Antiques. A Troika vase gets temperatures rising in a Colchester auction house, and presenter Paul Martin finds out how equestrian painter Alfred Munnings upset the art world.
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Today, Flog It! is in Colchester - Britain's first Roman city.
Can we dig up some treasures here?
-I've never seen one as big as that.
-I bet you haven't!
We can go and spend some more!
Bid. Are you all done?
Before all that, let's get to the valuations
with today's experts, Mark Stacey and Will Axon.
Will is an auctioneer from Cambridge and he's the new kid.
Check the size of that queue out.
The doors have just opened, so the queue's on the move now.
We've got our work cut out.
Looking at this crowd and their collectables, we should be in for a cracking day.
Let's kick off the proceedings with Mark Stacey.
-Hello, Georgina and Mary.
What an interesting item. It's not yours, is it, Georgina?
-No. It belongs to a friend.
-What do you know of the history?
I know that she's had it for some time
and it's come to her through her family.
Apart from that, I know nothing.
It's a very interesting box - this year, particularly -
because it's a little brass box
made to commemorate the death of Admiral Lord Nelson
after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
And it's the bicentenary this year,
so if you're going to sell Nelson memorabilia, this is the year to sell it.
It's very nicely made. We have a portrait or Lord Nelson.
Then we have a nice classical Greek key border going around it.
Then on the bottom, we have "Conqueror" and the various battles.
Copenhagen...as well as Trafalgar, of course.
Then "Where the glorious fell".
Hidden underneath, we have a maker's initial,
which is "M & P Fechet".
They were specialists in making medals and novelty items for the military.
One of their designers became the chief dyer at the Bank of England.
They're very well-known for this type of thing.
Several of their works are on display in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
A very interesting object.
We've got a piece of period Nelson memorabilia here.
I think your friend will be excited.
-You phoned to tell her I was interested.
-What was her reaction?
She was quite excited, yes.
She would be happy for it to be sold - to go to a collector, hopefully.
-So she wants to flog it?
-I think so.
I like the idea of a collector owning this - somebody who will appreciate it.
-I think so. Quite a lot of people collect boxes anyhow.
And particularly military history. Let's get on to the price.
I think we should put a wide estimate on it of £100-£200.
I think there will be a lot of interest in it.
We'll put a reserve of £100.
But I have a feeling there'll be a battle over this.
Hopefully it'll go for more.
Michael, good morning. What have you brought in for us?
Well, I've got two Battle of Britain Dinky toys
and two Schuko motor cars.
And these are yours, are they?
No. They were given to my smallest brother,
but my mother's had them for ages
and she's more or less ordered me to sell them.
-Without him knowing?
-No. I expect he does.
He'll soon find out when he watches.
Well, we've got two Dinky aeroplanes here.
Obviously, by the box, Battle of Britain.
These were produced in 1969,
shortly before Dinky were taken over by Airfix and the quality somewhat slumped.
So these are nice quality. Nice crisp moulding and good colours.
We've got the English Spitfire - obviously for the Battle of Britain.
The most important plane involved.
Then we've got the German aeroplane.
A nice little touch is the addition of the dropping bomb.
That's a nice touch. Nice you've still got that piece.
It hasn't been lost, as a lot do when they're played with.
Then at the front we've got the die-cast Schuko micro-racer,
probably dating from the 1960s.
Then we've got the late '50s Schuko car with a rather nice touch...
With the little horn.
Have you had these valued before?
No. No idea at all.
Well, with collectable toys, condition is of primary importance
and these are in reasonable condition - I wouldn't say mint.
They haven't been thrown out of a bedroom window to re-enact the Battle of Britain.
I think, in the present market,
if you sold them as a combined lot,
you should be putting a figure of £60-80 on them at auction.
The sale isn't a specialist collectors' sale, but there will be interest,
especially with the Schuko and the planes having original boxes.
They should still find buyers in an antiques sale.
So if you're happy with an estimate of £60-80 as a combined lot...
Yeah. That'd really be OK. That's fine.
-Do we have to check with your brother?
-No. It'd be my mother!
She'd say, "Sell them!"
We'll follow her lead then.
We'll try £60-80 and reserve them at £60 with 10% discretion.
Yeah. That'd be fine.
Linda and Stuart, thanks for your patience - there's hundreds of people here.
You've struggled in with some furniture - miniature furniture!
Tell me about it.
We don't know anything really.
An elderly friend of my mother's gave it to us
because they knew I liked odd things - and it is odd.
But it needs a bit of love and care.
-A bit of TLC.
And it doesn't really fit in our home.
You know it's a table-top chest-of-drawers...
-I'd no idea.
-Put it on a table top or a low dresser or sideboard.
When I first saw it, I thought, "This is an apprentice piece",
but on close inspection, it's not really good enough for that.
I think this has been done by a loving, doting husband for his wife as a present.
So it's a one-off. You could call it folk art - in a way.
To point out its virtues - the drawers are of different dimensions.
Normally we have them on a graduating dimension -
narrower, getting larger at the bottom where the weight is,
maybe for hats or jumpers.
Here you've got a small drawer, a large one and two narrow ones.
But whoever built this...I admire
because he had a love for wood.
This must have taken hours to do.
It's not going to reflect in the valuation!
The whole construction is made of pine
and pine is a cheap material
and you can adhere veneers to it very well.
What the craftsman's done here - or not craftsman, but someone who's had a jolly good go! -
is used a walnut veneer on all the face sides, top and bottom.
Then he's used wonderful marquetry detail.
He's using boxwood, satinwood.
He's staining some of the satinwood with greens and yellow.
If I turn this around, on the sides and top
you've got some lovely shell motifs.
These really came onto furniture in the early 1800s, around 1805,
with Nelson's victory in Trafalgar.
We were conquering the seas and anything to do with a sea motif on furniture
just acknowledged that factor.
And I love the barber pole chevrons here.
That's an ebonised look.
That's satinwood stained to look like ebony.
This detail - the beading around the drawer fascias - gives the date away for me.
Typically Edwardian, so we're looking at 1920s.
But it's survived the passage of time.
Just a bit of TLC, some lovely beeswax, a couple of handles,
which wouldn't cost a lot, and you've got the complete item.
Value-wise... £50-80 is all it's going to achieve.
I didn't expect it to be more than that.
-I'm about right then?
I'd like to see it get the top end.
I like it because it's not one for the academics - there's no "book" price on this.
You can't compare it to something else.
That's it. It's a one-off
and the value's in the eye of the beholder really.
-But we'll put it in at £50-80.
-No, that's fine.
-It sounds mean for what it is.
-It is, but you don't get the money for the workmanship in there.
Margaret, Jackie, thanks for coming.
You've brought some jewellery. What can you tell me about it?
It belonged to a neighbour of ours.
She left it to my mother when she passed away and my mother left it...
-She just gave it to Jackie.
-She gave it to you?
-Out of the blue.
-Have you been tempted to wear it at all?
I've worn it a couple of times, but it's not my style. It's a bit too big.
-I go for very small jewellery.
Let's have a closer look at the ring.
If I take it out of its box,
we can see that we've got a nice cluster set of diamonds
set into platinum on a gold band, stamped 18 carat.
So nice quality.
Circa 1900. That's when they started setting diamonds into platinum.
It's a miligrain setting,
which gives the impression that the stones are larger than they actually are.
If you look at it from a distance, when it catches the light, it seems larger.
But looking at it closely, there's about a quarter of a carat of diamonds there.
Obviously, the larger a carat a stone is, the more valuable it becomes.
They become rarer and rarer the larger they get.
So you've got nice quality white diamonds, commercial.
And having looked at them under the glass,
there's some minor imperfections in the diamonds.
That's to be expected.
They're not too bad. Once you see them with the naked eye it becomes a problem.
-I think a sensible estimate would be £150-250.
Would you be happy to give it a go?
And you're going to use the money towards something?
It's going towards my wedding dress. Anything is a help.
I've good friends to be married and everything helps.
We'll put that in the auction. £150-250.
Reserve it at the bottom figure with discretion
and hope there's someone getting engaged who fancies a go at this.
You've brought a nice piece of Doulton in. Give us the background.
It belongs to my stepmother and it was passed down to her.
She gave it to me about a year ago to sell it on ebay for her and I forgot.
I saw you were coming, so I brought it here.
-Is your stepmother a drinker?
-Not to my knowledge.
Because that's what it was originally - a little spirit decanter.
-The little cork is still there
and we've got a nice silver ring on there and a chain.
and a rather nice character.
This type of design is called Kingsware.
Nicely moulded, very well made, and a full set of Doulton marks
for between 1902 and 1932.
It's a rather nice thing. They come in larger sizes too. A good object.
-You don't like it yourself?
-It's not my kind of thing.
Not your cup of tea. At auction, I would put around... £40-60 on it.
-Would she be happy with that?
-I know she'd like to get rid of it.
That's the sort of punter we like. Just flog it. I think it'll do well.
We'll put it into the sale with a £40 discretionary reserve on it,
so we don't sell it for nothing.
-We might even top that.
-That'd be good.
-I'll look forward to seeing you.
We're halfway through the day and the room is still jam-packed.
Our experts have to give a valuation to every one,
but we've found our first batch to take to auction.
Here's a quick run-down of all the items.
Is Mar right to predict a battle over the £100-200 price tag
on the Lord Nelson snuff box?
Michael's mother ordered him to sell these Battle of Britain toys,
but can he come away victorious with £60-80?
It may need some TLC, but I'm sure Linda and Stuart's drawers will make £50-80.
And will this diamond cluster ring dazzle the auction crowds
into paying £150-200?
Finally, Dennis's desperate to sell this Doulton spirit flask,
but will it make the £40-60 he wants?
How will our antiques fare in the Reeman Dansie auction rooms?
That depends on the local bidders.
And a man who knows his market is auctioneer James Grinter.
Let's find out what he thinks of some of our owner's items.
Derek's spirit vase. I think this is great. It's quite a curio.
I love the face. I love the expression.
Mark Stacey's put £40-60 on this and I'd like to see it do more.
-I think it's a very conservative estimate.
-"Come and buy me!"
-Despite him looking ugly, he'll do well...
-You think he's ugly?
-I think so, yes.
-He's got a lot of character.
-There's something about his face that makes you want to own it.
-You could be right.
We've looked up the hallmarks on the silver.
It's 1905, so it's a nice early piece.
A collector will be very keen to own it, so we should double if not quadruple his estimate.
Yeah? Cross your heart, hope to die?
-I think it will do.
-Brilliant. Thank you very much.
Could James be right? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.
Mary's here, Georgina's here. We're ready to do battle in the sale room
because we've got Lord Nelson's memorabilia up for grabs.
It's the bicentenary. It's the right time to sell it. It's a lovely snuff box.
£100-200 - I think it's a sniff at that price.
-He put it on. Did you agree with that?
-We could see the top end and a bit more. I pray for that.
-So do I.
-Will we though?
-On your knees.
I'm sure we will.
This shows the interest after Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar.
These were originally seal cases,
but they reduced them for the mass market to snuff boxes.
It's a wonderful object and we should get £200 plus, I hope.
Let's do it. This is it.
459 is the early 19th-century gilt brass circular box,
commemorating Lord Nelson.
I've two commissions on this. Start the bidding at £150. £150?
At 150... 160?
190 with me now. 200...
At 220 now... 220... Are you all done at 220?
What are you going to do with that?
-Go to the pub, perhaps?
-Yeah. I would.
-A good meal out.
-Yeah. A nice bottle of wine.
I'm joined by Michael, who's about to flog his spoilt brother's toys.
That's what it says in my researcher's notes!
A bit of jealousy going on there.
We've got two Schuko toys and two Dinky aeroplanes, which I absolutely love.
They're splendid. They were brought in from Berlin.
We had a friend who was in at the end of the war - something to do with the Navy -
and he brought these for my much younger brother - the last of four.
They've been played with. The boxes are a bit worn.
Mint and boxed it's about £150-200.
-We're talking £60-80.
-It's a bit sad to have them and not play with them.
473 now. A Dinky Battle of Britain Spitfire and various other toys.
What shall we say for this lot?
£50? 50 I have down there now. 50...
-There is a bidder there.
-£60 I have now. £60 bid.
£95 I'm bid.
All done now at 95? £100...
130, sir. At 130... Are you all done?
-£130. That was a surprise.
-And how confident were you?
You can treat yourself now.
Like heck. Mother's going to say, "How much did they go?" and the whole lot will go to her.
-What's her name?
-Lucy, keep an eye on him.
Something to raise your spirits now - some Doulton Kingsware.
A little spirit vase belonging to Dennis.
Valuation £40-60. Happy with that?
I hope it's going to make more, but we'll see.
I can cheer you up now. Mark doesn't know this but I had a chat to the auctioneer.
He really loves it and he said four times its estimate.
-That'd be good.
-That was a big smile. Not Mr Grumpy anymore.
I love it. I wouldn't sell it if it was mine.
Not my cup of tea or not my tipple.
-Not your tipple? Humbug.
-It's good quality, but not my sort of thing.
-But it should do all right.
-This is it.
Number 62 is the Edwardian Royal Doulton character spirit flask.
See this one? I've two commissions.
-Start the bidding at £60.
-Straight in at the top end.
95... £95 bid down here now. £95...
130 is bid down here now. 130...
Any advance on 130? All done now at 130.
-Hammer's gone down. That's not bad.
-He was right.
What are you going to do with that?
-It gets put into the holiday fund.
-Into the kitty.
In a biscuit tin on the shelf!
-Thank you very much
We've got a touch of sparkle now.
Not only have we got Margaret and Jackie, but we've also got the diamond cluster ring.
-A valuation of £150-200, yeah?
Let's hope it's a little gem and we get the top end
because I know the money's going to a very important cause.
-Yes. My wedding dress.
-Your wedding dress.
And all the other paraphernalia that goes with weddings that I'm sure Mum's going to help you with.
-Congratulations with that.
We're in the right place because there is a huge jewellery collection here that we didn't know about.
So I think the right buyers are here
and hopefully they'll be bidding against another bride-to-be
who, instead of trudging down the high street, will think this ring is a good buy.
-18 carat gold, nice quality.
-Let's hope it gets 250.
-I hope so. It helps with expensive weddings.
It's going under the hammer right now.
243. It's the ladies' gold and platinum set diamond cluster ring.
£100 to start me?
£100? £100 I have now.
130...140...150... At 150 down here now...
150... Do I hear 160? 160... Against you.
Seated now at 160... Any advance...? 170...
-They love it.
£200 still seated now. At £200... Any advance?
All done now at £200.
Yes. £200. That's not bad, is it?
I'm really thrilled to get £200.
-Yes. That's wonderful.
-I'm pleased with that.
-Mid-estimate - I can't ask for more.
I'm sitting with Linda and Stuart and feeling rather confident
because we've got that table-top chest-of-drawers with inlay
going under the hammer with no reserve.
-We've got about £50-80 on this, haven't we?
I'd like to see it do the top.
-There is no reserve.
-We'd like to see it sell.
-I know. You've been spending money here.
-We have, yes.
Linda said to me they're flogging the trash to buy the treasure!
Don't say that. Somebody's going to buy it.
Somebody will because it's adorable.
And it's going under the hammer right now.
Number 488 is the Edwardian bow-front table-top chest.
£50 for it? 50 I have down here.
LINDA: I never knew it was so good.
Here at 140... Are you all done? 150.
160 on my right now... 160...
Are you all done?
We can go and spend some more.
-No. That's recuperating some coffers.
I'm so pleased for you. I'm pleased you're putting money back into antiques as well.
This is the first time we've done this. We love it.
Auctions are great fun. They're an arena of excitement, so get down to your local sale room.
I've left the hustle and bustle of the auction room
and come for a bit of peace on the River Stour for a journey through time.
We'll end up upstream in Dedham
and along the way we'll see how the rivers fortunes have ebbed and flowed, just like its waters.
The Stour's history takes it from a vibrant industrial past
through to a holiday destination after being a deserted relic
and finally ends up as a modern waterway.
To take me on this journey, I've got John Critten, who's the skipper.
-Morning, Paul. Welcome aboard.
The River Stour's 42 miles long.
It flows four miles in Cambridgeshire, eight miles in Suffolk
and then it forms the borders between Suffolk and Essex.
Suffolk is on this side of the boat and Essex is on this side.
But our journey starts here in Flatford.
This beautiful part of the country has been immortalised in history
by the 18th-century artist, John Constable, who grew up at Flatford.
His paintings, like The Haywain and Dedham Lock depict scenes of idyllic rural life
and also echo the importance of the river's industrial past.
Horse-drawn boats called lighters used to haul cargo -
often weighing up to a massive 26 tons -
along the river to the London markets.
They transported everything - from bricks to wheat and barley.
The lighters were operated in pairs and shackled together, then steered like a modern articulated lorry.
If the horses came across an obstacle on the tow path, like a fallen tree or a bridge,
they were trained to jump on board the boat.
Upriver, we can see how it's not just been affected by industry.
The Victorian era saw a boom in holidaymaking,
made possible by better wages and a better transport system.
The Stour Valley was a popular destination
as Victorians tried to escape the grime and the dirt of the cities.
The tourist boom proved a double-edged sword for the Stour.
The railways that brought the visitors also starved it of trade
and the horse-drawn boats proved to be no competition for the power and the speed of the steam engine.
By the turn of the 20th century, the Stour had gone from an economic powerhouse to a forgotten waterway.
But it wasn't finished.
The River Stour Trust came to its rescue
and set about repairing the rotting locks and crumbling banks.
The person to tell us all about this work is the Trust's Secretary -
Lesley Platt, who we're just about to pick up.
What's the River Stour Trust doing for the river?
Without it, there wouldn't be boats on the river.
It was formed in 1967 with the aim of restoring through navigation,
so putting the locks back in and getting people in boats.
What's the scale of the project and do you have a completion day?
I'd love to see it all done in my lifetime, but I'm runing out of lifetime!
It could all be done, with the right support from the Environment Agency and from government,
within ten years.
Fully reopened with the locks reinstated. That's one lock a year.
So you've got ten locks to go.
-What about the original lighters?
-There aren't any left, but for one.
The volunteers of the River Stour Trust dug out a lighter at Sudbury.
It's now berthed near our education centre at Cornard
and we hope to restore that.
It will cost us £75,000.
-It'll be worth it.
-It's the only one of its kind, so it must be restored.
Then we hope to have it horse drawn by a Suffolk Punch, probably, along the river.
So what will the tourists get from the river?
It's this wonderful sense of tranquillity and peace.
-You've experienced that.
It's relaxing, it's beautiful, it's peaceful
and it's the timelessness of this river that was so busy for trade
and now is just for tourism and for people to pootle about in boats.
-It's very therapeutic.
We've been here three or four hours and I feel completely chilled out.
I don't want to go back to work now!
In Colchester, hundreds of people are waiting for valuations, so we'd better get on.
Helen, thanks for coming. Have you picked this up from some exotic Far Eastern country?
No. When my gran died she left that to my mum
and my mum's given that to me.
But my gran got it from an old lady who lived across the road from her who knew people that travelled.
Right. So she may have acquired it through her acquaintances.
It's not English which brought me to the travel question.
Do you know what these are?
-They're porcupine quills.
-Yeah. Dead right.
Porcupine quills. Obviously not native to England.
And this use of this very dark wood, dalbergias - the rosewood family -
is very typical of Indian boxes and furniture.
But I like this. It's got a nice decorative appeal
whilst not being over the top.
It's using the natural colours of the quills as decoration.
-Have you used it? If I open it...
-No, I haven't used it.
This helps set it off. You've got this lovely inlay -
almost polka dot inlay -
with these lidded compartments.
I would think it's probably used as a work box, maybe a sewing box
to keep your various accoutrements in for sewing.
It may even have been a jewellery box, perhaps.
Unusual that it's not lined with anything if it's for jewellery.
So I would say it's more of a work box.
It's going to be 19th century.
-Have you any idea of what it's worth?
-No, I've got no idea.
You do see them quite often without the interiors, just as plain boxes.
This one attracts your attention when you see it
and then opening it just makes it that much crisper.
I would suggest we try it at the auction
with an estimate of £100-150.
If we set the reserve at £100 and at the auctioneer's discretion -
give him 10% discretion -
with a printed estimate of £100-150.
That would be fine. Thank you.
-What an interesting book you've brought.
Before we start investigating it, can you give me some background.
-This has been in my husband's family for years.
Yes. And he always thought it was valuable.
-So that's why I'm here.
I'm glad you're here. It's a very interesting book.
"The History of the Wars occasioned by the French Revolution."
-So you've got all the main characters in this.
One of the things we need to do is to open it up and see the villain of the piece...
As it says there, "Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France."
This was printed in England because the English were so pleased that they didn't have a revolution here.
This was printed in about 1816.
After all the battles with Napoleon, so it's a very historical book.
There was one other print which I really liked...if we can find it.
It's at the time of the Prince Regent
and we don't think of him often as charging into battle.
-I wonder if he did.
-I think it's probably artistic licence.
But it's a wonderful book.
-So you've had it a long time?
And why did you decide to think of flogging it now?
Well, I'm downsizing.
I think it's a lovely book and it's never looked at,
so why not let someone who would appreciate it?
Yes. It's an interesting book.
-The condition is against it.
-The cover has already come off.
It's one of those books which might be what they call a breaker.
-I thought you'd say that.
-So somebody will buy it and take out all the coloured engravings.
-It's a shame, but it does happen.
-They'd look very nice, wouldn't they?
-They'd look stunning.
It's quite a well-known book. It does come up.
I think in very good condition, these books can fetch £400-500.
-But this is in pretty shocking condition.
I think a more sensible estimate would be about £150-250,
with 150 discretionary reserve.
-That sounds all right.
-And see what happens on the day.
-I'm prepared to go with that.
Thank you for agreeing to flog it with us today.
I'm not a particularly strong book valuer,
so I hope I won't meet my Waterloo at the auction.
It'll be me meeting my Waterloo!
John and Debbie, tell me the story behind this oil painting.
My dad used to be head porter at rental apartments.
One particular woman that he looked after - he looked out for her quite a lot -
left this painting to him.
Then when he died last year he left it to me.
-So it's been through the family.
-Why are you flogging this?
-We both like it.
Every winter we go to Gambia for a holiday and there are two people we'd like to take.
So we're trying to raise the money to take them with us.
Have you tried researching the history to find out a bit more about Z Gruner?
I have tried to research but haven't got anywhere,
so I've got absolutely no idea.
I've just looked in the Art Index guide and on the Internet and I can't find Z Gruner.
It's continental, painted on an oak panel - which is quite nice
and gives it a bit more credence.
I'm pretty sure he's Austrian.
There is an Elioth Gruner
and he was around from about 1880 to 1936.
A painting this size by Elioth Gruner
will set you back somewhere between £10,000-20,000.
Now they're thinking, "What's he going to say about this one?"
There's no reference to a Z Gruner. And it's about the same time.
I've conferred with the other experts and we all think this is the last quarter of the 19th century,
so it's about that time.
Maybe he's a relation. Maybe it's a popular name.
There's nothing I can tell you about it,
except that he's a very good artist.
Look at the light and shade here. Look at the face.
It really is "contentment". I just wonder what he's reading.
It's going to put a smile on anybody's face.
It's signed on the frame so we know it's contemporary.
If you turn it over, you can see.
They've not been separated. That's what the collectors want.
It's got its right backing and here's the evidence of the oak panel.
It's a lovely continental picture.
I think we should put this into auction with a reserve of £150 to tempt some people in.
-But a fixed reserve because I don't want you to give this away.
-Happy with that?
-Let's hope this does raise some money towards the Gambia trip.
-What will you do over there?
-We do two things, really.
Basically, it's a holiday, first,
but we're involved in a couple of charities there.
One is called Endanka Endanka, which produces computer...
It teaches people inland about computers and other technologies
which they can't get when they go to school.
-Sharing skills in IT.
Sounds really good. Enjoy that and let's hope this goes towards it.
Fred, Binky, you've brought in a Flog It! favourite -
a piece of Troika work. Tell me the history of it.
We was holidaying in Cornwall
and we pulled into a shop in St Ives.
We were looking around and I saw this piece.
My wife didn't like it very much,
but I insisted on coming away with something.
When she saw the price, she said, "We haven't got enough money to eat to get home."
We've got enough for petrol, but not enough to have any food.
So I said, "We'll have to go hungry all the way."
It's been down in his garage at the bottom of the garden on his tool chest, wrapped up,
for about 20-odd years.
-When I was watching Flog It! one day, I said, "We've got a bit of that in the garage."
It was covered in dust.
I said we ought to have it valued.
It's a lovely story and it sums up what Troika was about.
They were based in St Ives.
It started in the 1960s.
It's called Troika because of the three-horsed Russian carriage
and there were three directors. that formed the company.
This is a very impressive-looking piece.
Normally we see the smaller vases.
There's a lot going on here - the top, the middle bit and this base.
The colours are a bit muted.
Sometimes the colours are much brighter.
But if you were looking for a piece of Troika, then this is your piece.
Can you remember what you paid for it in the 1970s?
-I think it was about £16.
-Something like that.
I must say that most things bought in the '70s for £16 would today be worth nothing.
But you have bought well on this.
We've got interesting marks.
Obviously the Troika mark, England
and then a designer's signature
or artist's signature here.
It's a bit roughly painted, but I think it's for Avril Bennet.
-We didn't know that.
-That's quite nice.
Now, if we were putting this... And it is quite a big piece, isn't it?
-I've never seen one as big as that.
-I bet you haven't!
But, looking at an auction estimate,
I'd like to give a conservative estimate to bring in a lot of people.
I think we should put something like £400 on it.
-Something like that. Maybe 400-500.
-Would you be happy with that?
And a reserve of 400 with a bit of discretion.
The market for Troika does go up and down and at the moment there's a bit of a ripple,
-but it's a good example of its type and I think it will do well.
I've left the valuation day and come out here to Dedham,
hot on the trail of one of Suffolk's most famous sons.
He was a prolific artist, known for his controversial views
and he lived here in Castle House for 40 years.
It's now a museum dedicated to the life and work of Sir Alfred Munnings.
The man who can tell me about this 20th-century artist
is Ron Jones, Chairman of the museum.
Gosh, Ron. I never realised how prolific he was.
There's volumes of his work. Where did he get his inspiration?
As the son of a miller from Mendham in Norfolk,
he'd always been in empathy with nature, liked the world around him
and was particularly keen on the rural scene.
This is at Lavenham, 20 miles from here, painted in 1901.
What I like about the painting is that the horses come out clearly.
He's caught the different colours and tones of the horses he was using as models.
He's also juxtaposed them in such a way
-as to create a sense of movement.
-Oh, I can see that.
He's got a really good eye. I bet he was a rider.
He's got heels down, feet forward, and that's how you ride a horse.
-That's something I wouldn't have known.
-Oh, it is.
He also brought to life the foreground.
-Yes. It's quite busy there.
-It really seems to be growing.
I love this. This is so dark and moody.
Who's the young lad there?
Well, in the East Anglian countryside, he loved to watch the gypsy way of life
-to the extent that he bought a gypsy caravan.
Which he took out in the countryside with all his painting gear.
In this picture, called The Ford, painted in 1911,
the horses are coming back at dusk - it's a "grey" picture.
Again, there's a suggestion from the angling of the horses
that it is actually in movement.
'Munnings hadn't always painted thoroughbreds.
'In his early years he concentrated on the landscapes of rural East Anglia.
'But it was his equestrian pieces that caught the public's eye.'
-Why did he paint horses?
-He was fascinated by the anatomy of the horse.
He read Stubbs' book on that title when he was very young
and he also studied horse skeletons.
But also he was good at painting them.
What I like about this is that you can see the tension in the sinews of the horse.
You can see their flared nostrils.
-But you can also see the tension in the riders.
And the fact there's one broken horse adds a bit of interest.
It always happens, doesn't it?
And you've got a nice Suffolk skyline.
Although Munnings wasn't a keen jockey himself,
he was encouraged by his wife - an accomplished horsewoman and winner of the Gold Cup.
She used her connections to get him commissions
from which he built a formidable reputation as an equestrian artist.
Munnings also had to overcome great adversity.
A freak accident nearly cut short a promising career.
He overcame tremendous challenges.
He lost the sight of an eye in 1898 when he was 20 years of age.
-How did he do that?
-He was lifting a terrier over a sty
and the briar fell back into his eye.
Gosh. Well, it didn't affect his ability as an artist.
No. It does, to some extent, affect the pressure he applied to the canvas.
In fact, early on, he applied too little pressure and the brush just airbrushed, as it were.
To compensate he applied more pressure -
sometimes adding far more paint to the canvas than was the intention.
Munnings' reputation as an artist reached its height in 1944
when he became President of the Royal Academy.
Later, he used his position to launch an attack on the growing popularity of Modern Art.
'I find myself a president of a body of men
'who are what I call "shilly-shallying".
'They feel that there is something
'in this so-called Modern Art.
'If you paint a tree,
'for Lord's sake try and paint it to look like a tree.
'And if you paint a sky, try and make it look like a sky...'
Munnings' attitude to abstract artists like Picasso went beyond words
and spilled over into his own art.
I have to single this one out
because this is so different to the rest.
-It looks more like a caricature.
-Well, it is.
There's a Henry Moore there and a Picasso. Who are the figures?
The one on the left is Lord Rothenstein,
Chairman of a the Tate Gallery and a supporter of Modern Art.
Humphrey Brooke, to the right side, was the Secretary of the Royal Academy.
The gentleman to the extreme right was a Professor of History at Oxford University.
The title of the picture is Does The Subject Matter?
-So he really is ridiculing everybody there.
It was used as a cartoon by Low and other cartoonists in the papers.
The controversial views Munnings held on Modern Art saw him shunned by his fellow artists
and this drew attention away from the fact that he was a brilliant painter.
Recently, more people have discovered that and one of his works just sold for £4.4 million.
Shows how collectible he has become.
All this will keep this little part of Suffolk on the map for many years to come.
Let's have a reminder of what we're going to flog today.
Rita wants her History of the Wars book to conquer the bidders
and bring home a bounty of £150-250.
Helen's hoping her porcupine quill box will feather her nest
Can John and Debbie's continental oil raise the £200-300 they need
for a charity trip to the Gambia?
We've seen plenty of Troika on Flog It!
but nothing like this tall vase.
Fred and Binky are hoping it'll make an even bigger impact
by fetching £500.
Let's see what auctioneer James Grinter makes of this valuation.
-Is this the biggest lump of Troika you've ever seen?
Mark Stacey's put £400-500 on this, which I think is a good valuation,
but I can see this doing 5-6, maybe 6-7.
You're probably right. We've had more interest in this one lot than a lot of other things in the sale.
But it's a fashion item now.
It's also quite a rare one.
Apparently, because it's so top-heavy,
a lot of them fall over and smash.
So to find one in a perfect state is quite a rare thing.
So it's a hardy survivor.
-Hopefully they'll get £700 and they can then go on another holiday to Cornwall.
This is a great lot. It's an Anglo-Indian porcupine quill box.
It belongs to Helen, but not for much longer
because at £100-150 this is going to fly out of the room.
-I agree with Will's valuation.
-Yeah. The interior lifts it to £100-150.
If it had just been a plain interior, you see a lot. But the market's good for Anglo-Indian.
Exactly. I think this comes from the Galle area of Sri Lanka
because I've seen a lot there.
Obviously, Sri Lanka was Ceylon then.
It's great. And they are collectable.
-I hope so.
-We're going to find out now. This is it, Helen.
438 is a Victorian ivory hardwood and porcupine quill workbox.
The one as shown.
£80 for it?
£80 for it? 60?
60. At 60...
At £60 now. 60... At 65...
£65 bid now. 65... 70...
Five. 80... Five. 90... Five...
£100 bid now here. At £100...
Any advance? All done now at £100.
£100. It was short and sweet. What are you going to put it towards?
I'm going to give some money to my eldest daughter for her wedding
and my youngest daughter who's at university.
-Great. Exciting times.
Rita's joined me. You look gorgeous and I love this book you're selling.
It's full of engravings and I love the Napoleonic War ones.
I have a feeling it might get cut up.
The dealers might separate it. You never know.
Let's hope we get the top end. I'd like to see the £220-250 mark.
-It's on at £150-250.
-It is. Top end again?
-Always the top end of the estimate.
413 is the early 19th-century volume, History Of The Wars by William Nicholson.
£100 to start me?
100? £100 I have.
150's bid down here.
150 is bid. Any advance? Are you all done?
-Hammer's gone down. Happy?
-What will you do with £150?
-I've got my eye on a little Edwardian desk over there.
What do you hope to buy that for?
I hope not more than £150!
I've got to raise money now for John and Debbie's trip for the Gambia.
Let's hope this oil on board can get you some of the way there.
-Or one of you.
-I'm going too.
I don't mean you won't go, but you might have to pay for yourself.
I love this picture. I just like the glowingness of it.
And the frame's contemporary. That's worth £80-100 alone.
Let's see what the bidders think.
544 is the attributed to Gruner, late 19th-century continental oil,
I've two commissions and I start the bidding at £150.
150... 155... 160?
165. 165's bid here now. 170 is bid.
180... At 180... 190... 200...
At £200, the lady's bid...
210 another place. 220...
230... 240... 250...
This is great.
380... Against you... 400.
You don't look so content now! 420?
At £400 down here... Are you all done?
Yes! A nice round figure. The hammer's gone down. £400.
-That will get you there.
-It will. We'll have to work on him.
I'll get halfway there now.
I'm ever so pleased for you. Thank you for bringing that in.
We've got some Troika coming under the hammer.
Wonderful memories of a trip to Cornwall and Fred and Binky's holiday.
Hopefully we'll get the £400-600 that we're looking for.
I think we'll do the top end.
-I know this is a cautious estimate, £400-500, from Mark.
-If size is anything to go by, it's a whopper.
-This is it. Good luck.
Number 26 now is the 1970s Troika pillar sculpture or vase.
A splendid vase there.
£300 to start me?
Three I have down there. At £300... At 300...
460 against you. 500.
At £500 over here now...
Against you all at £500...
520 on the telephone. 540...
At 540... 560... 580...
620... 640... 660...
At 660... 680...
700... At 700...
700 against you.
720... 740... At 740...
760. 760 on the telephone on my right now, against you.
780. On the telephone at 780...
At 780... 800...
800 now. 820...
-At 820... 840...
-Still going on.
At 860... 880...
At 920... 940...
Make it 960? 960...
At 960... 980...
At 980... 1,000. I'll take 1,050.
1,050... At 1,050... Make it 1,100?
1,150... 1,200... At 1,200...
At 1,200... 1,250...
At 1,250... At 1,250 now... 1,300...
At 1,350... 1,400...
At 1,400... 1,450...
-When's it going to stop, Binky?
-I don't know.
-I'm getting goose pimples on my face.
At 1,650... 1,700...
At 1,750 over here now... At 1,750...
Against you all, I'm going to sell...
Are you all done?
-That's a trip back to Cornwall, isn't it?
-You've got to do that.
-That is beyond all expectations.
-How exciting is that?
-£16. Yeah, I know.
-I went mad at him.
-God bless you for buying it.
-How much was it? I can't...
-Mark, you're an angel.
-Thank you very much.
All I can say is, job done.
The auction's still going on, but it's all over for our owners.
We've had some super results - everything busting their estimates.
That's auctions for you.
I can't wait to see what happens at our next one. See you soon.
Paul Martin presents the series that takes antiques to auction. A Troika vase gets temperatures rising in a Colchester auction house, and presenter Paul Martin finds out how equestrian painter Alfred Munnings upset the art world.