Paul Martin goes back to Cornwall, where he grew up, to value collectibles brought along by the people of St Austell. Paul also meets local artist Graham Ovenden.
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Today is home sweet home for me because I grew up here in Cornwall.
I adore this county and wherever you go in any direction,
you're never too far away from the rugged coastline with its sweeping bays and pretty fishing villages.
Today we are in St Austell.
If you've never been to Cornwall, you're missing out
because it's a special place.
It's full of Celtic traditions, it's got tales of witchcraft, smuggling, invigorating sea air
and I wonder what we'll find in this massive queue.
Our venue today is Keay Theatre at Cornwall College where students learn to tread the boards,
but all this stage atmosphere has gone to our experts' heads.
They're waiting in the wings - Jethro Marles, Midnight Cowboy,
and Kate Alcock who has changed her identity - you've just got married.
-I have, so now I'm Kate Bliss.
-That sounds like a stage name! Congratulations.
-You go that way, I go that way.
While everyone's unpacking their treasures, Kate wastes no time in finding her first little gem.
This is an interesting figurine. What's its history?
We've had it about 40 years
and we bought it in a junky sort of antique type shop in London
and it's been on the side ever since, different places.
We saw you were going to be here today, so we thought we'd bring it and see what you thought of it.
This stands in a tradition of chryselephantine figurines.
And the term "chryselephantine"
is used to denote the dual materials we've got here
of bronze, of course, but also of ivory.
And it stands in the tradition which goes back to the 19th century
and the early 20th century.
It was very much ladies in sporting activities or exotic dancers
in exotic, risque costumes
and although it's in that tradition in the materials being used,
-the subject is very different.
So what we've got here, I think, is a little figure dating from the 1930s
and it reminds me of Christopher Robin, the AA Milne character.
-It's obviously a child and he's dressed in his oilskin.
He's got that charming pose as if he's striding out against the elements.
On the back we have a signature, "Campbel", spelt with one L.
It's possible that the signature here is a pseudonym for an artist
because artists wanted to promote themselves by producing top-notch, top-quality work
with a striking subject matter.
This would be considered quite paltry in comparison.
So artists often used pseudonyms, so they're weren't underselling themselves.
It's also reminiscent of figurines produced in porcelain in the 1920s and '30s,
but here we've got bronze which has been beautifully patinated
to give it that really nice toffee brown colour.
It just looks as if it's been lovingly handled and worn which sets it off really nicely.
It's very saleable. Have you any ideas about value?
-Well, we hadn't really, not when we first came here.
-Not at all.
-What's your gut feeling?
-Well, I had hoped round about 200, something like that.
That would be a fair estimate, £200 to £300 at auction.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Yes, thank you.
Charles, you don't look like the sort of chap that collects dolls,
-not that I know what such a chap looks like!
-I saw it in an auction
-and thought it was a lovely doll.
-You've got an eye for the dolls?
Not really, but I just thought it was cute, interesting.
-So when did you buy it?
-A year and a half ago at an auction in Redruth.
-How much did you pay?
-You paid £130 for a doll that just took your fancy?
Somebody else was bidding on it, so it must be worth something, I thought. But you tell me.
Let's look at the little chap. He's unusual because he is a boy doll.
You see girl dolls all the time. He's not a large size.
But he's got a lovely face, a cute face.
He's got fixed eyes. His complexion and condition are good.
He doesn't look terribly old, but he's got this marvellous outfit.
He looks like a character from Oliver Twist.
So he's a very appealing little chap. I'll just take his cap off.
-He's more baby-like now. He doesn't look so grown-up.
-Not at all.
Let's turn him over and look at the back.
It says, "Made in Germany."
-That's an ink stamp mark.
That tells us it's 20th century. If it had been any earlier,
it would have had an impressed mark impressed into the china head.
You also mentioned that you'd put it on eBay.
-It was sold for £250.
-But in the photo, the mould mark looked like a crack in the head and she withdrew from buying it.
-Which was the mould mark that she saw?
-Around the neck, that line.
And around its ear here.
Anyone interested in collecting dolls should have known that what's they were, but obviously not.
I think you've missed your chance at getting the best price
because I don't think he's worth much more than £200, if that much.
The amount you paid for it was the going rate.
If we were to put it in an auction with an estimate of 140 to 180,
-that would be a good estimate and a reserve at 140.
-Are you happy with that?
Let's see if he'll raise a few bids in the auction.
Annie's brought an unusual drinking vessel, but Kate's seen a problem.
Most people would be struck by the bad condition
-cos we have got a very bad crack down the side, haven't we?
We've got some chips on the top and a very bad patch of staining.
But for me, it's still a very exciting mug.
-Where did it come from?
-In the '60s, my father and mother worked
-at Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire.
-When it was really an abbey?
When my father and mother left, my father was given this mug.
-And you think that this mug came from the abbey?
-Yes, it did.
-And what do you like about it?
-I just love the creamy colour.
-I just love the beauty of it really.
-It's a really rich colour.
In fact, that's exactly what gives it its name
because this type of pottery is called Creamware,
because of its lovely, rich cream glaze and colour.
-And it was introduced by Wedgwood in the 18th century,
so we're talking a long time ago.
-No wonder it's been through the wars!
-It's amazing it's survived.
And Wedgwood introduced this type of Creamware
to rival the porcelain that was being made at the time
and the hand-painted decoration on it is very English in style
whereas a lot of pieces in the 18th century were Chinese-inspired.
"Chinoiserie" was the term - landscapes and pagoda buildings,
whereas this looks like a little English cottage.
It's only the trellis fence which is a throwback to the Chinese decoration.
It's difficult to pinpoint an exact factory. A lot was made in the Leeds potteries.
This possibly could be Staffordshire.
-I think it's a cider mug.
You could put an awful lot of cider in there.
-Why do you want to get rid of it?
-I'm reluctant to get rid of it because it's very special.
-But I've got too many things.
-You need to de-clutter?
-So what about value?
-I have no idea.
The condition will make a difference, but collectors will go for this.
It's a nice bit of Creamware, a good sized piece.
I think at auction we're going to be looking at 200 to 300 certainly,
but we could put a reserve, if you like, at 250.
-How does that sound?
-It sounds OK.
Ken, when I saw this in the queue, I thought, "It's Georg Jensen!"
-Do you know what this is?
I was told it was a drinking bowl, but I don't know.
It's modelled on an early Georgian posset pot.
They normally had two handles, but this is one made with one handle,
posset pots being pots for people with leprosy and things like that -
couldn't hold a drinking vessel properly, so they used two hands.
It's not Georg Jensen, but it is pretty damn rare.
I want you to tell me where you got it from and what you know about it.
I got it from my wife's parents. It was a hand-down.
We've had it for about eight, nine years,
just hanging around doing nothing
and I thought I'd bring it along today and see what it is.
It's very stylised, very evocative of the Arts and Crafts movement.
It would be worth more with two handles. We've got green agate,
which is a natural stone.
It's just been polished.
They said it was morally reprehensible to facet their stones for the Arts and Crafts movement.
It's stamped "Guild of Handicrafts, CR Ashby".
Here we've got some assay marks.
There's the lion passant which says it's Sterling Silver.
The leopard's head tells us it's London and that stylised "G" tells me it's 1902.
-As old as that?
-Yes, that correlates with the Guild of Craftsmen.
I'm not an expert on these, but I do love this type of thing.
It's a gorgeous piece of workmanship.
It's an innovative industrial design for its day.
There's a bit of damage. Did you do that?
-No, it was like that when we received it.
-It can be sorted out.
It's two little dents - one there and there.
-OK, value, what do you think it's worth?
-You tell me.
OK, little bit of damage, I think we could put this into auction
with an estimate, a "come and buy me" estimate,
of £800 to £1,200.
On a good day with two people fighting for it, hopefully £1,500.
But on an average day, £800 to £1,200.
-Do you want to sell it?
Joy, you've brought in this nice watch and chain. Tell me about it.
-It belonged to my father.
-He gave it to you how long ago?
When he died 20 years ago, and it's been passed down.
-There's something special about this watch.
-It tells the quarter of an hour.
It's a quarter repeater pocket watch. I'll do it now. Just listen.
-One, two, three. One, two, three.
Those distinctive chimes, even without opening the watch, tell me it has passed three hours -
ping, ping, ping, and three-quarters - da-dum, da-dum, da-dum.
So you could keep that watch in your pocket, press the button,
-and you knew what time it was to the quarter of an hour.
-So, quite an ingenious thing.
It's in a nice, plain case, so it hasn't been personalised.
We flick that button open and we've just gone a quarter to four,
so that's what the chimes told us.
The case of the watch is hallmarked nine-carat gold...
-with import marks for London 1920.
Let's have a look at the movement.
You can actually see all of the movement here,
then you've got these two metal bars around the outside.
When we press the button, the little hammer flicks up against the metal strip
and it sounds like a bell, so we'll do it one more time.
-One, two, three. One, two, three.
That's the special thing about this watch and it's in very good order.
-I think this is going to make over £400.
-I think it should make maybe £500.
I think if we put an estimate of £400 to £600 as a wide estimate with the reserve at £400?
-Yes, that's fine.
-We won't sell it for less than 400.
-OK, let's flog it.
We're about halfway through our day and our experts have been working flat-out.
It's time to put those valuations to the test at the auction room.
Here's a recap of the things we're taking with us.
The bronze figure reminds Kate of Christopher Robin
and she thinks it will sell well.
Boy dolls are rare, but will that push up the price in the saleroom?
Annie's Creamware mug is badly damaged,
but let's hope the quality shines through.
I love the craftsmanship of this drinking vessel.
It's sure to catch someone's eye.
Jethro is confident the time is right to sell Joy's pocket watch,
so fingers crossed on our items.
Our travels have brought us from the valuation day in St Austell
to Lostwithiel on the River Fowey.
It's a thriving centre for antiques and this is home for our auction today.
We're at Jefferys Saleroom where I catch up with Ian Morris to see what he thinks of our antiques.
This Staffs mug belongs to Annie.
She got very emotional because she's got to say goodbye to it.
Our expert Kate valued this at £250 to £350, lovely bit of Creamware.
Oscar Wilde said, "Drinking is a mug's game. The bigger the mug, the better."
It's a cracking sized mug and it's a lovely decorated mug.
The damage worries me. There's a chip to the rim
and a crack through the middle of the body. This might stop it selling.
So 250 to 350 is a good valuation for one in perfect condition?
-In perfect condition, that would be cheap.
-What would a perfect one go for?
-Nearer £400 to £600.
-Well, fingers crossed on this one.
First to go under the hammer is John and Pat's figurine.
Kate and I have been joined by John and Pat. That lovely bronze figure is about to go under the hammer.
-You got this in a junk shop in London?
-How much did you pay?
-Not a lot in them days.
-£10 or something like that?
He's got a Christopher Robin pose.
-It's a lovely thing.
-Fingers crossed. It's going under the hammer now. Good luck.
Bronze and ivory figure there, depicting a boy in a sou'wester.
I've got two bids at £300 and that's where I'll start. £300. 320.
At 320, the bid's at the back. 340 now? Both my bids are out.
340? No, we're done, selling at £320...
Short and sweet, straight in at 300, sold for 320.
I'll thank my dad for that. He was on the phone. No, it's a joke!
Let's see if we can get Charlie his money back.
-He bought this doll in Redruth for 130 quid?
We've got a valuation of £140, maybe £180 on this.
It's quite unusual because it's a bisque head doll, but it's of a boy, not a girl.
-Too many girls.
-Hopefully, the collectors will clamber after this.
-Let's hope so. I'm no expert on dolls.
-Nor am I.
-Nor am I.
So none of us have got any knowledge about dolls,
but we think it's worth this sort of money.
Lot 361, doll figure there. £150 away? £100 to start me?
£100? £80 I'm bid. At £80.
I'll take 90 now. At £80. At 90.
100. 110. At £110 I'm bid.
I'll take 120 to get on. At £110 I'm bid.
120 on the phone. At 120. 130.
At 130. Is it 140...? 140.
At 140. At 140. 150 now?
At 140, the bid's on the phone. Are we done at £140?
I'm selling then at £140...
-Yes, 140! Close.
-I told you I was an expert on dolls(!)
This is one of my favourite lots that we've sold on Flog It.
It belongs to Ken, not for much longer, a silver drinking vessel,
CR Ashby, Guild of Handicrafts.
I put £800 to £1,200 on this.
-The money is going towards your bathroom, isn't it?
We're redesigning it and it'll all help towards it.
Very nicely designed drinking bowl. Shall we say £800 away?
£500 to start? £500 I'm bid. At £500. I'll take 20 to get on.
At 500. 520. 550 now?
550. 580. 600.
850. 900. 950.
1,000. 1,000 in the middle there.
At 1,000. Is it 50 now?
At 1,000. Are we done at 1,000...?
-That wasn't bad, mid-estimate.
-Yeah, that was good.
-I was a bit worried that it might just sell for 800.
-Thank you very much, Paul.
I've been joined by Annie and Kate. We're about to flog the lovely mug.
The big one! £250 to £350 we've got on this.
I had a chat to the auctioneer
and he said, in good condition, £600 to £800,
but the condition is gonna put a lot of people off
and he thinks it might not sell.
-Annie told me she'd be delighted if it doesn't sell, so we can't lose, can we?
Why were you tempted to flog it?
I've got so much stuff. Everyone says the same thing.
-That's the only reason.
-Well, Annie from Truro, good luck. I hope you get the top end.
-It's going under the hammer now.
This is an 18th century Creamware tankard with blue glaze decoration.
A crack to the bottom and chips to the rim, but it can be restored.
Can I say 250 away? Can I say £200 away? £200 I've got.
At £200. I'll take 210.
-At 200. 210. 220.
-He's got a bid on the book.
-Yeah, we've done it. It's sold.
-..260. 270. 280.
At 280, the bid's with me. 290?
At 280. We're done at £280...
-£280. You don't know whether to be happy or sad.
I'm torn really, but my dad would be happy, he'd be thrilled.
Joy's feeling ecstatic. Her lot's going under the hammer.
-Lovely quarter repeater pocket watch valued at 400 to 600.
-It was Dad's, but it's been in a drawer.
-Happy with the valuation?
-Let's hope we get the top end.
-Let's ask the man in charge.
-£400 to £600, I think that's good.
Time's ticking away and it's up!
It's a nine-carat gold case, pocket watch with white enamel dial.
It's got a nice chiming movement. I have two bids. I'll start at £400.
At £400, the bid's with me. £400. 420.
450. 480. 500.
520, the bid's right there. At 520.
-550. 580. 600. 620.
650. 680. 700.
720. 720 to my left.
At 720. 750? £720...
-720, the hammer went down.
-It's a good price!
-How about that?
-Wonderful. I can't believe it.
-£400 to £600, good estimate, and 720, couldn't be better.
Everyone's happy. It's a Joy moment!
Once upon a time, there was an artist
who had the vision to create a Gothic mansion
on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
OK, don't be that melodramatic. It's not that kind of Gothic.
It's a contemporary house designed with elements from a bygone age,
several bygone ages, owned by artist Graham Ovenden.
Graham is a renowned artist who retreated to Cornwall from London more than 30 years ago
to create another work of art - his house.
He took inspiration from the high art of the Victorian Gothic revival and built his house himself.
I can't believe it. How long has it taken?
Well, I started it 31 years ago and we're still...
There's another 30 years to go, but my son has taken over now. I've become old and fatter.
-So it's basically one big DIY job?
A lot of the best buildings ever built are DIY jobs, aren't they?
You sum up the true Arts and Crafts ethos.
If you're gonna do it, do it yourself with your own hands.
-I admire the William Morrises and the Pugins immensely because they were immensely capable.
When Morris, say, started tapestry,
he went out and dyed his own threads and wove his first tapestry.
So he understood the nature of the beast.
I like this. It's very abstract. Is that symbolic of something?
My father was an aeronautical engineer and I love the idea of flight. Here we have a crossbow.
-And two crossbow bolts either side.
That's one way of looking at it, but they could be abstract flowers.
I love the idea of going up towards the sky,
-so we have a black star.
-Like a black hole of infinity.
That's exactly what it is, the idea of looking towards the sky to infinity
or it can be enclosing, a prison almost.
-It sums up the 20th century.
We have greater freedoms, but we made ourselves total slaves in the process.
I like the sound of the water, the energy that creates.
Oh, yes. When the wind blows as well, the leaves pick up the sound and echo it.
-It's a great symphony of wonderful natural sounds.
I think, in fact, the further man removes himself from nature,
the more problems we make for ourselves
and that's why I'm such a supporter of the Victorians
in terms of the philosophy behind their design.
I'm talking about high Victorian design, not curly Victorian.
Let's go inside and have a look at some more.
Inside, Graham's house is as much a homage to Victorian designers as the outside
and examples of their exquisite decorative detail can be seen in every corner.
Outside in the garden, you mentioned some of your influences, the Puginesque things.
What other influences are there?
I think ornamentation in the broadest field is something
which has intrigued and delighted me all my adult life.
Now, this is the Grammar Of Ornament by Owen Jones.
It's a book that probably was in every major art institution
in this country by the middle 1860s and also in France and Germany, Europe in general.
And what it is, it's a brief survey
of all the traditions of ornamentation,
really from the savage tribes, as he says at the beginning,
and covering across all stratas of architectural ornamentation.
Lovely geometric patterns. They're totally different, but still work.
This is partly Owen Jones' genius. The whole page is wonderful.
If you look through the hundred plates in this book,
there's not a bum page anywhere in it. It's quite remarkable.
Here's a particularly beautiful page.
This is slightly more home-grown in terms of culture, which is the Celtic.
These are early examples of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th centuries,
the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow, the Lindisfarne Gospels,
the great masterpieces of illumination.
-You see these templates being used on many fine buildings and works of art.
In its own small, modest way, Jones, by placing it together here for our delight and instruction,
is making a contribution.
Another of your influences is Dr Christopher Dresser, another great industrial designer,
and you've got something of Christopher Dresser's here.
Dresser is the first modern designer in that he hired his designing abilities out to manufacturers
and his Studies In Design, the book we're looking at, is really his masterpiece.
His ornamentation is based on a profound knowledge of nature
and the structure of nature.
His great predecessor Pugin says the same thing,
"One must go back to nature and understand the structure of nature
"before one can do good ornamentation."
If you read his text in here, he actually talks about ornamentation
as a major art form and it's not subservient to the fine arts, to painting.
This is pure Dresser. Notice the use of colour, which is remarkable.
A lot of Victorians seemed to be masters of using very rich colours
which remain quite harmonic within the process.
This is probably the most famous design of the 19th century
and it's based on ice crystals on a window.
Looking into this, you realise the 19th century is the great storehouse of advanced thought in design.
We tend to think of the 19th century in Victoriana
and high Victorian design is incredibly exciting.
Dresser worked obviously on metals, on canvas, in fabric. Where would he have used this design?
This would have been to decorate and, in fact, Dresser tells us.
-What does it read there?
The wonderful quality about the Victorians is the high thought
that goes into the creation, but the modesty of the use of it.
Graham, thank you very much.
Back at the valuation day, Kate's getting enthusiastic
about some artistic decoration on a piece of Moorcroft.
This is a very smart-looking vase. What do you know about it?
I think it was a wedding present to my mother and father when they married in 1930
-and it's been handed down by my mother.
-Do you know the factory?
Yes, it's come from the Moorcroft factory. It's a Pomegranate design.
-You know all about it.
-I did a bit of research.
-It's a lovely piece.
The Pomegranate pattern is a fairly common pattern, but still a very commercial one
because Moorcroft, as you might have heard,
has very much gone up in value over the last few years.
There's been a surge in popularity and it's doing very well at auction
-and it's still very buoyant in price.
It's semi-baluster in shape with this lovely flared rim, a shape used a lot by the factory.
And the palette on the dark blue glaze is again very attractive
and used quite a lot.
So, the thing that's special about it
is it is a piece of art pottery and it's got the Moorcroft stamp.
William Moorcroft, in fact, joined the Staffordshire firm of MacIntyre
in about 1898 and it was at the beginning of the 20th century
that he brought these art forms with trailing slip decoration which you can feel here.
-It feels lovely.
-And these very naturalistic patterns and shapes.
So what about value?
Perhaps between £200 and £300 possibly.
Right. What do you base that on?
Well, I have to admit that in 1994 I got a valuation
You're probably bang on with price. I would say 200 to 300 at auction.
I could see it making midway between there,
but not much more than 300.
We could say 250 to 300 if you like with a reserve around the 250 mark,
but 300 is probably its limit as it's a fairly common pattern.
Mike, now, books come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
This is a fairly impressive book. It's big and quite old.
And you're a bit of an authority on this.
I don't know about that, but it's a wonderful book.
It's a one-off, it's a first edition.
It's Smeaton's original book that he wrote
about building the Eddystone Lighthouse in Plymouth.
-Smeaton was the architect, the engineer and the builder?
-Where's the Eddystone Lighthouse?
-12 miles off the port of Plymouth.
And it's the first rock lighthouse in Europe.
He built the lighthouse in stone,
a revolutionary design which became the blueprint of all lighthouses.
On the outside it doesn't tell us anything,
except these names and it says, "Smeaton's Account of Eddystone Lighthouse." What are these names?
This edition was owned by Darwin's father, so it was the library of Darwin.
Certain gentlemen were allowed to use it and these are their names.
How do you know this was Darwin's copy?
-My friend gave me the book, Robert Lenkiewicz.
-That rings a bell.
-He was a painter in Plymouth.
And because he knew I was researching my own book,
he bought this for me and he told me he knew it was Darwin's father's.
It's magnificent. Why are you thinking of selling it?
It's basically too good for me. It needs to have a proper home.
I've enjoyed it, but, as Robert would say, we only loan things. We don't keep them for ever.
If I can sell this, I'd like to buy a painting of Robert's.
I'm gonna let you do the turning of the pages. How old is this book?
-And look at that fantastic image there!
The Eddystone Lighthouse was rebuilt on several occasions.
-Yes, it was.
-How many times?
We had Henry Winstanley, John Rudyerd, John Smeaton and James Douglass.
The James Douglass is still out there.
-Smeaton's tower is on the Plymouth Hoe.
-We can see it today?
And that's the outside of Smeaton's tower.
And this is the interior.
This shows a cross-section of the lighthouse and the compartments?
Yeah, they were the living quarters, the rooms where the provisions were kept
and where the keepers lived.
They were out on a rock for six months and that's where they stayed.
I've done a bit of research myself
and I can tell you that a second edition of this book was sold not that long ago
for just under £900.
This is a first edition
and my feeling is that it ought to be worth perhaps £1,500.
Would you like to put it into auction with a £1,500 reserve?
As long as it wasn't less than 1,500.
Firm reserve £1,500, estimate 1,500 to 1,800.
-Let's see what washes in.
-What have you brought for us today?
-I've brought this little box.
It's a clinometer with all the instructions.
I'm glad it's got the instructions and its original box
because when it comes to scientific instruments, my brain isn't very scientific,
but I have seen one of these before and it is a clinometer. What is it used for?
I imagine it's used for gauging heights and levels.
That's exactly right, yes.
And I think we can see in the instructions which are original that we have inside...
"The clinometer - its description and uses.
"A clinometer is an instrument for observing the heights and widths
"of objects at a known distance from the observer."
It looks rather like a surveyor's tool.
And in fact, this section opens up to an angle
and then we have sights on the top here which flip open.
In fact, you can measure the angle off the little dial here.
That helps you calculate the height.
We have a spirit level to make sure you're keeping it level,
but we also have a little compass which swivels, so you can keep it horizontal.
-It's very neat, isn't it?
-Very well made.
-What's it made of?
-Not oak, is it?
It's boxwood which was used a lot in rules
and little instruments, little pocket tools,
but the thing that really caught my eye was the maker's name in the centre of the compass.
"Negretti and Zambra, London."
Negretti and Zambra were specialists in making barometers.
If you see their name on an antique barometer,
it pushes the price up because it is a sign of very good quality.
That's what we've got here. The workmanship is quite superb.
-It really is, yeah.
-So where did it come from?
-My grandfather had it.
-Did he use it?
-What business was he in?
-The china clay industry,
-but whether he used it, I don't know.
-It looks like it hasn't been used at all.
I have seen little clinometers sell at auction without their boxes
for round about the £50 to £70 mark,
but because this one has the box and the instructions,
it's in such lovely condition and it has that important name,
I'd say 100 to 150 at auction with a reserve of just below 100.
-Will that be OK?
It's a treat to see it today and I hope we get you a good price.
I hope you will too!
Gina, Steve, you've brought in a pretty little gem of a vase.
I think it's gorgeous. What do you know about it?
We bought it ten years ago from a car boot sale in Leeds for 20p.
-Which one of you has got the eye?
-I bought it because it was pretty.
-We didn't know if it was worth anything.
-It was my 20p!
-So do you own it?
-No, it's a present.
What have you found out about it?
We recently moved house and I was given an antiques book.
I saw a picture that was similar.
-What was similar about it?
-It was the identical shape and size.
It said it might belong to the Tiffany family.
-We weren't sure.
-Well, you're absolutely right.
The person who really made this style of work famous was Tiffany.
And he was subsequently copied by Loetz and a number of other makers.
When you look at this vase, do you know when they were made?
-Yeah, absolutely right, early 20th century.
You can tell this from the Art Nouveau styling you've got here.
Now, if we just turn it around,
you can see this iridescence on the surface.
And this iridescence is the hallmark, if you like,
of these pieces of art glass.
And when we turn it up, as you have to, to look on the base,
-what does it say on the base?
I have not come across this particular name on the base of a piece of glass like this.
Now, the word "aur", A-U-R, possibly for "gold".
You know, the gold colours.
From what I can see at the moment, I think it's just a very nice vase
made in the 1920s period, maybe the 1930s period, in the Tiffany style.
If that's the case, it's probably worth £200 to £250.
-It's worth giving a go for that.
-I wouldn't sell it for less.
-I think 20p up to £200 isn't bad, is it?
If we felt it was definitely Tiffany, and I don't think it is,
then its value could be £300 or £400.
We've already seen Graham Ovenden's original take on house design,
but his main occupation is as an artist
and he's got his own original take on landscape painting too.
In 1975, a group of young artists formed the Brotherhood of Ruralists
and were following in the footsteps of the Pre-Raphaelites,
pursuing a romantic dream to find inspiration from an unspoilt time.
The original group was Peter Blake, Jann Haworth and David Inshaw,
Graham and Ann Arnold and Graham and Annie Ovenden.
They decided to escape the rat race and live in deepest rural England
where they could draw all their inspiration from the world that surrounded them.
Graham, how important is it to your work to be surrounded by such rural beauty?
Well, obviously, rather paramount
because as a painter of nature and landscape,
and I hope in the great English pastoral tradition,
the environment is pretty seminal.
The British Isles has some of the most varied and most beautiful landscape in the world.
If you think from the earliest English poetry to the great Gothic cathedrals right on until Constable,
nature has meant an immense amount to us.
Graham, can I interrupt you there?
-You spent time in the city and started out taking photographs of the streets of London.
How did you make that quantum leap to painting landscapes and when?
I must have been aged about 12 when I started my tracking to London
to take the East End photographs,
by which time I was a serious painter as well.
If you actually think of it, the actual light and the romance
of those great long parallels of terraced streets is not so dissimilar to the country.
You still deal with light and shade and the mystery of dark corners.
You've got a lot more imagination than I have!
I can see your skills in photography show in your perspective
and in your proportion.
On both sides of the coin there,
the techniques and structure of painting and of photography are not dissimilar.
One must have an understanding of light
and the very nature of photography is the use of light.
Exactly. Talk me through some of your technique.
It looks so air-brushed, if you don't mind me saying!
I've never used an air brush ever!
If you look at areas like this, paint's been put on with my hands
and I suppose I use a very traditional process of using semi-transparent glazes.
-To create more depth?
-Say I painted in here the yellows and the greens...
-On the leaves.
This will have another transparent colour glazed over it,
so it unifies and gives harmony,
then will be built up and drawn into again,
the result being you can build up levels of luminosity and that's the crucial part for me.
It's following the structure of nature which is layer upon layer upon layer.
It sounds very labour-intense. How long will this painting take?
Well, you can't be absolutely specific,
but I would seldom paint a landscape painting inside six to eight months.
And quite often on the larger paintings, I'll work on them for three or four years.
-But I often paint six or seven paintings together.
-At a time.
Otherwise I really would be in the gutters with my begging bowl.
I'm a professional painter and that's how I earn my keep, you see.
One can't be sentimental about it. One has to work to live.
How important was it for you to be part of the Brotherhood of Ruralists,
as opposed to going it alone?
The support of one's comrades obviously means a very great deal
and it has to all artists, whatever their discipline, since the beginning of time.
To have that sort of moral support is obviously a huge bonus.
And remember, perhaps being at the sharp end of art, it's not the easiest world to exist in.
-People are terribly unkind, particularly the people who write about art.
-Yeah, your critics.
I think they have an in-built envy, in fact, and covetousness
to those of us who can physically do, rather than just talk about it.
I write books as well, so I do a bit of both.
Well, that's certainly given me lots of inspiration in keeping my dreams alive.
Thanks a lot to Graham for that.
From the embrace of nature, over to the hustle and bustle of the saleroom.
Here's a reminder of our items.
Moorcroft usually sells well
and Kate thinks Martin's vase will tempt the dealers.
The lighthouse book is a piece of history,
but will it attract the bidders?
Len's clinometer should definitely be helped by its famous name.
And last, but not least, it's Gina and Steve's tiny vase.
But is it or isn't it Tiffany?
Now it's the magic of Moorcroft.
We're always saying invest in antiques with good makers' names.
This lot belongs to Martin. It's a lovely Moorcroft vase.
Kate's put £200 to £300 on this. Why do you want to flog it?
The computer at home did a nasty crash, so I need to replace it.
-You need a new hard drive.
-I'd keep the Moorcroft.
-Yeah, I think I would.
In this saleroom we've got a lot of late Moorcroft,
so this early example will shine and collectors will go for that.
-I hope so.
-We've got a packed saleroom. It's going under the hammer now. Good luck.
Lot 106 there, a Moorcroft vase,
decorated pomegranates on deep blue ground.
Can I say 250 away? £200 away? 150 I'm bid.
160. 170. 180. 190.
200. At £200. 210. 220.
-They like it.
-250. 260. 270.
270 there. 280 behind. 290. 300? 300.
My wife will be pleased. Over 300 now!
320 at the front here. 340. 340 in the third row.
-What a great result!
Selling at £340...
-A bit of change for you to treat the wife with.
-Yeah, thank you very much.
-Thank you. Good result, Kate.
-Yeah, a fair price.
For me, this is the big one. I went up Smeaton Tower two years ago.
This is a book relating to the experiences of building it and it belongs to Mike here
who's looking for £1,500 to £1,800.
It has a lot of content and history and the condition is fantastic.
-Jethro was enthralled when you saw that.
-It's a wonderful piece of history.
-We're in the right place, we're not far from Plymouth.
Let's let the bidders of Lostwithiel decide for us.
-Hopefully, there's a few phone bids from London and the big collectors.
-Let's hope so.
Lot 741 is a narrative of the building
of the Eddystone Lighthouse.
Can I say £1,500? Can I say £1,000 to start?
-£1,000 I've got. At £1,000.
I'll take 1,100 to get on. At £1,000.
1,100. 1,200. At £1,200.
At £1,200. 13 now? At £1,200.
13, no? We're done at £1,200.
-Not the right day for that.
-That's all I can say.
Get it in an auction room in Plymouth or a specialist maritime sale somewhere in London.
-It's a beautiful book.
We have Len and his clinometer coming up now
and one of my researchers said it measures the angle of the dangle!
-How did you come by this?
-My grandfather passed it to my father who passed it to me.
It's been in the family and no-one's got any use for it,
so I might as well try and sell it.
You've got the memories, now you want to flog it. Let's see if we can get £150, Kate.
Well, it's a really finely crafted tool.
It's gilt-lacquered, finely engraved.
You've heard it from Kate. Let's try and flog it.
The rule, compass and two levels, all in a nice case, lot 458.
Can I say £80 away? £50 away?
£50 I'm bid. I'll take 5 to get on. At £50 I'm bid. 55.
At 60. And 5. 70.
5. 80. 5.
At £85 at the front. At 90. And 5. 100.
110. 120. 130. 140.
150. 160. 170. 180.
190. 190 on the cabinet.
At 190. At 190. 200 or not?
We're all done at £190...
-That's the figures we wanted. Well done, Len.
-That's made my day!
What are you gonna put £190 towards?
-Pay my parking fee out in the street, I think!
There's not a lot of parking here.
Right now we'll hopefully turn 20p into £250. That's the theory on Flog It for Gina and Steve.
You've got a lovely Tiffany-style vase in glass
you bought for 20p in a car boot in Leeds. What were you doing there?
We lived there and we went to the car boot on the Sunday for a look round and Gina saw this.
-So you zoomed in on that?
-I just thought it was very pretty.
-What a bargain!
Will we do it, Jethro? You've put a valuation of £200 to £250 on this.
I didn't know anything about that name "Aurene" underneath.
-Have you ever heard of it?
-The Steuben glass works in America
invented this particular technique in the early part of the 20th century, around 1910.
Tiffany copied this style, but the value I think is about right,
-so 200-ish is what we're aiming for.
-Sounds good to me.
It's going under the hammer now.
It's a Tiffany-style glass vase with decoration on an iridescent base.
Can I say £200? 150 away?
150? £100 I've got. I'll take 110.
At 110. 120. 130.
140. 150? 150.
160. 170. 180. 190.
190 to my left. Is it 200? 200.
-At £200. 210 now? 210.
-One more bid, come on!
-It's a nice feeling.
240. 250? 250. 260...?
-Normally at this point Jethro does a little dance.
280 on the phone. 290 on the second phone? 290.
290. 300...? 300.
Is it 20? 320. 340, is it?
380. Is it 400?
-400. Is it 20?
420. Is it 440?
440. Is it 460...?
460. Is it 480?
480. Is it 500?
< 520. 540? I can't believe it.
560. Is it 580? 580 I'm bid.
-Whatever you do, do not adjust your sets!
-We haven't stopped yet.
650. 680...? 680.
750, we're done then. At 750. 780 seated.
800. 820 now? Yes, 820. 850?
820 in the room then. At 820 seated there. £820!
-The hammer went down, £820!
-Oh, my goodness!
OK, Gina, Steve, you didn't think you would get that amount of money.
-Not by a long way.
-250, I thought.
Keep doing those car boot sales, especially those ones in Leeds.
-It went for an awful lot of money.
-People picked up on the Aurene word on the base of the glass.
-And two collectors went for it.
-A lovely Flog It moment!
What a cracking auction we had in Lostwithiel and we've been embraced with wonderful Cornish hospitality!
It was really pleasing to see Ken get £1,000 for his silver bowl
and Joy was over the moon with £720 for her watch.
Time's up. See you next time on Flog It!
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2006
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