Antiques series. This edition comes from Ickworth House in Suffolk, where presenter Paul Martin is joined by experts Adam Partridge and Philip Serrell.
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Welcome to the Tate Britain.
Today, we'll be exploring the work of a revolutionary artist,
John Constable, who was inspired by one particular county,
Suffolk, the home of our valuation day.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
Later in the show, we'll be back at the Tate Britain to
investigate a special exhibition dedicated to John Constable.
But first, it's time to head to the county which
stimulated his artistic fervour.
Constable was deeply inspired by some of the most fertile
and rich farming land in England.
From the green fields of East Bergholt
to the running water of Flatford Mill,
the architectural landscape
and the open skies of Suffolk have changed very little over the years.
And at the heart of all that glorious countryside
is the rather splendid Ickworth House.
The home of our valuations today.
Ickworth House is nestled in 1,800 acres of beautiful parkland.
It's an architectural delight in the Italianate style
designed by the fourth Earl of Bristol, who must have been
an extremely busy man because he only visited the place twice.
Luckily enough for us today, hundreds of people have turned up
laden with antiques and collectibles,
all hoping for a favourable valuation from our experts.
And if you're happy with that valuation, what are you going to do?
ALL: Flog it!
But first, they've got to be spotted by our eagle-eyed experts.
Fluttering around the "Flog It!" fans today with their precious
-stickers is Adam Partridge.
-That's an owl, isn't it?
I've got lots of owl jokes.
An owl went out and got married and he came and told his mum,
-"I got married," and she said, "You twit-twoo."
And our own wise owl, Philip Serrell,
who's always happy to take others under his wing.
Haven't you got someone you'd like to go and see?
-Um...I'm interested in following you because...
-Look and learn.
-On work experience.
-Yeah. No likey, no lighty.
We'll be having a look inside this magnificent house
a little later on in the show.
But first, we've got to get our magnificent crowd
inside their own wing, the West Wing.
-So, are you ready to go inside, everyone?
Well, let's get busy valuing and get on with the show.
Coming up, Adam gets an unusual proposition.
-It's so sexy.
-You know you'd love to wear it.
What do you think I am?
Other suggestions don't go down quite so well.
You don't like saucy postcards, then. Not really. No. No!
But noes soon turn to yes later in the auction room.
-I don't believe it! It's not true, is it?
Are you all done?
But before all of that, we've got to get valuing.
Ickworth House boasts a stunning collection of fine art
and antiques, Neoclassical paintings and sculptures, furniture,
not to mention one of the best silver collections in the country.
Well, right now, it's time to find out what the good people of Suffolk
have brought along to our valuation day.
It's time for these people to make their own history.
Let's catch up with our first expert at the tables, Mr Philip Serrell.
-Time flies, doesn't it?
-It does, doesn't it?
Well, I hope it's going to. Tell me about your clock. Where's it come from?
It's my parents' clock and my parents want to sell it.
They're trying to get rid of a few bits
-and redecorate the house, really.
Originally, my grandparents' clock.
They had it as a wedding gift some years ago.
In 1918, some time like that.
My grandfather came out of the war
-and they seemed to get married quite quickly then.
I think this is possibly a little bit earlier than that,
but only perhaps by 10 or 15 years or so.
Somebody must have thought something of them because this would have been an expensive thing.
Just as a very quick rule of thumb,
If something's got glass in it, if they go to the trouble
to bevel the sides of the glass,
by and large, that means it's a quality item.
-And they've done that, and on the sides here.
Do you know what wood this is?
-I'm not sure, no.
And a lot of these are in oak, some are in mahogany. This is in walnut.
Straight grain walnut, which is an expensive timber.
And if we open the dial up,
these little things on the corners are called spandrels.
Do you know, I like things that tell you all about them.
Because I can tell instantly where this was made because it's got,
"Made in Germany," just here, look. And then you've got slow and fast.
And that basically regulates the movement.
We can't have a watch movement that keeps perfect time all the time.
And that slow and fast just regulates the movement
depending on how it's operating and functioning.
It's a well-made clock, this.
Let's have a look at the movement at the back.
It strikes on Westminster chimes and you've got just stamped in here,
"RSM," which is Reinhold Schnekebburger Muhlheim.
And they were a firm of German clockmakers.
-It's an interesting thing. Are you happy to sell it?
It's an imposing piece
and a clock like this 10 or 15 years ago might have been worth £300-£500.
-Whereas now, I think it's going to be worth 150-250.
I think you should reserve it at £150,
but give the auctioneer perhaps 10% discretion if he gets close.
-That's what I would do.
-You don't have a centrepiece in a house, like a clock any more like you used to.
-They do, they call it a television.
How right you are, Phil.
Although Adam's next item could make for a lovely centrepiece.
Well, Sheila, it's lovely to see you. How are you today?
I'm very good, thank you.
And what a lovely watercolour of the Lake District.
-A fabulous part of the world.
-Yeah. It is beautiful.
Now, can you tell me how you came to own this?
I got it left in a will. Every time I went to the house, I used to say,
-"I love that painting, Auntie Bessie."
-Auntie Bessie, was it?
-Auntie Bessie, yeah.
And you've got an accent of that area, have you?
-Are you from...?
-Yes, I am, yeah. I'm from Kendal.
-But now you're down here in Suffolk.
-Do you miss it?
Yeah. I go back up quite often.
Well, this is a lovely watercolour of...
-Is it Rydal Water by FV Fullerton-Smith.
We assess art on several factors.
One of the main ones is the name of the person who painted it.
And FV Fullerton-Smith isn't a big name in the art world.
He's a listed artist, so he mainly did lake scenes in England
-and Italy end of the 19th century sort of time.
-I was wondering when.
-It's not dated, is it?
But I think it's late 19th to early 20th century.
It's a good representation of the area, isn't it?
-I presume you know this area quite well.
-I've walked all them fells.
I love walking up there, as well.
-Now, the artist doesn't make big money.
-So its value's going to be fairly limited.
It's in the original gilt frame still with the mount.
It's all nice and genuine, been 100 years there.
I think it's going to fetch £50-£80.
-You look sad.
-No, it's fine.
-Are you sure?
-I'm positive, yeah.
-Should we put a reserve on it?
-£50? If it doesn't make 50...
-I'm taking it home.
-You're taking it home.
Now, if two people are like us
and they fall in love with it and they have a little bid at it
and it makes £150-£200, would you put that towards something specific?
-Good on you.
-On a cow.
On a cow? Is that what you're going to do?
All the money I can get, with other things, as well,
-are going towards a cow.
-A Dexter? Oh, great.
-A small cow.
-A small cow.
-Dexters are really...
-Have you got a smallholding, then?
-My daughter has.
-Yeah. Just moved there.
-So that's great.
I've asked people for years, "What will you do with the money?"
-And I don't think I've ever had, "a cow," before.
-Yeah. A Dexter cow.
So art "mooveau", then.
No, sorry, that's terrible.
Thanks for coming. I'll go now.
And after that awful pun, I think we should escape outside.
Now, Ickworth was built for the fourth Earl of Bristol,
who was passionate about Italian architecture.
But his passion wasn't restricted just to the house.
I'm standing in what's known as the South Pleasure Gardens.
This Italianate style of gardening
is the oldest of its kind in this country.
And it predates the 19th-century fashion
for this style of Italianate planting by a good 50 years.
It was designed by the fourth earl and finally completed by his son.
And there are several rooms,
which takes the viewer from light to shade.
It is extremely clever
and it was inspired by the classical ideals of order and beauty.
The Italianate gardens create quite a contrast
with the surrounding Suffolk countryside.
And wandering around, you feel you could be on the Continent.
But before I get lost in my thoughts,
it's time to head back inside to the West Wing,
where Philip's next piece brings to mind a great postcard artist.
-Hermione, how are you?
-I'm well, thank you. How are you, sir?
Well, I'm pretty good, actually.
You look at cards like this
-and you always think of Donald McGill, don't you?
-You do indeed.
I mean, this is sort of, not risque,
-this is more a poke at a henpecked husband, isn't it?
-Do you remember Peggy Mount?
-Unfortunately, I do.
-That shows my age, doesn't it?
-That looks like Peggy Mount, doesn't it?
-Yes, it does.
And that's her poor downtrodden husband.
This is a postcard, not a saucy one,
-but a postcard by Dudley Buxton, I think his name is.
-It is a piece of original artwork.
So originally, this was the design for a postcard.
It's got here, he's complaining that there's a hair in his lunch
and his rather fearsome wife is saying,
"Well, if there is a hair in the pastry,
"it's one of yours off the rolling pin."
So she's clearly given him a...
-..a good clout with the rolling pin.
-She's an intimidating lady, isn't she?
-I'd say so.
-I wouldn't want to meet her on a dark night.
-How did you come by it?
It was a present that was given by my brother-in-law to my husband.
He picked it up in an auction and just saw it there and thought,
-"Jimmy would like that." Jimmy passed away seven years ago.
And it appealed to his sense of humour.
And he did, he absolutely loved it.
It doesn't necessarily appeal to mine, I'm afraid.
-So it's time to move it on, isn't it?
Have you ever given any thought as to what it might be worth?
I have absolutely no idea what it's worth.
If only it was a Donald McGill.
-That's what we're thinking, isn't it?
-I think it's going to make probably in the order of £50-£80.
And I'd put a reserve on it of £40. A fixed reserve of 40.
-That's what I would do.
-I think it will appeal to someone with Jimmy's sense of humour.
I think it's almost like the wheel's turned full circle
and it's going to go on and...
-It needs to go to somebody who'll appreciate its humour.
It'd make a great wedding present for someone.
-I think it's funny.
In the early 1930s, cartoon-style postcards became widespread.
And at their peak, the sale of saucy postcards
reached a massive 16 million a year.
The most famous postcard artist was Donald McGill,
a skilled artist and renowned humorist.
Original McGill postcards can now command very high prices
at auction, which is exactly where we're heading off to right now.
Our experts have now found
their first three items to put under the hammer.
Right now, we're heading over to Diss
and here's what's coming with us.
A wedding gift to Stuart's grandparents.
Will the collectors spot this quality German timepiece?
Sheila's watercolour has great appeal,
especially to lovers of the Lake District.
And Hermione's comic artwork
is sure to raise a few smiles in the saleroom.
Will that translate into a few bids?
Diss is just a few miles northeast over the border into Norfolk
and is home to our auction house, TW Gaze,
run by a regular "Flog It!" expert, Elizabeth Talbot.
290 in the room. At 290, I'm out.
And in front of this packed auction house, it's time for our first lot.
Fingers crossed, Stuart.
We're just about to sell the walnut bracket clock, with a valuation of
150 to, hopefully, 250, if we get that top end.
-Does the clock still work?
-It did some years ago.
-We haven't tried it for some while.
Well, good luck. And good luck Phillip, as well. Here we go.
Lot 170 is next.
We have the late 19, early 20th century walnut bracket clock
and I start at £120.
Just 120. Bids are in at 120.
-Looking for 30.
-Come on, that's all we need.
I have 120, I'm looking for 30.
It's for nothing - it's a super clock.
Are you all done at 220?
-It's gone. £220.
-Yep. Very good.
-Yep, happy with that.
Not a bad start.
Now, can the beauty of the Cumbrian fells
arouse the interest of the bidders?
We're just about to put under the hammer
the watercolour of the Lake District
which you have walked all over? Literally.
-Yes. Yes, I have.
-Not the image itself, but...
-No, no, no.
If it does sell, have you got your eye on anything in the sale room, at all?
Have you been looking around?
Well, we've been looking, but I know what I want. A cow.
Oh, OK. Right.
-She was after buying a Dexter cow. You know, the mini ones?
We just bought this... My daughter's bought this place, a smallholding.
A smallholding. Oh, brilliant.
-Has anyone saved up for a cow on Flog It! before?
-I don't think so.
Well, look, good luck with that! Good luck.
Let's find out what this lot think, shall we?
I hope the auctioneer really milks it.
Lot 50. Pretty little watercolour there.
Start me at £50?
Good artist's work there, £50.
-Cue dramatic music.
-It's nothing for an original piece of work, is it?
You'd pay that for a photo.
Starting then at £30. Wave if I miss you.
Lovely English scene. 30, sir. 30, I have. I'll take two.
It's a maiden bid of £30 here.
One more, sir.
You'll get a cheer from the corner. At £48 bid.
50's the wink. At 50.
A 50 I have, to my left, now.
Lost you all further back.
It's a good buy at £50. Are you all done?
Someone bought it with a wink.
A nod's just as good as a wink.
I didn't think that happened any more.
Thought you had to put your bidding paddle up.
-No...! There's all sorts.
-Can you still go...?
"When I take my headscarf off, I've finished bidding," one lady said to me.
-Hey, look, are you happy?
-I am, yes.
-It's an experience, anyway.
-Oh, bless you.
And part of the experience of an auction is the preview day,
which is when I caught up with our auctioneer Elisabeth.
Having a chuckle over Hermione's lot.
I like this.
This made me smile as soon as I saw it.
The humour behind this is lovely.
Now Dudley Buxton was born in 1884.
By 1908 this gentleman had become engaged
and he started sending little watercolours and postcards
to his fiancee, and gradually his career took off.
He also then directed some silent cartoons
in the early part of the 20th century, as well.
So, for collectors, apart from being hilariously funny, I think,
it's quite a little collectors' piece, this.
Do you know what they've sold for in the past at auction?
Most of them seem to make three figures.
-So it's an £80-£120.
-I would've said.
She says(!) I hope so. I hope so. I certainly hope so.
So, will Dudley's Pastry Hair
tickle the funny bone of today's bidders? Let's find out.
If something can make you laugh,
-for not a lot of money, it's worth buying, isn't it?
So why are you selling it?
Because it was a present to my late husband.
It appealed to his sense of humour.
I can't say that it actually appeals to mine,
so I want to buy something more of a landscape.
Do you know it reminds me of when I went on holiday the first time with my parents,
and you go to these seaside piers and see all the saucy postcards.
-What it was all about.
-Donald McGill, wasn't it.
You don't like saucy postcards, then? Not really.
-No! Definitely, no!
Sorry. OK, let's sell it.
That's why it up for sale right now.
Let's find out what the bidders think.
Lot 90. Dudley Buxton, I like this.
It'll bring a smile to your face.
Original watercolour for the design of a postcard.
Start me at £50.
Well-collected artist, that.
£50. 30 I'll take.
Come on, it is worth it for the smile. £30.
Come on. Anybody want this one?
£30, the lady.
38. And 40.
48. And 50.
It's going now.
50 - the lady's bid at 50.
Five, new bidder.
100 - through a grimace!
-Now you like it.
Lady's bid upstairs, 120.
I'm looking for 30.
Very collectable piece.
Here at 120. Any advance?
£120. Hammer's gone down.
-Thank you very much.
-Now you're smiling?
Well, I don't think Hermione was expecting that.
Well, there you are, a few surprises in our first visit to the sale room today.
We are coming back later on.
Now, the county of Suffolk has produced many great artists,
the most famous on the tip of your lips has to be John Constable.
So to find out more about him and his work,
I took a trip to the Tate Britain in London.
It's a long way from East Anglia,
but the Tate Britain in London
holds the national collection of British art,
so if you want to see some of the major works by Constable,
one of Suffolk's most famous sons, this is the place to come.
And if you do, you'll be rewarded with works of art like this.
This is absolutely stunning - it's Flatford Mill -
and it's a good place to start Constable's work.
It is possibly his most recognisable image,
in fact, it has been replicated in print
on tea towels and biscuit tins thousands of times the world over.
It's a large, generous canvas
and Constable wanted to paint more naturally than his predecessors.
And in order to do that, what you see here,
mostly had to be painted outdoors.
It depicts a working rural scene from Suffolk,
as two light barges progress up the River Stour from Dedham Lock.
In the distance is the village
that Constable was born and grew up in - East Bergholt.
For me, when you look at this painting,
it has the feeling of everything being right with the world.
And that's what John Constable must have felt
when he painted it in 1816.
He'd just escaped becoming part of the family business,
and became an artist instead of a corn merchant.
It was also the same year that he engaged and married
the love of his life, Maria Bicknell.
He'd been courting her for many years against the odds -
her family disapproved of the match.
And what you don't realise when you look at this work of art is,
at the time it was painted, this was deemed radical.
To find out what was so ground-breaking,
I met up with art critic and author Martin Gayford,
to look at a whole room of Constable's paintings
housed in Tate Britain's Clore Gallery.
Martin, when you look at paintings like this of Flatford Mill,
the seem conservative to our eyes, so what was Constable doing
that was different at the time, that hadn't been done before?
Well, I suppose what's happened
is we now look at the English countryside through his eyes.
When this was done, what people would've seen was a rather
daringly ordinary working landscape, not picturesque.
The kind of things that attracted attention
in the Royal Academy exhibitions then were dramatic -
the Alps, the Lake District,
storms, waterfalls, battles.
Paintings with a lot of ingredients.
And here he was showing you a bit of hedge, a few people in the field...
It would've seemed...
It would've seemed daringly everyday.
This picture of East Bergholt Church
also seems everyday, but it really is full of hidden drama.
For years and years, Constable courted
the granddaughter of the church's rector, Maria Bicknell,
but the Rector declared Constable to be a feckless, useless painter,
who couldn't possibly support his granddaughter.
However, although his finances never improved much,
as we know, he did eventually manage to marry Maria.
He was a late starter.
He was over 30 when he really got going at the Royal Academy.
He was over 50 by the time he became a Royal Academician.
He never did more than just about get enough
to support his family in a sort of middle-class life from it.
Whereas Turner, in contrast,
was hugely successful from his early 20s - made a fortune -
before he started doing daring and avant-garde works.
Constable's always pushing a bit against the tide.
Was he always in Turner's footsteps?
We're in the Clore Gallery
surrounded by works by his contemporary Turner,
in the next room. Were they good friends? Did they get on?
That's an interesting question.
They met for the first time at a banquet at the Royal Academy in 1830.
They were seated next to each other.
And Constable was so excited that he wrote the next day
to his fiancee, his wife-to-be,
saying he'd met Turner and he said
"He's uncouth but he has a wonderful range of mind."
So I think Constable was rather impressed,
but there was also a bit of tension there, I suspect.
Turner was championed by Ruskin, and the other academics of the Academy.
Was nobody really behind Constable at the time?
He was very much admired abroad,
but, unfortunately, he was such a stay-at-home,
he was given a gold medal by the French king
but refused to travel to Paris to accept it in person.
He'd have been much more successful, and much richer
if he'd been prepared to cross the Channel, but he wasn't.
Never left England, unlike Turner.
Constable might've been a stay-at-home
because he didn't want to spend time away from his beloved Maria
whose health was failing,
and their seven children.
Constable said, for him, painting is all about feeling,
and when you look at this example,
this oil sketch of Hadleigh Castle on the Essex coastline
you know that statement is true.
Just look at the whole picture - the desolate, ruined castle,
this barren landscape
with the dramatic sky sweeping across.
All of this adds to the intense atmosphere of the image.
And no wonder, for this is all about grief.
Maria, the love of his life,
died of consumption the same year he painted the sketch.
Constable said, "The base of the world has totally changed for me,"
and this powerful image says it all.
Constable's desire for self-expression on canvas
was his driving force, and is amply evident
in one of my favourite pictures
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows.
What I really admire is the dramatic sky, low horizon,
great foreground interest,
but look at the wind blowing against that tree there.
-Yes, it's a marvellous little picture.
And, also, look at that wild loose brushwork.
I think that's why I like it - it's very loose, very impressionistic.
Yeah, this actually shows you how radical...
We were saying earlier, he has a rather unfair reputation, Constable,
of being a bit chocolate box,
a bit tame and conservative -
this is a really radical picture for the time.
This isn't chocolate box,
it's Jackson Pollock, it's heading towards modern art!
Did Constable inspire many artists?
Well, again, in France.
Delacroix repainted one of his pictures
when he saw a Constable exhibited in a Paris salon.
So, yeah, he had an immediate effect on French painters,
more than he did on English painters.
People kept saying, in London, that his paintings looked unfinished.
They were too rough, too many brushstrokes,
too much messing around with the paint.
But actually that was the way French painting,
a lot of modern painting, went.
-So this is best.
-I could live with this, I love it!
-Yeah, well, me too!
It was only after his death
that Constable's work was really appreciated.
And you can't help wishing he could've known about
the huge impact his work would have
and the lasting legacy he left for us all to enjoy.
Welcome back to Ickworth house.
It's becoming a bit of a tight squeeze in the west wing,
with the crowd continuing to arrive for their valuations.
Let's now catch up with our experts
and see what else we can find to take off to auction.
-Anne, how are you?
-Fine, thank you.
-So you've bought a box along.
I don't know what's inside. Could be 101 different things.
It could be many things, yes.
-It's Coromandel wood, isn't it?
-Is it? I don't know.
This very deep brown and sandy coloured fleck, is Coromandel.
So, a box that opens up - it's either going to be...
-a dressing table box or a games box.
-Shall we find out?
Let's have a look.
Oh, wow. Look at that.
Isn't that just lovely!
We've got a chess set here,
and we've got draughts in here,
and we've got bone dominoes,
and these trays lift out.
It's incomplete, isn't it?
You wouldn't have two draughts sets.
-And there's a board missing from here.
You probably would've had a pegging board.
Looking there, we've got a maker's name just in there
in that tablet on the back,
which is... WH Kramer Jr, 10 Regent Street, London.
So, in date, I think it's probably
towards the end of the 19th century.
I mean, the thing about it is, this is quite an expensive item.
We tend to look at these things through today's eyes.
Now, we've all got flatscreen televisions and music systems
and we've got this, that and t'other.
-When this was around, this was your entertainment.
And so, I won't say every home would've had one of these...
This is a very upmarket one,
-because Coromandel wood is an expensive wood.
You might have found a games box in oak,
but this is really the Rolls-Royce of boxes.
-So, it's a really lovely thing.
How long have you had it?
I inherited it from my father when he died 15 years ago,
but where he got it from I don't know.
He might've got it from his father, I don't know.
So we don't know if it came down the line
-or was bought on a whim before you were born.
-This is a lovely thing, but what do you do with it?
-I don't do anything.
I used to play games with him when he was alive -
chess and mah-jongg and things like that,
and when he died there was nobody else to play with.
Oh, that's sad.
-Have you any idea what it might be worth?
-I've got no idea, at all.
It's got a few inherent problems.
-First problem is that it's incomplete.
This chess set may have been matched up to it, but it's incomplete.
OK, let's just shut that up.
The next problem...
Doesn't show you when it's like this, but...
You've just got a bit of a split forming along there.
Which is a problem.
You've got bits of veneer missing and chips around the side.
-It's all minor problems, you know.
I think at auction it'll make between £100 and £200.
-Is it really?
-So, are you happy to put it into auction?
-I am. Yes.
-So 100 to 200 as an estimate.
And I think if we put a fixed reserve on it of £80,
and let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it does well.
And just like the games compendium,
the inside of Ickworth House, home to the Earls of Bristol,
really is a box of delights,
full of fascinating antiques.
I've come here to talk to Chloe the housekeeper,
about one particular collection.
Geraldine Anson, the third Marchioness of Bristol,
was well-known in Victorian times for her collection of fans
which became a must-have accessory amongst the upper classes in Europe,
even developing its own language.
So it wasn't just really a decorative accessory,
there was a lot behind this as regards our social history
-and the way to behave?
Originally they were used as cooling devices,
but by the 16th century they were more about this intricate language,
and being able to talk to people in secret
and sharing these messages at parties.
-It was a proper code, wasn't it?
-Used by the upper echelons.
Absolutely. It was very particularly in high society. Amongst the ladies.
You couldn't be brash and say, "Oi, you! You've pulled. Follow me."
No! Give someone a quick wink! Never!
There were many different ways
of showing your secret message to your suitor, for example,
you might have said, "Will you be mine? I love you."
-OK. Offering it out.
Or, "You've got my heart."
One in particular, might be -
you'd put it across your face like this - that'd be, "Follow me."
Just sort of hiding behind it.
You had to be very careful not to send somebody the wrong message, I think.
-This one... "Kiss me."
Yes, flutter your eyes at someone. Yeah.
That's a fascinating part of our social history, isn't it?
Gosh, well, talking about fans, I know Adam Partridge has got is.
So why don't we catch up with him right now -
back at the valuation tables.
Now, have we met before? Because you look kind of familiar.
-Have you been on television, or...
You do have the same surname - Partridge - that was my maiden name.
-Yes. So, I came to see you, really.
So, somewhere along the line, we could have some...
Yes. My father has researched the family back to 1517.
-So I think probably we could be.
I've got an idea, then.
-I'll bring mine to the auction, you bring yours.
And we'll meet before and do a bit of a compare.
-That'd be brilliant.
-See if we can find out if we're related or not.
Well, Sally, this is the first time ever in more than 10 years
on Flog It! that I've been presented with a bathing suit.
Yes, and I don't even think it will suit you.
How dare you!
Now, tell me a bit about this.
Well, I bought it from a vintage clothing shop 20, 25 years ago.
-Maybe 30 years ago.
Because it's all the rage now, isn't it? Vintage clothes?
-I don't know, but it won't fit me, so...
-Why did you buy it?
What attracted you? It's obviously very pretty and everything, but...
-It is. It's so sexy. Look at that shape!
-It's absolutely amazing.
On a lady's body, that's just going to look...
-It'll squeeze in all the right places...
-Yes, it is very pretty, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
-It really screams of the period, of the 1950s.
There is a little label in there -
"Demoiselle, London. Size 32/33."
Yes. That's why it doesn't fit me any more!
Is that right? The right size? It looks tiny!
-But it's really, really stretchy.
To hold us ladies in in all the right places.
So it looks really sexy!
Right, down to the value side of things.
-Do you remember what you paid for it?
-Oh, I don't.
It was quite a while ago,
so I don't really remember what I paid for it.
Oh, I'd like to think it's worth about 20 quid,
but I've no idea, really.
-I think it must be, mustn't it?
-I mean, it's gorgeous.
-Look at that, you know you'd love to wear it.
Who do you think I am?!
Um, I kind of would, though.
So, what estimate? £20-30?
-And you never know, might make a bit more.
It's the sort of thing that perhaps the young ladies were wearing
when Philip Serrell first started dating,
-all those years ago.
-We'll have to ask him!
Well, I'm sure Philip would have a few things to say about that.
Fortunately, he's too busy chatting at the next table.
-Betty, how are you?
-Very well, thank you.
I think you deserve a medal.
How long have you been sitting here today?
We got here at ten to nine.
Thank you for sticking it out.
What do you know about this? Because it's interesting.
I really don't know anything about it.
My husband's uncle, I think, had it,
and it's been in my mother-in-law's desk, which I've inherited.
So it was a buy one, get one free. You got a desk and you got a medal.
-Well, that's lovely.
It's a medal from the Battle of Seringapatam,
which was a battle between the Mysore Kingdom
and the British East India Company.
This battle took place on the 4th of May,
which is what we've got here, 1799.
-And the British East India Company won.
And what's interesting is that they struck about 50,000 of these medals.
-And every rank got one.
-Every rank got one.
So, rare, they're not.
But some were gold, some were silver, some were tin.
And this one is silver gilt.
What's interesting about it for me
is that this is designed by Matthew Boulton,
and Matthew Boulton was a Birmingham entrepreneur, really,
who was credited with founding the Birmingham Assay Office,
-and it was also engraved by a man called Conrad Kuchler.
And if you look really carefully,
there are three initials just above the date, CHK.
And this is this man Kuchler, who engraved it.
Now, in terms of value, what do you think it might be worth?
Oh, I don't know.
About £100, perhaps?
I think it would be of great interest to a medal collector,
and I think we'd put a £200-400 estimate on it. That's what I think.
-And we'll put a £200 reserve.
But we'll give the auctioneer 10% discretion.
-You're happy to sell it?
-Oh, yes, I am.
The children don't want it.
Well, I shall look forward to seeing you at the auction.
Lovely. Gorgeous to meet you, I'm a great enthusiast of "Flog It!".
Oh, well done, and it's lovely to get you on the programme.
Absolutely, and thank you, Betty for making the journey to Ickworth.
Well, what a fantastic day we have had here at Ickworth House.
Literally hundreds of people have turned up,
and I wish they could all come to auction with us,
but our experts have singled out the chosen few.
They've now made their final choices for the items to
take of for auction, so sadly it's time to say goodbye to
Ickworth House and all these lovely people.
You had a great time, everyone?
-Yeah, that's what it's all about, as well.
We thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope you have,
but we've got some unfinished business right now.
We've got to get over to the auction room for the last time,
and here's what's coming with us.
Even though it's incomplete, you can have hours of fun
with this games compendium from the late 19th century.
With vintage fashion a growing area of interest,
it will be revealing to see what Sally's costume sells for.
And Betty found this medal hiding inside a desk she inherited.
Will she also be surprised over in the auction?
Welcome back to Diss,
where the auction room is packed to the rafters.
Now we've got a games compendium going under the hammer,
belonging to Anne. I really rate this,
and I was quite jealous when Phil was valuing this on the day,
because I saw all those chess pieces,
and I thought, "Quality, quality, quality."
I know the board's not there,
but generally the boards are missing anyway.
-This is really nice.
-Do you play chess?
I used to, but I don't have a chess partner now.
Oh, surely you must know someone you could play chess with!
Is that why you're selling?
And space. It seems such a waste
-when somebody could be getting so much fun out of it.
-Cos I think this is quality, I love it.
-And I play chess.
Hopefully there's some chess players here.
It's going under the hammer right now.
Lot 120, the late-19th century Coromandel Games Compendium.
I have interest on the sheet shown, and I start at £75.
At £75, bids are in at 75 now.
85. 95, 100, 110.
120, 130, 140, 150, 160,
170, 180, I'm out.
It's now £180, seated to my right at 180.
I'm looking for 90.
At £180 it will sell.
It's gone. £180, so you're spot on.
Well, I sort of thought that just reflected
the condition of the box, really.
-Cos it was just a bit tired in places, wasn't it?
I know just how it felt.
Look, let's hope it's gone to a new home
-where someone will use it and enjoy it.
-I hope so.
-Rather than shut the lid and put it in the wardrobe or something.
-It was great to meet you.
-And hopefully you'll find a chess partner soon...
-Oh, I hope so.
-..and start playing again.
-I'll have to buy it back!
Well, just buy a smaller...
Buy one of those little travelling chess sets, if you're decluttering.
You can always put it in your pocket then.
Well, you could easily fit the next lot into your pocket
if you fancied a quick trip to the beach.
Sally, fingers crossed.
-Our next item's not worth a great deal of money, £20-30.
Hopefully a little bit more, but I love it.
-It's a very sexy vintage bathing costume, isn't it?
-Now, something happened at the valuation,
-because your maiden name is Partridge, isn't it?
-It is indeed.
Yes, and your expert was our Adam Partridge.
And they got talking about Partridges...
-..and - distant relations.
I think we might we have some connection somewhere along the line.
-Isn't that fabulous?!
I didn't know all the money's going towards a wedding -
-you're off to Cyprus soon?
-Who's getting married?
It's my son. Yes, my son's getting married in Cyprus.
So any money I get will go towards a new costume!
-It's a lovely object, though, isn't it?
-Great, it really is nice.
Really shows the period.
Let's put it under the hammer right now.
Lot 130 now, the vintage bathing suit.
A fine piece for the east coast's beaches, look.
-I have interest on the sheet shown...
-..and I start this one here at £20.
It's this season's colour and this season's style.
22, 25, 28 and 30.
32, 35, 38? 35, with me at 35.
38, and 40.
45, with me at 45.
-At 45 - I'll take the 8.
Have another look.
At 45 now.
Any advance? At £45...
-Sally, it's just done £45!
Excellent, isn't it?
-Really pleased with that.
-So am I, so am I.
And from haute couture
to what could be described as the ultimate decoration.
Going under the hammer right now we've got a silver gilt medal
belonging to Betty, who's right next to me,
and we have our expert Philip as well.
And I know you waxed lyrical about this on the day.
-I think it's quite a unique bit of Indian history.
And I'm just hopeful that the collectors will have found out
that it's available.
OK, let's see what we can do for you.
-Let's see if we can get the top end of the estimate.
-Is it coming up now?
-Yeah, this is your lot right now.
We have here Lot 300.
Very unusual lot this, the East India Company medal awarded
from the battle on the 4th of May 1799.
And I have interest here,
and I start at just £110.
At 110, bids are in.
140, 150, 160, 170,
180, 190, 200, 210...
230, 240, I'm out.
250, new bidder.
260, 270, 280, 290, 300,
320, 340, 360, 380...
460, 480, 500, 520...
-Oh, wow, they want this.
-Where are they?!
750, 800, 850.
-I don't believe it!
-It's not true, is it?
Listen to this! Still going!
At 1,400. 1,500.
I... You're joking, aren't you?
1,500, now looking for 1,600. At 1,500 - 1,600, new bidder.
Who wants it?
Obviously two or three people,
right now bidding against each other.
At £1,600 in the middle, at 1,600, now looking for 1,700.
1,700 has moved to my left, again at 1,700, looking for 1,800.
At £1,700, are you all done?
That hammer went down, and I'll just remind you, £1,700!
Betty, that is such a lot of money for you!
-You're never 91.
-Are you really?
-My gosh, you look fabulous!
-I thought you were keeping it secret!
Well, I don't care now!
What a lovely present.
And I told you there'd be a surprise at the end, didn't I?
-Two or three bidders really wanted that.
What are you going to put that money towards?
-Well, the children.
-The children. How many grandchildren have you?
I'm about to have the ninth, I think.
Gosh! Well, every penny will help.
Oh, enjoy, won't you? Thank you so much for bringing that medal in.
-I hope you've enjoyed today's show.
We've had a fabulous time here in Diss, and I can't wait to come back.
But until the next time, it's cheerio,
This edition comes from Ickworth House, a classical mansion just outside of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
Paul Martin is joined by experts Adam Partridge and Philip Serrell. Antiques and collectibles brought in by the public are valued by the team before being put under the hammer. Adam discusses the merits of stretchy swimsuits over a vintage bathing costume, and Philip gets a lovely surprise at the auction with an East India Company medal.
Paul also visits Tate Britain in London to study the works of one of Suffolk's most famous sons - John Constable.