A compilation of some of the most interesting and previously unseen finds from Flog It!'s travels around the country.
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Today's show comes from this very impressive Scottish mansion.
It's Pollok House and it's situated
in 360 acres of Pollok Country Park.
It's hard to believe this calm, tranquil oasis,
which also houses the famous Burrell Collection,
is only three miles from the city centre of Glasgow.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
Pollok House was the ancestral home of the Maxwells.
It was built in the 1740s
when Glasgow was prosperous.
The city became a trading hub
for sugar, tobacco and cotton,
and a few decades later,
Glasgow would become a major industrial city.
And here, in Pollock Country Park, the Maxwells enjoyed
a privileged life of luxury, in a house full of treasures.
Later in the show,
I'll be sharing with you many gems from this Scottish Georgian home,
such as its impressive collection of Spanish art.
The real interest lies in that pearl in her headpiece.
It's known as the Peregrina, and believe me,
that pearl has had an amazing life.
But before that, we'll be heading into England to take a look
back at some of the valuation days we visited across the country.
Our travels took us to Falmouth,
to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, where against a backdrop
of great boats, Philip Serrell found something of interest.
You know you're really famous
if people just refer to you by your initials.
We also visited the Milestones Museum at Basingstoke,
in Hampshire, where you had your items valued amongst
the recreated historic streets.
And at the RAF Museum at Hendon, in London, it wasn't just
the historic aircraft that captured Anita Manning's imagination.
What we see here is a romantic scene... Yes.
..where a young chap is serenading
two young women.
It's an idyll,
especially for the young guy. Yes.
And finally, we start today's show at another stately home,
the exquisite 18th-century Ragley Hall, in Warwickshire,
where Charlie Ross found a quiet corner under an awe-inspiring mural
called The Temptation.
The mural tells the story of the devil trying to seduce Christ
to fall down and worship him by offering him the world
and all its riches.
But was Charlie enticed too?
Sue, the things you brought here really do match up
with the settings, don't they?
Posh. Yes. Do you know what they are?
You must have opened them up. Well, yes, they're necessaires.
Necessaires, French word, as in, necessary. Yes.
What a lady must have
all day to keep herself looking trim
and proper. That's right.
And we've got two quite different examples here.
One 19th century,
one 18th century. Right.
Quite extraordinary. How did you get it?
Well, I got it from my mother. She died nine years ago. Yeah.
Where she got it from, I don't know.
We emigrated to Australia in 1955.
Right. So she hasn't come back, but I have. Yeah, yeah.
And then when she died, nine years ago,
I went over and I brought these back with me.
Had you any recollection of them being there before?
No, no, none at all.
The first one we have here
is an ivory case, 19th century, French.
We open this one up, press the button,
and hey, presto.
And what strikes me immediately
is the fact that everything
that should be in there is in there. Yeah.
And it's extremely rare.
Nearly always someone's used the thimble and not put it back in,
or the scissors, there's a penknife in there.
These are silver-gilt
and I get the impression that
something like this has never been used.
A great example of French workmanship
of the late 19th century. This, I'm sure is Georgian,
so it's earlier than that.
If we press the button and open it up, we are
into the 18th century, George III, late 18th century. Right.
Now, the wonderful thing about this, I think,
is if we lift out this little scent bottle...
..look at the colour of the lining. Yes, beautiful.
Look at that turquoise. Yes, yes.
That shows you this would have been that colour...
That's right, yes. ..originally.
But that shows you what a vibrant object
it must have been to begin with.
Now, the downside with this is
that a lot of these bits aren't original. Oh, right.
I can see immediately, I'm just going to slide that in there,
and you can feel the way that fits
that that is certainly original. Snug, yes, yes.
But here we have got
a little needle case,
chromium plated. Oh, right. That's 20th century,
without a shadow of a doubt. Somebody's put that in, yeah.
So, somebody's just slipped that in there, and actually,
if you look carefully, it's not a perfect fit, is it?
It's not a fit, no.
So, earlier... Yeah. ..potentially more valuable had it
got its original lots,
and later, but perfect.
Yes. So we've got two examples of the same thing.
I'm going to watch your eyebrows here.
I'm not going to tell you they're worth thousands cos they aren't.
I'm going to come back to 250 to 350
as a saleroom estimate... OK, right.
..with a fixed reserve of ?200. Yeah.
And I think that will get the interest going,
and we'll get a sale.
Yes. OK? Yes, that's lovely, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
We'll find out how Sue's necessaires fared at auction later.
Even though one was made from ivory,
we were able to sell it, as it was made before 1947.
Next up, at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, Elizabeth Talbot
met a father and son with a great set of toys
that have barely seen the light of day.
Anthony, Phil? Yes.
Thank you for coming in with what is
a very exciting collection here.
Now, I know a little bit about Corgi,
which we can talk about in a little while, but you tell me what
you know and whose the collection is and who does it belong to?
Well, the collection belongs to myself, it sat up in the loft
for many, many years because unfortunately, I wouldn't let...
I was never allowed to play with them. He never let me,
he never let me touch them.
What is that saying about what he thinks of you? Overprotective. Yes.
It was saying... Of the toys, not of you.
It was saying to save them for a later date
when they were worth some money and we could enjoy them together.
That's sound advice, fair enough.
So they've not seen the light of day for some while? Not for some while,
no, they were probably last sort of out of their boxes, I would say
when I was about sort of 13 or 14 years old,
in my bedroom, so that's going
back a good 30-ish plus years.
So at that stage, when you were a younger boy, did you collect
Corgi toys quite avidly?
Yeah, the first one I got was
a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Uh-huh.
That was in 1973. Classic. My uncle bought that for me.
And then I started the collection from there.
So, do you still collect?
Are you adding to your collection all the time?
I'm not adding any longer. No, I stopped in about the '90s. OK.
And the collection's currently about 100 vehicles.
I mean, Corgi was a
trade name which was established by
the firm Mettoy, who were a very
well-known toy manufacturer,
earlier in the 20th century, and in
1956 they launched the Corgi range.
It was really, actually, one of the
ones that you have at the front,
the James Bond vehicle, which became
so popular at the time that it launched their reputation
for being fantastic manufacturers of the diecast vehicle.
I mean, that really kind of catapulted them from being
an average manufacturer that was OK, to something which
really was grabbing people's attention, the here and now.
Do you have a favourite amongst these?
I do, I like the one at the front there where he fires
out of the seat... He ejects out of the seat.
He ejects out of the seat, yeah. Have you now any idea
of the current value?
On a good day or a bad day, probably around about ?300, I think,
for the whole collection. Maybe a little bit more on a good day.
Yeah, 3 to 4, 3 to 500 is about the right sort of mark, I would think.
If you're happy to offer them for sale at that sort of value
with a ?300 reserve... Yes. ..and then let's see...
See what happens, yeah.
Then, you will presumably share the results of the sale? Exactly, yeah.
Do you have aspirations for what you're going to do?
We both follow our local football club, don't we?
I follow Worthing, our local football club.
They play Guernsey every year
so we'd want to... Guernsey's a bit of an expensive trip.
..go away for the weekend. What a great idea.
Well, touch wood, we can get you to fly over there
and have some expenses as well and have a lovely, memorable trip.
Fingers crossed. That would be super. Thank you. Thank you.
What a great little lot.
It certainly took me back to my childhood.
Next, Philip Serrell came across an item related
to one of his favourite sports,
at our valuation day at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Mike, are you a cricket fan?
I'm not as such. I'm aware of cricket and sometimes follow it.
My grandfather was the passionate cricket aficionado.
I love my cricket.
And what I love, is that
you know you're really famous
if people just refer to you by your initials. Yeah.
So, WG, William Gilbert Grace,
a lot of people reckon he's the greatest cricketer that's ever been.
He's certainly the most, probably one of the most famous
cricketers that's ever been.
And this is a handkerchief.
Don't think you're meant to blow your nose on it,
but it's a handkerchief
that charts WG's career.
And it would have been sold after the event,
with a portrait of the great man here,
champion cricketer of the world.
They must have made thousands of these,
but this is a real collector's item now,
and there's a lovely story about WG Grace
towards the end of his career.
He went out to bat and there was a bowler the other end,
who no-one had ever heard of, and he bowled WG Grace first ball.
WG Grace turned round, he picked the bails up,
put them back on the stumps and said,
"Young man, they've come to see me bat, not you bowl," and carried on.
Which is, I like the style of a man who'd do that. Yeah, great story.
How long have you had it?
Probably about 20 years.
My grandfather gave it to me,
and it was given to him by his father,
and they used to go and watch WG Grace together.
And what do you think it may or may not be worth?
I've really no idea.
I've really no idea. Well...
clearly the only person who's going to buy this is
a cricket nut. Yeah. But there are a huge, huge, you know,
number of cricket fans out there who, I think, would love this.
I think I can see it in a private collection.
I can see it in a club house.
In terms of value, I think you need to put ?80 to ?120 on it,
and I would put a reserve on it of ?60.
You never know, you might get Mr Kevin Pietersen after it. Yeah.
Here at Pollok House, the walls are adorned with fine art,
particularly portraits painted in oils.
But at another great stately home,
Ragley Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon,
it was some watercolours that found their way
to Christina Trevanion's valuation table.
Carol, looking at these wonderful pictures
that you've brought in for me today,
I feel like I've been transported to a summer's day in York
and it's just splendid.
I suppose we can't really grumble
about where we are now though, can we?
No, it's a rather nice place. It's rather beautiful, isn't it?
Yes. Yes, exactly.
And how appropriate that you've brought these pictures in.
Tell me a little bit about them.
We inherited them from my mother and father-in-law about 45 years ago
and they were an engagement present to my mother-in-law.
They were a York family. Uh-huh.
And then when my husband died, they were given to me
and then we got the third one
probably 20 years ago when the house was broken up.
Personally, I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely bowled over
by quite how detailed they are.
I mean, they're almost sort of little miniature portraits,
aren't they? They're so fine.
And like you've very rightly said,
they actually are pictures of York, aren't they?
We've got Marygate Tower here,
we've got the Water Tower and then we've got the old walls there.
All by the same artist, George Fall, who was...
I think his dates are about 1848-1925. Right.
So, I think... Did you say that they were bought in 1920?
About 1920 as an engagement present. OK, splendid.
And I do love the fact that they sort of bleed out.
You have this wonderful oval and they bleed out,
so it's almost like they're like bookplates in a way. Right, yes.
They're just so beautiful. If we look up George Fall and his works,
he seemed to be an incredibly prolific York artist
and he specialised in these views of York,
so these are typical of the artist. Do you like them?
I think they're very pretty, yes.
But at my age, I wanted to be able to leave them to my daughters.
Two daughters, I couldn't split one in half,
so I thought it would be easier to sell them, give them the money
and then they can buy something in remembrance of their grandparents.
Oh, that's a good idea.
What are your sort of expectations of value for them?
What do we think? Well, it's been very wide.
I was told 350,
but that was because the American market was interested in them.
OK. And then again... So, 350 for the group?
No, no! Oh! Exactly. Right.
But then I spoke to somebody else and they said, oh, 150 each.
Right. So... OK, yeah.
They might fetch 150 each.
I think if we started to estimate them in that region,
I think we would put a lot of people off. Right.
I think that's quite top end. Yes, fine. I mean, personally,
what I would suggest that we do is sell them as a group. Right.
And I would put a "come and get me" estimate maybe of ?200-300 on them
for the group. Right.
How would you feel about that?
Well, what about a reserve? We can put on a reserve.
A reserve. Absolutely.
So the reserve in this case would have to be ?200.
Right, OK. Does that sound all right? Yes, that sounds all right.
Splendid. I sincerely hope they exceed that for you
because they are wonderful.
And you see something new every time you look at them.
They are such miniature works of art.
Beautiful. Thanks so much for bringing them in. My pleasure.
Shortly, we'll see if those watercolours found their market
when we reveal just how our items fared in the saleroom.
First, there's something I would like to show you.
Situated in Glasgow, Pollok House still bears the marks
of its ancestral family, the Maxwells,
who lived on the estate for over 700 years.
The impressive building and contents stand as a monument
to their wealth and civic status within Scotland.
The most recent generations of Maxwells
have been remembered for their unstinting public service.
When it comes to legacies,
not every civically minded citizen of 19th-century Glasgow
was as fortunate as the Maxwells,
but that didn't mean they couldn't be venerated, too.
In fact, they had their own place, in the heart of this city.
It's this - Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian garden cemetery,
the first of its kind to open in Scotland.
It was interdenominational
and the first person buried here in 1832 was Joseph Levi,
a Jewish gentleman.
The Necropolis is built on a rocky outcrop,
as you can see here.
It's useless agriculturally, so a park was put here.
That big statue, there, towering up there,
that's John Knox, the founder of the Reformation in Scotland.
He was already here before the Necropolis was built,
but it looks to me like he's standing watch, keeping guard,
making sure everything is all right over the city of Glasgow.
Regardless of whether you were laid to rest
in an all-singing, all-dancing mausoleum,
or in an unmarked grave,
it wasn't cheap to be buried here at Glasgow Necropolis.
The closer you got to John Knox -
in other words, the higher up the hill you were buried -
the more expensive it got.
There are 50,000 people buried in this 37-acre cemetery,
and 3,500 memorials.
Today, thousands of UK and international visitors
come to the cemetery every year.
However, only a decade ago, it was a very different story.
The Necropolis was going to rack and ruin
and many people were scared to visit it,
but thanks to the vision of Nigel Willis and Ronnie Scott,
the cemetery has been brought back to life.
They set up The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis,
but it's fair to say that Nigel's motivation
to turn this cemetery round was much more personal,
as his great-grandfather and his great-great-grandfather
are both buried here.
So, as a young boy, your mother would presumably
have brought you up here.
Yes, very much so. She used to come along with her secateurs
and cut the ivy back
so that the memorial wasn't completely covered.
I can see the next time I come,
I'm going to have to bring secateurs and... Aw!
So, really, this was what got you involved with, sort of,
forming The Friends of the Necropolis, was it?
It did indeed. That set you off on this endeavour. It did indeed.
I'm glad to say, now, things are vastly improved. I'm sure.
It's a really good place to spend time. Yeah.
And you've got the history of industrial and commercial Glasgow
and the West of Scotland, really,
through the Victorian age and the two World Wars,
and there are a lot of very influential people buried here.
I'm taking you to see the Rev Ralph Wardlaw, DD,
who, surprisingly, was given
his doctorate of divinity by Yale University in 1818,
which must have been quite unusual for that time.
Yeah. He was a Congregational church minister
and was very involved with the anti-slave movement,
and a member of the Emancipation Society.
A good man. Yeah. Must have been.
Who else strikes a chord with you?
Well, let's go and see Walter MacFarlane,
who is up the hill.
So it's onwards and upwards. Yes.
So, here we are, Walter MacFarlane -
I have to be honest with you, I've never heard of him before.
Round here, he's a well-known name.
He was a tremendous entrepreneur of his time and formed probably
the world's best-known architectural iron foundry in Glasgow
and had customers all over this country and all over the world.
You may have been to Singapore.
Have you been to Singapore? Yes, I have been to Singapore.
Have you been to Raffles Hotel? Yes, I have!
Outside Raffles Hotel, there is a magnificent fountain,
all cast iron and made by Saracen Foundry.
Wow! So, his products reached all over the world.
Any personal favourites, anybody...?
Yes, very definitely, and I'll just take you...
A little bit different? Quite different. OK.
Now, this looks very impressive, imposing, theatrical.
John Alexander, John Henry Alexander.
Who was he?
He was the owner, manager and frequent performer
in the original Theatre Royal in Glasgow.
So that's why it looks so theatrical.
If you look up at the top, we've got a lot of theatrical props...
I can see, yeah. ..on either side of him,
with cherubs leaning on his head. Yeah.
And then we've got the stage.
On the back of this is his family, listed as the supporting cast.
Victorian graves were often adorned with symbols of death,
such as a snake biting its tail, to mean immortality,
or a winged hourglass, that represents how time flies.
But like John Henry Alexander's theatrical tribute,
they are other monuments here that tell a tale
of their owner's occupation, like Malcolm Campbell, for instance.
Now, here's his monument.
He owned a chain of fruit and veg stores across Scotland,
so here, we have an Iona cross, look, interlaced -
starting right at the top, there, and working its way down -
interlaced with lots of fruit.
Can you see the apples, here?
That's a lovely tribute.
There's another monument here to a shipbuilding family,
and that is actually shaped like the bow of a ship,
cutting through the waves.
Visitors come to the Necropolis
to admire the unique beauty of the monuments.
A special draw is the works designed by famous architects
and sculptors of the period.
With particular appeal are those by Scottish designers,
such as Alexander Greek Thompson,
Charles Rennie Mackintosh,
and JT Rochead.
What does the future hold for the Necropolis?
We think we've got things going the right direction, now.
We've obviously got a lot more restoration work to do,
a lot of more fundraising.
People come from all over the world
and we are developing our website, considerably.
It has been more successful than our wildest dreams, frankly.
And that's really, in part, down to you and the Friends, really,
that we can safely say it is in safe hands.
Well, I would certainly like to think so.
Well, look, it's been a pleasure meeting you.
Thank you. Thank you for coming.
Well, that's it for our first set of valuations,
as it's time to find out how they fared at auction.
Carol's three watercolours, which depicted scenes of York,
were looking for a new wall to hang on.
The Corgi car collection was rescued by Anthony from his attic,
and a trip to Guernsey to watch the footie depended on it selling.
Sue's two necessaires charmed Charlie,
and it was wonderful that one of them came
with all its original contents.
And finally, there was Mike's WG Grace handkerchief,
which Philip hoped would make
an easy catch.
Remember, with every auction there's varying rates of commission
and VAT to pay, whether you're buying or selling items.
We put Elizabeth's valuation of the Corgi car collection
to the test first, when it went up for sale at Andrew Smith and Son,
On the rostrum was Andrew Smith.
I had the Batmobile,
and as soon as my mum gave it to me,
do you know what I did?
Ripped the box open, threw it away
and played with the car.
I can understand you not playing with these,
keeping the boxes, sensible guy. Exactly.
They were played with a little bit, but then back in the boxes.
Yeah. What about you, Phil? He never let me play with them.
I always tried to but he never let me.
Now we have a value of... ?300 to ?500.
Hopefully there will be a bit of interest on the net for this one.
They're good search words, aren't they? Yes.
That's something they can search for.
See the Dynamic Duo's got it all sorted.
Anyway, let's put it to the test, shall we, guys?
Yes, let's have a look.
?300. 300 we have, on the net.
Is there 20? At ?300, we are selling.
Is there 20?
All done? Come on, internet. At ?300.
We are selling, make no mistake, at ?300, then,
for the very last time.
They're gone. You're right, the net did work.
Cos otherwise it wouldn't have been bought in the room. No.
So, it did its job. But sadly, they've gone at the lower end.
Lower end, but they're gone. That's the thing. Yeah. Exactly.
And that ?300 should have gone a good way to getting Anthony
and Phil to Guernsey to watch their team, Worthing, play football.
Next, how well do you think Carol's three watercolours of York did
when we headed back to Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers?
Christopher Ironmonger was on the rostrum.
And they're not a lot of money for three, are they?
We're looking at ?200-?300. And they are depicting
one of the most beautiful cities in the UK as well.
They're just so detailed.
My daughters, they thought they were lovely,
but they didn't like the colours.
They said the York Minster is not pink!
York Minster - Turneresque, that's what they are. Yeah!
It's all about the light, and it does change colour.
Right, let's put them to the test right now.
Next lot, 315,
George Fall, set of three scenes of old York.
Very nice little set indeed and I'm bid ?100 as a commission bid.
?100 as commission.
At 100, 120, there.
140, 160. Brilliant.
180, 200, 200, 220?
We're going... At 200, it is.
The gentleman's bid at ?200.
Are we done at 200? Are we finished?
Well done, Christina. Fantastic, well done, for three.
Are you pleased? Yes, yes. Good.
It's good to see them go, actually,
to someone that's going to appreciate them.
The Pink Minster! LAUGHTER
I like to think they ended up hanging on a wall in York.
Next, Mike's WG Grace handkerchief went under the hammer
at Jeffreys auctioneers,
when we travelled west to Lostwithiel, in Cornwall.
Wielding the gavel was Ian Morris.
Mike, you brought the cricket memorabilia to the right expert.
So I hear. Yes. There's only one doctor.
THEY CHUCKLE Oh, right.
Let's find out what the Cornish market think of this, shall we?
Yeah. Here we go, it's going under the hammer.
WG Grace, ?50 a bid.
At ?50. At ?50.
Take part to get on. 55. 60.
5. 80. 5. 90.
?90 the bid's with me.
110, the bid's with me.
At ?110. 120 up?
140? 140. Your bid, I'm out.
At ?140. Seated. 150 up?
Done, at ?140.
How's that? I think that's hit it for six, that has. Good.
But it was a very straight bat.
Bowled the maiden over.
No googlies there.
Well, it was all out for the WG Grace handkerchief
with a great result.
Finally, we headed north, to Warwickshire,
and Stratford-upon-Avon, where Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers
were selling Sue's pair of necessaires.
Auctioneer Stephen Kaye
decided to split the items into two separate lots, with a reserve
of ?100 on each.
Susan, quality, quality, quality
and it always sells, doesn't it?
Yes, I hope so, hopefully.
And not "necessairely", though, but it does.
In this case, it will.
So are you ready for this? Fingers crossed. Oh! Yes.
I think these are going to go for, hopefully, a little bit more.
Good. We're going to find out right now.
Let's hand the proceedings over to our auctioneer.
Lot number 50
is the little necessaire.
I've got ?100 bid on the computer.
110, at the back.
Anybody give me 120? 120. 130. 140.
We've got it. We've got it. 150. 160. 170.
180. 190. Chap on the stairs.
200. And 10.
200 with Christian and 10.
220. 230, sir.
260 with Christian.
Anybody else? 270. 280.
300. And 20. 340. 360.
Oh, this is exciting, isn't it?
400. 400! I can't believe it.
380 with Christian.
Anybody give me 400?
For ?380, are we all done?
Yes, hammer's gone down. That's fantastic.
?380. Yes. One down, one more to go.
Here we are.
Another little necessaire,
this is also extremely pretty.
Let me give you 110, thank you.
I've got 110 from Christian. 120. 130?
140. 150. 160.
I've got 150 in the room.
150 in the room, anybody else?
160. 170. 180. 190.
200. And 10.
240. Good, up and up.
290, I've got. Anyone else?
At 290, it's a little treasure.
That is fantastic.
That's a grand total of ?670.
Fantastic. Fantastic. Hey.
But, look, all credit to you for
looking after it, you know? Yes, yes.
That's really, really nice.
If you've got anything like that, we would love to sell it for you.
Bring it along to one of our valuation days.
You can find details on our website,
or check the details in your local press.
But what a result!
Well, some happy owners there,
and we'll be going back to the auction room
a little later on in the programme.
Now, I want to share with you a very special collection.
Most walls in British stately homes are adorned
with wonderful works of art that date back centuries,
executed by artists, prominent artists,
British, French, Italian and Dutch.
But back in the 1800s, a rather different,
and at the time, ground-breaking group of paintings
found its way here to Pollok House in Glasgow.
And as a result, the house boasted the largest
collection of Spanish art in Britain at the time.
The man responsible for the collection was
Sir William Stirling Maxwell.
He was a public-spirited gent,
who served twice as a Conservative MP for Perthshire.
Pollok House was passed to Sir William
from his uncle in the 1860s.
Sir William had also inherited a substantial fortune
from his father, which allowed him to indulge his passion
for Spanish art.
Portraits of the Hapsburgs,
the most important royal family in Europe,
rulers of Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries,
are a constant feature in Sir William's collection.
And here is a portrait of Charles II.
Now, he was the last in the line of the Hapsburgs in Spain,
but he had a rather unfortunate feature -
a protruding chin.
And that's thought to
be down to inbreeding,
the Hapsburgs were so desperate to keep their European dynasty running.
He did get a bad deal because his teeth were so badly misaligned,
he couldn't chew his food.
But for Sir William, it wasn't about the aesthetic.
He was more interested in the stories behind the painting -
who this chap was, why he looked like that,
who was the artist.
So, how did he start to collect?
I'm meeting Pippa Stephenson,
Curator of European Art from Glasgow Museums, to find out more.
So how did Sir William first get interested in Spanish art?
It started in 1841, when he took a trip to Spain,
this is when he really developed his love and his passion
for Spanish art.
He decided to stay there for two years and, in that time,
he got to know Spanish art, he got to know different collections
and he decided to write
this three-volume Annals Of The Artist,
which he published in 1848,
the first scholarly catalogue, or book, of Spanish art
to be written in the English language.
Well, that's quite incredible. So, he had a real passion?
He wasn't just advised by an art advisor,
"This is what you've got to do."
He wanted to be a real, genuine educator,
and, you know, come across as the lover of art that he was.
And I would imagine this is quite unusual at the time.
Absolutely. Other people were generally travelling around
other parts of Europe.
Spain was seen as quite an exciting and a new place,
but, nevertheless, in the mid-1800s,
art collections in Britain were still dominated
by Dutch and Flemish art, and Italian.
So for an art collector like William Stirling Maxwell
to begin collecting these unknown names was quite a thing.
And over the years,
Sir William amassed an eclectic group of paintings.
And believe me, there are some real treasures here.
Take this painting, for instance.
It was acquired in 1851,
and that's Anne of Austria.
Now, she was the fourth wife of Philip II of Spain.
The real interest lies in that pearl in her headpiece.
It's known as the Peregrina, and it means the wanderer,
or the pilgrim, and believe me, that pearl has had an amazing life.
It was found in the Gulf of Panama in the 16th century,
and somehow it ended up
in the coffers of the Spanish royal family.
It's been worn by several different European monarchs,
including Mary Tudor.
In fact, there's another painting here at Pollok House with
that same pearl in a lady's stomacher.
Also, that pearl was owned once
by Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the 1960s, Richard Burton bought that pearl for his wife,
and she had it set into a necklace.
In 2011, her collection was sold off
and that necklace went under the hammer - it made more
than ?7 million.
What a life that pearl's had!
Now, over here is Anne's husband,
Philip II of Spain,
a very powerful and important man
and, boy, doesn't he just look it?
The painting accentuates his stature,
with that wonderful, sort of, handmade armour
at no expense spared.
That fits beautifully.
That's a lightened blue steel inlaid with gold.
But this painting actually makes him look larger than life
because, in the flesh,
he was only five feet tall.
Apart from the fascinating stories behind Sir William's
Spanish art collection, there is also
the pedigree of the extraordinary artists who painted them,
like El Greco and Goya.
Famous artists now,
but in the mid-19th century,
they were less well-known.
Well, we've all heard of Goya, but how popular was he
back in the day when Sir William was touring Spain?
Well, he wasn't very well-known at all and, in fact,
when Sir William was thinking about Spanish art
and buying Spanish art, these two Goya paintings are two
of the first to ever enter the UK, when he bought them in 1842.
Tell me a little bit about the painting. What's it called?
It's called Boys On The Seesaw, so you have these children,
these boys that are squabbling and playing
and pretending to be soldiers and religious figures.
So, just like these young boys that are playing and messing around,
and kind of fighting with each other,
he believed that real members of religion are also fighting.
He criticised society, he had quite
a bleak view, he experienced war
first-hand and, consequently, his paintings
do show a side of him...
A slight darkness, yeah. Yeah, darkness, yeah.
And here we are, here's the other part of the pair.
It's so nice that they are still here on display.
It's wonderful. Same kind of subject matter as well, isn't it?
That's right, we have the boys playing soldiers
in this particular scene. So, obviously, never designed to be
split up and I'm so pleased they haven't been.
Right, you've saved the best till last, haven't you? I do,
I have a very special painting for you. Come on, then.
Painted in the late 16th century, our final stop is this.
The gem of Pollok House's art collection.
And here she is. Our Lady In A Fur Wrap by El Greco.
She's beautiful. She follows you around the room.
Absolutely, isn't she wonderful?
Yeah, and she looks like she was painted,
let's say, in the 1920s, not back then.
She has a real modernity to her, and a timeless beauty.
There's something about the way she's looking at you,
this kind of intimacy and directness,
that really sticks with people, I think.
And she has done for centuries. And we don't know who she is. No.
She's a complete mystery to us.
When Sir William bought her,
he thought it was a portrait of El Greco's daughter.
She's been thought of as different members of royalty, empresses,
duchesses, but the truth is, we'll never know.
I think he was in love with her. THEY LAUGH
I think that is the mother of his only child.
Some people do say there's no other person it could be
than someone who was in love with the artist, as you say, because
there is this kind of seduction and sensual nature to the painting.
Well, thank you for showing me this and thank you
for showing me around the house.
It's been brilliant. Thank you. It's a real pleasure.
My foray into art didn't end at Pollok House in Glasgow.
Back across the border, around 400 miles away,
a painting caught my interest at our valuation day
at the Milestones Museum, in Basingstoke.
Ian, what can you tell me about the oil painting?
Very much family links.
Basically, my dad got it from his dad's sister, given to him
in his will, so other than that, I know very little, other than
they thought it was called The Letter.
So, it's just been in our dining room,
and it was above our dining room table. The first thing I noticed,
I love the setting.
It's definitely English School.
It's a good oil on canvas,
just from looking at the image
and looking at it stylistically,
that it's mid-Victorian.
It's sort of circa 1860,
somewhere around there. OK.
I'm just going to ask you if we can just lift this off
and have a look, because what
attracted me, if we look here,
what attracted me to this was here, look.
"The Zennor Poet, St Ives, Cornwall."
Now, I'm just wondering, is there a Cornish connection in your family?
Not that I'm aware of. We're Irish. Right, OK.
There's a lot of paper labels. Now, the first thing you can tell is
if you feel this canvas, can you feel that?
It's very tight. It's been restretched.
I would imagine there's been some damage on this
during its life.
If we can lift this up.
So it's been relined,
which means another canvas has been
stuck onto the back of it.
There might be a few patches, that's been touched in.
But the narrative is very strong.
I like this.
I like what it represents.
The artist is very, very skilful.
I like the expressions,
I like the skin tones.
There's some very strong
qualities about this painting,
but there are also some weak qualities.
If you look at the cat here,
that's rather poor. OK. Can you see that?
Now, because it's been relined,
I would suggest it's been slightly cut down. OK.
Because we've lost the artist's signature.
Yeah, we couldn't find a signature on this one.
No, I've looked everywhere, and sometimes,
it might be hidden somewhere in a basket
or on the paperwork he's reading, but
I think it was signed,
it's been cut down because it's been relined.
I think the market for this
sort of genre has slightly dropped.
Without provenance, without any kind of
it's really, really hard to get those top figures for this.
I think it would be sensible to put a guide of ?600 to ?800 on this,
with a reserve at ?600. OK. Wow.
I don't think you should let it go for anything less than that. OK.
I think there is some quality there.
And I rather like it. Great.
Later in the programme, we put my valuation to the test,
along with our second lot of items.
But first, we headed over to the RAF Museum at Hendon,
where against a dramatic backdrop of historic aircraft,
something more domestic caught Anita's eye.
Avril, these are two beautifully looked-after pieces of silver.
Yes. And I love silver. Tell me, where did you get them?
Well, I got them from my mother, but she inherited it from her
own mother, so it's really from my grandmother. Right.
And I don't believe my mother used them. And I have never used them.
Now, the round tray first of all.
It has this wonderful empty cartouche in the middle.
And in this space here, we could put our initial or a monogram.
It is empty so something could be added to that.
That is a good aspect of it.
If we look at the rim, we have these wonderful embossed flower
and leaf motifs. Again, a good aspect of it.
And these embossed flowers are joined by this lovely wavy rim.
I like that.
It's also what we call a footed tray,
which means that it stands on feet.
And again, we have decorative, or fancy, feet there.
People who collect silver like to see nice, clear hallmarks.
And if you rub these hallmarks, it makes it more difficult.
But I know this little emblem here tells me that it's Walker Hall.
And although it is well rubbed, I recognise this.
Walker Hall were good makers -
good makers of silver and good retailers.
Now, I've had a very careful look at this hallmark,
and I can see that it is Chester.
And I would date this to probably, from its design,
the 1920s. Right.
So before I give you a price on this, I'd like to go onto
this tray here, which is a different style altogether. Yes.
It has probably been part of a dressing table set. Yes.
And the brush and mirror would have backs that would be embossed
with the same motif as this. Yes.
Now, the marks are a bit clearer on this one.
It's Birmingham. It's 1900. So it was just at the turn of the century.
And it was made by Henry Matthews, one of the good Birmingham makers.
And what we see here is a romantic scene... Yes.
..where a young chap
is serenading two young women. AVRIL LAUGHS
It's an idyll,
especially for the young guy. Yes.
I would like to split them up. Right.
I would put an estimate of ?200 to ?300 on this tray,
with a reserve of 200.
Yes. On this one, I'd like to put 150 to 200.
And if we can, maybe a little discretion on this one
because it's only part of something. Yes. Would you be happy with that?
Yes, that would be OK. Two lovely items.
I'm sure they'll do very well and I hope that my estimates will be
conservative and that they'll go much higher. Thank you.
Thank you for bringing them along. Thanks a lot.
Two very different but equally immaculate silver trays,
and Anita was clearly delighted by both.
Next up, we return to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall
where amongst the backdrop of seafaring boats,
Caroline Hawley found a more land-loving creature.
Chris, thank you
so much for bringing this gorgeous lady in to see me. You're welcome.
So, first of all, tell me about you, are you from this area?
No, I'm from Kent originally. Right.
And I've been down here about 24 years.
And how did you come across this gorgeous thing?
I was at art college in Bromley in Kent and on my way to college
one day I saw this in a sort of shop jumble sale
and I just fell in love with it and thought, "That's terrific."
And bought it for 1/6d. 1/6d? Yes.
And what date was that? That was about, well, spring 1970.
I'd had it for 24 years when a friend of mine
discovered the button in the ear
and said, "You've got a Steiff here,"
and I said, "Oh, I didn't realise."
Well, that's the first thing we look at when we see these toys,
to find the magic name Steiff.
I'd seen them on teddy bears, but didn't realise they'd do a cow.
No, exactly. There's the button, in the ear.
You've got these lovely kid-covered horns,
which some of the kid's worn off and the little hooves and really,
when you consider that this was made in the late 19th century,
it's in remarkably good condition. It's straw-filled. Yes.
And it's been played with and loved, so obviously it's got some rubbing
to the hair and it's missing just one of the wooden wheels.
Now Steiff, the company, was set up by Margarete Steiff in 1880 and
it was the maker of fabulous quality toys, bears, things such as this.
By the beginning of the 20th century,
they were making upwards of one million bears a year
and it's gone on ever since, they're still making them to this day.
Still making them. And they're top-quality things.
This is knocked a bit by its lack of foot, a little bit of wear,
but I would fall in love with that and I think loads of people would.
Have you any idea of value? I know you paid 1/6d, did you say?
1/6d, yes. So have you any idea of today's value?
I don't know, maybe ?80, ?75, don't know, maybe not.
I would put a pre-sale estimate of 100-150.
Oh, really, as much as that? Yeah.
And then I think if we put a fixed reserve on it... Yep.
What if we would say ?80 as a fixed reserve?
That's perfect. Lovely. Thank you. Thank you.
Chris must have been over the moon
when he discovered his cow had a Steiff button.
Back at the sumptuous Ragley Hall in Warwickshire,
Will Axon's spied an item that was far from perfect.
Sylvia, Jane, these are in a right state. You haven't
looked after your collection of postcards very well, have you?
No, I haven't, have I? What's going on with these?
Well, they were found years ago and, you know, looked through...
FOUND years ago? Yes. Where did you find...?
Where did you find three postcard albums, under a bush?
Dad found them. He worked at the council tip
and people were throwing them away. Aah!
No! Yes. So he just gathered. So he thought, "Well, I'll have that."
Yes! Too interesting.
Was he proud of them? Did he...?
Well, yes, he thought, you know, "That's interesting." Hm.
It covered a lot of subjects.
Well, you say "covered a lot of subjects",
there's something in these albums for everyone, isn't there?
That's it. I mean, this one that we've got open here...
We've got landscape.
We've got a religious scene down there at the bottom. Yes.
We've got a memorial card for Lord Kitchener.
We've got The Crooked House.
That's it, yes. The famous pub. Yes.
And I've had a look through this album here...
I'll be careful cos, as I've said, they are slightly fragile.
I love this one here, look. Napoleon's tomb. Yes. There it is.
Yeah. And we've got the Eiffel Tower, of course.
So it almost gives you a sort of snapshot into someone's life,
perhaps where they've been travelling. That's it.
And I love these ones here. Look at these.
This is probably a family portrait... Looks like it.
..where you've brought the photographer in
and he sets up the studio.
And he's done them like a little Mad Hatter's tea party.
It's rather sweet, isn't it? Yeah. Yes.
There is a market for postcards.
And the really sought-after postcards are the very unusual ones.
That's it, yes.
You've got things like early aviation, early travel,
Without going through every single page here and singling them out
and adding them up and seeing which ones are more desirable than others,
I think we're just going to have to go with giving a blanket
valuation for the whole lot.
And whoever buys them, or bids on them, is going to know
exactly what they're looking for. Of course they will.
They're going to have a flip through, they'll say,
"I want that one, that one, that one."
So you've got one album here, you've got another album here,
and they're all pretty much full, aren't they? That's it, yes.
I've seen albums like this, certainly in this quantity,
make ?100, ?200, that sort of level. Yes.
So I think if we were able to put them in at that sort of level,
how would you feel? I mean, if we said 100 to 200? Yes. Yes.
Are you happy with that, Jane? Yes. What about a reserve?
Shall we let them go?
Let them go. Let them go. Oh, I like you, living dangerously.
I like no reserves. Yeah, I like no reserve. They need a good home.
And without reserve, we are on for a definite sale.
Yes. See you at the auction. Thank you. Well done.
Trust Will, he always lives dangerously.
Now it's time to see how well our final batch of items
sold at auction.
Avril's two silver trays were passed down from her grandmother
in pristine condition.
If only the same could be said for Sylvia's postcard albums,
which were found on the council tip by her father.
Chris got his Steiff cow on rollers for one shilling and sixpence,
so it stood a great chance of making a profit.
And finally, there was Ian's painting - The Zennor Poet -
which came from my home county of Cornwall.
The painting was the first to go at auction back at
Andrew Smith Son near Winchester,
where Andrew Smith took to the rostrum once more.
Excited? Very. Nervous but excited. I'm nervous. I'm quite worried.
Here we go. I've got my lucky pom-pom. Good.
I've got my fingers crossed. Here we go.
Start me at ?600.
Try 400 to get it going.
?400. Thank you. And 20.
At ?400. And 20.
Right, OK, it's a start. 450.
450. 470. 500.
And 20. 550.
And 20. They sold it. Excellent.
At ?600 up at the top there.
We are selling. Is there 20?
At ?600 for the very last time... I'm pleased with that. At ?600...
Yes! That was close, but I am ever so pleased.
And I hope it is going to a good home.
Let's hope. Thank you for bringing it in. No problem. Thank you, Paul.
I'd like to think Ian's painting found its way back to Cornwall.
Next, we travel back to London to Chiswick Auctions,
and William Rouse was on the rostrum.
Avril's pair of silver trays was up for sale
and being sold as two separate lots.
Well, we've got a real treat for you right now.
We're serving up a Victorian silver tray in the Georgian style,
with pie crust edges.
And I like this, Avril. Oh, good. I like it a lot.
?200 to ?300. I think we could see the top end, plus a bit more,
because of its style. It's got something about it.
Let's find out what the dealers here think, shall we?
It's going under the hammer now.
396 is a Georgian style salver.
And there we go. Start me, ?200 for it.
I thought so. ?200 is bid. 210 is bid.
220. 220 here.
Anybody else then? At 220 in front of me. Is that it?
All finished and done? 220...
It's gone at 220. You were right.
It's gone at 220.
That's fine. Did our best.
That was a good price to get us off the mark.
And although Avril's second silver tray had a lower estimate,
we all hoped it would sell just as well.
We are going to find out what the bidders think right now. Here we go.
?150 for it. 150.
170 on the internet. 180.
220 in the room.
230 on the internet.
230 on the internet is bid. Anybody else?
At 230, here at 230...
Deserved. Well deserved. There you are. Thank you.
Because it had that... ?230.
..little bit of decoration,
that little bit of extra something. It was unique as well. Well done.
Thank you for bringing that in, cos it was lovely.
A fantastic result that was.
The two silver trays sold
for a total of ?450, and Avril went home happy.
Next, we travelled west to my home county of Cornwall
to Jefferys auctioneers in Lostwithiel.
The man we hoped would get more than a few beans for Chris's Steiff cow
was auctioneer Ian Morris.
Right, so far so good.
Now if I said to you, "A cow on wheels,"
I know what some of you'd think, "Fast food, yes, a burger to go,"
but no, no, no,
this is a Steiff toy belonging to Chris who's here with me now.
You've had this for a long, long time. Yes, 45 years.
Good luck with that. I know it's got
a lot of memories you, lots of memories.
A big window into the past and, sadly, you're saying goodbye
to it, but we're going to find it a new home right here right now.
This is it.
Right, we move on to Steiff cow.
Poor Daisy had a bit of a hard life.
Daisy, there we go, look at that. Yeah. Yeah! ?80 away. ?80? At ?80.
The bid's with me. ?90.
?100, 110. 120. At 120, the bid's with me. 120, 130 now.
At ?120 I'm bid. We're done at ?120.
Good price. Good price considering. the condition. It's amazing. Yeah.
And I'm pleased you didn't fashion up a modern wheel and stain it
and made it look old, because it would detract from its character.
Absolutely. It's always better to sell it in its original state.
There's still a bit of string tied on at the bottom,
so someone could have pulled it. Oh! It's still on there.
That's touching, isn't it? That's touching.
Thank you so much for bringing that in.
We have found that cow a new home. Job done.
Now for our last stop on today's show,
and we returned to Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers,
where Stephen Kaye was on the rostrum.
We were here to sell Sylvia's battered postcard albums.
We always have lots of surprises with postcard albums.
And, you know, something that might be valued at 200 to 300 sometimes
reaches ?600. But it's really hard to say.
We'll put them to the test right now. They're going under the hammer.
I can start here on the book at ?200.
Anybody give me another 10?
210. 220. 230.
300. Someone in the room now. 320. 340.
That bid on the book, look. Yeah.
No? 400 on the book. THEY WHISPER
450. I'll go 500.
I've got 500 here.
You don't want to top it?
Selling at ?500.
I knew something like that would happen. It always happens
on those postcard albums. It is such a tricky thing to value.
The collectors were here. Great job done on the rostrum.
So we're all very happy.
Well, that's it. Sadly, we are coming to the end of the show.
But we've had some great results in auction rooms across the country
and we've seen some wonderful treasures here,
at Pollok House in Glasgow.
It's been a real privilege. I hope you've enjoyed the show.
So until the next time, it's goodbye.
70 years after the partition of India,
Anita Rani and three other Britons
discover how their families were torn apart.
Flog It! brings you some of the most interesting and previously unseen finds from the show's travels around the country, visiting the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, Ragely Hall in Warwickshire, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth and the RAF museum in Hendon, London.
Today's antiques experts include Charlie Ross, Elizabeth Talbot, Philip Serrell, Anita Manning and Will Axon, with items ranging from a handkerchief commemorating cricket legend Dr WG Grace to three postcard albums which were found on a council tip.
Paul also visits Pollok House in Glasgow where he immerses himself in a unique collection of Spanish art.