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This is Firle Place in East Sussex.
It's a deceptive building.
There's more to this house than meets the eye, as is the case
with many great, historic sites we visit on Flog It!
Today, we're on a grand tour of the country to celebrate
some of the treasures we've uncovered
at our valuation day locations.
Welcome to Flog It!
We are taking a tour around the country on today's show to revisit
some of our stunning valuation day locations from this series,
where you brought along your antiques
and shared the stories behind them.
And then we took them off to auction houses far and wide.
Our travels took us to Staffordshire in the middle of England
to Sandon Hall.
Surrounded by parkland, it's been in the same family
for nine generations.
We also headed south to the Jurassic coastline of Dorset
to Highcliffe Castle, where Philip Serrell had some good news
for one owner.
I found a pair of these online.
And they made £1,200.
It's just been sitting in the drawer.
We also visited the beautiful Margam Country Park
near Port Talbot, in South Wales,
where hundreds of you queued for a valuation.
And, finally, sitting in a commanding position,
overlooking the River Ex in Devon, we explored Powderham Castle,
where Mark Stacey was taken by a handcrafted love token.
-We build a really romantic picture.
-Are you a romantic person?
-But I do love this.
-It's really sweet.
-This is charming.
But, before all that, I'm back here at Firle Place in East Sussex,
which is much more than just a beautiful home.
It houses an incredible collection of artwork.
At its heart, there is a Tudor core,
but each generation of the Gage family has left their own mark,
which is reflected in the building.
And we'll be returning here later to have a good look
at some of the glorious treasures and antiques housed inside.
But first, let's look back at some of the wonderful valuation days
from this series, starting at Highcliffe Castle in Dorset,
where Philip Serrell came across some treen.
-Christine, how are you, my love?
-Fine, thank you, Philip.
You tell me about these two bits. How long have you had those?
I've known them for about 40 years.
And I can trace them back through the family to about 1900.
This is the bit I love.
-I just think that's such a sweet
little double-sided mirror.
You've got this sort of ordinary...plate here.
And then you've got these seven...
..little sort of miniature plates inside.
-I think they're absolutely fantastic.
-..in mahogany, with boxwood and ebony.
And I just think it's a really, really lovely thing.
And then we've got the old nutcrackers.
What are your hopes that the two might make?
I haven't got a clue, really. You know?
Perhaps up to 50. Er...
As much as that? Up to 50 for the two?
-Well, let's just work out what these are first, shall we?
-Well, I think they're Scandinavian.
-OK. And I think they're made out of yew wood.
-And they're quite primitive, with all this carving along here.
-You've got this sort of tree of life on here.
And you've got what looks to be a figure there and a figure there.
It might be Adam and Eve, I don't know.
But what's also interesting is you've got some initials there.
That looks like it's H.F.
-Now, very often,
things like this
would have been carved as a love token.
-So, if you got married, or you had a sweetheart,
you'd carve this.
-And this is you and her underneath the tree of life.
And your initials are there and her initials are there.
And it would have been given as a love token.
And you've got a little...
-stylised squirrel just there.
-Yeah. Yeah, I think it's lovely.
He's quite sweet. You've got a bit of damage - there and there.
Are these two things that you just want to get rid of, just sell...?
-And it wouldn't change...
If I went, I think they might get thrown out!
You think they'd get thrown out, do you?
And you were hoping to get sort of...
30 to 40 for those.
And perhaps 10 or 15 for these. That sort of region?
-Something like that, yeah.
I found a pair of these online
that sold within the last 18 months.
And they made £1,200.
-It's just been sitting in the drawer.
-Now, you've got to take a bit of sense with this, right?
-That could have been a specialist sale.
Or there might have been a unique...some unique selling point.
So, I think you need to be very careful how you estimate them.
I would sort of put them in at £200-£400, as an estimate.
-And I would probably give the auctioneers a reserve
-of £200 and offer them a little bit of discretion.
But I think they're probably...
late 18th/19th century.
It's almost folk artsy and that's what people want.
Yes, I thought it looked a bit that way.
So, I think £200-£400 is sensible for them.
-But I think they're absolutely lovely.
It's been a bit of a pleasant surprise for you, I hope.
An absolutely wonderful surprise!
What a cracking find, Philip!
At Margam Country Park in South Wales,
Catherine Southern found another handmade item.
Chris, what have we here?
-Well, I was hoping you were going to tell me.
-Well, well, well!
First of all, I can see straightaway,
from the naive quality and the way that this has been made,
this is a Napoleonic prisoner of war work of art.
-And they were in horrendous conditions.
And they were making all sorts of objects
-out of what they could find.
And here we've got a little box.
The end of it actually looks a bit like a book end,
-like a spine of a book.
But I think it's actually for dominoes.
-That's probably what it was made for.
So, where did you get it from?
Locally in a boot sale for £1.
-Do you often go to boot fairs?
Well, you've certainly picked a very nice piece.
May I ask what drew you to this?
Because it's not everybody's cup of tea.
It's not really that pretty, is it?
No, it's the little roundels here, I think.
-The little roundels on the top?
And they are actually...
tortoiseshell, which you probably... Did you know that?
-Well, I wasn't sure.
-I thought maybe.
Now, first of all, as I look on the top...
I've seen hundreds of pieces of prisoner of war work.
And it's the naive quality that jumps out at you.
And also often these circles.
-I mean, they decorated them with whatever they could.
And they've just printed that, pushed that in here
-to give it that little dent.
And, as you open it inside,
-you can see there the hinge that it's got is just very basic.
And lots of nails around the inside
for the roundels of tortoiseshell.
But I think inside here, once upon a time,
you would have had a nice little set of dominoes.
-That'd have been marvellous.
-That would have been lovely, wouldn't it?
-And they all would have been carved and made out of bone.
The bone that they used would have been mutton bone or cow bone.
-Whatever they could find.
This sort of thing would have been sold.
They would try to sell this for whatever they could get.
-So, we've got a piece of social history, Chris.
-That was bought here for
-And you're happy to sell it at auction?
-Oh, yes, I am.
Well, I would put...
We've got a few bits of damage to it, but I would put
£50-£80 on it.
-With a reserve of £30.
-How does that sound to you?
-That's not bad for £1, is it?
-No. Very good.
-I'll tell you what, next time you go, Chris...
-..can I come with you?
-Oh, you can come any time!
-Thank you very much indeed.
Made during the Napoleonic wars, we were able to take Chris's box
to auction, as it predated the 1947 cut-off
for the sale of worked items that are made from endangered animals,
such as tortoiseshell.
Back in East Sussex, I found something very exciting.
Well, I've popped upstairs to the drawing room
here at Firle Place, because there's something I want to show you
and it's something I'm desperate to see as well.
The majority of the furniture here in this room is French,
apart from two cabinets. One of them is there.
And here is its other pair.
They are by Thomas Chippendale and I just love Chippendale's work -
England's greatest craftsmen and cabinet-maker.
And these were built in his London workshops in St Martin's Lane
in 1777 and they are known as the Panshanger Cabinets.
Named after the house
they originally came from in Hertfordshire.
And they rank among the few pieces of named furniture in England.
So, that is quite an accolade.
I'm a big fan of these, because the proportion,
the architectural detail, the craftsmanship,
everything is just so good!
It doesn't get any better than this.
But let me just point out some of the detail
of why Chippendale's work is so sought after.
Look at the wonderful exotic inlays here.
All of these would have been hand-coloured, dyed in hot sand.
It's starting to lose its colour.
There are traces of reds and green here.
But, nevertheless, look at the woods, all the veneers.
Wonderful Cuban mahogany.
You've got some ebonies, the dark wood.
And some satin woods lightening it all up.
So, there's all sorts of exotic flavours going on.
And all of this wood
would have been brought back from the Caribbean.
Incidentally, the cavetto sides...
well, they're not just for show.
If I open that out, look.
A concealed bookcase as well.
That's just so good!
It really was a must-have piece.
And here we are, look.
There's two of them with full provenance.
And it's Thomas Chippendale. And they're named.
It doesn't get any better, does it? I'm tingling.
Over at Powderham Castle in Devon,
Claire Rawle came across a little item
that had also been crafted with attention and care.
Hello, Trish. It's good to see you here. Beautiful day, isn't it?
-It is lovely.
-And you've brought this sweet little chap along.
He's a little silver goat pincushion,
so tell me a little bit about him.
Well, he was my grandmother's, as far as I can remember.
I can remember seeing it on the side in her house.
-So how long have you had him?
-About 20 years, I think.
-OK, and decided now to perhaps part with him?
Well, he's really sweet. He's a little pincushion.
You can just see on his back,
he's got that little raised bit with some material in it.
-I don't know if he's ever been used as a
-pincushion. I'm not sure.
I wouldn't be surprised. My grandmother was quite a sewer.
Oh, OK, so it probably was,
and also it was probably bought for her, perhaps, with that in mind.
-But it could also be a needle cleaner.
You see on his back he's got that bit of material,
-covering a very hard inside?
It feels like he might have got some sort of gritty sand inside him.
It's quite important, if you're doing hand work,
to keep the needle sharp and clean,
otherwise it damages the material it goes through.
It's beautifully marked.
It's got a Chester hall mark for 1909,
so he's a little Edwardian piece.
He's by a firm called Adie & Lovekin, who,
although they were London-based, they also had items
assayed in Chester, and they were great makers of sewing novelties,
so these little pincushions, more commonly seen, actually, as pigs.
Seen a lot of pigs pincushions.
You get all sorts of animals, but I think he's rather unusual.
His coat is detailed, his horns are beautiful, and what's more,
they're still there. They haven't got broken off or damaged.
He's not been squished at all,
which is probably partly because he's small.
He's quite tough, because a lot of them, their legs get squished.
So, it's time for him to go, is it?
-Find a new home?
Right, OK. Well, I think he'll sell well, because he's a novelty item.
-He's quite tiny. I'd like to put an estimate of 80-120 on it.
-With, I'd suggest, a firm reserve of 80.
-Yes, that would be...
I wouldn't like to see him make any LESS than 80.
-No, that would be great.
-Does that sound good?
-That sounds brilliant.
-And I shall look forward to seeing him being sold.
-Thanks very much for coming in today, Trish.
Well, that's it for our first three items,
so it's time to find out how they performed at auction.
Going under the hammer was Chris' little box,
made by a Napoleonic prisoner of war, that she brought along to
Margam Country Park in South Wales...
..two beautiful pieces of treen, admired by Philip Serrell,
at Highcliffe Castle in Dorset, a folk art nutcracker,
and a double-sided mirror.
And, finally, Trish's goat-shaped silver pincushion, which was
in immaculate condition, trotted along to Powderham Castle in Devon.
Our first auction was Rogers Jones And Co Saleroom
in Cardiff in Wales.
The man in charge of proceedings was Ben Rogers Jones.
Remember, whether you're buying or selling, at every auction,
there is always commission and VAT to pay.
We had our fingers crossed with Chris' little box,
which she bought for £1 at a car-boot sale.
Would it attract the bidders?
-Chris, it's great to see you looking really colourful.
We're just about to put that prisoner of war box, the bone box,
-under the hammer.
-Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
-I've got high hopes for this.
I mean, the American market used to be really strong for this,
they used to buy it, but...
-It's so hard to value!
-It is now.
-You cannot put a price on it, can you?
You cannot do your comparables. There's no book price.
-This is where it's hard to be an expert.
Yep. We'll just have to wait and see.
Come on, then, Chris. It's going under the hammer. This is it.
-Interest as far as lot 335 starts with me at £90.
-A good start.
120. 130. Is there 40?
-Ooh, this is lovely.
-At 130 now. At 130, is everybody done?
-At 130, here we go now.
-Last call, then, 130...
-Great price. Good price.
I'm just thinking of the hours and the work and the sentiment
-that's gone into that.
-Yeah, I know.
-What it was all about.
-You've got to think about that, haven't you?
Thanks for bringing that in, and well done.
What a great return on Chris' initial outlay of £1
at a car-boot sale.
Next, we travel to Dorset, to Cottees saleroom,
to test the market for Christine's nutcracker and double-sided mirror,
which Philip Serrell had put together as one lot.
-Wielding the gavel was John Condie.
-40, anyone else?
I absolutely love this next lot coming up.
I'm a big treen fan, and so is our expert, Philip,
who's standing right next to me.
Christine, thank you for bringing this in.
The Scandinavian nutcracker's late 18th century -
I'm pretty sure they're late 18th - there's a little bit of damage,
but incised with detail, decoration...
I never expected them to be worth anything, really.
-So it's a nice surprise.
-It's very much a surprise, yes.
Well, we've got two to four.
Hopefully, we can break that - we can CRACK that.
-Let's hope they go CRACKERS.
Hopefully, someone will shell out £500.
You never know, it could go on and on and on,
but they're going under the hammer right now.
I've got these unusual nutcrackers and the little mirror.
Who's going to start me at £200?
-200 bid, thank you. 200, I've got.
200. 200. 220 now? 220.
300, make it.
300, 320 now.
Action on the internet, 340 now. 340. You're all out in the room.
And elsewhere. Closing at 340...
-Well done, Philip.
-We're happy with that.
-Yes, very happy.
-We're really happy with that.
If you've got something like that,
bring it to one of our valuation days.
-YOU could be going home with the money.
-Very pleased with that, yeah.
Well, thank you for bringing that in.
A fantastic result for Christine.
Finally, it was the turn of Trish's little goat, as we headed
to Plymouth, to Eldred's Auctioneers, where Anthony Eldred
-was on the rostrum.
Well, I've just been joined by Trish, and going under the hammer
right now, we have that gorgeous little silver goat pincushion.
It is a real cutie. I've not seen a pincushion with a goat before.
-No. Have you seen the goat before?
-Never seen a goat.
-Why are you selling this?
-It's been in the family a long time.
-It has, but...
-And it's cute.
For my son's wedding, that's what it's going towards.
-Ooh, yeah, that haemorrhages money, doesn't it?
-Fingers crossed, OK?
-Here we go.
Let's hope for £200. This is it.
Lot of interest, lot of bids. I'm bid £260 for this.
Yay! Straight in! Well over the 200.
Two... Are you bidding? At 270.
280. At £280, then.
290. 300. And 10.
I'm bid 330.
360. At £360.
Any more in the room at...
-£360. That's fantastic.
Out on the net, then, at £360. Bidding's in the room.
I'll sell at 360.
Well, that's brilliant.
Well, I'm delighted with that. Thank you very much.
You must be, mustn't you? Oh, well, enjoy it, won't you?
Thank you very much indeed.
A great price which should hopefully go some way towards paying
for the wedding celebrations.
Back in Sussex, around 30 miles away from Firle Place,
is the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre which is set
across 36 acres within the South Downs National Park.
For more than a century, this place was
a quarry and one of the largest limeworks in the region.
From the 1840s right up to the 1960s, chalk was mined here,
burnt in the kilns to make lime for use in the building trade and
Today, it's a museum that not only remembers the past,
it brings the past alive.
The Heritage Centre celebrates the local crafts and industry that
has shaped this part of the south-east.
Around 550 volunteers help to keep the museum going.
Many are retired and take up the opportunities to learn new
skills, while others want to share and pass on their knowledge
There's all manner of different types of industrial heritage here,
encompassing telecommunications, printing, steam-powered engines.
There's craftspeople such as carpenters, stonemasons,
blacksmiths and they're all working together to give something back.
My name's Cliff and I came here with my granddaughter about
ten years ago.
I thought it was a wonderful place to come to and I do things with a
hammer and chisel and it's nice for children to be
able to come here, see me working with
a hammer and chisel and sometimes they come and do their own letters.
My name's Ian and when I retired, I wanted to do something
different and, really, this is returning to my childhood.
As a kid, I lived on a farm,
I worked with wood and I love and enjoy working with wood.
Using the old hand tools and showing people, showing people that
it can still be done the way it was done and it still works.
What I love about this place is it has brought people like Cliff and Ian together,
trades that would normally be quite solitary are now working
side-by-side and just tucked away here in the corner is Wayne Jones.
His passion is for making the traditional longbow,
one of man's most ancient hunting and war-making weapons.
Let's go inside.
Wayne specialises in making primitive longbows which are based
on the oldest longbows in existence dating back to over 4,500 years.
His customers are re-enactors and archery enthusiasts.
-I can see you're working on a longbow.
This has been our main arsenal, really,
our only real weapon from the 1300s, isn't it?
It would've been a hive of industry.
Men like you, hundreds of them, turning out bows.
Many, many people were involved in the bow-making.
They had their own guild so they were on social status
with the blacksmiths,
so considered quite craftspeople
People who made bows were bowyers,
people who made arrows were fletchers and they were two
If you were wealthy during the time of the Hundred Years War,
you'd have a yew bow.
If you were your standard conscript soldier,
Army issue bow would probably be in ash or elm, because they were
cheaper and a bit quicker to make.
Yeah, what have you got behind you?
Is this the start of it? You sort of select the timber.
This is my starting point. It's an ash stave.
And the bow is on this side of the branch.
Once we've taken the bark off, then with an axe,
I'm going to rough out the rough shape.
We're not really bow making, we're just doing basic carpentry at the
moment, roughing out a shape and when it starts to bend on the
floor - this one still has a little bit more work to go -
then that's called floor tillering.
When I'm happy with it bending on the floor and it starts to
-vibrate when I hit it with the axe...
-Then you start to shape it.
Then I'm going to put a string on it and I'm going to start
-shaping it properly.
-Yeah, it's getting there, isn't it?
-You can still see this is quite heavy.
-That's a lot of work still.
But it's... From our original piece, we've probably spent...
This is the end of day one.
How long have you taken to get it to this stage?
That one has probably been...
three to four days of solid work.
-It's a lot of work, isn't it?
This one would take me 100 hours from complete start to finish.
-So if you can pull that one up for me...
-Yeah, I'd like to.
..then I can have a look at how it's bending.
It feels good. It feels really good.
So just pull it back, but don't let go of the string,
because then the bow will potentially break.
So that's looking quite good to me.
There's a lot of movement in the tips as you pull it.
-So if you just keep pulling it, it's quite strong, isn't it?
Yeah, so that one is about a 45lb draw weight at your length.
So that should shoot an arrow about 100 yards?
At least 100 yards.
-Well, me, because I'm not a good archer.
That is fantastic. Well done, well done.
You're happy, aren't you?
-I have the best job in the world, making bows.
-I think you do, yeah.
Teaching people how to make bows.
I can't wait to have a go, you know that.
Well, work with this and get this one nearly finished
and you can find me a bow that I can have a go on.
-All right, OK.
Wally Robson, a member of the National Field Archery Society,
has come along to teach me how to shoot a traditional longbow.
So, you just draw it up, aim, and shoot. Simple.
-Not bad at all!
-Would you like to have a go?
-Right, the red cock feather....
-The red feather towards you.
-Yeah, OK. In there?
-And then just slightly down...
-Yeah, so it's down. That's fine.
That will shoot low, so aim a little bit high.
It's OK, it's in the bank, we'll find it.
It's gone in the bushes!
-That was two feet higher than the target.
You've got to shoot a bow a couple of times to get the feel of it.
-Do you know what? It was dead straight.
-Oh, it's a nice arrow.
-It flew nicely. It was a lovely shot.
-Look at that!
That works for me.
I think, in a few months, with a bit of practice,
I just might hit the bull's-eye, but it just goes to show,
these traditional bows are fantastic.
It's now time to continue our tour of valuation days round the country,
and over at Powderham Castle in Devon,
Mark Stacey came across an item with a secret.
Do tell me where you got this intriguing frame from.
I found it in the house that I'd bought with the contents.
-So you bought a house and the contents.
-A long time ago?
-Four years, coming up for four years.
-Oh, so not long, OK.
-And you found this...
-On the desk in the study.
And so you thought, "Well, this is interesting,"
-and you had a little look through it.
-Yes, I did.
And you saw that little picture on the front and you thought,
"Well, that's nice."
But then you discovered something hidden in the back.
Yes, I opened it and there was something in the back.
-Well, can you show us what you found, Carol?
-So, that was what was behind it.
-That looks like a bit of paper.
-Is that meant to excite me?
-Well, there's something inside the paper.
-There's some writing on it.
-Oh, shall I have a look?
-Please do, please do.
-So this was just tucked in the frame?
-Well, it looks jolly old paper.
It is, I think it is.
Oh, so it's AFM to somebody or other,
Oh, gosh, what's this? So, this little...
This tiny little black and white monochrome embroidered on silk
was embroidered by Mary Marsden between...
She was born in 1773 and died in 1845.
So it's quite old, isn't it?
It certainly is.
We have to remember, going back to this age,
that a lady of middle class or upper class,
-this was part of her education...
..learning sewing stitches.
You often find samplers where they wrote things from the Bible,
-and this goes right back to the medieval times.
And what I quite like about it is this is hidden away in that frame,
so it's kept all its colour
and its freshness.
And it's minute, isn't it, the stitches?
Isn't it? It's so exquisite.
I mean, if you think this was probably made around 1800, 1810,
so it's 200 years old
and it's almost as fresh as the day it was made.
I know. It's very pretty.
And I wonder whether it's been hidden away for a reason,
whether it was a little love token or something like that.
Oh, it could have been, couldn't it?
-Because it's almost like it could have been in a brooch.
And the Georgians liked that sort of thing,
they often had little love messages that they'd hide in things.
I'm not sure why you'd want to give someone a landscape
as a love present, but who knows at the time?
It might be a special place.
It might be a special place where they met, exactly.
We're building a really romantic picture.
-Are you a romantic?
-But I do love this.
-Oh, good, it's really sweet.
I think it's charming, and I think collectors would like it as well.
-But now you want to flog it?
-How much is it worth, do you think?
-I don't think it's worth a huge amount, sadly.
I think if I was putting it into auction -
and it's a guess, really, rather than the estimate -
I would probably say £40-£60.
-Oh, that's good, actually.
-Is that good?
-Yeah, that's good.
Oh, I should have said £30-£40.
Oh! I would have been disappointed.
Oh, no. Well, I don't want to disappoint you. £40-£60, then.
-Shall we put in a reserve of 30 just to protect it?
-That would be nice.
-Because we don't want to give it away for nothing.
No, not with the work that went into it.
Exactly, and the whole story of it.
But I hope we have a romantic ending of the auction, anyway.
-But you'll still love me anyway, won't you?
Thank you, Carol.
You old softie, Mark!
Next, at Sandon Hall in Staffordshire,
David Fletcher made a timely discovery.
Now, we have a nice little assemblage here of
late 19th-century, early 20th-century things.
It looks to me as if you might have inherited them,
am I right in thinking that?
-Yes, they all belonged to my father.
And did he inherit them?
-I think he inherited the watch from his father.
I think, in both cases,
it was a 21st birthday present from the parents.
-And do you remember your dad wearing it?
Right, OK. Every day?
-High days and holidays.
-That's right, yes.
I think, really, what we've got to think about
-is what their total value is.
-The watch itself is, I'm sure, silver.
We will just have a little look to make sure.
Yes, it is. It has the leopard's head,
which tells us that it was assayed in London,
-and a capital A, which tells us it was assayed in 1876.
So late Victorian silver watch.
Start with the good news - it's silver.
The bad news is that the face is cracked and...
-I hadn't noticed that.
-Well, the enamel has got split.
I mean, it's so often the case with a watch of this age,
especially if it's being used, like your father used it.
I notice it's going, which is something, but -
and this is a big "but" - they are just not fashionable today.
It really means it's probably worth not much more
-than about £20 or £30, really.
I thought it was more than that.
But, well, let's think about the chain,
which is nine-carat gold with a cornelian fob.
And this, I suppose,
has a value - I haven't weighed it -
but of about £100.
-That would be a melt value.
So it's all adding up. We're getting there.
And did your father put it in this little holder
when he went to bed at night, do you know?
-Yes, I think the watch did live in there.
This type of ware is known as Mauchline Ware.
It was manufactured in Mauchline in south-west Scotland.
We see lots of this.
The decoration is nearly always transfer printed
and quite often you find it on a tartan background,
as if to sort of celebrate its Scottishness.
And the factory burnt down in 1933, I think,
so it wasn't made after that date.
And I think this is probably worth another £20-£30.
So if you're happy, Joan,
we'll go ahead on that basis.
-£100-£150 as an estimate.
-But can we make the reserve £80?
-That's fine. Thank you very much.
See you at the sale.
Back at Firle Place,
I'm looking at the gem of the house's art collection,
a other large group portrait of a well-to-do German family
painted by the renowned artist Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Deborah Gage, a descendant of the Gage family,
has kindly come along to tell me more.
How did they get this in the building?
A very good question.
-It comes into the largest door on a diagonal.
-Oh, right, OK.
I was wondering if it was framed in situ.
Well, actually, the frame comes off it, which helps it.
-It does, doesn't it?
-So, let's talk about Van Dyck.
I mean, one of the greatest painters of the 17th century,
-court painter to the king.
-To Charles I, absolutely.
Though inspiration, of course,
would have been the great Venetian paintings of the previous century,
and so essentially what you have here is
a formal statement in a formal setting of a family's grandeur.
But what sets Van Dyck apart are the touches that he adds
-of the secret glimpses and smiles of one another.
-It breaks down...
..those barriers, the overwhelming grandeur of these very rigid,
It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
It's a balance with the colour and the elegance
and the wit throughout the composition.
And of course, Van Dyck would have painted this in real life.
He would have done some preliminary sketches,
which were really for pose and costume, and then the family,
he would have painted straight onto the canvas with the family
-in front of him.
-I love this character here.
This is the young heir looking down
in a very arrogant fashion at his sisters.
-"It's all going to be mine one day!"
And this is his elder sister,
who is carrying a rose so that...
You know, which a sign that she has become betrothed
-and about to be married.
It's the freshness and the incisiveness
of his paint strokes throughout the entire canvas.
I wish I could paint like that.
Wouldn't we all? Wouldn't we all?
-Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Thank you for coming to see the portrait.
Right, time to our final valuation before we head off to
salerooms across the country.
And we paid a visit to Highcliffe Castle in Dorset,
where Adam Partridge met up with a mother and daughter duo.
Well, we see a lot of silver on this programme,
but it's very nice to see a piece of Chinese silver. Now, you're Midge.
-And that's short for Margaret.
-How did that arise?
-I've got three older brothers.
-Oh, and so you were the midgie one.
Now, how did you come to own this Chinese silver bowl?
-Your mother passed it to you?
-My father worked in Singapore.
-And my mother was there.
And when Singapore fell, she evacuated with her children
and somehow, that came too.
-And you were one of those children out of Singapore as well?
Well, I was born in Australia,
-because she evacuated in February and I was born in March.
-And my father was taken prisoner of war.
-And that survived.
Well, well, well. So it's seen some travel.
-It's seen some movement.
Do you like it?
I do like it, I do like it.
-What about you, Julia?
-It's not my taste.
-Not your taste?
No, I do, it's got something attractive about it.
-It is, it's nicely worked.
-It was always used as a rose bowl.
Well, I think that's what its function was, yeah,
but it could lend itself to fruit or all sorts, but a rose bowl...
But Chinese silver was made in quite large quantities for export,
end of the 19th century, 1900s, and that sort of date.
And there were a number of different makers that made
these sorts of things. It doesn't have a hallmark as such.
What we've got on this one here, it's got the mark of Cheong Shing
on the bottom, if you can see that.
It was one of the prolific Chinese silver makers of the period.
And, as often in Chinese art,
we have dragons.
-Are you a dragon fan, Midge?
-No, not particularly.
We always look at dragons now and count the claws
because a five-clawed dragon is an Imperial Dragon -
only the Emperor's dragons could have five claws.
-Oh, we've only got four.
-You've only got four, that's right,
-so that means it's not tens of thousands of pounds.
It's an attractive thing and a collectable thing.
Any idea what estimate I'm going to put on it?
I think that's slightly hopeful, but I think it'll end up there.
But I was going to slightly suggest a bit less. A bit less.
-I was going to say about four.
-Four to six. Thank you, Julia.
400-600 would be the estimate that I suggest you put on it
to attract people to bid on it,
and I would think it might make the figures that you're talking about.
So, what would you reserve it else?
I would put a 400 reserve, estimate of 400-600,
-and then let the bidding happen and watch it go.
-See what happens.
-Yeah, exactly. So, shall we go for it?
-Yeah, go for it.
See you at the auction and thank you very much for coming.
-Lovely, thank you.
Well, that's it for our last three items and we'll see how
they sold in a moment.
But before that, I'm back at Firle Place,
where there's a very special room I just have to show you.
It's a private sitting room for one of the ladies of the house.
There are two objects in here which I need to point out.
Firstly, the feathered fan on the mantelpiece
and this cashmere shawl over this daybed.
They once belonged to Queen Victoria.
They were given to a royal lady-in-waiting
and eventually came to the house through marriage.
But it's incredible to think that Queen Victoria actually owned
and used both of these items and here they are.
Well, enough musing over that - let's go over to the salerooms
right now to see how our experts' valuations fared.
And here's a quick recap just to remind you of all the items
that went under the hammer.
At Sandon Hall in Staffordshire,
Joan brought along her inherited silver pocket watch
with Mauchline Ware stand, nine-carat gold chain and fob.
At Highcliffe Castle in Dorset,
Adam Partridge was delighted by Midge's Chinese silver bowl
decorated with dragons.
And finally, at Powderham Castle in Devon,
Caroline revealed the secret note and embroidered silk
hidden in her small picture frame.
We stayed in the county of Devon to sell Caroline's lot but relocated
to Plymouth, to Eldreds auctioneers,
where Anthony Eldred was wielding the gavel.
Now, our next lot, I absolutely love.
It's one of my favourites.
It's a pretty little Georgian needlework.
And that's what this show is all about.
I love seeing things like that, so thank you very much
for bringing it in, because it's a real joy.
That's a proper antique and a proper piece of history.
The fact that it's been hidden,
-it would be nice for it to come out, wouldn't it?
-Yeah, oh, yeah.
Exactly, yeah. It's got a new life, a new lease of life.
-And that's what antiques have.
They go around and around and around.
There's nothing greener than antiques.
-Anyway, fingers crossed. Ready?
-This is it.
Charming little thing, and I'm bid £30 for it...
Right, it's gone.
At £40, then. Finished?
Against you all in the room, I can sell it at 40...
-That's a bargain, don't you think?
-Yes, it was.
Look, it's gone. It's gone. You didn't mind selling it.
-No, honestly, no.
-You were happy with the fixed reserve of 30.
-It made £10 more than that.
-It'll go towards something good.
-Enjoy, won't you? Enjoy.
-Thank you very much.
Next, we headed to Shrewsbury to Halls auctioneers,
where Jeremy Lamond was on the rostrum.
Going under the hammer right now, we have a late Victorian
gents pocket watch belonging to Joan,
who's just joined me, and who is this, Joan?
-This is my husband, Philip.
-Hey, did you take an interest in the watch?
-Not really, no.
-It's just old-fashioned.
-Old-school. None of the relatives want this.
No, I think the trouble is they need to wear a waistcoat to use it.
Yeah. But do you know what? I like that look.
-I like the waistcoat and the pocket watch.
-I do, yes.
-It'll come back, it'll come back. It's in good condition.
-It's in very good working order.
Yeah, and that's the main thing,
so it's not going to put the buyers off.
Fingers crossed they're here today and it's going
under the hammer right now.
Who's going to start me? £80.
80. Where's £80?
80 on the internet immediately, £80.
90. In the room at 90.
90 in the room.
At £100, bid's in the room. 110 on the net.
At £110, it's an internet bid. 120 now.
Not exactly flying away, but...
At £120, the bid is outright.
At 120, 130 where?
At £120, selling it, then, at £120.
All done at 120?
120. Hammer's going down.
£150. At 150. Selling, then, at 150.
It's with you at £150.
Hammer's gone down, £150.
It nearly went down on 120,
we had a fresh bid, then back to the original bid, and then again.
-So that £30 makes all the difference.
Yeah, £150. Brilliant result. Thank you for bringing it in.
-Well, thank you very much.
It's been a super occasion. I've really enjoyed it.
Let's hope the bidders were as keen on our final lot -
Midge's Chinese silver bowl.
It went under the hammer at Cottees saleroom in Dorset,
where auctioneer John Condie was in charge of the proceedings.
Well, sadly our next donors, Midge and Julia,
cannot be with us today, but we do have their Chinese export
silver bowl and our expert Adam Partridge.
Let's find out what it makes. Good luck.
We'll start at £200.
500 at the moment.
£800 on the internet.
850 on the phone?
£800, internet bidder.
-800. Well, I wasn't far...
-Oh, it's still going.
-950, anybody else?
Make it 1,000...
..or else you're out.
-It's 950, then...
Closing it, then, at £1,000.
It's going, 1,000...
Last chance. Going...
That's bonkers, that really is bonkers.
I'm so pleased I witnessed that. I wouldn't believe it.
They're going to be so pleased.
-They're going to be very, very pleased.
-I'm sure they will.
-I wish they were here to see that, I really do.
-Yeah, great result.
Midge was over the moon when she found out how much
her Chinese silver bowl had sold for.
Well, that's it for today.
I've had a wonderful time here at Firle Place,
a house with so much history and so much treasure.
I've certainly learnt a lot and I hope you have too.
So, join me again soon for many more surprises
as those antiques go under the hammer.
But until then, it's goodbye.