Antiques series. Paul Martin presents from Ickworth House, a mansion near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, where he is joined by experts Adam Partridge and Philip Serrell.
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Our venue today was inspired by fine art, Italy
Set in the idyllic Suffolk countryside,
it's been described as a stunning architectural oddity
and it's certainly one of England's finest mansion houses.
But why don't you be the judge of that?
This is Ickworth House. Welcome to Flog It!
So how did Ickworth, an Italianate palace,
end up in Suffolk?
This remarkable Georgian house was built
for the eccentric Hervey family
to reflect a passion for Italian architecture
and to showcase an extensive art collection.
Completed and enhanced by a succession of Hervey men,
they were supported by strong, intelligent and often wealthy women.
But more about them later on in the show.
Most of the original artwork that Ickworth was built to house
was collected over the years on the Grand Tour of Europe.
But it never actually made it here.
It was confiscated in Rome by Napoleon's troops,
but we do have a wonderful Flog It! crowd here today,
armed with their own treasures and fine art.
All keen to fill Ickworth House and, of course,
they want that all-important valuation from our experts,
and I know, before we go inside,
there is one question on everybody's lips, which is...
ALL: What's it worth?
Stay tuned and you'll find out.
Now owned by the National Trust,
today's throng don't have to worry about Napoleon's troops.
But two leaders in the field of antiques,
ready to go to war to seize any advantage
are Philip Serrell...
Just stand back.
..and Adam Partridge.
I'll have a look at this box.
I think you'll find it has a green sticker on it.
You're late again!
So, without further ado, let battle commence.
On today's show, there are some tricky valuations.
-Have you seen me guess before?
I've seen the hit and misses.
It's not going well now, is it?
But whose guesses are widely short of the mark at the auction?
130, 140, 150, 160...
Hammer's gone down, job done!
This is the West Wing, at one stage originally used by the
Hervey family for grain storage,
and today it is filling up fast with the good folk of Suffolk,
laden with antiques and collectables.
It's time to start the valuing, so let's catch up with Adam Partridge
and see what he has spotted.
And like a magpie, our expert happened to see
his first item twinkling in the queue.
This is a wonderful dish.
Thank you so much for bringing it in to Flog It!
It's just my sort of thing.
I was glad you liked it as you walked past, actually.
You saw me stop and seize on it, I do that.
You have an instinct in your stomach sometimes
and you think, "Oh, gosh, I must see that."
Can you tell me what you know about it?
We've owned it about 30 years, I suppose.
We used to use it as a muffin dish occasionally.
-You can get the hot water in.
There's a little screw there, isn't there?
-It's round here.
-There we go.
So you unscrew that and put your hot water in there
to keep your muffins warm.
Muffins or drop scones or whatever you have.
I don't know a lot about it. I think
it might have come down from Sir William Preece,
who helped Marconi
do his first transatlantic cable.
-They were a much more elegant family, a rich family.
Well, it is a very grand muffin dish, isn't it?
It is, it's lovely to use but it is grand.
It's not the sort of thing one rolls out and uses on a regular basis, is it?
-How often do we have muffins these days?
There's no marks on it at all
but those of us who know about these things,
it's written all over it, it doesn't need a mark.
It's an Arts and Crafts piece from around about 1905 or so,
it was designed and made at the Guild of Handicrafts
by Charles Robert Ashby,
so it has a really good pedigree.
The Guild of Handicrafts moved to Chipping Campden
in about 1902,
so it would have been made in the real height of
the Arts and Crafts movement.
It's handmade, hand-beaten,
which is quite important because it is only silver-plated,
and silver plate these days, generally speaking,
is a dreadfully depressed market.
But this is all in the style and the design
that makes this a valuable piece
and this little hard-stone finial inset
into the lid is just a lovely touch.
It's such a smooth, elegant shape, isn't it?
It's just very, very pleasing, isn't it?
Down to value.
My estimate would be £400-£600.
-We'll put a reserve of 400 if that suits you.
And there is a massive appeal for works of this period.
The other satisfying thing is that
there is no value to the metal so it will not ever be melted,
-it will always be preserved as an object.
Thank you so much for bringing it in, it's the nicest thing I've seen for a while.
-That's grand, thank you.
-Thank you so much.
Adam's not the only one discovering gems amongst the crowd.
There's a wealth of unusual treasures walking through the doors today.
Giles, these belong to you.
I got them from my godmother when she died
and she had had them for quite a long time.
I don't know how she came by them, but she always thought they were quite special,
so I have brought them along today just to give you
a chance to see them.
Looking at a couple of them, they are dated, so what you have got here
is three late 18th-century Scandinavian washboards
and the detail is absolutely exquisite.
They would be used for dividing the linen up.
When it comes out on rolls and it wants to dry,
you pick up one of these to separate the sheets
and fold them, literally to lift up and let the air get through.
I particularly like this one with the handle.
Most people tend to put them on the wall and I guess that's where you've had them.
Yes, they hang on the wall as a memento of my godmother.
This one is dated 1769,
this one is dated 1762.
So you're looking at works of art here.
Beautiful, beautiful examples
of master craftsmen at the top of the genre.
Individually, if you put these on the market,
-they'd fetch around about £800-£1,200 each.
So I've got three grand sitting on my lap of Scandinavian folk art.
They're not for sale.
I wish they were. I was just about to twist your arm.
-Please put them on the wall and enjoy them, won't you?
-Yes, I will.
What a treat. You never know what you're going to find.
And these possessions have often gone on an interesting journey
before they make it to the Flog It! valuation tables.
So just tell me, why have you, a lady,
got a gentleman's pocket watch?
It's my father's watch, he owns it at the moment.
It used to belong to my mother's stepfather, so my step-grandfather.
My grandmother remarried again when she was in her late 70s, 80s.
-So she got married at 80, bless her!
And she married William, whose watch it was.
Me and my sister were bridesmaids at their wedding.
-So you went to your gran's wedding as a bridesmaid?
-That's pretty cool, isn't it?
-It was, yeah, very good.
And then, when he died, my grandmother inherited it
and when she died, my mother inherited it
and then my mum died 20 years ago, so my dad's had it ever since.
So you tell me what it is and what it's worth.
I haven't a clue what it's worth.
It's a pocket watch with a gold-coloured chain. Is it gold?
-I don't know.
-Right, we'll have a look at it.
If we pick this up and have a look at the back,
that isn't a good start.
-It's not a good start?
-Not a good start, this.
Rolled gold. Now, that basically means gold-plated.
So that's actually not a good starting point, is it?
-What about this? Where's he got that from?
-I haven't a clue.
It looks like it's got Arabic writing on it.
One of our researchers looked earlier
and we think this is a Turkish 100 Kurush coin. And it's gold.
-And so today, this is worth its weight in gold.
In pure financial terms, if you offered me that or that, I think
that's worth £10 or £20 and I think that's worth between,
-I don't know, £100 and £200, perhaps £250.
But we've got this in the middle, haven't we?
-Do you know what this chain's called?
Have a look through there. Can you see that?
-I can't see what it says.
-Can't you see it?
-No, I can't, no.
-Do you want these, as well?
-Yeah, I might need them!
-Shall we get Jodrell Bank in?
Hey, come on, concentrate. You're not that old, look.
Help us! Right, so what we've got there, look, we've got a chain.
And I mean, it's hard to see.
That says nine carat, which is, in a way, the lowest grade,
but nonetheless, this has still got a value.
Now, the sad thing is
that this is probably going to end up in the melting pot,
but from your point of view,
-the price of precious metals have gone through the roof.
So I think if we estimate it at £250-£350
and we put a £200 reserve on that,
-I think you should make between £300-£400.
-Yeah, it'd be lovely.
What I would really like you to do with the proceeds
-is go and buy some glasses.
-Some new glasses!
-Yeah, maybe I need to, yeah.
Well, you don't need glasses to see how busy it is today.
And while the valuations are going on, I thought I'd slip away
from the West Wing to have a quick look inside the Rotunda.
Here you can find a renowned collection of paintings
such as this one of the fourth Earl, known as the Earl-Bishop.
It was painted in 1790 by French artist Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun,
who was a court painter to Queen Marie Antoinette.
Her portraits often idealised the model.
In other words, they weren't always as attractive in the flesh
as they appeared on canvas.
And this made her very popular with her sitters.
Well, the Earl-Bishop must have appreciated her talent,
because a year after she painted his portrait,
he commissioned a self-portrait of the artist herself.
And here it is hanging in the smoking room on the wall.
And I have to say, in my opinion,
this is the best painting in the house.
It's absolutely exquisite. Beautifully executed.
Vigee Le Brun was interested in fashion
and she painted clothing in great detail.
Just take the ruff around her neck with all the lacework,
the light and the shade, being able to look through this fine weave.
And again, the folds in the fabric,
this wonderful, rich, red velvet texture.
That's just fabulous.
Another professional with an eye for fine detail
is Adam Partridge, who knows quality when he spots it.
-Susan, welcome to Flog It!
-Lovely to see you.
-Nice to see you again.
-Now, can you tell me where you got it from?
-My husband's nan and grandad.
-So it's passed down through your family in-laws.
-And do you use it?
-It was in the garage until last weekend.
-I don't know.
-What is it doing in a garage? It's very nice.
-Do you know the wood?
-Is it rosewood?
-You don't need me, do you?
-I do. How old do you think it is?
-I think it's early 19th century. 1830s?
-Looks like it might be a tea caddy, but it's not, is it?
-Shall we have a look?
-Yes, look inside.
-Da-da-da! There we go.
My favourite bit, I think, is behind here.
Because that's where you've got the maker's mark. Bailey & Blue.
-Never heard of them.
-Never heard of them?
Well, they're not very commonly seen,
but they're good manufacturers.
London manufacturers of Cockspur Street.
-And I believe they were perfumers to the Queen.
-Oh, were they?
-Or to the royal family.
-So it's a quality thing.
So this is a box that covers every use that you need, really.
This bit is for your writing and your stationary and then we fold up
and you've got your toiletry section
with a selection of little glass bottles.
-Unfortunately, the condition's not great.
-Yes, I know.
-Did you do that?
-No. That's how I inherited it.
-And then you've got these little pots here made from ivory.
And lots of little lidded compartments there
and you've got a drawer at the bottom,
-which would've been where you keep your jewellery.
-I think so.
-You don't have a key either, do you?
-Yeah, poor box.
-We need to get it to a loving home, don't we?
-Very true, very true.
So, Susan, obviously, it's called Flog It!,
it's all about selling it,
we've got to talk the vulgar stuff now, about the money side of things.
-What do you reckon? Value it for me.
I was going to put our old favourite estimate on it of £80-£120.
Because it actually is the right estimate for this,
factoring in the condition isn't great.
If this was absolutely perfect, it would be worth £300-£500.
-Yeah, I think so.
But as it is, I think £100 is a fair indication.
-Is that all right with you?
-Yeah, that's fine.
I think a £50 reserve would be sensible.
-And if it makes £100-£150, which we hope it'll make...
Absolutely! Do you have any plans on the proceeds if it sells?
-To go to Parkinson's UK.
And back in the West Wing, beautiful as well as practical
might be an apt description of Shirley's profession.
-Shirley, how are you?
-Fine, thank you.
-Now, are you a Suffolk lass?
-Cambridgeshire. By one mile!
-By one mile?
Are you involved with the agricultural fraternity?
I used to be. I am a carriage driving teacher, really, now.
-Carriage driving, like the Duke of Edinburgh does?
-That's cool, isn't it?
-It's great fun.
-How long did it take you to learn that?
-I started when I was six.
-With a Shetland pony.
-Are you from a farming family?
Because this painting you've brought along,
-it's a painting that I could see hanging in a farmhouse.
-Do you know who the artist is?
Well, there's good news and there's bad news.
-The artist is Michelangelo.
But not that one! That's the bad news. I can't pronounce it,
it's Meucci, which is M-E-U-C-C-I.
And this chap was prolific in the 19th century.
He did live birds, which made £1,000 plus, and he did dead birds,
which made, like, £150.
So, by and large, people don't want dead birds hanging on the walls,
and so, a painting like this is...
Its sort of value falls a little bit,
simply because of the subject matter.
Having said that,
you've got a really lovely Black Forest carved
vine leaf frame around it.
-I think that's going to help it along.
-Is that contemporary with the picture?
I would have said it probably was, yeah. What do you know about it?
How long have you owned it?
I have owned it since 1996 when my mother died.
She had bought it before then. It's been in the family over 50 years.
-Did she buy it at auction, or...?
But she didn't do auctions, so we don't know why she went to this auction and bought this
picture, because she hid it away to start with. She didn't want anybody to know about it.
Was it a mistake, do you think?
I think it must have been.
You know, this is almost the ideal subject of what's not in
fashion any more, cos you've got a Black Forest frame that isn't
quite as collectable as it was 10 or 15 years ago, you've got this
subject, and I think all of that affects how you pitch your estimate.
I think you need to put your estimate at £150-250, reserve it at 150.
Now, wouldn't be surprised if somebody bought it and took
the frame one way and perhaps put a mirror in it and made that...
-..and the painting went another way and got perhaps framed in a more
-traditional image, but I think that's just where you need to pitch it.
If you have a result, it might do a lot better,
but I think we've really got to be cautious with it.
It would suit a sort of National Trust game larder or
-something like that, wouldn't it?
-Yeah. I mean, this is a typical larder, this marble slab here.
-Perhaps we should tell them about it.
-I shall leave that to you.
Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that the birds fly.
They don't look as if they're going far, do they?
Well, I'm sure there's life in the old birds yet, Shirley,
especially where we're going.
Before we head off to auction, I'm going to explore a local landmark.
Sitting on the Suffolk coast,
Southwold is a quintessentially English resort.
But it also has something you wouldn't expect to find
amongst a row of terraced houses -
a town centre lighthouse.
So you can't really miss it.
It's 31 metres in height and it really does stand out.
Built to replace three local lighthouses threatened by
coastal erosion, Southwold's lighthouse was built inland
on higher ground on what was the edge of the town back in 1890.
Gosh, look at that!
A cantilevered spiral staircase which takes you right to the top.
Well, this could take some time.
Now another very important landmark in this area is over in that
direction. That's where I'm off to right now.
It doesn't stand out on a skyline like this one does, but,
nevertheless, it's still a very important landmark, and it's
got a lot of history attached to it, so let's go and find it.
The town of Southwold sits at the mouth of the River Blyth and
the neighbouring village of Walberswick is separated from
Southwold by this narrow stretch of water.
Landmarks can tell you so much about local history.
As a ferrywoman,
Dani Church shows they can also come in all shapes and sizes.
A familiar sight locally, Dani rows residents and tourists across
the river, keeping communities connected.
'I've come to find out about the fascinating history behind
this service, which Dani's own family
has been associated with for five generations.
-What's your dog called?
-Has she always been onboard?
-Pretty much. Yeah, she comes to work.
The customers love her, especially the children.
Dani, how long have you and your family been involved in the ferry crossing?
Well, the first member of my family was involved in the late-1800s.
He was my great-great-uncle, Benjamin.
Basically, a member of our family have been doing it ever since then.
But I gather the ferry has been running a lot longer than that.
Yes, the first recorded crossing was 1236,
so that's nearly 800 years ago.
That goes back centuries.
At that time, it was a rowing boat and they used to charge
a ha'penny per person and per horse,
but goodness knows how they rowed a horse across. I don't know.
The pontoon ferry from the 1880s was, in turn,
replaced by a new and improved steam ferry in the 1920s called the Blyth.
How long did the chain ferry last?
What happened in the Second World War,
the army used to cross but they didn't pay.
So the service sort of went into disrepair cos there was no money.
So they moored it up.
Eventually, the pontoon just ended up sort of sitting on the mud,
and that was the end of that.
After hundreds of years of crossings, both communities
were cut off from each other, but Dani's family came to the rescue.
In 1940, her great-great-uncle Old Bob Cross enlisted his
brother Ernie, and together, using a fishing boat,
they resurrected the old rowing boat service, which still operates today.
So who took over from Bob and Ernie?
Well, that was Young Bob, Old Bob's son.
He did the ferry in the 1970s and 1980s.
He became a bit of a celebrity, because at that time,
the ferry turned from a necessity to a novelty.
He even made the front page of the New York Times at one point.
-Did he really?
-I know. He became quite a celebrity.
-Something like that, yeah.
-When did your father get involved?
From about the age of 12, he started helping his great-grandad,
who was Old Bob, on the ferry. He taught him the tricks of the trade.
Bob and Dad, quite famous for their smoked fish,
kippers and herrings, cos they had a smokehouse down on the harbour.
-As things do around here.
When did your father start to teach you to row?
I can't really remember. It must have been from the age of six or seven.
I used to sit on the boat with him,
sit on the rings and watch him talk to the customers, stroke the dogs. Gradually, he'd let me take one oar.
Then I'd sit on his lap and do them together. He'd teach me the tides.
So I've basically grown up knowing all about the ferry and how
-So it literally is handed down from father to daughter.
You obviously clearly get job satisfaction.
I can see you're really passionate about it.
I think it's working outdoors, for me, it's wonderful, and the exercise. Also meeting the people.
There's so many people who come over.
From year to year, you gain new friends.
The customers, you see them every year and you get to know what's going on in their life.
It's the continuity as well that I really enjoy.
Dani's keen to keep the tradition alive,
and not one to keep her passengers waiting.
-Come on, jump on.
Some regulars have turned up to get across,
including Rita and her grandson.
So, Rita, how long have you been using the ferry?
I've been using the ferry for 61 years now.
Gosh, you don't look old enough. You must have been born in the boat!
I was born... No, I was born in Walberswick.
No, I was born in the village, and my mother still lives here.
What about you?
-Well, I built the ferry.
-You built this ferry?
You're a shipwright, are you?
-What a lovely trade. Gosh!
What do you think of Dani continuing the family tradition?
Well, Southwold without the ferry wouldn't be Southwold, would it?
It just wouldn't. No, it's got to have a ferry.
The first one I built was 61 years ago.
But I've never rowed the boat.
You know, it's never too late, is it?
It's certainly not too late for Dani's son Charlie or nephew Oscar.
-Are you going to take over the business one day?
-No, Oscar is.
-I want to work in something different.
You want to do something different.
well, I can't think of a better way to travel and make friends at
the same time.
Nelly, are you going to jump over?
-There we go.
Long may the tradition of Southwold to Walberswick ferry continue.
Well, we've certainly got some desirable items
to put before the bidders.
Now, before we head off to auction for the very first time,
I just wanted to show you the library,
because it is a magnificent room.
It's the largest of the state rooms here,
but there's something very unusual about it.
And I wonder if you can guess what it is?
It's quite obvious, really.
There are only two walls in this room.
One wall is the outer circular wall of the Rotunda,
which you can see here,
and it's almost dissected in half with this straight wall.
Can you see that? Making a semicircle.
Used more for entertaining rather than a study,
this doubled up as a ballroom more notably,
for the annual servants' ball.
I wonder if we're going to have a ball now as we go off to auction.
And here is a quick recap of all the items we're taking with us
that are going under the hammer.
The Arts and Crafts collectors should warm
to this silver-plated muffin dish.
We have Julie's gold watch and chain with the unusual Turkish medallion.
Will it be the Black Forest frame or the subject matter
that determines its sale price?
And will Susan's neglected travelling box find a loving home
amongst the bidders?
We've popped just over the border into Norfolk for today's auction
to the historic market town of Diss, famous for its mere, or lake,
which is at the heart of the town.
Just around the corner are the auction rooms.
And the sale room is absolutely rammed.
Do remember, there is commission to pay,
whether you're buying or selling in an auction room.
Here, at TW Gaze, it's 12.5% plus VAT.
But it does vary from saleroom to saleroom,
so check the details in the catalogue. It's printed there.
Or, otherwise, ask a member of staff.
Elizabeth Talbot's just about to get on the rostrum,
let's get on with the sale.
270, 280. 290 in the room?
And I'm sure our viewers will recognise our regular
Flog It! expert Elizabeth there on auctioneering duty today.
And first up is Susan's rosewood box.
I really do like this.
And I don't think there's a lot of money on this, but it's something
that, you know, it's kind of hard to sell
unless you're in the trade and you do them up and move them on.
Lots of people like treen, don't they, Paula?
Yeah, I like treen, I do like treen, but it's the contents
which is kind of like, you know, what do you do with it?
-So we're going to find out what it's worth. Ready?
-Here we go.
-This is what we've been waiting for.
-It's a lovely lot, this one.
-Start me at 100.
-£100 on the box.
-Coming in at mid estimate there. No.
50, I'll take.
Yes, 50 bid. 50, I have. 55 is gallery.
60, 65, 70, 75.
Where's 90? Surely worth more.
-She's trying hard with this one.
-Still good value, I think, at 95. Any advance?
-95. The hammer's gone down.
-Oh, well done. Thank you.
Now, earlier, before the auction got underway,
I caught up with our auctioneer Elizabeth,
casting an appreciative eye over our next lot.
-Do you like that?
-I do like that very much.
It sits very well on the wall there.
I was just admiring it, cos it's actually in its original frame,
-by the looks of it, too.
It looks like it's been cleaned recently, though.
It has been cleaned in its history. That means you can reveal
the lovely signature and the date on the bottom,
-which is nice to see.
-This belongs to Shirley.
-You know we had a valuation of £150 on this.
Yes, yes. Something's happened since then.
-Well, she's actually contacted us
and raised it with a reserve to £300.
Right, OK. Actually, looking at that,
you would still pay £300 for it, wouldn't you?
Well, I would. I have just been musing whether that seems fair.
I think it does seem fair. But, more to the point,
this artist, who was very prolific and well-known for such...
-Yes. With a name like that, you have to paint a painting.
But for that sort of money, he's not unknown.
£300-£400 is the new revised estimate.
It's not out of the way.
I'm not sweating at this point.
No, I bet you're not. You're quietly confident, aren't you?
So, without further ado, let's see if Elizabeth's right.
On the day, I looked his prices up.
He... I put in his rock-bottom figures, around 150, 250.
I think if you promote it properly,
you have online bidding, it will make what it's worth.
Anyway, it's going under the hammer right now.
I'm pretty sure it's going to find a new home.
Let's find out what this lot think.
Michelangelo Meucci there, the 1877 painting of dead game.
Interest is shown. I start at just £200.
£200, I have.
230. 240. 250.
260. 270. 280.
-I think so.
At 290, now, the room bid at 290. 300, I'll take.
300 is bid.
Someone's in the room now. That chap there.
-Well, it's gone.
I'm looking for 80.
380 is the telephone. 400.
400. I've lost the telephone. £400 now.
Well, £400, it's gone. What we keep saying is quality always sells.
-That's a good result.
-Yep, very good.
Thank you very much.
Will the collectors spot this rather special handmade muffin dish?
-Wonderful bit of silver, Anthea.
-It is lovely, isn't it?
If I owned this, I wouldn't be selling it.
And I bet our expert, Adam, who valued this, wouldn't be selling it.
It was a real delight to find it.
I think it's one of the nicest things in the whole sale.
I'd love to own this.
And of course, this is an important piece of 20th-century design.
-It is beautiful. It's so smooth.
-Why's it going?
Well, we haven't got that elegant lifestyle.
-You couldn't put it out because you'd have to polish it.
I'm tingling. This could be brilliant!
-We're putting it under the hammer right now.
Start me at 500. Classic design.
£300 to start.
Come on, £300. A good piece here at 300. Where are you?
No bidding. Anybody in at 300? No?
No? We'll pass on that one, then.
-I'm pleased it didn't reach the reserve.
If it was going to sell on the reserve, it would be cheap.
I didn't want it to sell on the reserve.
Two were sold a couple of months ago for £600 a piece.
There you go, that's its value. £600.
There's another day in another auction room.
-I wish it had made £600.
-So do I.
-So do I.
Thank you so much for bringing in real quality.
-Yes, it was lovely just to see it.
Well, the Arts and Crafts collectors were just not out in force today.
It's such a shame.
Let's see if our next lot fares any better.
If you'd have sold this five years ago,
I think you'd have got between a third and a half
of what you're going to get today.
And I think it'll make jolly good money
-and it'll make a full price and hopefully, you'll be pleased.
-Let's hope so.
-I think we all will be.
-My dad will be.
Let's put it to the test. Let's find out what the bidders think.
It's a lovely lot. I start at £150. 150 bid.
At 160, 170, 180, 190, 200, I'm out.
It's gone on the reserve. Here we go.
220, 230, 240, 250,
260, 270, 280, 290,
300, 320, 340, 360.
The back wall at 380 now. Looking for 400.
The back wall at £380 now.
Spot on, Philip. Does that money go to Dad? It's Dad's watch.
Yep. Dad's having it all. Yeah.
So it'll go towards whatever he wants to put it towards.
Well, I'm sure he's going to treat you.
No, no. He doesn't need to treat us.
-Well, I hope Julie's dad enjoys spending all that money!
-A great result.
-It's £200 on commission, I'm looking for ten.
Well, that concludes our first visit to the auction room today.
We are coming back later on in the programme.
Now, they say history is written by the victors.
Well, it's also mostly written by men about other men
and the lives and contributions of their wives
and daughters have sometimes - more often than not - been overlooked.
But as with a lot of families, Ickworth's history is shaped
on its women, as I found out. Take a look at this.
MUSIC: Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op.6, No.8 by Corelli
Earls, Lords and Sirs.
Walking around a stately home, we are often greeted by nobility.
And because hereditary status usually descends through
the male line, that's the history we are presented with.
However, Ickworth House wouldn't be the place it is today or have such
an interesting story to tell but for the women who married Ickworth men.
They brought money, they brought notoriety, but ultimately,
they saved Ickworth House so we could all enjoy it.
The Ickworth Estate first passed into the hands of the Hervey family
in the 15th century - through marriage.
But it was this chap, John Hervey, who - on paper at least - was considered to be
the founder of the family fortunes, back in the 18th century.
And how did he do it?
Well, he married two extremely wealthy heiresses.
After his first wife died during childbirth, he married this lady,
who, incredibly, bore him 17 children.
And it's through her family connections that secured
a peerage for John.
Baron Hervey of Ickworth
was duly promoted to the Earldom of Bristol.
And how did the first Earl of Bristol spend his wife's fortune?
Well, he drew up grandiose plans for a new house which eventually
became the Ickworth we see today.
And purchased some beautiful objects to fill it.
Thanks to the wealth of his wives,
the first Earl was able to commission a considerable
amount of silver from some of the leading silversmiths of the day.
Things like these three silver sugar casters,
dating back to 1723.
Look at this wonderful pierced filigree work,
I mean, the attention to detail is absolutely superb.
It's a lasting legacy for us all to enjoy.
But it wasn't just the money the Hervey women brought to the
table - the first Earl's son, John Lord Hervey was soon to
contract a love match with the beautiful and witty Molly Lepel.
One of the house managers at Ickworth,
Sue Ellis, has studied her intriguing life in the 18th century.
Molly was one of Queen Caroline's maids of honour.
She was a great wit and beauty at the court of George II.
She married Lord John Hervey in secret and at the time,
Lord Chesterfield said that they were a perfect beau and belle.
Unfortunately, Lord Hervey was famously unfaithful.
He was much talked of for his notorious philandering
and flirting at court
and was the cause of the famous remark that there
were three human species -
men, women and the Herveys.
Despite her husband's errant ways,
Molly was universally admired by both men and women for both her wit
and good sense and she was friends with Pope and Voltaire
and also with Horace Walpole.
Later in life, Walpole corresponded with her
and he always spoke about her with great respect and admiration
and many of her letters were published after her death.
And here are some of Molly's personal possessions,
along with the silver kettle stand, there is a small enamel pillbox,
but I love the little miniature portrait of her.
Now, she died in 1768 and I'd imagine
she was around about 35 years old there.
This is from the court of George II and it was
the flavour of the month, really, to have a miniature done of you
so you could give it to your loved one so he could carry it everywhere.
I particularly love this enamel pillbox, I really do.
There's a cameo portrait of John,
her husband looking to the right,
Bordered by the most beautiful
blue and green enamel work
you'll ever see,
inset with little green emeralds.
Stunning! Absolutely stunning.
Fortunately for the house and estate,
Molly's spirited legacy lived on in later generations of Ickworth women.
When, in 1907, Frederick the fourth Marquess of Bristol
inherited Ickworth, the estate was nearly insolvent.
Luckily for him, his wife, Theodora Wythes, had the money
and the determination to do something about it.
Theodora was the granddaughter of a Victorian railway contractor
from whom she inherited an immense fortune
and she devoted a large part of it to the restoration of Ickworth.
It's probable that without Lady Bristol, the house that we
see today wouldn't have survived in such a reasonable state of repair.
When Theodora came to Ickworth,
she was appalled by the lack of modern conveniences.
She was a middle-class girl and she was used to hot water
and electricity, so she put her money to good use at Ickworth
and she installed a massive Cornish Trentham boiler to provide hot
water to the Rotunda and instead of an old man having to pump
the water by hand, the pump was electrified and in fact
electricity was installed so there was electricity in all the rooms.
MUSIC: Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller
One person who remembers Lady Bristol is Lily Thrower.
Now in her 90s, Lily worked as
one of the housemaids at Ickworth in 1937.
Lily, you were 17 years old when you came to work here
and you were the sixth housemaid. Was there a hierarchy in maids,
and you work your way up to the first one?
Well, if you stayed there long enough,
you might get a little bit higher.
What did the job involve?
Well, first thing I had to get up six o'clock in the morning...
Get the head housemaid a cup of tea, go down, light the fire
in the servants' room before we had our breakfast.
And other jobs came along during the day.
-Where you able to finish at five o'clock or six o'clock?
not five o'clock. More like nine o'clock, yes.
We had jobs to do in the evening, you see.
They got a lot of work out of us!
Was that six days a week, did you get one day a week off?
We had one afternoon a week and one Sunday a fortnight.
That's almost like the hours you'd expect to
-work in the Victorian period.
-Yes, yes. Very hard.
-So what did you make of Lady Bristol?
-She was a very nice lady.
She used to come down to our housemaids' sitting room every
morning with the Bible and read out the Bible, you know.
We weren't allowed to speak to her
and she didn't speak to us, either.
Oh, I was hoping you were going to say she would look out for you
-and look after you a bit.
-No, no. She was a marchioness, you see.
There was definitely a hierarchy above stairs AND below.
If she did speak, we could answer, but...
-Otherwise, don't speak unless you're spoken to.
The formidable marchioness clearly ran her house according to the
strict conventions of the day.
And from one careful custodian to the next,
it was Theodora, Lady Bristol, who was able to hand over Ickworth House
to the National Trust so future generations can enjoy it.
And that's thanks in large part to the women of Ickworth.
Back in the West Wing, it's the fine people of Suffolk and the Flog It!
team that are enjoying Ickworth's hospitality today.
Over with Phil, there's a table full of happy memories.
-So, this has been in the roof.
-It's been in the loft, yes. 45 years.
45 years? Looking at it, you've got a better loft than I have!
-And this was yours?
-Mine and my older brother's.
Dad knew someone who was selling this big train set
-and he just came home with it one day.
-He was a great dad, then!
If you think of boys' train sets, you think of Hornby and Tri-ang.
They are the two major makers.
It's very much a 20th-century Tri-ang collection - 00 gauge,
-but this isn't just it, is it?
-No, there's other items as well.
There's quite a lot of other items.
-Have you got a list of what there is?
Can I just have a quick flick through?
So here we've got a list of everything you've got
and it tells us all whether it's boxed or not.
That's just what you need.
You've got so much of this, did you ever have a favourite?
Funnily enough, it's actually the motorcoach.
The V on the front lights up in the dark,
so my clearest memory is switching all the lights off in the front room
-to watch it go round with the V lit up.
-That's a lovely story.
So what's it worth now?
I would be inclined to put it as one lot, I think
it'll do very well in the auction room and you should put a cautious
estimate of 150 to 250 and perhaps a fixed reserve at about £120.
-Can we squeeze the reserve up to maybe 140?
-Yes, I'm happy with that.
So fixed reserve 140,
estimate 150 to 250.
And fingers crossed that there is a train waiting to take us away.
MUSIC: Chattanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller
And come to rest at Adam's station is some first-class silverware.
-What a beautiful tea service.
-Isn't it pretty?
-It's really very nice indeed. Do you use it?
-No, I don't do it justice.
-I used to use this.
-Nice little milk or cream jug, isn't it?
-It's the most usable thing, really.
I was just about to say,
it's very unusual these days to find the stand still with the teapot.
It's got a bit of a wobble to it.
But it's 1803, so if I was 210 years old, I think
I'd have a bit of a wobble, as well.
How did you come to own it in the first place?
Well, I think it's a wedding present to my grandfather.
-When do you think he got married?
-Well, I'm 91...
-And he's been dead a long time.
-You don't know specifically?
-It would have been a very nice present to have got.
-It's a great shape.
-Early 19th century.
The acorn finial is a lovely little touch,
all intact and in pretty good order.
It's by one of the most famous families of silversmiths,
the Bateman family.
Yes, that's what I said to my daughter, I thought it was Bateman.
This one is marked for Peter, Ann and William Bateman,
hallmarked for London 1803.
In terms of value, it's a rather valuable set,
it's a very collectable manufacturer.
It's got a lot of commercial attributes,
it's in good condition, has original decoration,
the original gilt interiors and the presence of the stand make it
really rather attractive to the collector.
-I would suggest an estimate of £600-£800.
Does that sound acceptable to you?
Yes, as long as there's a nice reserve on it.
-I was going to suggest a reserve of £600.
I will put 600 to 800...
We'll be back at the auction
and we'll watch it find a new home where I'm sure it will be cherished.
-Lovely, thank you very much indeed.
And Betty's silverware wouldn't look
out of place inside the elegant surroundings of the Rotunda.
Now, earlier on in the show, we found out about the notable
women of Ickworth, so we couldn't leave here today without
showing you this particular portrait of a member of the Hervey family.
This is Lady Elizabeth, a favourite daughter of the fourth Earl.
After an unhappy marriage,
she was befriended by the Duchess of Devonshire
and later became involved in a famous love triangle with the Duke.
It's painted by Angelica Kauffman,
one of the leading artists in the Victorian day,
in fact one of the most famous female artists in our history.
She became a founding member of the Royal Academy.
A real star in her own right, and as you can see,
it's beautifully executed.
So, what became of Elizabeth?
Well, after Georgiana, the Duchess, died,
she married the Duke in 1809.
It's believed that the miniature portrait she is
wearing in the locket around her neck there is that of Georgiana.
Isn't that interesting?
I wonder if our experts have found anything as intriguing as that
back at the valuation tables?
Well, actually, our final item is a fascinating piece of social history.
It's been brought in by a lady I'll let Phil introduce.
Judy, Judy, Judy. That's a great line - who said that, then?
-Blimey! So you've brought along...
-..this album by Margaret Ives - who is she, then?
-She was my friend.
She was an actress, costume designer, stage designer, singer...
-She just did it all.
-She did, yes.
-And this is dated from March 1946 to June 1947.
It's designs created for stage, radio artists...
I can't quite see why radio artists would want a costume, but still!
Stage productions and television.
This would have been designs for clothes that were
-worn in various programmes.
-I tell you what, though - looking at that, I wish I'd got a waist like that!
-Don't we all, I'd love it!
Keep the cameras up, guys! No panning down!
That is just beautiful, isn't it?
Ivy Benson, now, I've heard of her. She was a singer, wasn't she?
No, she was a band leader.
All-women's band leader. Very famous.
Toured all over the world during the war, entertaining the troops.
That's why they wore glamorous dresses, to entertain the troops.
Look at this, I don't quite understand this one.
Jack Hylton - was this something for the weekend, was it?
No! That was one of his singers.
-It's Ivy Benson and Jack Hylton.
Oh, right. So there's a whole load.
So these would all have been in Jack Hylton's band, wouldn't they?
Probably, if it says so on there. That's for individual...
That's a dancer, that's a vocalist...
-That's a vocalist and that's Ivy Benson on the end.
Yes. But there's some lovely ones of Ivy Benson's further back.
I think they're lovely, I really do. Now, Carol Carr - who was she?
-She was a singer, a lovely singer.
She would have been on television, yes. Probably as old as me
or older than me.
-Get out of here, you're a baby!
-Oh, I am!
-What are they worth?
-I have no idea.
Not a lot, I shouldn't imagine.
-Do you know how we arrive at a value of something?
Now, for me to arrive at a figure for these,
I've got to look at dress designs by Margaret Ives.
-That's never going to happen, is it?
-No, that won't.
-So I've got to guess.
-Do you watch this programme?
-Oh, I do.
-You've seen me guess before?
Oh, yes. I have.
I've seen the hit and misses!
It's not going well now, is it? Um...
I think that if you want to sell this,
-you should sort of put £50-£80 on it.
Does that surprise you good or surprise you bad?
I thought it would be more like 20, 25 or something like that.
No. I tell you what, Judy, you're a good sport, I like you.
Shall we put this in with an estimate of £50-£80 and
do you want to put a reserve of 40 on it?
-Are you happy with that?
Now, I'm just going to go back and work on me waist! Lord above!
# I'm as restless as a willow
# In a wind storm... #
And for the youngsters out there who don't remember Carol Carr, Carol
was a former Forces sweetheart who sang with popular dance bands
and became the first singer to appear on British television
when it resumed after the Second World War.
# It might as
# Well be
# Spring. #
Isn't that fabulous?
Now, Adam can play the violin and the piano,
but can he tease out a tune on Helen's musical instrument?
-Good morning, Helen, welcome to Flog It!.
This is called a concertina, as you know,
but a lot of people will call them squeezeboxes, accordions.
-The correct term is a concertina. Do you play it?
How had you come to own it?
It came down from my late father, who died 30 years ago,
-and it's been on a shelf in the wardrobe ever since.
-But he played it, did he?
-Yes, he did.
As a child... I can remember him playing it when I was a small child.
Oh, yes. What, sort of folk music and things like that?
-Mainly hymns, I think.
Oh, they are used as well in a religious context.
We've already said it's a concertina, it's a 48-key
concertina, there's different keys, different models of these out there.
It's got its original rosewood box as well, and remarkably...
-Got the key!
-Still got the key.
And this oval plaque here, there would have been
a paper label behind there.
-And that's where the maker's label would have been.
And a serial number.
And from that I can tell it was made by Louis Lachenal, who was
a prolific maker of concertinas at the end of the 19th century.
-So this dates about 1880.
-Does it really?
It's got this pierced rosewood ends and the leather bellows are
in quite good order.
I'm just being careful to open it up there,
there doesn't seem to be any holes or anything like that. And does...
-Can you get a note out of it?
-Not really, it's just been...
-You don't know how to play it?
-I don't, either.
HE PLAYS DISCORDANT NOTES
-Sounds like a scary movie, doesn't it, that?
But it does show that it's working, it's making a good noise,
and a Lachenal concertina of this kind is still quite collected,
-because people still play them.
So this should meet with lots of interest at auction.
The basic model is kind of £50-£80 and the very best concertinas
go up to £5,000, so they really vary quite a lot,
but this one here, it's not a bad example,
and I would suggest it should make £200-£300 at auction.
-Is that all right with you?
-Yes, that's fine, yes.
Erm, I'd put a reserve just slightly below, 180 reserve,
and I hope the auctioneer can squeeze a few bids out of it!
What a wonderful, jam-packed day we've had here at Ickworth House.
-Have you all enjoyed yourselves?
That's what it's all about, job done.
Right now, we've got some unfinished business in the auction room,
so while we make our way over to Diss,
here's a recap of all the things we're taking with us.
There's Betty's beautiful but unused tea set -
with Bateman's as the silversmith,
I'm sure it'll stir up some interest.
And who knows what the album of dress designs
from the 1940s will make at auction?
A unique lot and possibly the one to watch.
Is Adam's estimate on this concertina
at the right pitch for today's bidders?
But first up, it's full steam ahead for the Tri-ang train-set
collection as the huff and puff of the auction gets under way.
£1,700, all done?
Boys and their toys, eh?
Look, all three of us with big grins on our faces.
We've all got our train sets!
But this one has been in the loft for 45 years.
-Did you enjoy using it and playing with it?
-Good for you.
Let's find out what they're worth, shall we?
Let's hope they go to a good collector at their new home.
A good comprehensive lot
and I start at £100.
£100, at £100 I have.
110, 120. 130, 140, 50...
-This is good.
170, gentleman at the front,
at 170 now, looking for 80.
At 170 in the room, now.
At 170, any advance on £170?
Yes, hammer's gone down. That was short and sweet, wasn't it, really?
-We are on the right track,
so to speak.
-He's chuffed with that(!) And you must be, as well?
-Yes, that's good.
I need to split it with my older brother because it was both of ours.
-But nice memories.
-Thanks for bringing it along.
Right, now hopefully we're going to hit the high notes with
-Helen's concertina. We're looking at £200-£300, Adam?
You brought it to the right expert.
Adam's a little bit of a musician on the quiet.
Plays the violin and the piano.
I think people would wish it would be on the quiet.
-Hey, at least it's not the bagpipes and the trumpet.
-Hey, this was your dad's, wasn't it?
-Yes, and my late father's, yes.
OK, so it's been in the loft?
-In the wardrobe.
-Where else do you keep a concertina? Come on!
Do you know, the amount of them I've found in wardrobes is unbelievable.
Check your wardrobes.
Fingers crossed, let's hope for the top end and a bit more, then.
Let's hand things over to Elizabeth on the rostrum.
Lot 400 is a 19th-century rosewood encased concertina, or squeeze-box.
Good collector's item here, start me at 200.
150 I'll take.
150 bid, on commission at 150. Now where's 60?
At 150 now, it's a beautiful piece. 160.
-190 here, round it up, someone.
-Oh, come on.
It's on commission at 190, looking for 200. At £190, at 190.
It will sell at 190.
-Not the high note we were expecting. The low note.
-But it sold.
It's gone. And you don't mind, do you?
-No, no, because I didn't play it, so...
-Good. Well, that's good.
Well, let's hope its new owner can squeeze out a tune or two.
Well, right now it's time for tea.
No, don't rush to the kitchen and put the kettle on, because we're
selling our very own silver tea set that's here, belonging to Betty.
Bateman service, we're looking at £600-800, this is quality.
-Why are you selling this?
-Because it's in the safe.
It's been safely kept away in that safe, you haven't over-polished it.
It's quite unusual to see a whole Bateman set like that,
with the teapot stand. That's crucial.
-The teapot stand is worth 500 quid alone.
-This is a lovely set.
-I use the stand more than...
-Do you, really?
As a little bonbon dish or something?
They often become separated, as you know.
That's the important thing, and of course the magic name of Bateman.
All the collectors want Bateman.
Thank you for bringing a bit of quality in, let's find out
if we get a quality price from this packed saleroom.
Let's hand things over to Elizabeth.
Into the cabinet lot,
a Georgian four-piece
silver tea set.
I start at £420.
At 450, 480, 550, 600 bid.
Oh, good, it's getting its value straightaway.
700. 50. 800.
This is silver that definitely will not go for melt.
I'll take 50 elsewhere. It's a lovely set.
At £800 only, am I missing anybody?
£800, it will sell.
£800, top end of the estimate,
That's not bad, is it?
That's not bad at all!
Well done, Betty.
Now it's time for a bit of old-school glamour with our last
lot of the day. One which Judy thought was only worth about £20!
Going under the hammer right now, a classic item.
An album full of stage dress design belonging to Judy,
who is with me right now.
I've just learnt that Judy did a parachute jump when you were 75?
-To raise money for your local Methodist church.
And I believe the proceeds of this sale today are all going
towards the church to help raise money for a new kitchen.
-How about that, Phil?
-She's absolutely bonkers!
Did you try and change your mind at the last minute?
-I tried, but...!
-They shoved you out?
You're sitting on this handsome chap's lap and you went forwards
and you couldn't go back!
I know you've got a new stunt you want to do soon, haven't you?
Listen to this!
They've got a nice new zip wire opening up in Wales
-and it's over a mile long...
-It's the biggest in the country...
..it's the biggest in the country, so I aim to have a go at that.
-You'll be bungee-jumping next, I bet!
-No! I draw the line at that!
My eyes might fall out!
If we get £1,000 now, I think Phil's eyes would go doi-i-ing!
Lot 70, the album of stage dress designs
by Margaret Ives.
I have interest on this little album here.
I start at £40. £40 I have.
At 42, 45, 48 and 50. Five and 60.
Five and 70. Five and 80.
80 with me, at £80 now. Five, new bidder, 90. Five, 100.
-That's good, isn't it?
110, 120, 130, 140,
150, 160, 170...
This is great. This is what an auction is all about.
The middle gentleman at 170 - where's 80?
Any advance on £170?
At 170 on the album and selling...?
Yes, hammer's gone down, job done!
£170! That's great!
Wonderful! That's marvellous!
Absolutely marvellous, more than I expected!
We might have saved you from the zip wire, mightn't we!
Didn't I say that was the one to watch?
People love to own a unique item.
Well, that's it. It's all over for our owners.
Another day and another saleroom,
and I think our experts have done really well.
It's not easy putting a value on an antique, as you've just found out,
but everyone's gone home happy and that's what it's all about.
I hope you've enjoyed the show.
See you next time for many more surprises.
Paul Martin presents from Ickworth House, a classical mansion near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, where he is joined by experts Adam Partridge and Philip Serrell. Together the team pick out a selection of interesting antiques and collectables to be sold at a local auction. Adam spots an unusual arts and crafts muffin dish twinkling in the queue, and Philip uncovers a unique album of glamorous dress designs from the 1940s. A tricky one to value - will his estimates prove short of the mark at auction?
Paul also explores the history of the earl's and marquises of Bristol, who lived at Ickworth for nearly two hundred years.