Buckland Abbey Flog It!


Buckland Abbey

Paul Martin and the team visit historic Buckland Abbey in Devon. Their finds include everything from The Archers' script to oriental scroll holders.


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Transcript


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This magnificent building was built by Cistercian monks

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some 700 years ago.

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Later, it was converted as a home for Sir Richard Granville.

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Later, it was home to Sir Francis Drake.

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And I'm rather pleased to say, today, for one day only,

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Buckland Abbey is home to Flog It!

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When Flog It! comes to a marvellous location like this

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and the sun shines, it just feels like we're on holiday.

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I tell you what -

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I can't wait to start exploring what's in all those bags and boxes

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down there in that magnificent queue.

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-Gosh! Are you here for valuations or are you on holiday?

-Both!

-Both?

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I hope our experts, Catherine Southon

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and David Barby don't get completely carried away.

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# Riding along on the crest of a wave! #

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Ooh!

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THEY LAUGH

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He's got my wages!

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HE LAUGHS

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Let's see if today's show tells us something fundamental about the British character.

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Which of the following three items will the bidders love best?

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Will the animal lovers go for this dog whistle?

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Or will the romantics go for the silver love token?

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Or will these drinking cups appeal to those who enjoy a tipple?

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Which one of these do you think will reach the best price?

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Well, stay tuned and we'll find out.

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Well, I've already seen some wonderful art and artefacts.

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People have been through all of these bags and boxes

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and so have our experts, but I think it's time to make a start.

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Let's kick things off with Catherine Southon.

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I always like trying to find something

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a little bit out of the ordinary.

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And I've certainly got that here, with a script from The Archers.

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Not just a script, but a signed, autographed script from 1990,

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which is the 40th anniversary of The Archers.

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Now, The Archers have been going back for donkey's years.

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Goes right back to, if this is the 40th anniversary,

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it must have gone back to 1950.

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I know absolutely nothing about The Archers.

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Never listened to a single episode.

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All I know is the theme tune.

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THEY HUM THE ARCHERS THEME

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And that's about as far as it goes!

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So, where does this all come from?

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Why the interest in The Archers?

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Well, my surname is actually Archer.

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Oh, brilliant! Julie Archer.

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Wonderful. So I was at the saleroom.

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I go there, not that regular, a few times a year, with my son,

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he likes to collect Dinky toys, etc, so I go along with him.

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And this came up for sale.

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And he said, "Mum, you've got to get that, it's The Archers!"

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I used to love watching, listening to The Archers.

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"Oh, I don't need it." "Go on, go on, Mum."

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-He told you to buy it?

-So, I bid for it, and I got it!

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Were you a big fan of The Archers?

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I used to listen to it really regular. I wouldn't miss an episode.

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I'd catch up with it on a Sunday, if I'd missed it through the week.

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-Oh, so you were an avid fan?

-I was.

-Was it quite a special episode?

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It was the wedding of Peggy and Jack.

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It was their wedding day.

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So, Jack Woolley, and Peggy signed it.

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So, did you actually remember this episode?

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Was it quite a poignant episode?

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No, no, it wasn't, no, it wasn't like Grace and the fire.

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Oh, yes, well, I do know that one!

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There is a little bit more that I know to The Archers.

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-Can I ask you how much you paid for this at auction?

-Yes, £30.

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£30. Right, OK. I would suggest that that probably is quite reasonable

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and I think that that's about the level, to be honest.

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I would say probably put it back into auction

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with an estimate of about £30-£50.

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-It's a bit of fun, isn't it?

-It is.

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I would suggest putting £30 on as a reserve.

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Because you don't really want to sell it below that, do you?

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Because that's what you paid for it.

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Nevertheless, it's a great piece, good fun,

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and I hope that it does well at the auction for you.

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I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks, when we sell it.

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Thank you, Julie, lovely to meet you. Julie Archer. Yes!

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MUSIC: THE ARCHERS THEME

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£30-£50 doesn't seem like a lot of money

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for a bit of broadcasting history.

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Now, David has found a fellow David in the crowd

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with two mysterious, Oriental objects.

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Let's see if we can identify them.

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Where did you actually get these objects from?

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I actually bought them at a jumble sale.

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-A jumble sale.

-Yes.

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And how much did you pay for them?

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Well, it was a long time ago.

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Probably 25 years, or even more.

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-Right.

-And it was pence.

-Just pence?

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These are fascinating. First of all, I looked at them.

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I'm trying to decide, actually,

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where they came from and what they are used for.

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They have every indication to be Chinese, provincial Chinese.

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Right.

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My leaning this towards Tibetan origin,

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particularly because of the structure.

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That would also account for certain Chinese hieroglyphics and letters.

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Yes, yes.

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But I do like these. I'm trying to decide what they were used for.

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Now, they are tubes, and some would say, they're for chopsticks.

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But they're not for chopsticks.

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And they're very tight-fitting.

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Not necessarily that this is the original chain.

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It may have a cord to go through.

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I think they were for transporting scrolled messages,

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because they are easy to handle, they're easily transportable,

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to put in a saddlebag or something like that,

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so I think these were 19th-century scroll message containers.

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They have got quite a bit of age.

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They have. What I like is this mixture of metals.

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So, if we look at the first one here, it's a mixture of copper,

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but we also have silver mounted in these hieroglyphics,

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here and also there.

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And also these silver sections of metal, which we call banding,

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going across.

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This one is more ornate.

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And you got this embossed, what we would term repousse,

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or stamped silver,

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which has been applied to the actual tube itself,

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as well as brass mounts as well. So, these are quite interesting.

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I would date them certainly, mid-19th to late-19th century.

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This was before telegraph, this was before trains,

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when messages had to be taken either by hand or on horseback.

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Establishing a price is difficult,

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as I've never seen anything like this before.

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We've got to box clever and put a price that'll attract people,

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but not frighten them away.

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-Bearing in mind you only paid pence for them!

-Yes!

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I think we've got to put these in the price range, possibly,

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round about 80-120?

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That sort of price range.

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And I think we need to tuck the reserve under the lower figure.

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So, I would go for a £70 reserve.

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Fine.

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So, that makes a good return on your initial investment.

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-Exactly, yes, it does.

-I think they're interesting objects.

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And anything Oriental, anything Chinese-related, or Tibetan,

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it does tend to make some money at auction.

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So, we might have a surprise.

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-Oh, that would be rather nice.

-Yes!

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Well, David knows the market. We can only wait and see if he's right.

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Hello. Look at this.

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Straight off the wall today, was it?

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I rather wish I'd spotted Sonia's item before Catherine.

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It's right up my street.

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Where did you get it from?

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It was my grandfather's. He bred dogs, so he used to use it.

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When he died, and we found it in his drawer, I remembered that,

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as a child, I had wanted to spend all day blowing on it.

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I bet you did. You remember playing with it as a child? How lovely.

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What a lovely memory. What sort of dogs were they?

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Wire-haired terriers.

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Right. OK.

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Yes, and the last one went blind.

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Aww! Well, I bet he loved this.

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Your grandfather probably thought this was quite special.

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It was probably given to him as a present.

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I don't know where he acquired it from.

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And is this the original string that he would've worn?

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I think, well, I've had it for 50 years, and it's been with the string.

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And do you have dogs yourself?

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We used to. Unfortunately, we don't any more.

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But it's a lovely, sweet little thing with nice, glass eyes.

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I can see that that one looks like he's missing. Can you see that?

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He looks like he's missing the surround of his eye.

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Probably dates from around the '20s-1930s.

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We know that it's before 1947,

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so that we know legally, that we are allowed to sell the ivory.

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For a value, I would suggest putting an estimate of £40-£60,

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with a £30 reserve. Would you be happy to sell at that?

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-That would be fine.

-That's fine.

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We need to put it at that, so that we hopefully get

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some people interested, with hope, build it up to around £60.

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OK? Well, let's blow the whistle and get the auction started!

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Shall I give it a blow?

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-Yes, go on. SHRILL WHISTLE

-That was a bit loud!

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Hold on, Catherine,

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let's have another look at what we're taking with us.

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With a price like that, The Archers fans are going to be fighting

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over that anniversary script.

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I think that David might have put a "come and buy me" estimate

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on the Oriental scrolls.

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Surely, someone will answer the call of the hound-shaped ivory whistle.

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Time to get over to Eldreds auctioneers and valuers in Plymouth.

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Come on, Catherine, you can blow the whistle now.

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There is a standard seller's commission of 15%, plus VAT,

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and auctioneer, Anthony Eldred is wielding the gavel for us.

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Well, I've just been joined by Julie, Julie Archer, to be precise.

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And guess what Julie had to buy in auction. What did you buy, Julie?

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I had to buy an Archers script. A script from The Archers.

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Julie, is the correlation the surname, or, are you an Archers fan?

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I used to be a big fan. I was a big fan.

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This was a big episode, wasn't it?

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Yes. Yes, it was. It was the wedding of Peggy and Jack.

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Very hard item to put a price on. Very hard.

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It's a bit of a guess, really, £30-£50.

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Any kind of ephemera is, you can either get it wrong,

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or you know, it doesn't sell.

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But it's all signed.

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Yes, it's signed.

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It's got provenance, it's got everything going for it.

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And it's a snip, really, at 40 odd pounds. How much did you pay for it?

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-£30.

-30, OK, well, hopefully, we'll get your money back.

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It's all a game, isn't it? Let's face it. Here it goes.

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Next is lot 197. It's a copy of The Archers 40th anniversary script.

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1990. There you are, all you Archers fans. I'm bid £32 for it.

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Against you all at £32. Five, if you want it? At £32.

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A bit more would be nice.

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Yeah. Selling at 32...

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I can sell it at £32.

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Just got a little profit there of £2,

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but it'll be lost in the commission.

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It doesn't matter, does it? It's a bit of fun.

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And that's what auctions are all about.

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But you've enjoyed that. That's nice, isn't it?

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You should have signed it as well, shouldn't you? Julie Archer.

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You'd have got more, then!

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Well, Julie's a good sport. That was a bit of fun.

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Up for grabs now, a pair of Chinese or Tibetan scroll holders belonging to David.

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Hello, there. And I'm surrounded by Davids, because we have our expert, David, here.

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You like this. And this is so topical right now.

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Everyone's investing in the Oriental, especially the Chinese.

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Yes, what I like about these is the fact that they were used

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to put sacred documents in, prayers,

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which were taken from one monastery to another.

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That was why I thought they were Tibetan, or maybe to a dignitary.

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-So, they were in use.

-Well, let's find out what the bidders think.

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It's going under the hammer right now.

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Next is Lot 73. The two copper scroll holders.

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Oriental ones. There they are. I'm bid £60 for them.

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Against you all at 60, five, 70. £70.

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Five, if you want them. At £70 only, then? You all finished then, at £70?

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-Just! Fixed reserve of £70, and we got the £70 in the room.

-Excellent.

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You said they'd either fly away or they'd be, sort of, you know...

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-Stuck in the mud. But we just did it.

-Yes, you did.

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-That's the main thing.

-Are you happy?

-Excellent news.

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I shall be going to my grandma's house!

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The Oriental buyers must have been looking the other way.

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But not a bad return on a few pence.

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I absolutely love this next lot, because I'm a dog lover,

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and it is a dog whistle.

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There are plenty of other dog lovers out there, so this could fly away, Sonia.

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We just need to whistle them in!

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A bit of carved ivory.

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It's a hound's head. He's got one glass eye missing.

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How did that happen?

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It's always been like that.

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This has been in your family a long time.

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-Oh, yes, it was my grandfather's.

-And he was a dog breeder?

-Yes.

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Are you a dog lover?

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Oh, yes, but I haven't got one, no.

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-Has he passed away?

-Yes.

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Oh, that's sad. I've got two, Bluebell and Diesel.

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German shepherd and a Basset hound.

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I knew this would appeal to you.

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You've got to be a dog lover, if you have a basset hound,

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because they slobber like hell.

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And they are so stubborn. I don't know how we put up with them,

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but we do, because we love Bassets.

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Same with the boxer.

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Ooh, you've got me!

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HE LAUGHS

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Stick with the ivory whistle.

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This is quality.

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This will sell, and this should get about the top end.

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Fingers crossed. Here we go.

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Next is lot 123, and it's a 19th-century ivory whistle.

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Charming thing in the form of a hound's head.

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Little glass eyes, there it is. And several bids for it.

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I'm bid exactly £80. At £80, and five, 90. Five, 100.

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We're running with the pack now!

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120, five, 130.

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At 130, in the doorway. At 135? 140.

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160, 170.

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Oh, Sonia!

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At 170, here, then.

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Near to me, at £170. All finished?

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-Who let the dogs out?

-Well done, Sonia!

-Catherine Southon!

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-Hey, how about that?

-That's a lot more than I expected. Yes.

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Nothing like that. I was hoping sort of 50 or 60.

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That's what I thought, maybe 80 at a push.

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It's nice to have a surprise. Quality always sells, and that had it in abundance.

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And of course, there's plenty of dog lovers out there. Enjoy the money.

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-Thank you.

-Well done.

-Thank you. Both of you.

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While I was here in the area filming,

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I took the opportunity to nip up to North Devon,

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to take a look at a bit of modern history in the making,

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capturing the heritage of the local area.

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There is a pocket of North Devon

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where the rivers Tor and Torridge meander in wooded valleys

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through ancient farmland.

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People tend to bypass this area on their way

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to Exeter, Barnstaple or the coast.

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This is deep countryside, where, until fairly recently,

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the population had ignored the changes going on in the wider world,

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choosing instead to remain more connected to the past.

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This traditional, rural way of life,

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which has been lost in so much of Britain,

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was captured here in the 1970s and '80s

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by the work of photographer, James Ravilious.

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Ravilious, the son of engraver and painter, Eric Ravilious,

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moved here to North Devon with his wife, Robin, in 1972.

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They were forced to leave their London flat,

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due to a compulsory purchase order from a local council.

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So, they settled here in Devon,

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retreating to a small cottage owned by Robin.

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As luck would have it, James was soon offered work

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by the local Beaford Arts founding director, John Lane.

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John, believing that country life was changing fast,

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had the vision to commission James to record it

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before it all disappeared.

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This commission carried on for 17 years,

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resulting in more than 70,000 images.

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The brief being - show the North Devon people themselves.

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After James's death in 1999, at the age of 60,

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all of his contact sheets and negatives were put in a strong room

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at the North Devon records office, making them virtually inaccessible.

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But all that has changed, thanks to Beaford Arts,

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who have now digitally scanned 1,700 of James's images

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and put them onto a website,

0:18:560:18:58

so everybody can see them and enjoy them.

0:18:580:19:01

The selection was made by James himself,

0:19:030:19:05

as he catalogued his photographs,

0:19:050:19:07

marking many "good" and some "best".

0:19:070:19:10

The archive consists of landscapes, portraits, rural crafts,

0:19:100:19:15

and pictures of village events.

0:19:150:19:18

He described his work as being like a huge tapestry of normal life.

0:19:180:19:23

To find out more about James's work,

0:19:270:19:30

I have come to the village of Iddesleigh, the subject

0:19:300:19:33

of many of his photographs, to meet his widow, Robin Ravilious.

0:19:330:19:38

James's photographs are wonderfully evocative of rural life.

0:19:430:19:48

Did he take photographs? Did he worked as a photographer in London?

0:19:480:19:52

-No, he trained as an artist.

-Did he?

0:19:520:19:53

-He was teaching art, and trying to be a painter.

-He had a good eye.

0:19:530:19:56

You could see he had a good eye for perspective, a good eye for vistas.

0:19:560:20:00

-And composition.

-Yes, exactly.

0:20:000:20:03

What camera did he use? Was he technically minded?

0:20:030:20:07

He used a Leica.

0:20:070:20:09

His technique with it evolved a lot.

0:20:090:20:13

To begin with, he used modern lenses.

0:20:130:20:16

But he didn't like them.

0:20:160:20:18

They were too contrast-y,

0:20:180:20:19

and so he settled for this with old pre-war lenses.

0:20:190:20:24

Yes, they're the best lenses. Why is it all covered in gaffer tape?

0:20:240:20:28

He's made a little matte box there.

0:20:280:20:30

That was to give him the frame that he wanted, yes.

0:20:300:20:33

And then, in order to compose his shots,

0:20:330:20:37

he had this,

0:20:370:20:38

which is an auxiliary viewfinder.

0:20:380:20:41

Through that, he could see exactly what he was going to be taking,

0:20:410:20:46

right to the edge,

0:20:460:20:48

which made composing much easier.

0:20:480:20:51

Was he ever at home?

0:20:510:20:53

No, not much! Only at night, when he was in the darkroom.

0:20:530:20:56

Looking at the collection, it's all in black and white.

0:20:560:20:59

Did he ever embrace colour photography?

0:20:590:21:01

No. Not for the Beaford archive.

0:21:010:21:03

He was thinking about something that would last.

0:21:030:21:06

And in the days when he was working, colour film didn't last.

0:21:060:21:09

But there was also the aesthetic reasons, really.

0:21:090:21:13

He couldn't control the colour. It was too garish.

0:21:130:21:16

And he was in the hands of the film itself

0:21:160:21:19

and the laboratory that printed it.

0:21:190:21:21

He had a sort of antipathy to green.

0:21:210:21:24

-Why was that?

-Well...

0:21:240:21:26

He was surrounded by it, in the countryside!

0:21:260:21:28

He said that it got in the way, it was too powerful.

0:21:280:21:31

He said that artists didn't like green. I don't know if that's true.

0:21:310:21:34

-He wouldn't even let me wear green in those days.

-Really?

-Yes!

0:21:340:21:38

And what did the locals think,

0:21:380:21:40

having a photographer coming up, right to their face,

0:21:400:21:43

and going, "Snap, I've got you?"

0:21:430:21:45

This chap has been caught unawares, look.

0:21:450:21:48

He's giving the eye to James there. Sort of like, "Hmm!"

0:21:480:21:51

They thought he was eccentric.

0:21:510:21:52

He was, actually! I thought he was eccentric when I first met him.

0:21:520:21:57

And they thought it was very strange to want to take pictures

0:21:570:22:01

of an unmade bed, or muck-spreading.

0:22:010:22:03

But when they saw the proceeds of his work,

0:22:030:22:06

they began to realise the purpose of it.

0:22:060:22:09

What was his favourite subject matter?

0:22:090:22:11

Was it portraits, or landscapes?

0:22:110:22:14

Ah, I think both, really.

0:22:140:22:15

But, as portraits, Archie Parkhurst's was the one he liked best.

0:22:150:22:21

He was a smallholder who lived in our valley.

0:22:210:22:24

He was always out in the road doing fascinating things. Very photogenic.

0:22:240:22:30

And he was, as it were, a sort of symbol of the old way of life

0:22:300:22:35

that James was trying to record.

0:22:350:22:37

How did he go about selecting subject matter?

0:22:370:22:40

Was it something that just cropped up spontaneously?

0:22:400:22:43

Sometimes he heard about things that were happening.

0:22:430:22:46

And he would turn up for an event like this.

0:22:460:22:48

Sometimes people told him about things that were happening.

0:22:480:22:53

Sometimes, he just set off in the car and followed his nose,

0:22:530:22:57

and was lucky, or not.

0:22:570:22:59

Sometimes, it was to do with our own lives. That's our baby.

0:22:590:23:02

-Is it, really?

-Yes.

0:23:020:23:05

Oh, how sweet! Being weighed?

0:23:050:23:07

Being weighed for the first time.

0:23:070:23:09

How much did she weigh?

0:23:090:23:11

Well, not very much, because she was a bit premature.

0:23:110:23:15

You must be immensely proud of this collection.

0:23:150:23:17

Well, I am. Not only because of what it is,

0:23:170:23:20

but because it's my home countryside that he's recorded.

0:23:200:23:24

And it is, I think, unique, in the depth of coverage of one small place.

0:23:240:23:32

Gosh, yes. Is your house full of photographs?

0:23:320:23:35

Yes. Absolutely. Groaning under them!

0:23:350:23:37

And I expect you discover different images, every now and then?

0:23:370:23:42

Well, I do. Yes, because I haven't got prints of all the negatives,

0:23:420:23:45

so I keep finding new things, sometimes with us in them, which is rather poignant.

0:23:450:23:49

Thank you for showing me these.

0:23:490:23:51

I'm sure you'll agree that James must be one of the unsung heroes of 20th-century British photography.

0:24:000:24:07

It's fair to say that, with the help of Beaford Arts, James Ravilious

0:24:180:24:22

has provided North Devon with a remarkable archive

0:24:220:24:26

AND one of the finest family photograph albums

0:24:260:24:29

anybody could ever wish for.

0:24:290:24:30

From one beautiful location to another.

0:24:380:24:40

Back to the Abbey at Buckland.

0:24:400:24:42

Where David was enjoying looking at some nasty things

0:24:420:24:45

that looked like they had crawled out from the undergrowth.

0:24:450:24:50

I'm intrigued. I always have been with this pottery.

0:24:500:24:53

Because it's so creepy.

0:24:530:24:57

It's so ugly!

0:24:570:24:58

But fascinating at the same time.

0:24:580:25:01

How did it come into your possession, Ken? You tell me.

0:25:010:25:04

Well, in my case, it was left to me by my mum

0:25:040:25:08

some 30 years ago.

0:25:080:25:09

As my sister had these two, I passed this plate on to my sisters.

0:25:090:25:14

-So, they're both yours, Doreen?

-Yes.

0:25:140:25:18

So, why have you brought your brother along with you?

0:25:180:25:22

Well, because we'll split.

0:25:220:25:24

You will split the proceeds?

0:25:240:25:26

How mercenary, Ken, how mercenary!

0:25:260:25:28

You're right, you're right.

0:25:280:25:30

These were produced in Portugal,

0:25:300:25:33

round about the 1880s, right through to the 1920s.

0:25:330:25:39

You still get them being produced today. But without as much detail.

0:25:390:25:43

Now, your plate, Ken, is the best.

0:25:430:25:46

That is the best plate.

0:25:460:25:48

And, you can tell, because of the tension in the snake,

0:25:480:25:53

how it's twisting round.

0:25:530:25:55

It feels almost as if it's going to slither off the plate.

0:25:550:25:59

And I love this lizard, coming out of its little hole.

0:25:590:26:02

And, if you feel the skin, you can feel the texture,

0:26:020:26:07

as though it was actually alive.

0:26:070:26:09

It is extraordinary.

0:26:090:26:10

Then you have all these little creatures of the night,

0:26:100:26:13

like moths, and I don't know what that would be, earwig,

0:26:130:26:17

and the slow worms, all on this grassy base.

0:26:170:26:22

This is by an artist-potter called Jose Cunha.

0:26:220:26:26

And he was a potter specialising in this decorative ware.

0:26:270:26:32

And it was sold to tourists as souvenir pieces.

0:26:320:26:37

So, if you went to Portugal,

0:26:370:26:39

in order to buy some indigenous pottery,

0:26:390:26:41

you might buy something like that.

0:26:410:26:42

This jug is a decorative ewer,

0:26:420:26:45

with a snake-twist handle which must be awful to handle, and then

0:26:450:26:50

you've got a little snail on the top which is the finial to the lid.

0:26:500:26:55

-Yeah.

-It also stands on a circular base.

0:26:550:26:59

So this would have been used possibly not for wine

0:26:590:27:04

but possibly for washing your hands before a meal.

0:27:040:27:09

And that would have had maybe a towel laid on it, or something.

0:27:090:27:12

Now, they do sell well, particularly the plate with the serpent on.

0:27:120:27:18

That's absolutely superb. So, if we add the two together,

0:27:180:27:21

I think there's a potential value of between £300-£400, if not more.

0:27:210:27:27

If not more. On a good day, possibly, it would be exceeded.

0:27:270:27:31

But, we have two protect the items from not being sold for next to nothing.

0:27:310:27:36

So, I would think a reserve of 280-300. What you think?

0:27:360:27:39

What would you like?

0:27:390:27:41

-Yes, the three?

-Go for 300. OK.

0:27:420:27:45

We're going to be at the auction. I'm going to be at the auction,

0:27:450:27:48

so I shall be there to hold your hand, Doreen?

0:27:480:27:50

Yes, you will, that's lovely, thanks. We can sweat together!

0:27:500:27:53

Brilliant! They should do frightfully well!

0:27:530:27:57

Catherine next, with something stylish from a bygone age.

0:27:580:28:01

Or is it?

0:28:010:28:03

Anne and Mike, lovely to see you.

0:28:040:28:06

Thank you for coming along to Flog It!

0:28:060:28:08

Now, at first appearances,

0:28:080:28:10

it looks like you've brought along a rather tatty case.

0:28:100:28:15

-Shall we have a little look inside?

-Yes, by all means.

0:28:150:28:18

There we are. We have a beautiful selection of tortoiseshell

0:28:180:28:23

and silver dressing accessories.

0:28:230:28:26

-I would like to know where you got this from.

-Inheritance, really.

0:28:260:28:31

A great-aunt of mine died about 12 years ago,

0:28:310:28:33

and we do a lot of amateur dramatics,

0:28:330:28:37

and it was put away to be used in any of the plays that we were doing.

0:28:370:28:42

So, you used this as a prop?

0:28:420:28:44

Yes, we've got lots of props at home that we've used over the years.

0:28:440:28:47

-Fabulous.

-But we're now changing our life direction.

0:28:470:28:51

Anne had a recent cancer scare.

0:28:510:28:52

And we're now off to Ireland, to open up a bed-and-breakfast.

0:28:520:28:56

Oh, wow, so completely different!

0:28:560:28:57

So, clearing out a lot of the props that we've got in our garage. And this is one of them.

0:28:570:29:02

When I think of this, I think of Orient Express or something.

0:29:020:29:06

It's not the average lady's handbag, is it?

0:29:060:29:09

It's not... it's not something that you find.

0:29:090:29:12

-But it actually belongs to your great-aunt?

-That died, yes.

0:29:120:29:15

-And do you think she ever used it? Did she ever travel?

-Yes, yes.

0:29:150:29:19

She was married to a captain in the Army,

0:29:190:29:21

and when he retired, they did a lot of travelling.

0:29:210:29:24

She was a multi-linguist, and travelled all over the world.

0:29:240:29:27

-So she was a pretty special lady?

-Oh, she was.

0:29:270:29:29

And she would've taken this around with her?

0:29:290:29:32

We believe so, yes.

0:29:320:29:34

I mean, it's a wonderful set, and there's so many pieces to it.

0:29:340:29:38

Quite often, you might find a set like this that's got 10 or so items.

0:29:380:29:43

But what have we got here?

0:29:430:29:44

We've got mirrors, we've got brushes, we've got a shoehorn.

0:29:440:29:48

All these wonderful... I'm just going to pull one of these out.

0:29:480:29:52

These lovely, glass tubes which are beautifully etched with patterns.

0:29:530:29:57

Each one, to me, has a wonderful quality.

0:29:570:30:01

But I'm spying here...

0:30:020:30:05

Now, this is fantastic.

0:30:050:30:07

..a little hip flask,

0:30:070:30:10

so she could take with her a little tipple on her journey.

0:30:100:30:14

-She did like a tipple!

-She did like a tipple?

-Oh, yes, yes.

0:30:140:30:18

-Now, each one, I can see, looks like it's hallmarked.

-Yes.

0:30:180:30:22

And hallmarked silver.

0:30:220:30:24

Birmingham mark and the letter Y.

0:30:240:30:27

That would date it to around the 1920s.

0:30:270:30:30

One little space there. Looks like something's missing there.

0:30:300:30:33

And there's one space here as well, which is missing.

0:30:330:30:36

Not sure whether it was a notepad or something there.

0:30:360:30:38

There's a sewing kit there but not sure what was there.

0:30:380:30:41

It is a little bit tatty and a little bit worn here and there

0:30:410:30:45

but the little jars and the bottles... Everything is wonderful.

0:30:450:30:49

Nice tortoiseshell. It gives it that sort of sense of class, doesn't it?

0:30:490:30:53

This is genuine tortoiseshell.

0:30:530:30:56

It is genuine tortoiseshell but it's pre-1947,

0:30:560:31:00

so it's something that we are allowed to sell.

0:31:000:31:02

-What do you think about it, Anne, though?

-I like it.

0:31:020:31:06

I think it's lovely.

0:31:060:31:08

Well, I think it's the sort of thing that probably a lot of dealers

0:31:080:31:11

would go for at auction. It's a smart thing

0:31:110:31:14

and I would be happy to put an estimate on of £100 to £150,

0:31:140:31:17

with a £70 reserve.

0:31:170:31:19

-How does that sound to you?

-That's fine, thank you.

-Happy to see it go?

0:31:190:31:23

-Yes.

-He's very positive about this, Anne, isn't he?

-He is.

0:31:230:31:27

I bet Great Aunt Ida was a character. And here's another one.

0:31:280:31:33

Now, what's his name? You just called him Ted? Big Ted.

0:31:330:31:36

He is a big ted.

0:31:360:31:37

David has found

0:31:370:31:39

an unusual piece of silver.

0:31:390:31:40

Now, Richard, have you any knowledge of what this box is?

0:31:420:31:46

-Well, yes, it was my mother's.

-Where did she get it from?

0:31:460:31:50

The family doesn't know, and sadly, she died with Alzheimer's disease.

0:31:500:31:55

Oh, so she couldn't tell you.

0:31:550:31:56

Yes, and she felt it was probably a marriage token box.

0:31:560:32:01

So there's all an element there. Use it as you would want to.

0:32:010:32:05

But it is a lover's token, hence the heart shape.

0:32:050:32:09

-So that's why you have two initials picked out on the front.

-Right.

0:32:090:32:13

Have you traced your family back? Do you have any Scandinavian?

0:32:130:32:17

No, not that I'm aware of.

0:32:170:32:18

These are peculiar to northern Scandinavian countries.

0:32:180:32:23

You wouldn't necessarily find something in England like this.

0:32:230:32:26

But this is silver, it's fully hallmarked, and it dates

0:32:260:32:30

-probably from the latter part of the 18th into the 19th century.

-Right.

0:32:300:32:36

I like the idea that this is a sort of romantic object,

0:32:360:32:40

and it should go on to an romantically inclined person.

0:32:400:32:43

Either they give it away as a gift at marriage

0:32:430:32:46

or they're going to treasure it for its original intent.

0:32:460:32:49

In the top section, which is hinged, you would have, possibly, spices,

0:32:490:32:55

and in the lower section, another selection of spices.

0:32:550:33:01

-Probably a little bit hotter.

-Right.

0:33:010:33:04

All of it is parcel-gilt interior,

0:33:040:33:07

so you knew that it was intended for something to eat.

0:33:070:33:11

It's a collector's piece, fairly rare.

0:33:110:33:13

I can't recall another one going up for auction recently.

0:33:130:33:17

I think £120, £200 is the sort of price range.

0:33:170:33:20

Equivalent to an English snuff box.

0:33:200:33:22

-Yes.

-Or a vesta case, or a vinaigrette.

0:33:220:33:24

And I think we should stick the reserve just under the 120,

0:33:240:33:28

tuck it in at £100.

0:33:280:33:30

-How does that feel?

-Yes, fine.

0:33:300:33:33

What would you do with £100?

0:33:330:33:36

We might well give the money to the Alzheimer's research organisation.

0:33:360:33:40

That is a very, very nice gesture.

0:33:400:33:43

Well, I hope it makes double what I've set for that case.

0:33:430:33:46

We might have a dinner out as well, then.

0:33:460:33:48

Quite right. Treat yourself, Richard!

0:33:480:33:52

Catherine has picked up some more silver, belonging to Ruth.

0:33:560:34:00

-They look like they've had a bit of use, if I can say that.

-Yes.

0:34:020:34:06

And alcoholic use.

0:34:060:34:08

I just know they've been in my family at least 50 years.

0:34:080:34:12

I come from a Jewish family

0:34:120:34:14

and every year we have the festival Passover,

0:34:140:34:17

and it's a laid-down ceremony which we celebrate at home,

0:34:170:34:22

and part of that ceremony is obligatory drinking.

0:34:220:34:27

And these were the glasses that we used as a family,

0:34:270:34:30

and you'd fill them up,

0:34:300:34:32

you'd get to a point in the ceremony and you had to drink them.

0:34:320:34:37

We tended to do it in one shot, of wine, quite a rich red wine,

0:34:370:34:42

and I can remember doing that for years and years and years.

0:34:420:34:45

-Wow.

-And I do remember my father's glass always being a lot bigger than ours.

-I'm sure, yes.

0:34:450:34:50

Perhaps he had a sneaky extra one just to top it up.

0:34:500:34:53

Yes, and that's as much as I know, and then when my mother died in 2005,

0:34:530:35:00

I inherited them.

0:35:000:35:01

The family has all split up, moved away, and we never use them.

0:35:010:35:05

-You don't use them now? You don't do the same ceremony?

-No.

0:35:050:35:09

They're really interesting. We've got a wonderful Chinese dragon,

0:35:090:35:13

so they're obviously Chinese, made for the export market,

0:35:130:35:17

but underneath we can see they've been stamped there,

0:35:170:35:21

with the number 90, which would say that they're 90% silver.

0:35:210:35:26

It's possible they could be around the 1900s

0:35:260:35:28

or just into the 20th century, but they are interesting

0:35:280:35:32

-and they've got a wonderful part of your history.

-Yes.

0:35:320:35:35

Auction estimate, I'm going to put £50 to £80 on them,

0:35:350:35:39

with a 40 reserve, with discretion.

0:35:390:35:43

-Does that sound OK to you?

-No, that would be wonderful.

0:35:430:35:46

Hopefully they'll make top end of the estimate.

0:35:460:35:48

We might be able to find out a little bit more about the maker, perhaps even make a bit more.

0:35:480:35:53

That would be great.

0:35:530:35:55

I think we should drink to a successful auction.

0:35:550:35:57

-To the auction. Cheers!

-Cheers!

-Thank you.

0:35:570:36:01

I'll drink to that.

0:36:010:36:04

Time to say a fond farewell to Buckland Abbey.

0:36:040:36:08

So while we make our way over to the saleroom, here's a quick recap

0:36:080:36:11

of what we're taking with us and what's going under the hammer.

0:36:110:36:15

I can almost guarantee a good result for Ken

0:36:150:36:18

and Doreen's creepy-crawly Palissy ware.

0:36:180:36:20

I don't think the trade buyers will miss Great Aunt Ida's

0:36:220:36:25

fabulous travelling case.

0:36:250:36:28

The British are a sentimental lot,

0:36:300:36:32

so Richard's lover's token should make its estimate.

0:36:320:36:36

And fingers crossed that Ruth's set of six silver Chinese tumblers

0:36:390:36:43

attracts attention from the Far East.

0:36:430:36:46

Over to the auction house in Plymouth, and the sale is packed with potential bidders.

0:36:480:36:53

It's time to put our experts to the test.

0:36:530:36:56

If you like creepy-crawlies, you will love this lot.

0:37:020:37:05

Going under the hammer now, some Portuguese Palissy.

0:37:050:37:07

In fact, we've split them into two lots. Hello, Doreen. Where's Ken?

0:37:070:37:11

-He's out in Majorca.

-He's on holiday, is he?

-He's on holiday.

0:37:110:37:14

Sunning himself while you're doing the hard work. Hello, there.

0:37:140:37:18

-That's my niece, Ken's daughter. It's Nicky.

-Nicky, hello.

0:37:180:37:21

-Hello, Paul.

-What do you think of this Palissy ware?

-Ugly!

-Ugly?

0:37:210:37:24

-I've never liked it.

-But do you know what? Ugly means big bucks.

0:37:240:37:28

The more lizards, the more newts and frogs, the pricier it gets.

0:37:280:37:32

-Originally we had them in one lot.

-That's right.

-£300 to £400.

0:37:320:37:36

We've split them. The plate is coming up first, £200 to £300,

0:37:360:37:39

and the ewer with the stand, £150 to £250.

0:37:390:37:42

-I think the plate is better.

-So do I.

-I think that's the best piece.

0:37:420:37:45

That's why I had put the two together.

0:37:450:37:48

They're going under the hammer and this is the first lot. We want £200 to £300.

0:37:480:37:51

Here we go.

0:37:510:37:52

Next is lot 36, which is a late 19th-century Palissy dish.

0:37:520:37:59

I'm bid £175 for it.

0:37:590:38:01

Against you all at 175. 80 if you want it.

0:38:010:38:05

At 175. 180, 190.

0:38:050:38:08

200. At £200 in the corner.

0:38:080:38:11

200, straightaway.

0:38:110:38:14

At £200, then.

0:38:140:38:15

Any more at 200? Finishing at 200, then.

0:38:150:38:19

-We're on the money there. Just sold for £200.

-Yes.

0:38:190:38:23

We were looking for 200 to 300. This is the next one.

0:38:230:38:26

Next is lot 37, which is another piece of Portuguese Palissy,

0:38:260:38:30

a ewer and cover this time, on a stand.

0:38:300:38:33

Again, several bids. I'm bid £135. Against you all at 135.

0:38:330:38:37

140, 5, 150, 5, 160 now.

0:38:370:38:42

Hm.

0:38:420:38:44

At £160.

0:38:440:38:45

Bidding's in the corner at £160.

0:38:450:38:48

Finished at 160.

0:38:480:38:50

They've gone, they've gone! You can smile now! You're bug-free.

0:38:510:38:55

THEY LAUGH

0:38:550:38:57

Great start, £360 for the two.

0:38:570:39:01

Going under the hammer now, a 1920s travelling case

0:39:030:39:06

with tortoiseshell and silver accessories.

0:39:060:39:09

It's absolutely exquisite and it belongs to Anne and Mike here.

0:39:090:39:12

-Hello.

-Hello.

-Hello.

0:39:120:39:14

And I know you were into amateur dramatics and you thought this would be a good prop.

0:39:140:39:19

You can't beat such a combination as tortoiseshell and silver together.

0:39:190:39:23

Beautiful.

0:39:230:39:24

It's so evocative of the 1920s, of that whole period.

0:39:240:39:27

I had a chat to the auctioneer yesterday, on the presale day,

0:39:270:39:31

and we both agreed the case was a little bit tatty inside.

0:39:310:39:34

That can be sorted out. When you look at the accessories inside,

0:39:340:39:37

you pick up the mirror alone and you think, "Hang on a minute,

0:39:370:39:41

"that could be worth £100 within itself."

0:39:410:39:43

So it's quality and it's going to sell. Thank you for bringing it.

0:39:430:39:48

-You enjoyed talking about this.

-Oh, loved it.

0:39:480:39:50

-Your favourite item of the day.

-Absolutely.

0:39:500:39:52

And I think possibly one of mine as well.

0:39:520:39:55

It's just so evocative of the period.

0:39:550:39:57

Well, let's find out what the bidders think. Here we go.

0:39:570:40:00

The next lot is lot 486.

0:40:000:40:03

It's a 20th-century tortoiseshell travelling dressing case.

0:40:050:40:08

I'm bid £180 for it. At 180...

0:40:080:40:12

190, 200, 210, 220, 230, 240, 250.

0:40:120:40:18

At £250. At 250 here.

0:40:180:40:22

Finished, then, at £250.

0:40:220:40:23

Quite sure at 250?

0:40:230:40:25

-That's a good price.

-Brilliant.

-It found its level.

0:40:270:40:30

-That was nice.

-That was good.

0:40:300:40:32

Things are going from strength to strength.

0:40:340:40:37

Next, something for the romantics.

0:40:370:40:40

A bit of Norwegian silver going under the hammer now.

0:40:410:40:44

-It's a love token and it belongs to Richard. What a wonderful item.

-Yes.

0:40:440:40:49

Worth every single penny, sheer quality. Why are you selling it?

0:40:490:40:53

-Well, it's lived in the loft for a number of years.

-In the loft?

0:40:530:40:56

-In the loft, yes.

-My goodness.

-Not being shown, not being loved, so...

0:40:560:41:00

-It's so small it could have got lost in the loft!

-Indeed.

0:41:000:41:03

Thank goodness you brought it for David to have a look at.

0:41:030:41:05

It's a lovely object, a heart - appropriate for a love token.

0:41:050:41:08

Exactly. Let's find out if the bidders fall in love with it.

0:41:080:41:11

Here you go, Richard.

0:41:110:41:13

On next to lot 467,

0:41:130:41:18

a little Norwegian silver love token box. There it is.

0:41:180:41:21

-I'm bid £80 for it.

-80. Good.

0:41:210:41:24

90, 100, and 10, 120.

0:41:240:41:26

At £120, 130 seated there. At £130.

0:41:260:41:31

Take another five.

0:41:310:41:32

At £130, here.

0:41:320:41:34

You're finished, then, at £130.

0:41:340:41:36

-It's within our price range.

-This is good.

0:41:360:41:39

-We sold it. 130. Well done, David.

-That's good.

0:41:390:41:42

-Happy?

-Oh, yes.

-It won't get lost, it won't get damaged, and it's gone.

0:41:420:41:46

-And the money will go to Alzheimer's.

-That is brilliant.

-Oh, good.

0:41:460:41:50

It's a nice gesture, isn't it? It's a loving gesture for a loving token.

0:41:500:41:55

Indeed.

0:41:550:41:57

Nicely put, David.

0:41:570:41:59

And now something for all of you who like a tipple.

0:42:030:42:06

We've got six Chinese shot glasses going under the hammer.

0:42:060:42:10

-They belong to Ruth. Not a lot of money, £60-£80.

-Hm.

-Quality, though.

0:42:100:42:14

-Condition's very good.

-Yes.

-OK, what do we think - top end?

0:42:140:42:18

I like these. I like the embossed dragon on them.

0:42:180:42:21

I think they might be all right, actually. Let's go for the top end.

0:42:210:42:25

-Why are you selling them?

-We lost my mother five years ago.

-I'm sorry to hear that.

0:42:250:42:29

We want to do up her garden

0:42:290:42:31

and I thought I'll buy some really nice perennial plants

0:42:310:42:34

to remind me of my mother all the time,

0:42:340:42:36

-and it's money well spent to me.

-Yes, plant up her favourite shrub or something.

0:42:360:42:41

-That's the plan.

-Right, OK.

0:42:410:42:43

Let's find out what we can do, shall we?

0:42:430:42:45

They're going under the hammer now. Good luck, Ruth.

0:42:450:42:47

Next is lot 447. It's a little set of six Oriental spirit tumblers.

0:42:490:42:55

Several bids for it.

0:42:550:42:57

I'm bid £110...

0:42:570:42:59

THEY GASP AND LAUGH

0:42:590:43:02

£110.

0:43:020:43:04

At 110, 120, 130.

0:43:040:43:06

-RUTH GASPS

-£130,

0:43:060:43:08

140, 150, 160, 170...

0:43:080:43:10

-Gosh.

-..180, 190...

0:43:100:43:13

-Stiff competition.

-It's amazing.

0:43:130:43:16

Finished in the room at 200.

0:43:160:43:18

And 10, fresh bidding.

0:43:180:43:20

And phone bidding.

0:43:200:43:22

..230, 240, 250, 260,

0:43:220:43:24

270, 280, 290,

0:43:240:43:27

300 now.

0:43:270:43:29

-It's the Chinese influence, isn't it?

-At £310, seated here.

0:43:290:43:32

Finished in the room at 310.

0:43:320:43:35

-Bidding? At £310, bidding's in the room.

-(£310!)

0:43:350:43:40

I'm shaking. It's amazing.

0:43:400:43:42

Yes! £310. Definitely the Chinese influence there.

0:43:420:43:46

-Yeah.

-Oh, that's brilliant.

0:43:460:43:48

-Wow, wow, wow. Happy?

-Oh, I'm delighted!

0:43:480:43:50

I think you could say job WELL done there, don't you?

0:43:500:43:53

We have had such a great day in the saleroom.

0:43:550:43:58

Until the next time, though, from Plymouth here in the West Country, it's proper job.

0:43:580:44:04

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:44:250:44:28

Paul Martin is joined by experts Catherine Southon and David Barby at historic Buckland Abbey in Devon. Their finds include everything from The Archers' script to oriental scroll holders, all to be put under the hammer at the auction house in Plymouth. Paul travels to North Devon to find out more about the work of photographer James Ravilious.


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