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This charming market town I'm in today has had a rather turbulent and exciting past.
Marauding Danes and martyred saints, the Black Death and more recently,
the TV character Lovejoy have all played their part.
Welcome to Flog It! from Bury St Edmunds.
The medieval town of Bury St Edmunds grew up around the gates of the Benedictine monastery,
founded here in 1020 by the East Anglian king Canute.
But fast-forward to the 1980s and '90s,
and you'll find this area was hugely popular for the TV drama Lovejoy -
the lovable rogue antique dealer
with the instinctive feel for the finer things in life.
Lovejoy's sidekicks and bloodhounds on the trail of antiques were Tinker and Eric.
Do these two remind you of anybody?
Well, my friends and colleagues today, experts Adam Partridge and David Barby,
who are also a pair of lovable rogues!
And I'm sure there'll be a fine mix
of family heirlooms and car-boot finds turning up here today.
So let's get started.
And Adam's first off the block.
-How are you doing today?
-Fine, thank you.
-Good. You're excited about this, aren't you?
You've been looking forward to it.
-So you've brought this chest of drawers?
-Where did you get this from?
-My daughter's house.
-Does she know you've got it?
-Oh, yes! She's pleased to get rid of it.
-How did she get it, then?
-She bought a house and contents.
-Bought a house with the contents?
-They still do that?
-Well, in a slow market, they do.
-When did she do that?
-18 months ago.
Is that all? And this was in it?
-Well, that was OK! It's a bit of a bonus.
-Is it an expensive house?
-No, it wasn't!
-It's going to be a bit cheaper now!
It's a sweet little thing, really. I mean, it's had a bit of a life.
-That happened this morning, didn't it?
-Who did that?
-Your partner? There he is, over there.
-As if butter wouldn't melt!
So, it's a miniature chest made in walnut.
Dating to around the Edwardian period.
Early 20th century. We call this a Wellington chest.
Known as a Wellington chest because of the side locking bar here.
I believe the Duke of Wellington commissioned a chest in the 19th century
and didn't want to have to lock every single drawer.
So they designed a chest with this side locking bar.
When that is locked, these won't open.
Then when that's unlocked, they are all open.
These are popular little chests.
-I'm surprised you didn't want it. Do you collect anything?
-No. Not that old!
Collectors like these little chests of drawers.
Often known as apprentice pieces because an apprentice furniture-maker
would first of all make things in miniature to show their skills.
And of course it's finished along the back as well, which is quite a nice feature.
And there we are. Is that yours as well? Does that come with it?
-That comes with it.
-Brilliant! Any idea what it's worth?
-Not a lot!
Not much. Because it's a bit battered. I think it's worth £50 to £80.
-Oh, that much?
-That's all right, isn't it?
-It's fine, yes.
-Not too bad at all. And who gets the money, then?
My daughter, probably.
-You're not going to get commission?
You should get a delivery fee at least, shouldn't you?!
Do you think she'd want it back, or shall we put it in at no reserve?
-Put it in no reserve.
-Well, thanks for bring it along.
Let's hope it goes well at the auction.
Sam, this little object you brought along, it's rather amusing.
Where did you get it from?
Well, my mum inherited it from her aunt. So it's my great-aunt.
-And it was just left in the house when she died.
So we just picked it up and brought it home. Cos we thought it was quite cute, you know, different.
It's a piece of bronze, a bronze casting, it's from a place very close to where I live, which is Birmingham.
And in the 19th and 20th century, Birmingham was a great industrial centre.
A lot of silversmithing went on there, and also a lot of bronze casting.
And this is a little paperweight.
I think given as a freebie to valued customers.
So this head and shoulders study, a caricature of two men.
So there were two men involved in the company - a Mr May and a Mr Padmore.
The character is called Mr Maymore. So it's a combination of the two.
So one of them could have worn a sort of trilby hat, stuck on the side of his head,
and the other one could have smoked that huge sort of Sherlock Holmes pipe.
So here we have an amusing little piece that has also "Xmas 1923"
on the bottom. And that could have been given to valued customers.
-It's cast in bronze, so it's not just a cheap little thing.
As regards putting it up for auction,
I predict somewhere between £25 and £50.
That sort of price range. Do you want to go ahead and sell it?
Yes, because it's of no sentimental value to me. You know.
I was just interested to find out what it was. So, yeah, flog it!
-Thank you very much for bringing it along!
-Thank you, David.
Bob, this is fantastic memorabilia.
It really is social history.
For Norwich, really. Samuel Bignold,
born the 13th October 1791, died 2nd January 1875.
Someone has collected all of this into three separate scrapbooks.
Lots of family photographs. Are you related to the family?
-No, not at all, no.
-And so how did you come by this?
Well, I'd taken the garden refuse to the skip one day...
What, here in Bury?
Here in Bury, yes. And after depositing the rubbish, these were outside the skip on the floor.
So I looked at some of the photographs, and I was so intrigued
-I took them and I've had them ever since.
-I don't blame you.
-That's five years ago.
So when you found them, what was the first thing you did?
-You obviously didn't know who he was, did you?
-Not a clue, no.
I took them home and I was really intrigued by them.
I love them. And as I say, I've had them on my shelf and I saw the advert for "Flog It!".
And so I thought, well, I'll just bring them down and see what they think.
And he was the founder of Norwich Union?
He was one of the founder members of Norwich Union and Colman's Mustard.
Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Look at all this handwriting! This is obviously all his.
Everything's dated and so well documented.
-It is absolutely incredible, isn't it?
-Yeah, I think so.
The condition of some of these photographs is superb.
Look at this - a family gathering at the lodge in 1873.
Have you not contacted a museum in Norwich?
No, I rang up, when I went to the local one in Bury and they told me to ring Norwich, gave me the number.
And on ringing them, it was an answerphone.
So I rang three times during the day and I left a message the third time.
And no-one ever came back to me.
So, six months ago, I rang up again and they gave me the National Heritage.
And they were very interested.
-I bet they were.
-And said, would I...?
-Donate it to them, or loan it to them.
-That's a good idea.
-Well, I was OK with that.
-Why didn't you do that?
For the reason being, when I said, "Oh, they go on show for people to see them?",
and they said, "Well, no, they are kept in a cellar."
-In the archives?
-And I thought, well, I might as well just have left them in the skip, really.
What was the point of having them just in a cellar?
Well, I guess some museums, they have an archive collection
and if people specifically request to see something, they'll let them do it.
And this is his chequebook?
-My word, some of these cheques are for loads of money, aren't they?
Back here in what, 1871, and there's a cheque here for £9,000.
The following month, £8,000.
Now that equates to around about £800,000 of today's money.
I'm led to believe that, yeah.
My word! I wouldn't know what sort of price to put on this.
-I mean, considering you found them in a skip, it's cost you nothing, has it?
-Not at all, no.
-Shall we put it into auction?
With a value of around £100 to £200?
-And hopefully it's going to sell.
-Yes, that's fine.
-Hopefully it's going to make a bit more than that.
-Do you want a reserve on this?
-No. So it's going to go.
No reserve, and hopefully we'll get around 100 to 200.
Welcome to "Flog It!", Margaret.
It's a very pretty tea service you've brought along. Pure Art Deco.
Real 1930s look, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
-Why have you brought it along today?
Well, I was interested to come to the programme and I was interested about this.
And I thought I'd ask your advice. And I don't really need it.
-So I'm happy to have it auctioned.
-Where did you get it from?
I found it in the back of my aunt's cupboard when she died about 15, 16 years ago.
-The house was going up for auction and I found this in the cupboard.
-So you rescued it?
-Very good. And how many times have you used it since?
-I don't drink tea.
-Right! And if you did, you may not use it anyway?
No, I wouldn't use it.
I'm sure there's a lot of tea sets hanging around in cupboards nowadays.
-I'm sure there are, yes.
-And there's not a great demand for the majority.
But this is a nice one, isn't it? And it's very Art Deco in the Pan design.
You can see Pan there with his pipes.
And Burleigh Ware.
Made by a factory called Burgess and Leigh, which is where they get the Burleigh from.
-And a nice shape, isn't it?
Teapot, milk jug and six cups and saucers.
The majority of tea services we see are usually of low value
and also, you hardly ever see any that are entire.
Whether it's a chipped spout on the teapot or one cup less, one saucer less...
But you've got everything here. You got the 21 pieces, plus a teapot, plus a little preserve dish as well.
So 23 pieces. The only piece of damage I can see is the little crack on there.
-One cup, yes.
-Do you have anything else to declare?!
-No, I don't! I didn't do that!
I'm sure you didn't, I just wondered if you were aware of any other...?
No, I saw that when I packed it up today.
Right. Well, it's a pretty set.
Any idea what it might be worth?
I have no idea. I'm entirely in your hands.
Right. Well, I've sold a few of these before. And we usually put them around £100 to £150 estimate.
-How do you feel about that?
-That's fine by me. Absolutely fine, yes.
-Would you like a reserve price?
-I think probably we should protect it with some sort of reserve.
-You tell me what you think.
-I would suggest 80.
-If it doesn't make 80, perhaps it should go back in the cupboard...
-Take it back!
Rosemary, lovely to see you again after, how many years?
Oh, it must be about 40 years since we first knew each other.
Because we used to go to the same youth club.
-Great fun in those days.
-We had a lovely time.
And the parties, the parties at my parents' house.
Yes. It was all so enjoyable. It seems like an alien world.
-When you look at today, yeah.
-Dear, oh, dear.
Why are you getting rid of these?
They're my husband's.
They belonged to my mother-in-law, who died, and she wanted him to have them
but he doesn't like them and nobody else in the family likes them,
so I thought I'd come along and see.
-Surely they have sentimental value.
-He says not.
I used to collect Staffordshire when I was young.
I had a huge collection and I've told people many times
-about how they lasted about three months when I got married.
I like these because they're fairly late 19th century.
-But I like them because of their sponged work.
So if you look at Judy, because they're Punch and Judy, this one here.
They have all this stencilled and sponged decoration all the way around the hat
and on her dress, which is quite good.
And when we look at Mr Punch, we've got sponge decoration on his hat.
-It is so unusual to find them with their original bonnets and hats.
Yeah. So this is quite nice.
I notice that Mr Punch has had...the comb on his hat
has been off but it's glued back and it's an old repair.
I don't mind that. I don't mind that.
-It's all part of his character.
I have seen these before.
Because the Staffordshire market, it's not gone in decline,
but it's not in demand as it was a few years ago,
or when I started collecting 40 years ago.
-Forty...a long time ago, yes.
-A long time ago.
Um, so I think if I look at these and put a value on them,
-I'm going to say about 60 to 80.
If you'd put these up for sale ten years ago, you'd have got treble that.
Just shows the fluctuation in fashion and demand.
But that's just it, isn't it?
We've moved house and we have nowhere at all to put them.
They're on top of the wardrobe so this is a good opportunity...
-Well, I think Punch and Judy deserve a better place than the top of the wardrobe.
-They do, don't they? Yes.
-Perhaps some cottage in this area and they'd look very good on a dresser.
Let's hope when we go to Diss,
that somebody's going to be there that appreciates what we've got in front of us.
-Rosemary, lovely seeing you.
-Nice to see you again.
-Thank you very much.
Now imagine living in a beautiful old house
in the countryside just like this one.
A dream come true for most of us.
But what happens when things start to go wrong with it?
For Paula Sunshine, a problem with her house turned into a real mission in life, believe me.
And it also unearthed some hidden passions.
Eleven years ago, Paula and her husband bought this 500-year-old timber-framed house.
Soon after, they found it had a terrible damp problem,
but they could find nobody to help them sort it out,
so Paula literally took matters into her own hands
and has spent the last decade sorting out its problems
and returning this house to its former glory.
And I'm here to find out how she set about doing it.
Paula learnt many traditional skills from bricklaying to lime plastering,
but the one I'm here to find out about is wattle and daub, an age-old form of wall panelling
which, in Paula's house, had been destroyed by damp.
Paula, I love what you've done to the house. It's absolutely stunning.
You've got that whole theme running throughout as well. Love the decor.
We talk about wattle and daub. Look at these uprights.
These would have been in-filled.
Yes. In fact, you can still see the ledges here, but these
ledges are missing their wattles, which are the upright ones.
-Which would be, what, local willow?
-Hazel. Hazel rods.
-And then you plaster on top of that with your render?
You do one side and then you come round and daub the other one.
Wattle and daub panels do perform a function.
They're lungs of the building, so when you get rain water entering into render cracks,
which everybody does, they may not know about it,
but it's happening inside the walls,
that soaks into the wattle and daub and then evaporates through the panel.
And it's all very invisible.
You don't see it happening, but it allows that moisture to dissipate and dry out.
-And can we have a go at that?
Now? Shall we?
Right, Paula. I guess the main ingredient is the clay.
Where do you get this from?
-Usually, the local farmer. I try and get it as local as possible, because...
-Transporting it, yes.
Also that's what they would have done originally.
All the ponds that you see next to old buildings tend to have been
made by the extraction of the clay to do the wattle and daub.
-And you tread that in?
Jump in, squash it down.
It's quite therapeutic, isn't it, really?
It is quite satisfying.
It's quite interesting, these days,
to find a material that is so simple
-that can actually be used to build houses with.
Then we add some of this straw.
What will the straw do to this? Help it bind together?
Yes, it actually bulks up the mix,
better insulation and also stops it from breaking up as it dries.
So you put the straw in like that and tread it in.
-Keeps you fit, doesn't it?
Bit more water.
Bit more water, make it really sloppy.
So just explain the two differences - the wattle and the daub.
The wattle is the bit, the hazel bit,
or you can have oak, and the daub is what I'm standing in.
-The magical mix.
-You've got to turn over now.
-Are you ready for this.
-Which is the clay and straw and water.
I teach homeowners and I sometimes go on site and teach builders.
Passing on this kind of information is so important, it really is.
It's a very expensive thing to have done.
-It's labour intensive.
I mean, you can see I can only do...
To make up the daub and to wattle up a panel,
about my height and size it takes a day.
So it would be very expensive to have 100 panels in your house repaired.
So people tend to say, "I'll go and learn how to do it".
One more bit of treading then.
-I hear you've got a nice gooey mix there now.
You give that a turn and it's ready to use.
Put it in the wheelbarrow and we'll get daubing.
-Yes, it is, isn't it?
-Waste not want not.
Every bit is precious.
-We've got two panels here.
-They look a bit different.
That is what you were explaining inside?
That's right. And that method's peculiar to East Anglia,
whereas down the south of the country
you get this sort of woven panel,
mainly because they have very wide panels
and once they go over a certain width you can't really
do this tied method because it becomes too flexible
whereas the woven method is much more rigid.
When you're doing a woven panel, it has to be green hazel, that is,
it's cut and then used fresh, whereas with these they can be as old as the hills, really.
I've even used really ancient hazel.
-Is that because as they start to dry out they get rigid, they're not pliable?
You need to be able to bend them.
Well, I'm feeling quite pliable. We're now going to
put some plaster... put our daub on, should I say?
And your rubber gloves.
Which I've got in my pocket. Right, here we go.
OK. So, you've literally got to put it in by hand
-and you just force it in.
There's no way you could pick that out with a trowel and plaster it on.
If you get children to do it, they roll it up into balls and throw it from quite a distance.
-And it sticks like hell on there.
I can start anywhere really?
Anywhere you like.
It's jolly good fun, actually.
Oh, this is serious stuff, but it does feel really childish.
-That doesn't look too bad now, Paula, does it?
-No, it's very good.
How long will it take you to finish your house?
Well, I'm 44 now and I'm hoping by the time I'm 50
I will have done it.
Put your feet up and take it easy.
You've preserved something for future generations to see.
-That's what it's all about.
I've thoroughly enjoyed myself today. You know that?
I'm proud of this. I really am.
-You deserve a cup of tea.
-My mud wall.
Fantastic. Unfortunately, I've got to get back to my day job
and get back to the valuation day and see what's turning up.
So better wash up.
Our experts have been hard at work and it's time to put the valuations to the test.
It's time for our first visit to the auction rooms.
This lovely Wellington chest was thrown in with a house sale.
But will it march away at the auction?
Back in 1923, this bronze paperweight would have been given away as a gift.
But let's hope we don't end up giving it away today!
Thank goodness Bob managed to rescue this valuable record of Colman's Mustard's history from a skip.
And the problem with inheriting antiques is they're not always to our taste,
so the best thing for Rosemary to do with her toby jugs is to flog them.
And finally, we're flogging this 1930s Burleigh tea service.
It's so unusual to find such a complete set.
So it should achieve a great price.
Today's sale comes from TW Gaze auction rooms
in the heart of Diss in Norfolk.
And on the rostrum we've got auctioneer and "Flog It!" favourite Elizabeth Talbot.
And first up for the bidders of Diss is something they can lock their valuables in!
It's good to meet up with Glynis again. And she keeps saying, "It's going, it's going!"
-It's gone! Because there is no reserve on this.
-Although we have got a valuation of £50 to £80.
It's been through the wars a bit, but it should be worth that.
-Any less than 40 would be a bit disappointing.
-What did you use it for?
-I never used it.
-You never used it?
-It was left in a house.
-Oh, was it?
-It was. So, it's a bonus.
-Whatever it makes is profit!
What are we worrying about?!
Let's get on with business, shall we? Here it is. Good luck.
The mahogany desktop Wellington chest with four drawers there.
As you find it. Lovely little chest of drawers.
Has a key as well. Where am I?
May I say £50?
Little Wellington chest at 50. Come on!
-It's a bit quiet for my liking.
30 I'll take.
£30, surely? It's for nothing.
Come on. 20, at 20, thank you, I'll take two. 22. 25. 28. 30.
-It'll make 50 quid.
-32 is down below.
At 32. I'll take five.
-It's middle bid at 32. Now, where's the five?
-It's not a lot,
-Are you all done at £32?
£32. Sold. No reserve, it's gone.
I mean, it's OK. You're happy? Big smile on your face, Glynis!
Only because I got it wrong!
What was it, a pint?!
Sam, this one's definitely here to sell. There's no reserve on this little bronze paperweight.
-It's gorgeous, isn't it?
Now, we've got £25 to £50 on this.
No reserve. Sam's just told me...
-What? Come on, tell me!
-..her husband doesn't want to sell it!
No, he's quite happy - he would have been quite happy if it didn't sell.
He said to me afterwards, he said, "Oh, I hope it doesn't go."
-And I said, "Well, it will go!"
-I hope it makes a reasonable amount. It's a fun thing.
It's a fun thing. And it's going under the hammer right now.
It's the early 20th century bronze figure paperweight.
This is rather unusual. Depicting the pipe-smoking gentleman.
I have interest on the sheets. And I start here at £18.
£18 I have. 20. 2. 25. 28.
30. 2. 35. 38. 40. 2. 45. 48.
50. 5. 55 on commission, at 55.
-That's good, that's very good.
At £55, I do have.
Any advance on £55?
Are you all done?
I bet he's chuffed with that. That's a meal out, really.
It could have gone for a fiver. You'd have been disappointed.
Yes, we would have been, but I'm really pleased with that. He will be as well.
-Thank you very much for bringing it in.
Bob, I've been waiting for this moment ever since I met up with you in Bury St Edmunds.
We've gone all over Samuel Bignold and the Colman memorabilia.
If we can trace some of the members of the extended family
it's worth an awful lot of money to them, isn't it?
I'd like it to go to someone like that, really.
What a find, though!
What a good find.
-Good on you.
-Who threw it?
That's the thing I'd like to know.
Yeah, well, you deserve the reward, anyway. That's the main thing.
I've had enjoyment reading it. It's interesting.
Especially the scrap papers, if you read that, there's a lot of reading there, and really, it's fantastic.
It's a great piece of documented social history.
Let's hope we can find somebody from the family that wants that.
-That would be fantastic.
-Or a bygone museum. That's the second best thing. Good luck.
This is rather interesting.
We have two Victorian albums there
and a scrapbook of the similar period and a chequebook,
and they all belong to Samuel Bignold.
Four items, where may I say for the whole lot? May I say £100?
£100, come on. It's a good group of items there for 100.
50, may I say, to start?
Come on, £50, it's for nothing, surely.
30 is the hand again at 30, thank you, I'll take two. 32.
40. 2. 45.
45, back wall at 45, now where's 8?
Come on? Worth more surely at 45, now where's 8? Here to sell at 45.
Are you all done? At £45, it's for nothing at 45.
-There we go. That's all right.
It's OK. Someone's hopefully going to find another buyer for those
and pass them on to a local museum.
That's all I can think of.
It could be one of the family, you never know.
-If there's only one in, really, I suppose.
-It's a shame,
because that's so important to this area.
You'd think half a dozen people would really be vying for that,
wanting to own a little piece of Colman's Mustard's history
or even the firm itself should be here bidding.
-I thought they may have been, like, but...
-Yeah, I was excited.
I thought we'd have local press and lots of flash photography and someone bidding £600,
but it didn't happen. It didn't happen.
Now we're going to find out if that's the way to do it, as we reunite two old...
CARTOON VOICE: That's the way to do it.
..as we reunite two old friends,
Rosemary and David, because you go back a long way, don't you?
Oh, yes. Don't tell how many years.
I won't tell.
School chums. Anyway, we've got Punch and Judy, haven't we?
Two toby jugs, valuation around about £50 we're hoping for.
Yeah, yeah. Staffordshire's taken a plunge,
but these are good mantelpiece ornaments or dresser ornamentations.
Hopefully, they're different.
A bit of country furniture.
We've got that going for it and we've also got the fact
-that they are a Punch and Judy so there's lots of takers for that out there.
So good luck, both of you.
I know you've had a good natter.
It just seems like yesterday, that's the beauty of old friends, isn't it, really?
What was he like as a youngster?
I don't think he's changed very much at all.
-Not that I can think of.
-I thought you
were going to say "Not that I can mention".
We'll leave that there. It's going under the hammer now.
This is it. Good luck, Rosemary.
Lot 110 now, the pair of late 19th century toby jugs of Punch and Judy.
Can I say £50 on the pair?
It's good to find them still together at 50.
-30 I'll take.
30's bid, thank you. 30 I have.
30, 32, 35, 38, 40, 2, 45, 48, 50.
50 at the corner, 50, I'll take 5, 55 new bidder, 60, 5, 70.
Oh, this is more like it.
-Oh, this is, yeah.
-70, still the corner at 70 now, where's 5 again?
At £70 on Punch and Judy. At £70, all done?
-I'm really pleased.
-That's well over the estimate.
-Thank you, David.
-By ten pounds.
Well, I think you can carry on having your chat and have a cup of coffee or something.
That's a good idea. Come on.
This is a cracking little Art Deco tea set. This weird teapot.
Margaret brought this into the valuation day just for a valuation.
Wasn't thinking of selling it, just wanted an appraisal,
-and hey, presto, we're flogging it, aren't we?
What was the definitive moment when you said, OK, it's worth £100, £150,
I might take it home or I might sell it, but you decided to sell it?
-I don't use it. I've had it 20 years in a china cabinet and it just might as well go.
-That's fair enough.
-You didn't twist her arm then, Adam?
-No, I didn't.
I didn't do any kind of persuasion, whether violent or psychological. Nothing at all.
-You've got high hopes for this, haven't you?
-I always think that Art Deco sells well. I like it myself.
-He knows his onions in Art Deco, this man.
Thank you. Let's hope we get an eye-watering price!
We're going to find out right now. Good luck.
We have the 1930s Burleigh Ware tea set, it's the Pan pattern.
Lovely, stylish, comprehensive set. Wonderful shape.
I have interest on this one and I start at £60.
£60 and five. 70. 5. 80. 5. 90.
5. 100. 110. 120. 130.
140. 150. 160. 170. I'm out.
At 170, at 170, where's 80?
At 170, am I missing anybody, 170?
£170. Well done, Adam.
You had a twinkle in your eye, you knew that was going to do that.
-Happy with that?
Happy with anything, really.
Margaret is easily pleased.
It's a lovely surprise, isn't it, because you didn't know
it was going to be worth that until Adam told you.
-What will you do with the money?
-My fence is falling down.
-My fence is falling down.
-Right, OK. You're going to have it repaired.
-Might, you never know!
I'm very pleased with that, just above the top end of the estimate
-is where we want it to finish.
-Yes, happy ending.
Whilst I'm here in East Anglia,
I can't resist coming to the birthplace of one of England's
greatest portrait painters, Thomas Gainsborough.
He grew up in the pretty market town of Sudbury
and I've come to the house where he was born in 1727.
Now a museum, this modest house now houses the largest single collection
of Gainsborough paintings, drawings and memorabilia anywhere in the world.
The museum opened in 1961, exhibiting paintings by Gainsborough
from national and private collections.
Today, Gainsborough House has over 2,000 pieces,
including oil paintings, sketches and personal effects.
To tell us a little bit more about the young painter and his life,
I've come to talk to Liam Beaton, who's overseeing the collection here at Gainsborough House.
Thank you for talking to us. I want to know all about this young chap,
and when did he start showing promising talent?
From a young age, he was seen to be a very talented artist.
He'd go out into the local woods and fields in this area
and do lots of sketches of the fields and countryside and animals,
and he'd bring them back to the house,
and his family could see quite clearly he was actually a very talented draughtsman.
It was when he was 13 years old they decided to send him down to London to train to be an artist.
He was in London for ten years, where, after serving an apprenticeship,
he tried to establish himself as a landscape painter.
But right from the start it was his talent as a portrait artist that was so sought after.
We're looking at a portrait here of a young boy and a girl.
Can you tell me a bit about them? Do you know anything about the boy and girl?
We don't know much about the people in the picture, it's just called The Boy And The Girl.
They're probably brother and sister,
as you can see, they're obviously from quite a wealthy family.
-He was only a teenager when he painted this.
-It's incredible talent, isn't it? It really is.
It's actually very ambitious for him to paint a picture of this size at that stage in his life.
Most of even the other pictures he created shortly afterwards were much smaller than that.
That was one picture at one stage, this has been sliced down the middle.
Was that due to damage?
The thing about this picture, it's a bit of a mystery why it's divided up in this way.
As you say, the most likely reason is that at some point, the corner got damaged.
Some people have speculated that, you know, occasionally people are taken out of pictures,
if they die early on in life or if they do something bad that annoys the rest of the family.
After London, Gainsborough returned to Suffolk.
He soon gained fame and fortune from painting flattering portraits of the English aristocracy.
And it's for these dazzling works that he's best remembered.
But the countryside and painting landscapes remained Gainsborough's great passion.
You don't associate landscapes with Gainsborough, do you?
Not always, no, most of his work was portraits, so that he could make a living.
Commissioned work. So was this for his own amusement, do you think?
A lot of his landscapes were for his own amusement.
He did do some commissioned landscapes, but the ones
that were commissioned tended to be what we describe as topographical views of actual real-life places.
Most of Gainsborough's landscapes were from his imagination.
So we don't know where that is, but really it's just from his memory.
-It's a montage of pretty things put together.
He'd take ideas from the local countryside, put them together, and in fact, on many occasions,
he'd actually bring back things like sticks and stones and rocks from the countryside.
He'd use broccoli as bushes and carrot leaves and things
like that, and then create what's basically an imaginary landscape.
It's lovely. It's a more romantic picture.
He's captured the local elm trees that would have been growing.
Topographers, who generally would paint real places, they were seen as being slightly lower down
the ladder, so Gainsborough wouldn't want to be associated with them.
He had a more poetic vision of the countryside and the British landscape.
Perhaps what makes some of Gainsborough's portraits so special
isn't just the likeness of the sitter or the fine detail of the clothing,
but the romantic nature of the landscape in which he put his subjects.
I like this. Those two ladies are unmistakably Gainsborough, aren't they?
-The landscape is actually a beautiful picture within itself.
Gainsborough, as we know, was passionate about landscape, so he put in as much,
almost as much effort into the landscape as he did when he was actually painting the people.
Many artists would actually have an assistant who would perhaps do the landscaping afterwards,
but Gainsborough loved to do the whole thing himself
and create the detailed landscape in the background.
-Yes, it's lovely.
-It really grows on you.
The more you look at that, the more you think, gosh, how clever, the man was a genius.
It's fantastic. You can see his attention to detail on the clothes.
Just the way the linen is folding and moving.
He was actually very proud of painting costumes to a high standard.
-He grew up around clothing with his father being a weaver.
-Into textiles, yes.
His sisters also grew up to be quite successful cloth makers as well,
-so he was always around cloth and materials.
It's a real treat to see so many fantastic Gainsboroughs in one place,
but there's something else which has really caught my eye.
This is a wonderful piece of kit. I've seen pedestal desks like this before, this height,
made for a draughtsman and an architect, but this is quite special.
It is. It's actually the only piece of furniture we have here that belonged to Thomas.
It's Gainsborough's desk.
It's Gainsborough's own desk, and he had this towards the end of his career
when he was actually living in London, so he'd have done work on this desk.
A beautiful bit of work.
Lovely, solid piece of mahogany, and look at that.
Lift that up, and that's obviously the marble slab he mixed up his paints on.
It's lovely to have something where we can imagine him doing his work.
You just want to caress this and hope that some of Gainsborough's talent
-will rub off on yourself!
-That would be very nice, yes.
It's wonderful. There's a lovely deep drawer.
That would obviously take the large pieces of paper.
Yeah. It's gorgeous. It's absolutely gorgeous.
It's so nice to touch antiques
that have such great, and I mean great, provenance. It really is.
It's absolutely splendid. Lovely.
Time to check out the provenance
of the items brought into our valuation day in Bury St Edmunds.
And David has found himself an unusual souvenir.
Amanda, what you've brought along today, I think, is a good example
of what can be bought excitingly cheap at a car boot sale.
-That's right, yeah.
-Where was this?
-It was at Woolpit, not far, just down the road from here.
It's been going several years and you can find just about anything there.
-What was the appeal to you?
-It's just good fun, isn't it?
You don't see this kind of thing in the shop now, and I thought,
I've got to have it. It was so cheap.
-How much did you pay?
I love the cup and saucer by Booths, very good company producing pottery.
Also, you've got this wonderful little book here, Key to the Mysteries of Divination.
It's quite interesting. Inside the bowl of the cup, you've got playing cards.
And by emptying the tea and leaving the tea leaves -
-that's a good period piece. People have tea bags.
-Tea bags, yes.
So in those days, we'd have tea leaves and depending where the tea leaves landed on the playing cards,
they would tell your fortune and you have a little diagram, do you not, in here?
It actually tells me if a tea leaf was on the card, an ace,
-you'd get a ring or a piece of jewellery.
So, if you were a sort of a young girl wanting to get engaged, that might be quite interesting,
or on another card, a dark stranger is going to come into your life.
So all these elements here depend where the tea leaves land on the playing cards,
so if you can remember these, you can enthral an audience around the table.
-That's quite good, isn't it?
Now, value, I know you only paid £3 for it, that was quite cheap.
Because you have the book and everything to go with it.
But I don't think it's going to be worth considerably more.
I think probably £18 to £20, because you've got three hits at it.
You've got the interest in fortune telling, you've got interest from people who collect cups and saucers
and then the very fact it was commemorating the 1924 Wembley Exhibition.
Wembley Stadium, which has changed now,
was part and parcel of the Wembley Exhibition of 1924.
So it's a wonderful evocative period and a lovely souvenir that somebody has taken away
and you were astute enough to recognise its quality.
So, you've got those three knocks.
-Wembley Exhibition, fortune teller and an interesting cup and saucer.
-Yes. And good fun.
-Good morning, Stephanie.
Very nice pair of vases. Where did you get these from?
I got them from my mother-in-law,
who inherited them from my husband's grandmother.
So they've passed down the family.
-How long do you reckon you can trace them back for?
Possibly 80, 90 years.
-And then I took them because I quite liked them.
Had them in my house for a while.
Nearly lost one of them.
How was that?
We were having a barbecue and a bird flew in the house.
My brother chased it, and as he chased it, it knocked one
of the vases and he caught the vase and the bird flew out the window.
-Nearly only one!
You liked them because you've had them on display.
-And then I went off them.
-I don't know really.
Well, they're quite easy to date and to describe
because on the bottom we've got the mark there,
which is W&R, Stoke-on-Trent and Florida.
-So, this W&R
stands for Wiltshaw and Robinson.
-You may not have heard of them.
-But you will have heard of Carlton Ware.
-Yes, I have.
Later, these became Carlton Ware.
This is the first mark of Wiltshaw and Robinson when they opened in 1890.
So these are one of the first things that came out of that factory in Stoke-on-Trent.
-Florida is just the name of the pattern.
-Oh, is it? Oh, right, OK.
Yes. They've never been to Florida.
I was going to say, it doesn't resemble a Florida I would put on.
No, it's not the thing you immediately think, "Oh, look, Florida."
It's just making them sound a bit more exotic than they really are.
It doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid.
-This style was very much done at the end of the 19th century.
Royal Worcester, one of the best factories, they did a lot of this
cream background, known as the blush ivory ground with flowers on the top and gilding,
-so this was more affordable Royal Worcester.
-It's more a printed design, so they're not very valuable.
-You want to sell them, don't you?
-I do, because they're not me.
We haven't got a lot of room to keep stuff that I don't like, so...
-No, they're no good in the loft, are they?
-No, not really.
So value-wise, any idea?
-A fiver, then I won't be disappointed.
-Stick a nought on it.
About £50? Oh, that's not bad.
£50. Something like that. 50-80 estimate,
-reserve of 40 so they don't go for less.
-No, that's fine.
And let's see what happens with them.
-I'm not going to ask what you'll do with the money,
because it'll just cover your travel expenses.
-But I look forward to seeing you at the auction.
I'm so intrigued by these, Brian.
Where did you actually get them from?
Well, they were given to my mother about 60 years ago.
A neighbour didn't like them, so my mother took a liking to them.
My mother died and of course, I kept them,
-but I never have liked them.
-Did you hang them on the wall?
-No, my mother did.
-She had them on the wall.
-So where did you keep them?
-In the loft.
-In the loft!
So you must have covered them up, because they're not encrusted with dust at all.
Oh, no, I covered them up well in a box.
That's the problem with these - if you have them out on display they do get rather grimy with dust.
-They're hard to clean.
-Well, I think they're absolutely super.
They look devastating from a distance.
Some people say they're ugly.
Why I like them is because it's the potter's art
that he was able to replicate nature in such a detailed manner.
-Were they handmade or...?
-All handmade. All handmade.
The actual pots were made on a wheel.
-Then all these were modelled individually.
I love all the detail, particularly the sliminess.
You could almost have a sensation of them being wet and moist,
particularly this one here with the fish and the eel. Extremely well done.
These are 19th century.
-They're copying a French potter by the name of Palissy,
who produced wares similar to this in the 17th century.
-That's going back.
Then there was a revival by Portuguese potters
-in the 19th, and they were selling to well-off tourists.
And they would bring them back as novelties to hang on the wall.
I think they're super, they're very fashionable now.
In the last month, the people I've shown them to say they've never seen anything like them.
-They should watch "Flog It!".
-We've had several come up for sale.
-Before I tell you about the price, I would point out there's certain damage.
-Yes, I understand that.
That's termed as a nibble. It's quite a big nibble, it's a huge bite.
This one's nibbled on the edge, and I note when I felt this one, there's been restoration on the corner
and also on the head, but the overall effect is there, they're not split in half.
-You've got to expect that at the age they are.
I'm sure if you hadn't protected them, they would have got worse.
-If these go up for sale, I would like to see a price range
in the region of about £300 to £400. That sort of price range.
I think the auction house might say, because of the damage, that they want a reserve at 280.
-Would you be happy with that reserve?
You just want to get rid of them, don't you?
Well, they're no use to me!
-Welcome to "Flog It!", John.
-You've got two charming figures here. We'll start with this one.
This one really appeals to my immature, boyhood sense of humour.
I love toilet humour.
-This is an ornament that you'd have picked up at a fair ring.
Doesn't have a lot of value, but something I'd like to own.
But this is the one that we're selling.
-Read all about it! It's the Newsboy, Doulton figures.
-I'm not a big fan of most Doulton figures.
I could live without the ladies in the big dresses!
But he's quite nice. I quite like him.
I've always fancied standing out in the street shouting out, "Read all about it!",
and newspapers and that sort of thing.
-Well, I was born in London.
And they used to have newspaper vans going round
and they used to have vendors on each corner selling newspapers. That brings back memories.
-And I'm sure it will for a lot of people watching.
Sadly there's few street vendors left for newspapers.
-I remember them when I was a boy. Always a character, the street vendor.
So how did you come to own this one?
My Uncle Johnny was a charge nurse in Harefield Hospital.
-He died and he bequeathed that to me.
Doulton figures are easy to value because they're clearly marked on the bottom.
We've got the Doulton mark, the name Newsboy, they've all got an HN number.
-HN refers to Harry Nixon, who's art director at Doulton.
So this is a better figure because it's a limited edition figure.
There are only 350 in the edition.
It was produced for the Evening Sentinel between 1959 and 1965.
-So it's been discontinued for 43 years.
-Yeah, I'm with you.
So there probably won't be all 350 still out there now.
-Which is a good thing. Why are you selling it?
Erm, well, I want money for the holiday, plus I'm 74 years old now and I don't really keep it any more.
-It's only stuck in the cabinet.
-OK, so it's a bit of holiday money?
They've all got a book price that you look up and you never get the book price but you get a fraction of that.
The last one I found that was sold at auction made £80.
-I'd like to think we could do a bit better than that for you.
-So I would stick that as our reserve.
-80. An estimate of 80 to 100.
-Then let's hope it makes a bit over 100.
-So, thanks for bringing it in.
-Thank you very much.
And let's hope he makes some headlines at the auction!
There's just time to revisit the final items our experts have picked out to tempt the bidders.
This car boot bargain was designed to foretell the future.
My prediction is Amanda will get more than her £3 back today.
And it's time for Stephanie to sell her vases.
They've been stuck in the loft, where no-one can appreciate them.
Adam loved this Doulton newspaper seller and is hoping it'll make headline news at the auction.
Our final lot might not be to everybody's taste,
but I'm sure these plates will have the bidders crawling all over them.
Taking the rostrum for this next lot is auctioneer Steve Stockton.
-Stephanie, good to see you again.
-Pair of vases from Stoke-on-Trent. Late 19th century...£50-80.
-Early Carlton Ware.
Should do a bit more as pair?
Well, I think that's fairly accurate.
Is it? He's sticking by his guns.
-He's a cheeky chap, really.
You're not giving anything away here.
I sometimes put my neck on the line.
Well, I am, I'm saying it's right.
We have a pair of W&R Florida pattern vases.
Lot 490 and I have two bids on the sheet.
Going to start at £42. Do I see 5?
£42, now where's 5? 45, 48, 50, 55,
55 with me, do I see 60?
55 with me on commission, do I see 60? Any advance on £55?
-That's all right.
-You were right.
-Stuck to his guns.
We've got to give you that one, then.
-That put a big smile on your face.
You were first in the valuation day, weren't you? You were. Got up really early for that?
It was my sister-in-law that dragged me along, because I have to hold my hands up,
never seen the programme.
But she dragged me along because of you, I think.
I wasn't quite sure why when I got here...
She's just come back from Egypt and she's not well, so couldn't make it.
-Well, send her our love.
-I will, I will. Yes, OK.
-Thank you so much for coming in.
You can send her home with one of these.
-I carry it with me to remind me of him, but you can have it.
Could he sign it at the back?
Just to her, not me.
Amanda, it's not a lot of money.
We've got that lovely cup and saucer from the 1930s or '40s, isn't it?
-1924, there we go. You got this in a car boot, didn't you, for £3? Why do you want to sell it now?
It was three quid, it was so cheap.
-It was a bit of fun. It's clutter.
Hopefully make a profit, go back to the car boot, buy some more and keep doing the same thing.
I think I'll be lucky if I get my money back. We'll see.
We have a Booths cup of knowledge,
cup and saucer with the associated pamphlet.
A bit of history there, Wembley history,
and I'm going to start at £6 now. Where's eight?
-£6 for the cup of knowledge.
-Where are those hands?
£6, 8, 10...12, I'm out. 12 on my right, do I see 15?
12 on my right, do I see 15? It's £12, the cup of knowledge at £12.
I'm selling for 12.
-We made a profit!
-You made a profit.
That'll get me a drink down the pub tonight!
-Next up is the Doulton figure belonging to John with a valuation of £80 to £100. Hi, John.
-Who've you brought along?
-Sophie, my granddaughter.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Have you seen this little figure?
-Do you like it?
It could have been your inheritance, really, in a way!
John's flogging it off.
Why are you flogging this, anyway?
Well, the wife is 80 years old in May.
-We're going on a cruise.
-Oh, are you?
-I want to buy her a champagne breakfast.
Oh, treat her in style. Is this her first cruise?
-No, about the fourth.
-The fourth, so you like your cruises then?
-Time to unwind.
-A nice idea.
-It is, isn't it?
I've never been on one. Never.
-I've worked on one.
-Another time, OK.
What do you think we'll get for this?
-80 to 100.
-OK, that's exactly what you said, isn't it?
-Yeah. They've all got a fixed value, really.
-It's a book price, isn't it?
It should make 80, it might make 110...
But we're not going to expect any surprises.
-I don't think we're going to be on at the end of the programme.
We have a Royal Doulton figurine.
The Newsboy there and interest on the sheets.
I'm going to start with me at £55, do I see 60?
55 now, 60 straightaway.
-65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95...
-That's very good.
120 and I'm out.
120 in the room, do I see 30?
It's £120 now. Any advance on £120?
-Well done, John.
-It made the headlines after all.
That will get you the champagne breakfast, I'm pretty sure of that.
-It's a pleasure.
-And possibly treat Sophie on the way home to something.
-I might buy her a packet of crisps.
-A packet of crisps!
I love this next lot, and you know what I say? The more creepy-crawlies, the better.
They belong to Brian, it's four plates and we've got a valuation of £300 to £400 put on by David.
Pure quality, we've seen them on the show before, but you've now put the reserve up.
-Tell us what you've done, cos David doesn't know.
I went into the library and looked at a book
and it says 550 each.
As a price guide, each plate £500.
Right, so what have you left on each plate now? Or on the whole lot?
£600 as a fixed reserve.
We could do that.
-On a good day, we could do that.
-On a good day, we could do that.
The book that you looked at was a price guide and was published in the year 2000, that's eight years ago.
The market has fluctuated.
These things, which were popular at one time, are not necessarily now.
-I think they're startling.
I love them, as Paul does, because they're a potter's delight.
-A wonderful example of the potter's art.
We'll have to see if somebody else here gets the same sensation with handling them.
-It's basically down to the people in the room now.
We have the four Palissy-style handmade wall plates.
I'm afraid there has been a change of estimate.
They're now estimated at 600 to 800 and I'll start with me at £380.
Where's 400? 400, 420, 450, 480...
480 now, where's 500?
480 now, where's 500?
500, 520, 550, 580, 600 and I'm out!
On the left at 600, do I see 20?
Four for your money at £600 now.
Do I see 20? I'm selling for £600...
Hammer's gone. We didn't have to worry.
-And I haven't got to cart them home!
And you haven't got to clean them and wrap them up.
All's well that ends well, really.
-That's right. That's right.
-That's good, isn't it? What are you going to put £600 towards?
Less a bit of commission, because that's how the auction room earn their wages.
-I'm going to buy a small greenhouse.
-A small greenhouse.
-It's a good hobby.
Let's hope you don't get those creepy-crawlies in the greenhouse!
Well, there you are, another auction over and all the lucky bidders
going away with their new items, loading up their cars and vans.
We've certainly had tremendous fun here today.
I can't wait to come back.
So until the next time, it's cheerio!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd