Antiques series. Paul Martin is joined by David Fletcher and Michael Baggott at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing, where they meet a Chinese figure and a 100-year-old gizmo.
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The great British seaside. We've been in love with it for years.
And that's why we're in Worthing. It's a picture-postcard scene.
We've got the pier, we've got the beach,
and the pavilion, which is the venue for today's star attraction.
Welcome to Flog It!
This is Sussex, by the sea.
That's a nice photograph.
Worthing was an inspiration for playwrights Oscar Wilde and Harold Pinter.
It's fitting that we should follow in the theatrical tradition today,
because our venue is the impressive Pavilion Theatre on Worthing seafront.
Just about to go on stage for Act 1 are our two experts, David Fletcher and Michael Baggott.
The first thing David Fletcher ever sold was a live rabbit.
And look, he's still an animal lover today!
Even I can work it! Vaguely!
-He's got a lovely face!
-He's looking at you.
-Yeah, he's got his eye on me!
'And Michael Baggott's got his hands full, as always.'
-Who wants a sticker?
-I do! Where are you going to put it?
This is a dangerous operation. You saw, my hands never left my arms!
'Coming up, David gets excited...'
Look what I found, Mum!
'..Michael gains an admirer...'
-You're the best.
-He is the best.
-Can you say that again?
'..and I discover surrealist art.'
Isn't that just incredible? I might even have some vivid dreams tonight!
Well, it's 9.30, it's time to get the doors open, let's go inside!
Come on, everybody!
Well, everybody's now safely seated inside the Pavilion Theatre,
and it looks like we've got a full house. Are you ready for Act 1? Well, so am I.
It looks like David Fletcher is our first expert to the tables.
Let's take a closer look at what he's spotted.
Every now and then, we see something which gives us
an insight to a bygone age and, by George, this does, doesn't it?
-It advertises a series of events to be hosted
by the Royal Dramatic College at the Crystal Palace in 1865.
Now, the Crystal Palace was built, as you probably know,
in 1851 for The Great Exhibition.
Now, how did you come by it?
I did a little cleaning job for a lady that was retired
and she had this on her wall and when she had to move
into a residential home,
she offered it to me, along with a couple of other little bits.
The list of events it describes I just think are fantastic.
One of the ones that really caught my eyes was Wombwell's Menagerie.
Now, Wombwell's Menagerie was well known.
I would have expected them to be top of the bill,
and they advertise lions, tigers, panthers, bears.
"The lion weighs from 700 to 800lb
"and is allowed by all who have seen him
"to be the finest in captivity."
-They don't hold back, do they, these Victorians?
They think they've got something good, they will tell you.
But just to make sure we don't all get too light-hearted
about all this, there is a lecture here on comparative anatomy.
So, after you've been to Wombwell's Circus
and you've seen the amazing brothers and the Gypsy Cave
and the Fairy Post Office, you can
take in something more cerebral and go off to a lecture on anatomy.
The Victorians loved this sort of thing. I noticed
that the occasion or the event took place on Saturday and Monday.
Not on Sunday. That's interesting. Sunday, being a day of rest.
-Exactly. Now, printed on silk.
-Yes, I think so. It's got a shine to it.
That suggests it might just have been sold as a scarf, perhaps.
-Otherwise, why not just print it on paper?
I don't think it's hugely valuable.
In fact, I think really, it's something if you're thinking
in terms of selling it, you should be prepared to sell without reserve.
-Now, I hope the auctioneers will agree with me
that we should estimate at say £20-£30.
But I wouldn't want to put too high an estimate on it,
because in the great scheme of things,
it doesn't have that intrinsic value that collectors really like.
-Would you be happy with that?
-Very happy, yes.
And the lady who owned it would like that?
She'd probably say, "Go on, see what you can get for it."
Good for you, Cindy, we love a determined seller!
It's all in here. Hang on!
What's in there? This is the bit I like where people open their boxes.
It's the reveal. Oh, look at that.
-It was presented to a person who used to work at Hoover.
That's a copy of one of the first automatic washing machines.
-That was presented to him as a leaving gift.
-Oh, was it?!
-That has never, ever been used.
-Isn't that lovely?!
Carol, you've brought this lovely watch in for me today
with a silversmith's name on it.
A very good retailer's name on it - Asprey.
-Can you tell me, where did it come from?
-It was my mother's.
She had it for a very long time and she used to keep it in her jewellery box
and get it out and have a peep at it now and again.
She loved it, she thought it was very pretty, but she never wore it, because it's a pin
and she wouldn't put pins in her clothes.
Understandable, because it's quite... If we pick him up,
even though he's small, it's a heavy little weight,
and if you had something light on, it would eventually pull a hole in it.
This was made in the late '40s, early '50s, as a piece of cocktail jewellery,
and you could imagine those beautifully turned-out ladies
in their thick, heavy coats, tailored.
And that would be...
I don't wear one myself, but it would be poised there,
-and would fit in quite well.
The case, I imagine, is nine-carat gold.
The little suspension chain and clasp that it's on, we have got a little mark for that,
-and that's stamped 750, so we know that that's 18 carat.
And we've got those three little greyish pearls set in,
which might conceivably, from the colour, be Scottish freshwater pearls,
so it's a lovely little thing.
But there we've got the face, and that's rather luxurious.
The black enamel dial, with the little gold spots for the hours.
We've also got the gold weights,
if nothing else, that case must weigh several grams.
I think it would be sensible if we put an estimate of £100 to £150,
a fixed reserve of £100 on it.
-And hopefully, the Asprey name alone will carry it on from that.
-Why have you decided to part with it?
I'm doing the same thing as my mother did - it's in a box,
-and I'm looking at it occasionally and popping it back in.
-Not pinning it on?
No, it's very pretty, but it's not something I would wear.
I think it's almost becoming a collector's piece now.
So let's put it into the auction and hope it ticks away to a profit for you!
-That'd be great.
-Marvellous. Thank you.
David is fascinated by a mysterious object belonging to Adam and Nicola.
-You brought your mum out for the day?
-Something like that.
-She doesn't get out very often?
-No, not at all!
-It's nice of you to bring her out. I'm glad you've come to Flog It!
You've brought with you a...gizmo, really.
-It looks to me as if it's made of marine ivory.
We can tell that by looking for flecks,
and they are really quite distinctive here.
Now, marine ivory really means walrus ivory,
as opposed to elephant ivory.
Ivory today, for obvious reasons, is not as fashionable as it was,
but this was made a long time ago, and it's entirely legal to sell it.
So there's no problem there.
As I say, it is a gizmo in the sense that it does two or three different things.
If I can unscrew it there...
We have...a pen,
not a fountain pen, but a dipper.
And at the other end, of course, a paper knife.
One other thing which I suspect is going to be the case,
is that if I look through this little hole at the end,
I'm going to see a black-and-white photograph.
'The image is so tiny, our cameras can't film it.
'But this is very similar to what David could see.'
I'm sure the moment you saw this, you thought, "I've got to go to Hastings!"
-We went there last year!
-Yeah, we did!
This type of magnifying device is known as a Stanhope
because it was invented by the third Earl of Stanhope,
who obviously hadn't got much to do with his time.
-He was probably very thrilled with it, and I must say, it is miraculous.
This isn't going to make the earth, let's be honest, but it's good fun,
and I'd like to suggest an estimate of £30 to £50.
OK. We'll go ahead, and I'll see you both at the auction.
-Lovely, thank you.
Now it's my turn to have a go at a valuation.
We're having a marvellous time here in Worthing, everybody's thoroughly enjoying themselves.
It's jam-packed in the pavilion, getting rather stuffy,
so I thought I'd do my next valuation outside, on the pier,
not just to get some fresh air, but also to take in the beautiful scenery
and listen to Dave perform on the pier - take it away for some seaside entertainment!
HE STRUMS TUNELESSLY
-Is that it?
-That's about my lot, I'm afraid! Would you like to have a go?
I've got to say, that's about all I could do as well.
Tell me about this wonderful mandolin, how did you come by it?
Well, I usually go to a boot fair Sunday mornings,
and I was wandering around, no rush,
and I saw it lying under a bench.
I picked it up, I asked the gentleman what he wanted for it.
-What was the price tag?
-Well, it was expensive - it was £3!
And I was a bit worried about getting my money back.
-You didn't try and knock them down?
-I did. I tried £2.50, but got rejected.
I'm not surprised! I'd have smashed it over your head for being cheeky!
-I think you got a bargain for £3.
-Do you? Oh, good.
-I did wonder once whether it wasn't genuine.
-Can I have a closer look?
Cos you know about wood, Paul!
-What wood is it?
-And what's this banding?
-It's all rosewood.
Yeah, it's just different sections of the grain showing through.
-So looking at this, that's mother-of-pearl inlay, can you see that?
Basically, mother-of-pearl is just very, very thin slices of seashell,
inlaid into the tortoiseshell.
-Would that be done by hand?
-Yes. Isn't that beautiful?
And this, I thought first off perhaps it was broken, but it's not.
No, the neck's been cut away on purpose inside the sound hole.
That's because this instrument was either designed to be plucked,
-or strummed with a plectrum.
-I'd say this is around 1850s to 1870s.
This is an early one.
It's really, really nice,
It's got that lovely Neapolitan bowl shape to it.
These instruments were first made in this kind of form and shape
-in the early part of the 17th century.
HE PLUCKS NOTES
-And it's derived from the lute.
-So your £3...
-What do you think it's worth?
-Oh, double. How about six?
OK, how about 250?
-That'll do you, won't it? There you are.
I say we put that into auction with a value of £150 to £250. Reserve at 150.
-Sounds good to me.
-See you at the auction.
-Thank you, Paul. Thank you very much.
-That's OK. I'd be keeping that.
Michael is entranced by the silver jug belonging to Pam.
It wouldn't be a "Flog It!" for me unless I saw a lovely bit of silver.
And you have kindly obliged by bringing this lovely jug along.
Where did you get it from?
It was a gift from an elderly neighbour and friend.
Have you got any idea how old it is, where it was made,
-anything like that?
-No idea whatsoever.
Right, most silver should have a set of hallmarks on. Super.
We've got the hallmarks there.
Sadly, the central mark, which is the maker's mark, was just
lightly struck when it was punched, because it is on a curved surface.
So, rather than hitting the punch down flat,
and making a good impression, they just caught the edge of it.
-I can't really make that out,
but about half of these jugs were made by a man called David Mowden,
who was working in London, so there is a great good chance it's by him.
What we have got, struck nice and clear, the sterling mark
and we have got the crowned leopard's head, which is
the London town mark and most of all,
the date letter which is a Gothic A. And that is for 1756.
So, you've actually got a little George II silver...
-Oh, I'm surprised.
-..tripod cream jug.
And you've got all these lovely features, these cast,
squat feet and this leaf cap scroll handle.
And what's most attractive is this lovely, scalloped and waved rim.
It's actually one of the cheaper bits of silver you could
buy in the 18th century. There's not a great deal of weight to it.
And you could imagine these handles being cast in quite a large number
as were the feet.
The nice thing about yours is that it's come down
in perfect condition.
I'd say half of these were got at during
the 19th century, and the Victorians had the delight
in chasing them with flowers and berries and figures.
And at the time, it was jollying up something that was
completely out of fashion.
But, of course, it ruins the Georgian original for collectors,
and we've got even the original owner's initials on the base there.
-I didn't notice that.
-Any idea of its value?
As I say, they were made in relatively large numbers.
And this is the sort of thing that someone would buy, who's just
starting to collect silver. It is very much entry-level.
Let's put £100-£150 on it. Let's put a fixed reserve of £90.
It won't go under that.
But I'm sure a collector will love and enjoy this,
so let's hope it does really well for you.
-Thank you very much.
This very pretty, unprepossessing house
in the Sussex village of Rodmell,
was home to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
It's Monk's House, and it was Virginia Woolf's country retreat.
Virginia Woolf is the most famous British writer of the 1920s
and '30s. Her work and her life are
closely associated with women's rights.
But she was a tortured genius who took her own life at the age
of 59. Virginia Woolf suffered from severe depression and throughout
her lifetime, experienced several nervous breakdowns, but during
that period, she never stopped writing novels, journals, diaries.
And together with her husband Leonard,
she founded the Hogarth Press,
which published works by authors such as TS Eliot and DH Lawrence.
'Virginia and Leonard were members of the infamous Bloomsbury Set,
'who soon adopted Monk's House as a regular retreat.
'They were intellectuals, artists and writers and the place was
'decorated in avant-garde style by various members of the group.'
Monk's House was acquired by the National Trust in the 1980s
and for the last ten years has been looked after by Jonathan
and his wife Caroline. I'm very pleased to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
-As soon as I walked into this house, it embraced me.
It really did, it's like a mini Charleston.
I love the artwork and the colours.
It's a treasure trove of the whole spirit of the Bloomsbury group.
And not just the paintings. They painted all of the surfaces.
Exactly. That's just like Charleston.
I can see the tables are painted. The lampshades.
I noticed there was a packet of cigars there.
-Are they yours or is that a prop?
-Those are the cigars that Virginia is known to have smoked.
Yes. And she would have sat there in that chair.
There are photographs of her in that chair in front of the fire,
which is the obvious place in a very cold, damp room like this.
So, you have been here ten years, you can
obviously build up a picture of what she's like, a very good picture?
Just tell me a little bit about the woman.
Well, she was a genius and obsessed with words.
So, all her life, she was focused on writing.
It could have been be letters to a friend,
it could have been her diaries,
which she kept every single day.
And of course, then, her great works, her novels.
She was also reviewing books, so she was just surrounded with words.
I think she was writing at a time
-when men had all the political power and the wealth.
She was a proto-feminist in an era when that wasn't really fashionable.
She wrote A Room Of One's Own,
about how she didn't just want to be an ordinary little housewife,
but that she wanted to have the space
and the freedom to devote herself to her work.
Throughout the 1920s, that whole decade, she had a very close
and intimate relationship with Vita Sackville-West.
Well, she was somebody who was maybe quite confused in her own mind
about her sexuality.
And she certainly explored some quite intimate relationships
with other women.
Not just Vita Sackville-West, but also the famous composer,
And I think this was part of the whole Bloomsbury experience
that they were experimenting in many of the ways
in which they lead their lives.
Monk's House was a retreat from the busy, chaotic London life,
but Virginia Woolf's real retreat was the rambling garden,
complete with orchard, which became an inspiration to her.
In 1934, Leonard built this small writing lodge, especially for her.
It's a marvellous writing studio, isn't it?
Writing shed, in fact, a clapperboard shed -
must be the most famous one in the world, if you're talking about sheds.
It certainly is one of the most
and it is something that a lot of people come to see here.
-This is a pilgrimage, isn't it?
Where was she when she wrote those famous words of To The Lighthouse?
And the paper that she wrote on, this blue paper, because
apparently, she had quite bad eyes, so she didn't like white paper.
Just think how many famous people, let's say 80 to 100 years ago,
would have sat here under the canopy of this chestnut tree.
They loved to come down here to work,
but they definitely entertained here as well.
And there are photographs of the Bloomsbury group assembled,
in fact, on this very bit of terracing here.
People like EM Forster, TS Eliot, they all came here
and they're all photographed here.
'Despite her lifestyle and open relationships,
'Virginia Woolf's heart belonged to Monk's House
'and the man she shared it with, Leonard.'
And he did support her in everything she did, didn't he?
He was a loving man. And I know they had a great friendship right
-throughout their life.
-Yes, yes, and she, when she died,
said in her letter that she left, that you have been the best
husband that anyone could have been, because obviously, she didn't
want him to feel guilty about, "If only I had done this for her."
After Virginia Woolf's death,
her husband Leonard continued to live here at Monk's House until his
own death in 1969 and there is no doubt about it,
this humble little house really does embody
the spirit of one of the 20th century's greatest writers.
It illuminates her life and it's definitely well worth a visit.
Now, quick reminder of what is going to auction.
We have Carol's gold watch with that all-important maker's name,
Nicola and Adam's 100-year-old Stanhope, made from marine ivory,
Cindy's Victorian theatre playbill dated 1865 and printed on silk,
that 250-year-old silver cream jug belonging to Pam and, finally,
David's early 19th-century mandolin with its beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay.
I'm getting excited, and I hope you are,
because it's time to put our experts' valuations to the test.
We're doing it in this building, Denhams Auctioneers.
Before I go inside and catch up with our owners,
who are probably really nervous, let's have a chat with today's auctioneer, Simon Langton,
see what he's got to say.
As you can see, the sun's shining, so let's hope he's in a good mood.
I want to know what Simon thinks of my item, the mandolin.
The reserve's been reduced to £120.
I have been punchy, I put 150 to 250 on this because of its quality.
A little bit punchy, a little bit excitable...
But it's better than the norm.
Oh... Crumbs, it's top-drawer, this is the biggest news in mandolins, but you're a bit high,
-I'm a bit low, perhaps we'll meet in the middle.
-Let's make music!
Well! Steady on!
It's your job to get on the rostrum and find a buyer that's going to fall in love with this.
David's wife Shirley has joined us for the sale.
Thank you, sir.
Hello, pleased to meet you as well. You've come to wave it goodbye.
-I tell you something... Sadly? Ooh, do you want to keep it?
Well, you might be, because I had a chat to the auctioneer earlier,
and you know what he said - he said he thought it was a bit punchy.
He would put it at about 100 to 150.
So his top end is my lower end, but it doesn't really matter, does it?
They don't mind if it's going home. I think the pressure's off.
Next time we come to Worthing, we'll probably see him busking along the seafront.
Let's see if we hit the high notes now - it's time to sell it.
The six-stringed mandolin, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl,
two labels on it, a handsome-looking mandolin.
What do we say, £100 for it?
75 then, come along, let's make music together. Come along, now.
50, if we dare. 40, then. Thank you. And five. 50. And five.
At £55, do I see 60?
At £55, looking for 60. At £55, 60 I've got. And five, 70.
And five, 80.
And five, 90. And five. 100. 105, if it helps.
It's only money!
At 105, good for you. At 105, we're using discretion here.
At 105, going to sell, at 105.
Hammer's gone down. He sold it, with discretion. We wanted 120, he sold it at 105.
-So he's used a bit of discretion. Is that OK?
-Yeah, that's fine.
-It's gone, anyway, it's gone.
-Won't have to string it now.
-That'll help toward the golden wedding!
It's got him out of playing it, hasn't it? Let's face it!
-The golden wedding?
-Wow! 50 years!
-Well, that's a bit of money towards the celebration.
-Buy a box of champagne.
-Job done! Job done!
Next up, the Victorian playbill.
Cindy's decided at the last minute to put a £20 reserve on it,
and it looks like she's brought the whole family along to the sale.
My daughter Kylie, and my granddaughter, Lilly.
How old is Lilly?
-She's a year a week tomorrow.
Hiya! Hello, Lilly. What are we selling? Well...
-You've had this in the family quite a time.
-I've had it about 15 years.
-And did you have it on the wall?
-Yes. My husband quite likes it.
It's your husband that's instigated the reserve?
Yes, yes, because he said to me, "Actually, I quite like it."
-He said, "I'll give you £20."
We had a chat about it, and the auctioneer liked it,
there's lots of history there.
The thing is, if you had somebody in your family, past generations,
that actually performed in a play that was there, well,
-you've got a buyer, haven't you?
-No matter how much it costs.
-It's an important piece of social history.
-Yeah, let's find out what happens. Here we go.
240, is the Victorian programme there.
The Royal Dramatic College at Crystal Palace.
Numerous names of amusement and fun. What do we say for it? £20 for it.
10, then, come along now, I'm bid 10 at the back.
12, 16, 18, is it? At £18, 20, and two now, sir.
22 right at the back there. Selling at 22, we're going at 22, are we?
I think Lilly nearly put in a late bid there!
-Crying out, "Over here," she said!
-Yeah, that's right.
-Well done, David, spot on.
-Brilliant, thank you.
-Thank you so much for bringing all the family in.
And a wonderful piece of social history.
Not exactly a fortune, but a spot-on estimate, and it's gone.
Next, it's that 1756 silver cream jug belonging to Pam.
Why are you selling the cream jug now?
-It sits in the back of a cupboard.
-Does it? It does.
That's what happens to silver, isn't it, when you don't want to polish it and leave it on display?
But the fact that Pam hasn't polished it means it's got
this lovely patination to it. This is a pure, clean...
It's honest, that's what they say in the trade. Very honest, very clean.
-That's your favourite word, isn't it?
"It's honest, guv, it's really honest."
-I tell you what, it's a good time to sell silver as well, isn't it?
Despite what other people might say, it's a very buoyant market.
-Happy with all that?
Shall we now find out what the bidders think?
OK, this is the real test, here we go.
840 is the George III, 1765 cream jug.
There it is, handsome cream jug, I'm bid 75, 80, and five, 90 and five.
100, and 20, 30, 140, 150.
Are we all done and selling now?
-At £150, you're done with it at 150, are you?
-How about that?
-Obviously there is commission to pay, here it is 15% plus VAT.
-But that's good spending money, isn't it?
-Yes, we're going on holiday very shortly.
-So it's towards the kitty, really?
-Going anywhere lovely?
-South of France.
-Oh, are you?
-Do you speak any French.
-En petit peu.
A little bit, yes, thank you for translating for us!
That's about the extent of my knowledge.
Ha-ha, superb! Let's hope we can do the same with the Stanhope.
It's a mixed bag, really - a letter opener,
we've got this wonderful Stanhope which eagle-eyes found.
-Tell us about that.
-I just found it in the back of the cupboard.
They're incredible, aren't they?
It's the thing which sums up Victorian life.
Victorians loved this sort of thing. Things that did other things.
The question is, will this lot out here love this?
Let's find out, shall we? It's going under the hammer.
Victorian pierced ivory paper knife, the end incorporating a Stanhope.
Come along, now.
What do we say for this one? I'm bid 20 and 2, 24, 26.
28, 30 and 2, 34, 36.
£36, are we all done? At 36, selling at 36, do I see 38?
No, it'll be at 36. Selling at £36 then...
-It's gone. £36. Straight in. Happy?
-Yeah, fine, thank you.
It's not a lot of money,
-but it's a great learning experience.
-It's a great thing to start collecting, because it's affordable.
Oh, go and play football. It's probably more interesting, isn't it?
Well, that certainly brightened my day! Next up is a bit of class.
Unfortunately, Carol can't be with us. But we have our expert, Michael Baggott,
and we have a value of 100, £150.
It's fabulous quality, there's a lot of gold weight in it,
and then it's got the Asprey name, so I don't want to commit myself before the action,
but it should sell, 100%.
Let's find out what the bidders think. It's going under the hammer right now.
Pendant watch, by Asprey's - what do we say for this one?
Starting us here at £50 and five. 60, and five. 70, and five.
80, and five. 90, and five. 100.
120, 130, 140, 150,
160, 170, 180, 190, 200. And 20.
240, 260... 240 standing, all done at 240, do I see 260?
At 240, and selling at 240 then...
-Bang, the hammer went.
-That's great. It was a come-and-buy-me, wasn't it?
-I think it was. You're right - the name got it away. Quality always sells.
Who's going to tell her?
I think a phone call from you is a joyous thing.
A phone call from me, it could be bad tidings.
Well, so far, so good, that completes our first visit to the auction room today.
We are coming back here later on in the show, so hopefully,
fingers crossed, there should be one or two big surprises, so don't go away.
Now, when you think of surrealist art, you think of lobster telephones
and sofas in the shape of Mae West's lips,
and also iconic names like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and Magritte,
but England had its surrealist artists too, and this was their HQ -
Farley Farm in deepest rural Sussex. Be prepared for a surprise.
In 1949, the surrealist artist Roland Penrose and his wife, the photojournalist Lee Miller,
made this place their home.
Surrealism is a revolutionary art movement
which features the elements of surprise and juxtaposition.
It's been described as an exploration of the subconscious, like a dream.
And the Penroses lived in it.
Today, their former home, Farley Farm, is full of their artworks and that of their friends.
It's a unique art gallery, museum and archive.
The main rooms in the house had been left largely as they would have been when the Penrose family lived here.
The room I am in now is the dining room.
As you can see, the walls have been painted with a bright sunshine yellow,
which is an incredibly bold move.
And what dominates the room - you can't miss it -
it's not just the fireplace, but it's a mural on the wall inside.
Painted by Roland, it's the Sun God. Isn't that just incredible?
But it's the dining table that the Penroses entertained all their friends at,
the likes of Pablo Picasso and all.
Could you imagine the conversations that went on around this dining table?
I'm just about to find out as I'm now going to have a chat with Antony Penrose, their son.
So, how did your father meet your mother?
-They met at an absolutely wild fancy dress party.
-An elite party?
It was a surrealist party.
They were all dressed in what you might imagine
the surrealist version of a fancy dress costume was.
And they met, and my father described the moment as though he had been struck by lightning.
-It's a great crack. He was never the same again.
-Love at first sight?
Yes, indeed. Although she was married and would have been living in Cairo,
but he tracked her down, pursued her,
then finally in 1939 she came to live with him in London, just as the war began.
Lee Miller was a model before becoming a surrealist photographer and photojournalist.
She even risked her own life, documenting World War II,
but much of her work was unpublished.
Antony spent over 30 years researching and presenting his mother's hidden photography.
You didn't find out she was a photojournalist during the war until after her death?
Well, I didn't know she'd been a combat photographer
and I certainly didn't know the extreme breadth and penetration of her work.
And I was absolutely astonished when we found the material in the attic of this house
where she had hidden it away.
They obviously kept that from you, didn't they?
They just didn't talk about the war at all. It was completely buried.
It was like a part of her life that she'd shut the door on and wanted to forget.
Did Roland paint her at all?
Many times. And he painted her really in a very perceptive way.
He really understood the inner workings of her in a way that I don't think anybody else did.
Was this the first time he painted your mother?
Yes, he painted her like this in 1937, soon after he had met her.
Tell me a little bit about it.
Well, you can see her legs are earthy. Roland was very intuitive
and he found metaphors for things that he couldn't explain in other ways.
So, earthy legs, she was grounded. Really earthy sort of personality.
And the upper half?
Well, her body has become the sky because she was very strongly dissociated.
It's like she didn't live inside her body.
He knew this, didn't know how to explain it,
so he just painted her with her body like the sky.
He used a lot of visual metaphor in his work.
-For example, you see the face is the sun.
-It's a golden ball.
Well, that was the brilliance of her intellect and the warmth of her personality encapsulated in there.
And I see she's got two birds as hands. One's a swallow.
Yes, the swallow comes because she should have been living at this moment with her husband in Cairo,
and Roland was hoping that she would fly like a swallow,
migrating from North Africa and come and live in his home in London.
-That's so romantic.
-It is, isn't it? It's lovely.
You grew up here. It must have been quite an unusual upbringing. Tell me about that.
Well, it seemed perfectly normal to me,
didn't really occur to me that it was anything different
until I got to be in my teens,
and then I suddenly realised that, yes, perhaps it was unusual.
So everything that was unusual seemed normal
and your normal life at the time must have seemed unusual?
Well, it took me a long time to discover what normal was, that was for sure.
'But growing up in a surrealist household did come with its perks.'
Well, I can recognise one person in the photograph,
possibly the greatest artist of the 20th century - Pablo Picasso.
-But who's the other little chap?
-Well, that's me.
-Aren't you lucky!
-So lucky. How old were you?
-I was three and a half.
-Can you remember that day?
It's just on the edge of my memory. I remember that he smelled good.
He smelled of Gauloises cigarettes and cologne,
and that was very unexpected for a small English boy.
You can't meet anybody more important to have your photograph taken with.
Well, he was very important to me,
and he was instantly a friend, somebody that I felt good with,
and that continued for the years afterwards.
-You're a lucky man to have met him.
-Indeed I am.
Thank you so much for talking to me today.
It's been a great pleasure. Thanks for coming.
Well, I'm certainly going to have fond memories of Farley Farm here in Sussex,
home to the English surrealists.
I might even have some vivid dreams tonight,
and wake up and paint murals all over my walls.
But one thing is for sure, this place is definitely well worth a visit.
But it's only open on certain days of the year,
so make sure you come here when it's open to the public.
Welcome back to the Pavilion here in Worthing.
We've still got a full house. It's time for Act Two.
Let's join up with our experts and see what they've spotted to take to auction later on in the show.
We love to see smiling faces on "Flog It!"
and Susan's brought along this one for Michael to value.
Susan, we are not alone.
I see that!
Where has this severe-looking fellow come from?
Well, someone graciously donated him to a charity shop that I work in, in Hove.
And we're all puzzled as to where he might come from and his value.
Right. Well, hopefully, I can tell you where it was made, when it was made and what it's worth.
If we look at him first, what a marvellous thing to be dropped into a charity shop.
We've got something which is very obviously a Chinese carving.
And it's on a variety of softwood.
Your mind always goes, when you see these Chinese figures, "Is it one of the Buddhist immortals?"
But looking at how he's dressed, it's very much court-dress.
I mean, you've got here this armoured sleeve
and then we've got this fine robe, which is decorated all over.
I say decorated all over, a lot of it's lost,
but it's depicting clouds on it,
because the Chinese loved the stylised formation of clouds.
Clouds are like waves, like mushrooms,
the Emperor would have a ruyi sceptre and the head of it would be carved as a mushroom.
-It's very interesting.
-So, all of these forms.
Now, originally this fine fellow
would have been not as an individual sculpture, as we would understand it in the West,
but a fitment off a large carved architectural building
or a walkway or gallery, or even an altar.
And you've got to think of this
rather like the decorative pantile off the top of your Victorian house.
And when you think of the Chinese court and the palaces
and the massive scale they were on, you get hundreds, if not thousands, of these carved figures.
And it can be very difficult to date them.
And that's really my problem today.
They certainly were made as early as the 16th or 17th century, right up to the 20th century.
I've got a feeling, from the amount of genuine wear on this,
that we'd be safe in saying it's 19th century,
it may even be earlier,
but it comes to the question of value.
-I mean, I remember 15 years ago when Chinese works of art were making money,
but they weren't making a lot of money,
and there seems to have been an explosion over the last two or three years,
so whoever donated this was giving a real gift to the charity.
Let's put £200-400 on him.
Let's put a fixed reserve of £180 on him.
It's the sort of thing I wish we saw more of on "Flog It!"
cos it's really unique, in its way.
Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate your time.
It's a pleasure. Let's hope he brings you luck on the day.
-Let's rub his head a little!
-If it helps!
-If it helps.
David's up next, with Lesley's sewing kit.
Thank you for bringing these little items in here.
-Are you a sewing lady yourself?
-Yes, I am.
This button's coming loose.
-Perhaps you could sew it up for me before you go?
Let's discuss this little needle case, which caught my eye
because it's decorated with views of St John's College in Cambridge.
-These are probably, as you know, transfer printed on the back of glass.
They're then coloured.
The needle case itself is in astonishingly good condition,
particularly when you bear in mind
how susceptible the boards are to chipping.
There's no wear there at all.
The second item we'll quickly discuss is this box,
which contains crewel silk for art needlework.
Now, crewel work is a late 17th century technique
whereby you create a raised decoration.
It might be flower heads, or possibly animals or birds.
You then cut round those and they were then applied to a linen or cotton backing.
This particular thread is actually three or four different shades,
going through from almost white to quite a dark green.
And I was interested to see that that is shade 235, so whether that means
that you could obtain 234 other shades or not, I don't know.
And finally, as far as the sewing bits and pieces are concerned,
there's this little pin holder here,
made, I think, but I'm not absolutely certain, from stained ivory.
-And seeing as you've brought it along with you,
we might throw these playing cards in for good measure.
-Have you any particular hopes or expectations?
-Not really, not really.
Wouldn't really put an estimate of much more than, say,
£30-£50 on the lot.
-You look a bit disappointed.
Yes, I just thought a little bit more than 50, but...
Well, we'll do our best for you.
I mean, I say this a lot to people,
in today's market you've got to be realistic.
And because it's a low value lot, the auctioneers would probably be grateful
-if we didn't put a reserve on it.
-Oh, no, I wouldn't put a reserve.
Jolly good. OK. I'll see you at the sale, then.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
Well, if you've got any unwanted antiques and collectibles you want to sell, we want to see you.
Bring them along to one of our valuation days,
and you can pick up all the dates and venues on our BBC website.
Just log on to bbc.co.uk/flogit - all the information will be there.
If you don't have a computer, ask a friend,
or check the details in your local press,
because we will hopefully be coming to an area very near you soon.
So, come on, dust down your antiques and bring them along.
This old chap's caught Michael's eye.
Did you bring this fellow or did he swim here himself?
No, I actually brought him here.
Where did you get this specimen from?
Well, my uncle gave him to me years ago, about 50 years ago.
I was just worrying for him because I loved him so much
and eventually he gave in and gave the turtle to me.
-So he really appealed to you?
-He did. He still does.
-He's got bags of character. He isn't everybody's cup of tea.
I think I might have been running away from him earlier today,
when I saw him, thinking, "Good grief, what's that?"
But he is, of course, as we all know, a turtle.
-And this just feeds into the Victorian fascination with dead animals.
And we think it's a bit macabre today but really,
there was no television,
going to zoos was a long drawn-out and expensive process,
so a lot of people of moderate means
would put together these naturalistic museums of stuffed specimens.
-You couldn't have them live, after all.
So what, to us today, can seem a little bit horrible and, "Oh! Why would they do that?"
It's simply the only way that they could see these animals.
-Catching these things and taking the shells off them is now banned.
That means there's a great deal of regulation that goes with selling anything like this at auction.
-And the main thing is that it is prior to 1947.
Once you see that face, it's fairly evident it has 100 years of wear,
-colour and patination to it.
-You don't want to release him back, do you?
-If only! If only.
-I think, at auction, we could put £100-£200 on him.
In that very macabre, strange, Victorian aesthetic that it has -
-I think someone will fall in love with him too.
-Let's hope so!
-Wave him bye-bye.
-Yes. Bye-bye, dear old chap.
I won't touch him. I'm still scared.
As this is a theatre, I thought I'd do my next valuation right on the stage here,
so we can keep an eye on what's going on behind us.
I've been joined by Janet and we've got something that will appeal
to the macabre, somebody with a wonderful, wacky sense of humour.
And it's right here, Janet's holding it.
-That is pretty wacky, isn't it?
What is a lady like you doing owning something like this?
A lady that lived near me, I was friends with her
and her husband, and he died and I used to go and visit her
and she was throwing several things out and this was amongst it.
And she said that it was her grandfather's
and he did sail a ship.
-And obviously it caught your eye.
-Well, it did.
Although it's not nice to look at, for me,
but I thought, "Don't throw that out, I'll have that."
Well, it is a little vessel for holding tobacco, that is
definitely pear wood.
Definitely. And this is...turned on a lathe, as you can see,
the little frog's applied afterwards.
The inside has been hollowed out on a lathe,
then they've left this little length of pear wood as it
came off the branch and they they've chip-carved a wonderful skull.
Look at that!
All the teeth have been actually carved by hand into the pear wood.
And this is bone, this little snake, weaving through the eye sockets.
But where the inspiration came - well, I don't know.
But somebody that had a fascination for pirates
and voodoo and...gosh, all sorts of spooky things.
-I absolutely love it but I wouldn't have it in my house.
-Where's this been in your house?
-It's in a shed. I don't want it...
-Not in the house.
-Definitely not in the house.
In the shed, in the garage, anywhere but in the house.
Could you imagine finding that at the end of the bed?
Waking up one night and going...
-Any idea of its value?
-No, not really.
Do you know, I think if you put this into auction, we should be
-looking at around £100-£150, because I think it's so out there.
Someone will like this. They really will.
-Shall we call the valuation £100-£150?
-And put a reserve at 100 and see what happens?
-Let's say goodbye!
I hope I've got that valuation right.
With unusual items like this, it's all about a gut feeling.
Well, we've found some real gems.
I think we've got one or two stunners, and we could have a few
surprises, so let's get straight over to the auction room.
And we're taking with us Jo's Victorian turtle,
a naturalistic exhibition piece,
Lesley's sewing kit,
including a Cambridge-themed needle case and silk box,
Janet's tobacco pot, with its carved skull, she kept in the shed
because it was so scary,
and Susan's imposing Chinese figure, in his robes, decorated with clouds.
This is where we're putting our valuations to the test today,
Denhams Auctioneers, just a few miles outside of Horsham.
As you can see, the house is filling up.
It's got all the ingredients of a classic sale.
Quality kit, lots of people, enthusiastic bidding.
That's what we want to see, and hopefully push the prices through the roof.
Whatever you do, don't go away, because I can guarantee one or two big surprises.
First up, a real museum piece. Will the bidders want to give him a home?
Coming up now, something for all you taxidermy enthusiasts.
It's a wonderful little turtle. It belongs to Jo.
I've got to say, condition is superb.
Taxidermy, ten years ago,
you couldn't do anything with it, nobody wanted it.
Then you get Damien Hirst cutting a cow in half,
and all of a sudden everyone's interested in Victorian taxidermy.
I just loved the turtle, myself.
There was a move towards the sort of mini museum at home, with lots of natural history.
-It's not to everybody's taste.
-No, it's not.
I hope there are two turtle fanciers here.
I kind of...I like it in a way. I'm with you, I'm with you,
but I know what Michael's saying.
I would be delighted to be proved wrong.
Let's find out what the bidders think. You've heard what Michael had to say about it,
it's now down to the bidders. Here we go.
It is a 19th century stuffed and mounted turtle.
-Don't hold it up.
-There he is, making his way amongst you.
What do we say for him? £100 for him?
75 for him? Come along now.
I'm at £40. Good grief.
£40, and five? 50,
and five? 60?
-At £60 then, and five.
-Struggling, isn't it?
As ghastly as he is, he's worth more than that.
Yes, he is. You were right with the valuation.
Do I see 70? At £65, he's all there. Beautiful looking specimen.
Not quite enough. At £65, I'm going to have to pass it, I'm afraid.
-He's going home.
-Oh, I'm so pleased!
I'm going to find a shelf for him again.
No, I love him dearly, so I'm not sad that he's going home.
This is not a sale, this is a love affair.
-And he's destined to stay with you.
-He obviously is, yes.
Thank goodness she DOES love him.
Now something I think should attract the attention of some
hard core rock'n'rollers.
I've just been joined by Janet, the owner of this lovely old skull.
We've got to sell it, because you don't want it back in the house
-and all the money has got to go towards the cats.
So tell us about the cats.
Yes, I've got a stray and my own cat,
-but I do feed two others that come to me.
The word's got around now, all the cats are telling each other...
-"Get down to Janet's, there's free grub."
Well, let's see what this skull does.
I really want this to sell but I'm having my doubts right now.
Here we go.
And lot 660 is the curious tobacco jar in the form of a skull.
There we are, a little bit of eastern excitement there for you.
What do we say for it, £100?
-I'm bid £100 straight in, bold bidding.
-Do I see 110? At £100, then...and ten.
-120, 130, 140..
-Yes, we've done it. Ever so pleased!
All done and selling now, at £150. All done, are we?
-I'm ever so chuffed at that!
-I'm a bit psychic, I thought it would be.
I did have my doubts, when I arrived at this sale, and I thought,
"Mm, no." But, all credit to Simon, he's found the buyer.
That's what it's all about.
'Now for the sewing kit,
'and Lesley's husband, Gordon, has come along for the sale.'
A bit of a mixed lot coming up right now
but not for a great deal of money - £30-£50. It belonged to Lesley, and who have you brought along today?
-My husband, Gordon.
-Hi, pleased to meet you.
-I gather some of these were your grandmother's.
-The same items, were they? Yes.
So, been in the family a long time, which is your social history, isn't it?
Yes, that's quite true.
Let's find out if the bidders are interested,
cos that's what we're here for, to put it under the hammer and flog it. Here we go.
Victorian ivory item there, as we see it there,
we've got all sorts of goodies there,
playing cards, etc. What do we say for it?
-It's a funny old mixed bag, isn't it?
I'm bid 40, and five. 50, and five.
-60? £60 there?
Are we selling now at £60? Do I see the five? With me at 60, then.
-All in and selling at 60, are we?
-Straight in and out, really!
There was something there somebody definitely wanted. £60.
-No, I'm very pleased with that.
-Good. Well done.
Yes, nice little lot.
Sold, over estimate. That's what we like to see on "Flog It!"
Now for our last item, the wooden Chinese figure.
Susan's brought along her colleague, Amanda, for the sale.
This was an Oxfam find, wasn't it?
-This is an Oxfam find.
-Tell me all about it.
It came into the shop, a normal donation, in a box of other bric-a-brac.
And we have a lady that specialises in antiques
and she brought it out, thought it might be worth something.
-And we brought it here.
-Michael, we've got £200-£400 on this.
-I swooped on it like a hawk!
-You did, you beat me to it.
-I went, "Ooh, ooh!"
-I saw you behind me, leaning in.
-Chinese figures, big business.
At the moment they've replaced Russian works of art as the most saleable class.
-This is the big one!
-This is the big one.
-It's a lovely figure.
Hopefully, there are telephone bids and internet bidding.
By somebody in Hong Kong.
We're going to find out, all the waiting is over.
It's been a long time, hasn't it? It really has. OK.
It's a roller coaster ride just about to take place.
-It's going under the hammer.
-We want to buy a couple of cows.
-Here we go.
The very handsome, carved Eastern figure of a seated deity.
There he is.
-And I am bid...
£100, and 10,
120, 130, 140,
150, 160, 170, 180...
..190. 200, with me now at £200.
Are we all done and selling now?
At £200, then, can't make any more out of this, at £200...
At £200, I'm going to sell at £200. All out at 200, are we?
-Fantastic. And all the money's going back to the shop.
We want to buy a couple of cows.
-Yes, very excited.
-If anything else like that comes along, bring it in.
-We certainly will. It's been great. Thank you so much.
-Bang on estimate.
-Bang on. You're the best.
-He is the best!
-Can you say that again?
He's the best. He is!
Well, that's it, the auction has just finished
and, I've got to say, all of our owners are going to go home very happy.
I know it was a struggle, a few ups and downs,
but that's auctions for you, you cannot predict what's going to happen.
That's why they're so exciting. So, do join me again for many more surprises
but, for now, from Sussex, it's goodbye.
The Pavilion Theatre at Worthing plays host, as Paul Martin is joined by experts David Fletcher and Michael Baggott. Michael meets a solemn-looking Chinese figure, and David finds a 100-year-old gizmo with three very different uses. Meanwhile, Paul explores the world of surreal art and finds out about a local connection to one of its greatest names, Picasso.