why they've been kept in a box, in the shed?
-In the attic.
-In the attic. What do you think of them?
-Not a lot.
Well, I know Mark, our expert, fell in love with them.
Oh, I think they're fantastic. I've never seen some of those tiles.
I've not seen them before.
The hunting tiles, and you have so many different sports.
Polo, otter hunting.
I just think it appeals to so many collectors as well.
Well, we had a chat to the auctioneer yesterday
-and he absolutely adored them.
He also said we're in the right part of the country to be selling
these because it is hunting, shooting, fishing territory
and there is a great deal of social history,
and that is what it's all about.
That's where the money will go, in the social history,
not just with the Minton tiles, but the subject matter.
The sporting tiles,
a wonderful collection of sporting tiles by Minton.
Brilliant little lot here.
£100 opens the bidding, and you're all out.
100. 110, 120, 130. 150, 160. 170 in the room.
-The commissions are lost at 170. Phone, 180. 190. 200.
220 in the room. 240. 260.
Here we go.
280. 280, on the telephone with Mary.
At £280. All done?
Mary on telephone wins at £280.
That's good, though. Over the top end. We are happy with that, £280.
-John will be pleased as well.
Thanks for bringing those in because it gave us a big talking point.
Something we'd never seen before and that's what the show is all about.
If you've got something like that, we'd love to see it.
Bring it along to our valuation days and you can pick up details on our BBC website.
Just log on to bbc.co.uk/flogit,
follow the links and the information will be there.
And now it's time for one of my favourite items of the day,
that super little chess set.
-Jan, we never did finish that game of chess, did we?
-No, we didn't.
Nobody won, it was a stalemate but we'll get there in the end.
But right now, hopefully, we are going to sell this ivory chess set without the board.
-Let's hope so.
I'm feeling a bit worried, I've got to say that. I must admit.
But the auctioneer hasn't said anything,
and that's normally a good sign.
-Because if he thinks they're going to struggle he'll say so.
He'd normally want to talk about it but he hasn't said anything.
-So he agrees with the value.
It's whether or not of the bidders agree. That's what it's all about.
Cantonese ivory and stained ivory chess set with a mahogany box.
Another lovely piece here.
And it's in very nice order. Bidding starts with me at £90.
£90, 95. 100. 110. 110 bid.
-120. 130 with me.
-Someone's bidding on the internet.
140. 150 with me.
Out on the net, £150. I'm bid 150. £150 I'm bid. Are we all done?
I shall sell. All out on the net. All out in the room.
Sold at £150.
-Yes, very. Cheers.
Now, you could enjoy £100 of that
and spend maybe £20 on a very cheap chess set and go and learn.
-Then go and learn.
-Yes, have some fun.
-I'll do that.
Thank you for bringing that in. I enjoyed our day at Stapleford Park.
So did I. Yes.
There are laws governing when it's legal to sell ivory,
so always seek expert advice if you're unsure.
In the case of this chess set, Jan was able to sell it
because it is classified as a worked item which predates 1947.
Now, when I first saw this, I thought,
"Gosh, pair of silver candlesticks, a pair with a value of £60-£80.
"That's not a lot of money, is it?"
But then I was thinking of something that size.
-These are a bit of fun, aren't they?
-They're about that.
-Yes, and the inscription is fabulous. Why are you selling them?
-Well, because they were just upstairs in a box.
I just found them and thought, "Oh, I'll bring them along and see."
I mean, they are nice, being a little dwarf pair,
and I think it's a local interest with the Gymkhana
and I think, you know, it's a sense of Leicester.
-I just hope somebody finds them as appealing as I do.
-They are a bit of fun.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
-They're going under the hammer right now.
-Oh, are they?
Little dwarf candlesticks.
Long Clawson Gymkhana, there you go. What would you say for that?
-£35 bid, 38...
-Oh, come on.
Well, we're going in the right direction.
-I know, we do need a bit more.
-45. Are you all done at £45?
-Yes, come on.
-45, in at 45, 45.
Getting excited cos someone was putting their hand up.
-Yes, I was.
-50, I'm at 50. At 50.
I thought there'd be more than this, please. At £50, I'll have to sell.
Are we all done, finished and away, then? At £50 all done...
We placed a fixed reserve of £50 on them, so we just scraped in with it.
-Spot on that lower end of the estimate.
Well done, Anne, thank you for bringing them in.
Yes, thank you very much, yes.
'Well, Mark was on the money, there.'
Now, just time to squeeze in the last lot before we end the show.
Remember the doll's house furniture we saw earlier?
It's just about to go under the hammer
and I've been joined by Angela, who's looking absolutely splendid.
-Now, after 50 years of having these
in a box, I think it's about time we did sell them, don't you?
True, very true.
Because I know the more they get handled, the more they get damaged.
-The backs of the chairs are falling off now.
One of the chairs has lost its back which I threw away as a child.
-The other one has a back that's very loose, if it hasn't already fallen off.
-I think it has.
We were having a chat to the auctioneer earlier,
and both of the backs of the chairs weren't, err, on.
-So fragile. It's amazing it survived so long.
-He was slightly dubious.
But having said that, I kind of turned it around by saying,
if you do own a classic Victorian doll's house
and you haven't furnished it,
and this furniture does cost a lot of money, why not go off to auction
because you can room-set one parlour with this furniture.
-I would think it is mendable, quite honestly.
So, will we find a buyer? Let's find out. Here we go.
This is an unusual lot, doll's house furniture. Marklin, Rock and Garner.
Waltershausen. £55 bid for the lot.
The whole suite of furniture, £55 bid.
60. Bidding on the net. Five. 70. Five. 80. Five. 90. Five.
100. 110. 20.
120 here. 130? 130. 140.
That's what you call a keen bidder. I've not seen that for a while.
180. 190. 200.
£200. All out on the net. And sold!
Sold in the room for £200. That's brilliant!
Ever so pleased with that.
-I'm really surprised.
-And the damage didn't bother them.
-They've got a doll's house.
Simple as that. Thank you for bringing that in.
Thank you very much. That's been really great.
Here at 70. All done, sold.
Well, that's it, it's all over for our owners.
Another day in another auction room.
As you can see, the sale is still going on around me,
but it has been a bit of a mixed day.
We didn't sell everything, but at least everyone's gone home happy,
and that's what it's all about. I hope you've enjoyed the show.
Join us again soon for more surprises, but until then, from Market Harborough, goodbye.
Flog It! comes from the resplendent Stapleford Park in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. Mark Stacey and Elizabeth Talbot join Paul Martin in picking out their favourite antiques and collectibles to take to auction.
Elizabeth spies a German set of doll's house furniture, and Mark falls for a set of Minton sporting tiles.
Paul takes time out to explore nearby Kirby Hall and discover how this impressive building was designed for Queen Elizabeth I.