Flog It! comes from Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. Elizabeth Talbot and James Lewis find antiques and collectables to take to auction from the assembled crowd.
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I'm in the village of Selborne, in Hampshire, which was once home to
one of Britain's most famous scientists
that you've probably never heard of.
Now, that's got your attention, hasn't it?
Later on in the programme,
I'll be finding out more about this 18th-century naturalist
and why that became one of his most important tools.
Welcome to "Flog It!"
Hampshire has been a hotbed for scientific
and technological advancement since the Industrial Revolution.
It's fitting that the county was the birth place of one
of our greatest engineers - Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
It's also the site of the London and South Western Railway
that took passengers, in the 19th century,
from London to the important industrial port of Southampton.
At our valuation day venue here at Basingstoke,
they've brought the engineering
achievements of the old Industrial Age alive again
with a fascinating collection of old vehicles,
goods and appliances once sold on the Victorian high street.
We'll be finding out more about the county's scientific
and engineering endeavours later on in the programme.
But right now, our crowds - look at them all -
are advancing towards our experts ready for their valuations -
this is the scary bit here -
at Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.
So, if you're happy with your valuation,
what are you going to do? ALL: Flog it!
Our experts are getting stuck in,
and there's already plenty to catch James Lewis' eye.
-That's old, isn't it? It is old.
While Elizabeth Talbot is taking a leisurely approach.
But not for long.
Come on, you, don't sit around on the job, we've got work to do.
And I have too. Right, follow me, let's get this show on the road.
It's through these doors!
Come on, everyone.
'As I take the crowds in, let's find out what's on the show today.'
Elizabeth's got the moon and the stars in her eyes.
Well, Tim, you've made my eyes sparkle when I saw this.
But why has Angus got tears in his?
Well done, well done.
And which of these objects will get the cash register ringing?
As the crowds pack this wonderful venue,
time to go over to James for his first item.
And what a start to the show.
He's come across an object that has puzzled most of us,
but our off-screen expert, Sophie, has been doing some research...
Sophie came up with, I think, a genius idea.
Tell me more!
We want to drag it out a bit first.
I want you to tell me where it came from.
How did you come to find it?
And what do you think it might be?
-I found it at a car boot.
-Yes, a car boot.
A dealer's stall in a box of rubbish.
It fascinated me when I saw it,
the baked-on grime,
and clearly, the age of the wood.
-What did you pay for it?
How long have you had it?
Within the last six months.
People are speculative, they don't really know what it is.
Initially, you think it's a club.
-But the holes at the end are telling me it's not a club.
And if it were a club, why would you use that
nice carving to...get damaged?
Let's start to work it through.
Without question, as you've said, hand carved.
It has the most wonderful patination.
Patination only comes through handling and feel and use.
-The hat is what period?
-In my opinion, it's 17th century.
But I'm no expert, that's just from me looking on the 'net at that style of hat.
The hairstyle, again, that long hair is typical of that period.
What sort of person would've have had that sort of hat?
I think that is possibly
a late 17th-early 18th century
-Did they carve them like...?
We've never seen one, any of us.
-It's Sophie that's come up with it.
And I think she's a genius.
Sounds good to me.
Well, I think it's brilliant and I love it.
What's it worth? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever.
-What would I sell it for?
-More than £3, hopefully?
-I think 300.
-That'd be lovely.
-I'd be happy if it sold for 100.
£100 then, I love it, well done you.
That's the kind of Flog It! first that makes our day.
I can't wait to see what the bidders will make of it.
And Elizabeth Talbot is joined by Paul,
who's brought in an amazing-looking contraption.
Please, tell me all about it.
I bought it from a hospital that was closing down for about £25 or
something. And that was in the early '90s.
I'm fairly confident it's a piece of anaesthetic equipment.
But apart from that, I don't know.
I liked it because, you know, it's an attractive bit of kit, I think.
I agree. It bears a name - I noticed a Dr Magill's name on the front.
Now, Sir Ivan Whiteside Magill was actually working at the very
early part of the 20th century.
He was Irish-born and he was originally a general practitioner.
-But he then began specialising in anaesthesia...
That was his special area of study.
And throughout the early part of the 20th century,
he took the developments of his research quite extensive ways,
which I think really set us to where we are in modern-day
-understanding of that subject.
-Oh, gosh. Yeah.
In 1919, during the First World War,
he was positioned in the Queens Hotel at Sidcup.
And he there, at that point,
met a surgeon, Harold Gillies,
who was working very hard
and doing some pioneering work
on the reconstruction and plastic surgery
of particularly faces of soldiers who served in the First World War.
-And the two of them became quite a powerhouse together.
Doctors Magill and Gillies worked to improve the lives
of soldiers returning from the battlefields of France.
Over seven years,
the surgical team conducted an incredible 11,000 operations,
repairing the horrendous facial injuries of 5,000 men.
In a way, that would have seemed miraculous at the time.
And they did it all using instruments like this.
Gillies then served in hospitals in Basingstoke.
So he has a connection locally, which is quite interesting.
And the work that Magill did over the next few years took him
to the point where he was eventually knighted.
And even today, doctors who achieve outstanding work
in their profession are...can be awarded the Magill Medal.
-So you paid £25 for it, did you say?
-About that, yeah.
It really is going to be the eye of the beholder.
Anybody who collects medical implements or
anything that is related to medical history may well
place on it a value different to what I will estimate.
-I would think it should sell for between sort of £50 and £80.
-Would you be happy with that?
And the money, is that going anywhere in particular?
Yes, it is. It's going to brain tumour, cancer...
brain tumour research.
-I lost a daughter earlier this year from that.
And so we're finding all ways and means of, you know,
-putting some money to the charity.
So this would be a very apt way of it going to a good cause.
It is actually, yes.
£50 to £80. £50 reserve. Fingers crossed.
-Thank you so much for bringing it in.
That's most interesting. Thank you.
A remarkable story about an object
that changed the fortunes of so many.
And now James has found a pair of objects that some might think
a bit staid
but marked technical innovation in their day.
Val, I have to say,
one of the greatest names in English porcelain manufacturing.
They are about 1890.
-Did you know the way of telling the date?
-No, I don't.
OK, so, grab one of those.
-You see the purple mark?
-You see the dots above the R?
I've got four on this one altogether.
The first dot was put on in 1892.
-1892, '93, '94, '95.
-Oh, my God.
-These are 1895.
-Oh, my God.
-Yes, they were my mother's. Yeah.
OK. And was she a collector or a dealer?
-No, my father just bought them for my mother.
-So you remember them growing up as a child?
They are glazed Parian.
-Parian ware was invented for the 1851 Exhibition.
It was invented to copy marble busts.
But by the 1870s, the marble busts were going out of fashion,
so they needed a new use for their Parian ware.
And this sort of ware became the new fashion.
It is known as blush ivory
because it is a yellowy colour
with a bit of a pinky tinge to it.
And then it is hand-painted over the top.
And this was fashionable until about 1910.
And here we've got a pair painted with thistles
and meadow flowers. And with masks on the handles.
Lovely quality gilding, in good condition.
-If you wanted to sell them, which I presume you do...
..they would certainly sell at auction. They won't make a lot.
-Today, auction estimate of 80 to 120.
Might make a shade more. I would put a firm reserve of £80 on them.
And at least that's a safety net so don't they don't go below that.
-Is that all right for you?
-Yes, that's fine.
-Super, all right.
While an item might not always be en vogue,
what I always say is one man's trash is another man's treasure.
I love looking in your bags and boxes to find things
that are intriguing, even if they are not to everyone's taste.
Ever seen anything like it before?
Do you know, I'm lost for words.
-I'm lost. I don't know what to say.
I really don't know what to say.
To me, it looks as if it is sort of 1950s.
There's always a buyer for something,
we've found that on this show.
But I tell you what, though, I couldn't help but gravitate
towards it to go, "Gosh, what is this?"
-And now I've seen it...
-You're going away again.
Now Elizabeth has found something that is definitely to her taste.
Well, Tim, you've made my eyes sparkle when I saw this
because it accessorises with my outfit today,
so I'm very pleased to see this little jewel.
Is this something that you've inherited or what can you
tell me about it?
-No, I found it at a car booty in East Anglia...
-Oh, did you?
..one weekend, yeah.
My wife was looking for costume jewellery
and they found this big box.
And they were messing around in there looking for stuff
and I see this little pouch right in the corner.
As I pulled it, this popped out of the top.
So I just said to the lady, I thought,
"How much do you want for it?" And she said £5.
And I went, "No, I'll give you £3 for it."
And she said, "Yeah, OK, fine."
-I took it home and put it under some spotlights and it sparkled.
And I put a magnifying glass on it and I thought,
-"No, this is...this is something."
-The real thing.
-Have you done research in terms of a value as well?
-I ain't got a clue.
-I ain't got a clue.
Obviously, you have probably established from looking at it
more closely that what we have here is a late Victorian brooch
which is set with, principally, sapphires and diamonds,
and it is centred by a pearl.
-The pin at the back is gold.
-It IS gold?
-The mount that the actual stones are set into,
I think, is probably silver. It's not marked.
A lot of jewellery of this ilk, because it's so delicate
and there's not much ground to sort of stamp anything on,
-often it isn't stamped, it isn't marked.
Now, the late Victorians loved the crescent moons
as a motif for jewellery, principally for brooches.
And they used different stones to reflect that,
but I think obviously the blue and the silver of the stones
they've chosen really sort of suit it perfectly.
You know, I think they all look as though they're original,
they've not been replaced, so it's all very positive.
So have you got an expectation of the value then?
Is there something that you'd be...?
As long as it is more than £3?
If it's more than £3, I'm quite happy, yeah.
You know, if it doubles its value...
-Yeah, I don't mind.
-At the moment, the precious metal market
is still strong, which gives it...
It doesn't mean that it is really relevant, but it gives a baseline
of interest that that would hold just because of what it contains.
-I think a sensible estimate
-would probably be £200 to £300.
But I would suggest that probably a discretionary reserve
-of a round about 180, if you're happy with that?
-Yeah, yeah. Ching-ching.
You'll be back to East Anglia for the next car booty.
-Let's watch with interest and see.
-We'll reach the moon, eh? For that one.
-Yeah, thank you very much.
-Thank you so much, Tim.
-I'll see you at the auction.
-Take care. Thank you.
Before we head off to auction, there is something I'd like to show you.
The ancient art of woodcarving has strong traditions in Britain.
Not only were they created by the medieval craftsmen
who decorated our churches,
but by master sculptors,
like the great 17th-century artist Grinling Gibbons.
He brought an extraordinary realism to
his interpretation of the natural world
that had never been seen before.
I met Hampshire artist Alex Jones
who has continued the tradition,
with a contemporary flourish.
He likes to bring his audience close to the kind of nature
some of us are usually at pains to avoid.
You know, I am a bit of an arachnophobe,
especially big hairy ones!
But I love the enormity of scale!
Why so big?
Because basically I think we need beasts around us,
and things like that,
and the way to change someone's perception of something is to
make it big and exciting,
and yeah, it just changes the way you look at stuff.
And also we're used to seeing squirrels and rabbits
and things like that, sort of easily palatable.
I want to make something that's a bit more edgy,
and because wood's so beautiful,
I came up with the idea that what happens if you carve something
that people thought of as really revolting and horrible
but have the beauty of the traditional woods
-and things like that?
-So you starts to fall in love with it.
Exactly. So you end up with a paradox,
you end up with a push and a pull,
you get pushed away by the subject matter
and then you get pulled in by the material and things like that
and that's...the energy that interests me.
Yes, and what woods have you used?
Basically, what we've got here is some good old English oak,
all the lighter bits are made in oak,
-and then inlaid is black walnut.
-Or American walnut.
It's one of the things that pulls people in.
If you use natural woods and their colours then people come in closer.
-As soon as they hear it's paint or stain...
..you're sort of distancing people, aren't you?
-So I'll always try and use natural woods.
And then for the final touch, the eyes are done in ebony.
And they're from the keys I collect from pianos
-and stuff like that, so...
-Yeah. Very resourceful.
You also have to show it as people see the real spider,
which is when it's in your bath on the wall,
you see it from above,
and that's the shot, the bit that really freaks people out,
when they see it like that and it's sort of suddenly bigger.
-Yes, a lot bigger, isn't it?
-Wouldn't want to come across a blighter that big, would you?
And it's not just creepy crawlies he carves,
but plant life, like this dandelion.
-That's lime, isn't it, I recognise that's lime.
-Yes, that's lime.
The dandelion is all about weeds and things,
because the client who commissioned it,
he used to love his garden,
and I love the idea of taking
some of the weeds that he spent his whole time pulling up,
and making a seven foot one that he couldn't,
so making into something exotic and exciting.
And with this guy here, I actually had a house spider,
I had him as a pet for a couple of months,
and he was called Stanley,
and literally when I did the last bit of carving, died.
-One of these big harvest spiders?
-Yes, Oh, yeah, absolutely,
and so I almost feel part of him maybe still inhabits the sculpture.
Alex's method is to observe nature in the wild,
but he has been known to wrangle the odd creature,
which can lead to unsettling situations at home.
And I have carved a scorpion,
I actually got hold of an imperial scorpion for a few years
which was... actually one of the most boring pets.
But the one thing it did do was frighten the baby-sitter
by clanking around the cage every night, so that was worth it.
Alex's work is usually commissioned,
and can range in price from £1,000 upwards.
But they do take months of effort to complete.
His workshop is in his home,
which is crawling with the creatures and plants he has recreated in wood.
Along with a few real ones!
But it's at the back of the house
where they emerge from the raw materials,
including his latest commission.
Yes, yes, this is one,
one of the wings of a very, very large butterfly,
that was commissioned by Lord's Hill Academy in Southampton
to be made with the children,
and they wanted something that symbolised piece and regrowth and...
also the whole symbolisation of butterflies as ideas growing.
-The actual structure...
-So the skeletal structure of the wing is oak...?
It's like making a Spitfire, so these bend the wing,
-because obviously the last thing you want is just a flat wing.
And that's bending some very thin ply, and then on the ply,
a little bit like making a roof,
is different veneers, scales of veneers.
Oh, yes, yes.
And of course the butterflies are based on real butterflies,
and I've been looking very closely at dead and living ones
because I want the details to really ring true.
And I've been told there is some finishing touches to do
which hopefully you might only have a go?
-I need an expert carver, like yourself...
-Oh, no, no!
..to come and work on the antennae.
We're curving the antennae, so shall we go through to the studio?
This butterfly has been crystallising for two years,
with incredible care and attention from Alex.
So I can't afford to get this wrong.
Well, there's the body of the butterfly, it's growing,
it's getting bigger. One last remaining wing, there.
And one of the antennae.
Now, this is the bit I'm going to be working on.
-Absolutely, of course, of course.
-OK, so, come on, talk me through it.
So, first of all you got the lines here,
you've obviously got the segmented antenna.
What we need to do is make a stopping point in to the wood,
-so whenever we carve into it...
-It's going to stop on that point.
Exactly, and it's not going to run away, so basically,
-and then we take the next chisel...
-Pare down with the grain.
-Do you want to have a go?
-Do you trust me?
I do, implicitly. Shouldn't I?
There's a lot of work that's gone into this so far, hasn't there?
But maybe it'll just end up with very short antenna, don't know.
-We'll see what happens.
-Are you ready for this?
-Yes, go for it.
That's good, that's really good.
-I don't hit as hard as you because I'm not so confident.
-And then... I should stop now, on that.
And then go for the V, and take that round, and I think you've got,
you're getting there with the depth, actually, there, on that one.
That's perfect, that's really good.
Good sharp tools.
I'm glad you think so, yes, yes.
I think without a sharp tool it makes it a lot harder.
-Shall I pare that?
-Yes, go for it. Yes, yes.
I'm enjoying this. ALEX CHUCKLES
I could be out in the studio all night long doing this.
Well, I'll come back later, if that's all right?
Go and have my tea and come back.
I think it might go horribly wrong.
But I've thoroughly enjoyed being even a little part of this antenna.
-What an inspiring man,
who's definitely passed on the bug!
Just take a look at the finished version of this elegant butterfly!
Assisted by yours truly.
We've got our first four items, now we're taking them off to the sale.
There's Paul's pioneering anaesthetic instrument,
the proceeds of which will go to a good cause.
There's Gary's extraordinary late 17th century carved peg leg,
that stumped James.
Bought for only three pounds,
will it go through the roof at auction?
There is Valerie's duo of less-than-fashionable blush ivory
Royal Worcester vases,
in search of an avid collector.
And finally, there is Tim's car boot bounty,
this stylish Victorian brooch he bought for a song.
For our auction, we're heading to Winchester,
a town surrounded by reminders of the Industrial Age.
The area is dotted with nearly 100 old mills,
but the only one still working is in Whitchurch,
a stone's throw from Winchester.
It produces high quality silks which clothe the actors
in historic dramas like BBC's Cranford.
For our sale today, we're here at Andrew Smith & Son,
and hoping to create some drama of our very own
as our lots go under the hammer.
So don't go away, because I think there could be a big surprise.
Don't forget, if you are selling, there is a commission fee to pay.
It varies from saleroom to saleroom.
Here, it is 18% including VAT.
On the rostrum today is auctioneer Nick Jarrett.
And our first lot
is that early-20th-century anaesthetic instrument,
brought in by Paul.
-When you see it...
..it comes in this box and you see this wonderful
chrome sort of construction.
-Well, exactly right.
-..you go, "Gosh, that's good."
-It foxed me.
I don't know what it's all for and how it's used,
but we appreciated it on the day, didn't we, as exactly that,
-just a piece of aesthetic beauty.
-Let's hope people pick up on it.
I think they will because it is a curio. And it's so hard to value.
Well, it is certainly hard to value.
-Ready for this?
-Well, let's put it to the test.
Here we go.
This is of medical interest. Good thing.
I've got a few bids,
and I have to start you to clear bids here at £60.
Yes! There's a doctor in the house.
65. Is that it? At £65.
70. Five. 80.
-Come on. Fresh legs.
I've got to go 100. 110?
-I've got 130, then.
At 130, then...
Sold. Hammer's gone down. £130 for that wonderful piece of sculpture.
Well, I'm so happy with that because it is all going to charity.
-To brain tumour research.
-Brain tumour research. Well done.
-Thank you so much.
-Thank you very much.
How apt that the proceeds are being used to continue to
change people's lives for the better.
Our next lot is those blush ivory Royal Worcester vases
that aren't to Valerie's taste.
But will there be a buyer out there who WILL want to
get their hands on them?
-Mum and Dad had them.
-Were you allowed to touch them?
-Yes. On the mantelpiece.
Well, we've got a classic 80 to 120.
They should sell at that, James.
That is a good estimate on those.
It is a conservative estimate, isn't it?
-Good for your money.
-There is a market for this.
-So fingers crossed.
-You don't want to take them home, do you, really?
-Here we go.
-I have to start you to clear bids at 120.
-There you go.
-They've gone, top end of the estimate.
We're selling at 120. 130?
At £120 then, with me.
130. 140. 150?
It's with me still at 140, and I am selling.
150 did you mean, sir?
No, at 140 then, still with me.
150, yes? £150 on the net.
At 150. 160.
-150 on the net.
I'm out. At £150. Any more?
All done at 150...
-For today's money, that's a great result.
-Yes, I know that.
Luckily for Valerie, there was a fan out there.
Now, our third object should have admirers aplenty.
Well, just to jog your memories, this is Tim
and coming up next we've got something bought at a car-boot sale
for £3, and we're just about to sell it hopefully
for £200 to £300.
-It is the sapphire brooch.
-What a find!
It was a great find. But it's super quality.
I can imagine it mixed in with other things,
it would have stood out as being slightly different.
But, yeah, well done, you, cos it's a charming little thing.
-Let's find out what the bidders think, shall we?
-It's going under the hammer.
There it is, handsome brooch.
And I've got several bids.
I have to start you at 400 to clear.
-Get in there.
-That is a shock.
At 420 then.
At 420. 440?
Are you in here? At 420.
All done? At £420...
-How about that?!
-Get in there!
-Straight in on the big numbers, wasn't it?
-That shocked me. Shocked you as well, didn't it?
-I thought, "Gosh, could this go any higher?"
-Straight in, lots of bids all at once.
-Very pleased with that.
-Yeah, very pleased. Excellent.
-Back to the car boot this weekend.
Yeah, I've got a few more pound, now, ain't I?
Well, Tim's obviously got the eye,
so hopefully he'll find more car boot bargains.
And now, it's time for Gary's early prosthetic leg,
possibly made for a pirate!
Or a sailor. We can only speculate.
-Gary, good luck.
I've been waiting for this one because this is absolutely fabulous!
Any pirates out there, you will want this, you will want to own it.
You know what I mean? Long John Silver...
And we're going to turn three quid right now hopefully into £300.
-What an unusual thing!
-Have you ever seen one?
-I haven't, no, I haven't.
-I think this is a first.
-Yeah, I think it's great.
It's a piece of folk art as well!
Whittled away by someone on deck, you know, with a marlin knife.
-You know, with hours to spare at sea...
I mean, it's unique, it's a one-off,
and hopefully we're going to get a one-off price for it!
We're going to find out now.
Ah! The peg leg.
There it is with its...
I'm told I have to do a pirate voice but I'm not sure I can.
Start me, £50 for it, surely?
50? 50. No?
Ought to be £50 for a peg leg.
How often do you get these? At £50. 55.
-I've got 65.
Got 65. 70. Five?
-Oh, it's going to be slow while we climb up to 300!
-110 I have, on the net at 110.
Oh, it's going on, at 130 I have, now, 140.
£130. If I've missed you in the room, shout.
140 on the phone.
-This is amazing.
At £280, are we all done at 280?
Finished? At 280, then, last chance.
-That was great.
-Well done, Gary, thank you for bringing that in.
That was a lovely find.
Just goes to show what's out there at the car boots.
Doesn't it just?! What a great object.
It might be a Flog It first, but it might be a Flog It last as well!
Never going to see another peg leg! No, never!
What a great result for such a brilliant carved curio.
Now, sometimes scientific advancements can come
in the most modest of forms, without publicity and fanfare.
Not far from this saleroom is the pretty, rural village of Selbourne.
Now, it's like most other villages around here.
It has a village shop, a little cafe and a couple of pubs.
But at the heart of it lived a man who revolutionised
our understanding of nature and our environment.
I've come to this quiet little nook in Hampshire to find out more
about the 18th-century naturalist Gilbert White,
whose worldwide reputation rests on this single book.
And this is his house.
But to find out what he achieved,
and why his work became so important,
I've come through the house for now
and out into his workplace, his garden,
set amidst the beautiful landscape of Hampshire.
Gilbert White was born here in Selbourne in 1720.
As an avid gardener,
he was compelled by the natural environment around him,
something David Standing, the gardener here for 20 years,
knows all about.
What is special about this spot for a gardener,
or for White, particularly?
For White, yeah. A lot of things, really.
There were so many different habitats and types of vegetation
and geology was so varied
there was an awful lot to study.
-And it's here, all on his doorstep.
-Indeed it is.
The surrounding area inspired a fascination for nature
and all its complexities throughout the seasons,
and would become the inspiration for Gilbert White's life's work.
In what way was his approach different to other naturalists
at the time?
Instead of taking nature into the laboratory and chopping it up,
he went outside and looked very carefully at what was happening.
He would look at one thing for a very long time,
to examine all the details of it.
How doves migrated, how they... the sort of nests they made.
The swallows, for example, around the village.
He wanted to know whether they hibernated or whether they migrated.
He wanted to know all their habits.
And nobody had really focused so closely before,
on that kind of detail.
So that was kind of new and fresh, wasn't it?
I mean, he obviously looked at the weather,
looked at the changing seasons,
and saw how that affected plant life and animal life.
-And I know he discovered new species.
-He did indeed.
There was a little mouse that people just assumed
was a small house mouse, but turned out to be a new species,
the smallest mammal, the little tiny harvest mouse.
They are cute mice, aren't they?
And nobody had identified that before as a separate species.
And it was only through very careful observation
that he was able to identify it.
How charming. That's lovely, isn't it?
Gilbert's scientific approach was to stake out a small place
and watch the natural world around him undisturbed.
He believed by focusing on a small sphere in meticulous detail,
you could get the best results.
And this is where he'd come and sit.
It's been made from an old port barrel.
He drunk the port with the villagers,
before he converted it into some kind of hide.
Now I'm going to get inside this.
And he'd sit in here, patiently, for hours on end,
just observing the weather and the changing seasons
and how it affected plant life and animal life.
Nobody had done this before.
But it's what he did next with these observations
that made White so remarkable.
There are no confirmed images of Gilbert White,
but the Gilbert White Trust has restored his study
as it would have been in his day.
And this is where he wrote up the results of all his fieldwork,
in the Natural History Of Selborne.
Published in 1789,
they still have the original document here,
a remarkable record of what we would now call early scientific endeavour.
And what I love to see is the creative mind at work here,
with mistakes and crossings out
together with great content and detail.
I'd like to read you a little extract from the book
here about the pettychaps bird. And here we go, look.
"This bird much resembles the whitethroat,
"has a more white or rather silvery breast and belly.
"It's restless and active, like the willow wrens,
"and hops from bough to bough, examining every part for food."
So you can tell, look, he's really been out there quite patiently,
observing and studying every single little move.
White conveyed his scientific insights with a prose style
that appealed to the reader.
It's this X Factor that won him quite a fan club,
from painters to poets,
and even Darwin.
One man who understands the allure of White's writing
is former publisher Ronnie Davidson-Houston.
He's amassed the largest collection of editions of the book
and even published his own version,
and they're all here in this library.
Well, I've never seen 1,000 editions of the same book before,
so that's a first for me. Very impressive.
It is a classic of English literature.
And I was, you know, just one person among the whole nation
who knew and loved this book and carried it with them to war.
And when they went abroad,
off to the colonies in the 19th century,
there was always a copy of the Natural History Of Selborne
in their baggage.
Why? Why was it, though?
-It had a sense of home to people who travelled abroad.
There is so much that is quintessentially English
about this book. It is not surprising it appeals to people
all over the world, and has become a global phenomenon.
You've got some that are bookmarked here, why is that?
Well, those are the copies that I'm still looking for,
-so it is a collection in progress.
-So it is still not complete?
-No, no, but it's still a magnificent obsession.
And the poetry of his writing style is still evident in his work
for all to read.
"On Friday, December the 10th,
"being bright sunshine, the air was full of icy spiculae,
"floating in all directions,
"like atoms in a sunbeam let into a dark room.
"Were they watery particles of the air, frozen as they floated,
"or were they evaporations from the snow,
"frozen as they mounted?"
Gilbert White continued his quest to understand the natural world
here in this garden right up until his death in 1793.
He was aged 73.
From such small seeds grew a worldwide phenomenon
and a new science: the study of the environment and all living things.
Gilbert White had firmly set himself amongst
the pioneers of early ecology.
We're back at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke,
our valuation day venue, where the crowds are having a wonderful time.
And James has found some objects
Gilbert White surely would have appreciated.
and a Victorian measuring instrument known as a theodolite.
And, of course, James knows all about it.
Now, John and Jean, I have to tell you,
you are taking me back years, to when I did surveying at uni.
We all had to have a go with one of these.
And do you know, I can't remember how on earth to use it!
It looks so complicated.
I think I had about two days of one of these,
got completely baffled, and got somebody else to do it for me.
-What's the history behind this?
-Well, my father had it.
It was wrapped in a box and it was put away for some reason,
and I only found it after he had died.
-Was he a surveyor?
No, he was a stonemason by trade.
OK. So he would have worked in the building trade, then?
That's right, yes.
We've got an inscription on the dial.
It says Abrahams,
A Abrahams & Co, Liverpool.
So it's not a London maker,
but it's still good maker.
The whole thing is constructed in lacquered brass.
-Is this anything you guys know how to use?
-Yes, I know how to use it.
-I'm a surveyor as well.
-Are you? OK.
So did you use something similar?
Something similar, but a lot later design.
This was quite a showy object.
The dial itself is a silver dial,
similar to something you would expect to see on
an 18th-century or early 19th-century longcase clock.
Or a barometer. Again, that scientific instrument.
What's the story with this one?
Well, this was one of my father's. He was a surveyor as well.
And he was seconded to the Gold Coast Survey
in West Africa in the 1930s.
What a time to be in West Africa!
And one of his jobs was to update the maps that they had at the time.
-Which is the relevance of this little chap.
-It's actually huge, so to open it up would be a bit difficult.
-Is it a really massive one?
-It is a massive one.
I'll have a look at that later.
The first thing to say is -
-the compass and this piece should be sold separately.
I think the map, because of its history with the compass,
-should stay together.
So in terms of value, let's start with this one.
That is a straightforward piece.
It's a lovely, quality, scientific instrument.
It is worth £250 to £350.
And you should really put a reserve of 200 on it.
If it doesn't make that, then try it in a specialist sale.
-So firm reserve of 200.
As a compass, it's nothing exciting.
It's just what it did is exciting.
-..I have to use my head, not my heart. 60 to 100.
I think that's what it is worth.
And a firm reserve of £60.
-That'd be fine.
-Is that OK?
-It has been an absolute pleasure.
-Thank you very much.
There is a very healthy market for scientific instruments,
so let's see how these particular fascinating surveyor's tools do
-David, good afternoon.
You have brought this beautiful little sampler.
-I think it's very nice.
-Do you like it?
Are you a collector of samplers?
-No, I'm not.
-You're not? So how have you acquired this?
Well, it was just a spur of the moment.
I walked into an antique centre and I saw it on display
-and I thought, "That's nice."
-Cos I do like pictures.
-I looked at it, it was the little label on the back
that made me interested.
Do you know the significance of the references on the label?
That's why you bought it?
The only thing that sort of gave me inspiration was
-the Earl of Coventry, so I thought, "Oh, that's history."
-So I bought it.
-So, how long ago was that?
-That's back in about 1978, '79.
So the name here, Mary Gunning,
and the label on the back which refers to Maria Gunning,
really it's exciting because it sounds as though it belongs
or had association with a very famous Maria Gunning,
who married the Earl of Coventry, as it says on the label.
That isn't original to the frame.
It is handwritten.
But there's no proof that we can establish today...
-..that would link it to the lady who was so famous in history.
That's what I thought.
Maria Gunning, as you perhaps know,
she died at the young age of 27,
from poisoning of all the items, all the ingredients in her face make-up.
-A bit like Queen Elizabeth I.
-Right, yes, yes.
-She died of poisoning.
-I didn't know that.
She was reputedly a lady of great beauty
who made men swoon in front of her because she was so beautiful.
But she was known to be the first person died of vanity,
so, I mean, it's all kind of very much wrapped up in that.
It is, isn't it?
It's a sampler worked in coloured wools.
They're not fine silks.
They're sort of fairly robust threads
on a very coarse canvas ground.
From this shape of it,
it's very much a sort of Georgian sampler,
because it's long and thin,
and it's very simple, it's got no border.
As samplers move through into the Victorian period,
they became squarer,
and the border took up more of an attention to detail.
So the fact that this has a date which doesn't tell us a year
but implies it is '44, it might be 1744, it might be 1844.
-It doesn't feel like it's 18th century to me.
But I love the range of stitches which are shown at the top.
That's quite an unusual feature,
to have all these lovely stitches here.
It goes down to a fairly predictable alphabet,
in the different upper and lower cases, numerals.
Then we have French, which is quite unusual.
I think, realistically, you'd be looking at open market value
at the moment of round about £70 to £100,
which is probably not dissimilar to what...where it was when you...
But samplers in the last 20 years I have seen,
they have risen quite steeply.
Some of them still make a lot of money,
but a lot of them are quite disappointing.
To think of the age and the work that's gone into it.
-So on the basis of that, would you be happy to try it?
Yes, by all means.
-And we'll put a reserve on it for you of £70.
Let's follow on, and see the next stage of its progress.
-Thank you very much.
-No, thank you.
Even if the sampler isn't by Mary Gunning,
will the buyers be tempted by the unconfirmed connection?
James has been drawn to something very special on his table.
Angus, what can I say?
You have brought with you one fairly bashful Venus,
and one rather confident Apollo.
They are two of the most famous classical sculptures
that we see up and down the salerooms all over the country.
These are brown patinated bronze.
They are influenced by the originals,
excavated in the Grand Tour excavations in the 18th century.
And they are by the Barbedienne foundry,
-Didn't know that.
But, yeah, he was a Frenchman. He was born in 1810.
But in 1838, he opened the Barbedienne foundry.
So you see round the site here, F Barbedienne Fondeur.
And they cast some of the most important bronze sculptures,
candlesticks, urns, interior design of the 19th century.
-The other thing to say is that they're not a pair.
-No, cos look, the base, slightly different shaped bases.
But that doesn't matter because they sell individually equally well.
What is your history with them?
My wife bought them 50+ years ago.
Her boyfriend was an antique dealer, an Irish antique dealer.
-He used to come over to England every year or so.
And she used to travel with him
round to different places when she got a chance.
And I think she bought them,
but it could be that he bought them for her.
And she's had them all this time.
-Which I lost her about three months ago.
And they've got to go down the family.
I can't give them to one, so I want to sell them.
-That's the plan.
-Your wife had very good taste.
-Yeah, oh, yes.
-No answer to that.
And a very good eye.
Barbedienne foundry was one of the best.
They are slightly suffering
due to a little bit of surface patination wear.
This one has been dropped at some stage, and has a bash on the base.
So because of that,
I'd like to put a somewhat conservative estimate on them.
£600 to £1,000.
-Is that all right?
Very much so.
I would be very disappointed
-if they didn't make upper end of the estimate.
Now, Elizabeth's item is by
a designer well-known to Flog It viewers,
although the pattern is anything but familiar.
Well, as well as I like your wonderful pink jumper,
I also like your wonderful jug.
What do you know about your jug that we can't already guess
by looking at it?
Not a lot.
It was not bought by family,
my sister-in-law about 30 years ago moved into a flat
and sitting on the draining board was this article,
-with some washing up mops and things in.
And when she died, we cleared her flat out,
and believe it or not it's Clarice Cliff.
-Nobody realised that until...
-No, that's it.
-You're looking to sell it?
Do you not want to keep it in the family,
to say I have a piece of Clarice Cliff?
Do you not like it?
No, I don't mind...
-I've got two daughters...
-None of them like it?
One daughter has three German shepherds.
Well, that wouldn't last very long, would it?
The reason why I stopped you to talk about this was because
although I've seen a lot of Clarice Cliff in my time,
this pattern is not a very common pattern,
and therefore it's quite nice to see a slightly different version
that we can talk about.
And it's called the cabbage flower pattern, which was produced in 1934.
Oh, yes. A year after I was born, so I was a year old.
-Oh, look at that!
I think you're wearing better than the jug.
-There's a bit of damage to it here.
-Well, my husband said,
"You're not taking that thing?" He said, "it's got chips all over!"
Well, you can tell him there's nothing wrong with your item here.
The odd chip.
Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting
-because it got quite a Deco style and shape to it.
The handle's quite conventional
but this panelled baluster shape is very much of the 19 sort of...
Late 1920s, early 1930s,
and so in 1934 when this was being painted,
it would have been height of fashion.
And it's not the rarest, but it's unusual.
It's a nice shape, good...
The fact it's damaged, we'll just keep kind of restraints on its...
That's right, yes.
-I think that will probably fetch around about 80-£120.
-I think that's a fair estimation.
-Would you be happy to sell it at that?
Oh, gosh, said with gusto. And shall we put a reserve on it for you?
-Do you want it with a reserve?
-No? Just set it...
No, no reserve, no.
It should find its mark quite comfortably.
-Well, listen, thank you very much for bringing this in.
-It's had a very interesting life.
And let's give it a new chapter at the auction.
I'm sure there must be someone there that collects Clarice Cliff.
I'm sure they will.
Of that we can be certain.
What a great day it's been for interesting finds,
here at the museum.
So as we say goodbye from Milestones...
it is over to the auction for the very last time,
to put those valuations to the test.
And here's a quick recap of everything that's going
under the hammer.
Will Ruth's slightly damaged Clarice Cliff vase,
with that unusual cabbage design,
appeal to the bidders?
Will the early-20th-century surveyor's instruments
belonging to John and Jean's father chart a course to success
when they go under the hammer?
And there's David's sampler,
referencing the 18th-century beauty Mary Gunning.
But without proof of provenance,
will it attract the bidders?
And finally, will Angus's mismatched bronzes
which belonged to his wife, live up to expectations?
And first up is that Clarice Cliff vase
with the cabbage flower pattern.
-See, Ruth didn't let the show down, did she?
-Bit of Clarice Cliff!
Clarice Cliff, yes!
It wouldn't be Flog It without Clarice Cliff.
There will be people out there that will like this,
-that's the main thing.
-Well, this is it.
-Yes, this is it.
A few months ago on telly, I did see a plate...
with the same pattern.
On one of our shows?
It must have been, it must have been.
-She never watches anything else.
-Oh, bless you.
You can learn a lot, can't you? Do you know, I'm always learning?
Yeah, well, that's part of the joy of it. Absolutely.
Anyway, look, your lot's coming up now. Ready for this?
-Here we go. Yes!
Here's the Clarice Cliff bazaar jug. Cabbage flower pattern.
Start me with £80, then?
Good Clarice Cliff jug for £80.
Try 60, then.
£60, surely? £60.
40, then, to get it going.
Try 30, then.
20, then? £20, surely?
A Clarice Cliff jug for £20!
-Nobody wants it...
Yes! We have it!
£20 on the net, and starting at £20.
Is there two in the room?
At £20. Any more? At £20.
25, is there seven?
At £25, and we will sell, make no mistake, at £25.
27 we have, now. Make it 30.
GROANING AND LAUGHING
30 we have. £30.
-Oh, it's gone to 30.
At £30, then?
For the last time at £30...
Well, that was a journey, wasn't it?!
LAUGHTER 30 quid!
I tell you what, though.
-Best rid of!
-Somebody will have that and enjoy it.
-Of course they will.
-And they won't stick a mop in it either.
-No. Oh, no.
Well, they could put a mop in it! Half a dozen of 'em!
Clarice Cliff is a path well trodden,
and this one was damaged, which might explain that result.
But Ruth seems happy to flog it on, and that's what counts.
-Jean and John, good luck.
Two lots, one following the other one.
-We have two compasses.
One is a little small hand-held compass,
-which was used to plot roads in Africa.
And the other one is the big surveyor's compass.
-Good luck with those.
We're going to put them to the test right now.
-We are starting off with the one...
The hand-held one. This is it.
I'm going to start you here, to clear bids, at £42.
45 can I say now?
It is 42 with me. 45 anywhere?
Anybody else in at 42? At £42.
At £42. No? At £42.
Well, I can't sell it at £42, so...
James had his doubts about that one.
-Better luck with the next one.
-We've got high hopes for this one. The theodolite level.
And that would've been on a tripod base, wouldn't it?
-In its day. I mean, it is a wonderful-looking thing.
-It is. I like it.
-It is incredibly made.
-Well, good luck with it.
I do have a few bids on this,
and I have to start you to clear them at £400.
-There we go.
To clear other bids, at £400. And 20 is it now?
420 on the phone.
£500. And 20?
600. And 20?
At £600 with me, on commission. At £600.
20 on the other phone.
At £620 on the other phone, and I'm out here.
Are you done? At £620...
-That's very good.
-A big smile! We like that.
That made up for the lack of interest in the first one,
-put it that way.
-Yes, it did. Thank you very much.
Although the first one didn't sell,
what a fantastic result for that surveyor's compass
that so evoked the past.
As does the next item, David's Georgian sampler.
While Nick's taking a rest,
we are now in the hands of his colleague, Andrew Smith.
I like samplers. I like those early Georgian ones.
This one is slightly different because it's telling us a story.
Well, it's a spurious connection to Mary Gunning,
which would get everybody very excited.
As it turns out, it is just a very nice sampler.
And unusually, part of it is written in French.
Rather than being an English script, it is written in French.
I think it was a very learned young lady who was doing her French
and her needlework at the same time.
Yes. A well-educated young lady.
-Better than I can do.
-Let's see what we can do for you.
Let's see if we can get your money back. Here we go.
It's going under the hammer.
£50 I have, thank you. And five.
£70. Even better. At £70. And five.
£70 is on the net. And five anywhere?
At £70, are you sure?
Very last time then, at £70...
-Yep, tres bien.
-Tres bien, Elizabeth.
Indeed, a delightful piece.
Now, our last lot of the day.
Angus' bronze sculptures that belonged to his late wife, Jean.
Angus, your two bronzes, Venus and Apollo,
are just about to go under the hammer.
And if you look in front of the rostrum, look, you can see,
pride of place. Look.
They're great. Lovely quality casting.
Then you've got your top name.
-And hopefully, top dollar. Right now, right here. Good luck.
That's what we want. This is it.
Two 19th-century bronze figures. We have two telephones.
-We've got a battle on our hands.
I'll start then at 400, which is a commission bid. At £400.
420. 450. 470.
500. My commission bid's out.
£500 on the net.
I think we could be looking at four figures, don't you?
At £900, and we are selling. 920 to Gary's phone.
-Oh, we might do. We're going to do it.
It is £970.
-£1,000 on the net.
To the phone at £1,050,
and we are selling.
-We're selling, Angus. 1,050.
£1,050 then, for the very last time...
-Thank you for bringing those in.
-My Jean would've loved that.
I bet she would've.
Well done, well done. Great result, James.
Great. Very, very pleased.
They were my favourite thing on the day.
And a great result. Well done.
-Yeah. You take care of yourself. Well done. A pleasure.
It's been a pleasure, Angus.
What a great tribute to Angus' wife, who so appreciated those bronzes.
We've had some highs, not too many lows and a few tears,
but it is all in a day's work. Do join us again soon.
But until then, from Hampshire,
Flog It! comes from Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, a place bursting with remnants from Basingstoke's industrial past. Elizabeth Talbot and James Lewis find the best antiques and collectables to take to auction from the assembled crowd. While Paul Martin visits the home of the man now considered to be the Father of Ecology, 18th century naturalist, Gilbert White.