Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. Eric Knowles and his restorers set up shop at magnificent Burghley House.
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Hello, I'm Eric Knowles, and this is where you find out
whether your damaged heirlooms can be restored back to glory and make you money at auction.
Find out how much on Restoration Roadshow.
We're here at magnificent Burghley House,
built in the 16th century by Elizabeth I's treasurer,
William Cecil, and home to successive generations ever since.
It's overflowing with family heirlooms.
I love these treasures and can't wait to discover what's inside the boxes and bags
brought in by the good folk of Lincolnshire today.
And the questions on everyone's lips, how much are they worth?
If I wanted to pick that up from a gallery,
-they're going to charge me £500 for it.
-Should they be restored?
-I wouldn't recommend you have it done.
And will they end up back home or make some money at auction?
Coming up - no prizes for guessing who this 17th-century gent is...
A restoration portrait for the Restoration Roadshow.
How great, what a start to the day.
..beauty products do nothing for the complexion of this charming demi-lune cabinet...
It's some form of acid or lacquer, or something like that.
..and discover how frostbite made a cracking mess of this modern Moorcroft vase.
Here at the Restoration Roadshow,
we're ready to pass on all our expertise,
and hopefully, provide all manner of cures for your depressed and ailing antiques.
I'm going to try just some clear polish and see if that makes a difference.
It's a grand setting and I'm so thrilled to be here.
Just look at the stunning Heaven Room and Hell Staircase, painted by the Italian artist Verio.
Which brings me to our first exciting find today -
yes, you've probably guessed it, Charles II has arrived.
Now, I'm led to believe that this rather majestic painting
is actually owned by the good citizens of Stamford.
It indeed is. It was found at the town hall, in the caretaker's attic at the top of the town hall.
And the town hall is currently going through a renovation programme,
and once it's done, we hope we can restore this wonderful portrait back to the Great Hall.
So, who actually found it?
I think one of our councillors did see a guide book
where it was displayed in the Great Room
during the Victorian times.
But he didn't know where it had gone.
So we went on a hunt, and I found it in the attic.
I've done a little bit of research, and I can tell you that it's a competent painting,
but it doesn't strike me as being by a great hand.
I'd be surprised if it turned out to be by one of the big names of that period.
Period-wise, we're certainly looking at somewhere between 1660 and 1680, I think.
But someone's taken a pot shot.
It's rather strategic, where you've this bit of damage.
In its present state, your painting may be worth in the region of £5,000.
I'm not going to say any more than that until we've done a little bit more research.
I mean, you couldn't invite the Queen for tea
-to see one of her ancestors in such a state, could you?
You've got to hedge your bets there, just in case she pops in.
Lucia Scalisi is no stranger to royalty,
having restored paintings for the Henry VIII exhibition
at the British Library,
including a priceless Holbein portrait.
It's fantastic. A Restoration portrait for the Restoration Roadshow.
How great. What a start to the day.
Um, yes, it's a contemporary portrait
and it's in the style of a great artist called Sir Peter Lely.
But it's not a Lely, the quality's just not there.
It's a fairly, sort of, standard portrait that would have been copied by many artists of the period.
It's obviously had a few trials in its life, but the actual discoloration is fairly standard.
You know, discoloured, natural-resin varnish, very yellow.
This armour would have been a silvery grey, or is a silvery grey under this yellow, golden varnish.
He's not wearing bronze coloured armour.
What we have to consider now are repairing, or at least securing, these damages.
And we've got this big hole, here in the middle, a dent here,
and a dent and a hole down at the bottom, and this scuff mark here.
And what I can do today, as a temporary measure,
is to consolidate these areas and make them secure.
But to fill that loss would be a lot of work, and it has to be studio-based.
It would be in the region of £250, £300.
What about a total clean, Lucia? What's that going to be?
I'd have to do some cleaning tests today
to work out how long it was going to take to remove this discoloured varnish,
but we are talking in the region of several thousand pounds, really.
It's a lot of hours of work.
Do you think the council will go for that?
Um...can we say that we start with stabilising the damage,
then eventually, look at cleaning it up and restoring it to its glory
when the budget is a bit more flexible.
Spoken like a true town clerk.
In its current state, the 17th-century portrait could be worth £5,000.
And Lucia's charging £250 to £300 to give it a surface clean and secure the damaged areas.
So, Lucia, we're relying on you, with powerful glasses
and delicate touch, to bring his Majesty back from exile.
Outside, it's becoming THE place to be seen in Lincolnshire,
as our restorers are struggling to keep up will all your demands.
This very special 20th-century demi-lune, or half moon, cabinet, has been brought in by Chris Parkin.
It's been in an accident and needs treatment from our furniture restorer extraordinaire, Tim Akers.
Tim's 30 years' experience includes specialist museum pieces through to more modest family heirlooms.
He gets great pleasure bringing sick and injured furniture back to life.
We have a lovely cabinet here.
Um... Stunning size, really pretty, small cabinet.
You've got some damage to the top.
-How did that happen?
I had a guest who didn't... Who wasn't very careful.
Which does happen.
-And you're still talking to her?
-That's even worse.
-Yes, of course I am.
And do you know how it happened?
No, I don't. I went to clean it one day and found it.
I was just horrified. Because I just love the piece, I've always loved it.
Let me tell you something about it. The date is around 1905.
And you've got these lovely oval panels to the doors.
You've got some interesting woods here, radiating panels of mahogany divided by boxwood lines.
You've got a satinwood panel at the back,
and then, this beautiful timber here, which is burr yew.
It's got everything... And the mark, unfortunately.
Initially I thought it was a heat mark, but it's not.
It's actually eaten away... It's some form of acid or lacquer, or something like that.
Could be nail-polish remover.
-I don't think my man would have nail-polish remover.
-If he does, he's not going to admit to it.
-No, he won't.
That area there, funnily enough, which is the one that looks worse,
is very straightforward.
The small area here in the mahogany panel might be a little bit tricky, because this has faded over time,
and as you move further back on the top, where the sun wouldn't have reached,
where it was against a wall, it is much darker.
If I'm unlucky, when I remove that mark, it could go slightly red.
-Do you have any idea of its value at that moment?
-None at all.
I would say £100.
-And the repairs,
-I would have thought £100 to do the repairs.
But we have had a valuer look at it, and he said that, post-restoration, he thinks £300 to £400.
Wow, that would be brilliant.
-So it's well worth doing, isn't it?
-And you love the piece.
-I just love it, yes.
In its current state, this beautiful cabinet is worth about £100.
Tim reckons it's going to cost £100 to return it to its former glory.
And afterwards, it could be worth £300 to £400.
But Chris won't be selling.
When I downsize, when I'm in my dotage, it will go with me to my next home.
-It's such a lovely size, it can go anywhere.
It sounds like Tim's fallen in love with this early-20th-century beauty too.
Fingers crossed he doesn't see red when it comes to restoring that mahogany finish.
All our restorers are scrubbed up today, chisels sharpened,
scalpels ready, glue warming, just waiting for the next casualty.
But it's not always about making money.
Restoration doesn't necessarily add value to your treasures,
especially if you're out to make a few bob at auction.
Notty Hornblower is keen to find out more about her Victorian cot.
I have to say, I can't claim to be an expert on cots,
apart from the fact I've got four children, but that's as far as it goes.
But it is obviously a very charming Victorian cot, isn't it?
It's quite big, so at the moment, it lives in one of the sheds,
and I'm afraid one of the cats sleeps in it.
Well, that's one use for it.
But in its day it was probably used as a travel cot
thanks to its lightweight collapsible chain-mail design.
It may have even journeyed to the Colonies where its metal frame
would have easily withstood all manner of wood-boring insects.
There's a chain link suspension
which rocks at the same time, which is quite a clever idea.
Originally, it would have been black, which I'm sure you know.
-It's been over painted.
-I thought it had.
The thing I like about it is these lovely brass finials.
They actually are a fantastic colour, and I think we've got a label here.
It says, "Hoskins Patent Cot Company, 1885."
And you want to restore it or sell it, what are your thoughts on it?
I think I would like to sell it, but I want to know
if I should restore the cot first, or I should just send it as it is,
because I've no idea what it's worth.
Well, you've come to the right place, Notty.
Having played just £25 for it, we think it could be worth £80 or £120 at auction as it is.
Tim's advice - it's a classic case of when not to restore.
It's got a certain amount of charm and I like it very much.
I think, actually, it will do quite well.
Find out later if this Victorian cot charms the buyers at auction.
-All done, at one.
-It's nice to get to three figures, isn't it?
It is, actually.
Coming up, a rare 21st-century Moorcroft vase with frostbite.
Will ceramics expert Roger Hawkins be able to save it from the bin?
And we catch up with our Restoration monarch who is in danger of losing more than just his throne.
Once it's gone, it's gone forever.
We're hugely excited that so many interesting,
if rather wounded patients, have turned up at our Restoration Roadshow.
This, I want to take home.
-I do, I love this.
Some like this 19th-century engineer's pocketbook just need a little bandaging.
While others, like this Victorian snuffbox,
could benefit from a bit of a facelift.
The silver little filigree on the edge has really come up nicely as well.
But every so often, a terminal case comes in requiring major surgery.
Caroline Hewson's brought along every restorer's nightmare -
a limited-edition Moorcroft vase in bits.
A job for our ceramics guru, Roger.
Roger Hawkins is one of the country's leading pottery restorers
with students coming from all over the world to learn his craft.
If anyone can save this one from the bin, Roger can.
But is it worth saving?
Caroline Hewson thinks so.
Originally worth £2,500, she bought it in the second-hand shop,
already badly damaged from being left outside.
Why would somebody put something like that in the garden
if they paid that amount of money for it?
People don't understand that a glazed object shouldn't be put in a garden.
It wasn't necessarily in the garden, I could have been in a conservatory.
They may have gone away, turned the heating off. Who knows its history?
Some ceramics are porous and absorb water, so leaving them open to the elements can spell disaster.
You can see all the fractures, not only on the top, but all round the side here.
This has been caused by frost.
Roger's diagnosis is hypothermia.
This poor are pot was filled with water, which froze, causing it to crack.
Let's turn it up the other way and look at the top.
Wow! That's a good clean break, isn't it?
Now, there is another clue that this has been filled with water at least up to that level there.
-Yes, I can see that now.
-That's what caused the damage.
It's so, so sad this limited-edition piece has ended up just one step away from the tip.
Thank goodness Caroline got there first.
You obviously bought it because you like it. Is it something you want to keep,
or do you think you might want to have it restored and put into an auction or something?
Hopefully, if there's enough of it left, I'd like to have it restored.
Caroline wants to give this sorry vase a new home
and is willing to invest time and money to give it the second chance it deserves.
I didn't ask you how much you paid for it, though, did I? Are you going to tell me?
I hope you don't tell me off. £100.
100? Well, for £100 it can still sit in a corner and please you while it sits there,
so I think that's what matters.
That's the important thing.
In auction, as it is,
just like this, being held together by tape, it might fetch £100.
It may fetch half that, it could fetch more.
The question is, is repairing it even beyond Roger's expertise?
It really is very, very crumbly.
It's shattered. It's flaking off.
I think for...something like £200 or £300,
I can do something.
In terms of consolidating it and making the whole vase stable.
I really think that is the only route we can take.
One of only 20 ever made, this limited-edition piece originally sold for £2,500.
Caroline took pity on it and brought it home for £100.
And Roger's going to have a crack at saving it for £200 to £300.
But this is a rescue, not a restoration.
The damage means that its value is unlikely to top £300.
But Caroline's not looking to sell.
This rare find will have pride of place in her front room, if Roger can give it a second chance.
Today's Restoration Roadshow has thrown up all sorts of challenges for our team of restorers.
In fact, everywhere I look they're hard at work on your wounded worldly goods.
Remember that Charles II painting found in the attic at Stamford Town Hall?
Lucia's using a water-based adhesive to reattach the flaky paintwork.
She's working it into the cracks with the help of a heated spatula
and a protective layer of acid-free tissue.
Wherever there are tears or losses in the paint layer
there's usually cracked and flaking paint around those losses,
and it's my job as a conservator
to secure as much of the original paint as possible,
because once it's gone, it's gone forever, really.
With the glue in place, the paint work that's left is now secure and Lucia can start work on the surface.
That's all the tissue off there. You can still see the hole.
The original canvas is missing, what you see there is the lining or secondary canvas.
Full-scale restoration of this hole is a job for another day,
but Lucia can give Charles a bit of a facelift with a surface clean,
and by the look of those cotton buds, it's long overdue.
You can probably see in this lovely daylight we've got here,
it shows up more of the detail in the painting,
but it also gives you an idea of just how dusty and dirty the surface is.
And this is a big painting.
Lucia's going to have her work cut out
giving this fabulous piece of Stamford heritage the right royal treatment.
Tim, meanwhile, is up to his neck in furniture first aid,
tackling that cabinet with the nasty, ugly scar.
I'm not going to clean the front edge of the damage, because there's bare wood there.
If I do that, the cleaner will soak into the timber and make it darker,
so for the moment I'm going to work on the area of mahogany that is damaged.
And... Well, let's see how it goes, because it could go dark on me,
which would not be good news. But let's see what happens.
He's using wire wool with a mixture of meths, turps and linseed oil
to draw out the stain. Something not to try at home, folks.
Tim works away at the damaged area using his skilful eye to avoid using too much and darkening the mark.
After a thorough clean, Tim will need to retouch, by hand,
the different surface colours to camouflage the scar's thick make-up.
If I get the colours wrong on bare wood,
the colours could actually penetrate the timber
and I would have a problem removing them.
So it's important to choose the colour correctly first time,
and as you can see from the palm of my hand, that is my painting palate.
So I just dab it on my palm to get a rough idea of what the colour's going to be,
then brush it in so it blends in, and then, build the polish up.
Sounds simple enough.
Roger couldn't deal with this tricky vase on site,
so has had to pack it up and take it back to his specialist workshop.
Even he can't believe the state it's in.
What a great shame that a vase like this has been ruined by a previous owner
who just left the water in there to freeze. That's a lesson learned.
I have to say, I'm still in shock.
This really is a case of pot abuse.
Roger's doing everything to reverse the damage
and has spent hours painstakingly injecting it with glue,
but the worst area, the frostbitten bottom,
is proving to be a bit of a sticking point.
This is going to need quite a lot more work and quite a lot more glue, I think.
Some of the glue that I've injected into here, just suddenly disappeared.
It's gone right through as if there's a huge crevasse down in these holes.
What I may have to do is just pour it into the base.
That should soak into the cracks of the glaze
and help consolidate it from the inside as well.
I can't think of anything else to do.
So, Roger, is it a case of ceramic panic?
Hold your breath and find out what Caroline thinks when all is revealed.
Coming up, will this Victorian travel cot, currently housing owner Notty's cat,
find a new home and make a few bob at auction?
We have got 11 bids on commission.
11 bids? Oh, well, that's good.
Earlier, Stamford Town Council brought in an incredible 17th-century portrait of Charles II,
found hidden away in the attic.
With plenty of damage to the paintwork,
Lucia was given the task of stabilising and cleaning the surface.
Time to see if all her hard work has paid off.
-I hope you're very excited about seeing this painting.
-I can't wait.
Wow! In its glory.
You couldn't see anything for the dirt and the dust,
but now you can see so much of his detail.
Before, this Restoration monarch was a disgrace,
his surface covered in years of dirt.
Now he's got his strength back, he can be hung up in all his Majesty for everyone to see.
You can still see the hole,
but for that to be repaired, I actually have to make a pattern
and do a little canvas inset because it's a very deep loss.
I can't just fill it and retouch it.
I've taken the surface dirt off very carefully
and put a brushcoat of modern synthetic varnish,
which is temporary, so it's not going to cause problems.
and protects the painting in the interim period. So get it on the wall.
Wonderful. Already you can see a lot of detail, you can see the baton there which you couldn't see before.
And the background, and even this cloth of gold that drapes around,
and the patterns on the cloth.
Well, I can't wait for the good people of Stamford
to see this Bonnie King Charlie in pride of place at their town hall.
I'd say that's one satisfied customer.
But will Tim have been able to give this damaged cabinet as dramatic a facelift?
Owner Chris Parkin brought it in to remove an unknown stain left by an accident-prone guest.
-I did ask my guest, and I'm afraid it was deodorant.
Mystery solved then, but getting the mark out has been a real labour of love for our Tim.
I have been working hard on it. And... Yeah, I'm looking forward to unveiling it for you.
So am I, so am I.
Unbelievable. I could hug you.
All right, then, that's fine.
Isn't that unbelievable?
-Brilliant. I love reactions like that.
-You have worked magic.
-Thank you, thank you.
Before, this beautiful early-20th-century cabinet
was scarred for all to see, but now the mark has vanished!
The colour is a perfect match and it's positively glowing again.
Oh, it's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
How can you get emotional about a piece of furniture? This will be under dust covers now.
No, no! Don't do that.
It has come up so beautifully and the whole cabinet has warmed up.
-It's at least £400, and I think it's probably worth quite a bit more than that.
-Well, it won't be sold.
It will go with me to my dotage, so...
It will go in any house I have.
-Well, it's lovely that you're keeping it and you love it.
-I just do.
And the family like it as well, so it will never go out of our house.
-If I have any more careless guests, I shall know where to come.
Well, with a bit of care this stunning piece of furniture
will stay this way for generations to come.
What a wonderful day it's been here at Burghley.
We've seen an incredible selection of lost, injured and smashed treasures
which have all benefited from our restorers' well-trained eyes.
Some are going home, like Chris's now good-as-new demi-lune cabinet,
and Stamford Council's regal portrait.
While others are hoping for a second chance,
like Caroline's shattered Moorcroft vase that's driven Roger potty.
If only you knew the ordeal you put me through.
And Notty's wonderful Victorian travel cot
that will hopefully charm its way into our buyers' hearts at auction.
But first, it's time to catch up with Roger and that incredible vase.
When we first saw it, it was held together with parcel tape,
so has he been able to save it from the bin?
You'll be happy to hear that I have saved it, but if only you knew the ordeal you put me through.
So, are you ready for this?
-I'm ready for this.
-Let's take off the magic cloth.
-Wow! I can't see any loose bits.
-There are no loose bits now.
Before, this rare find was in pieces having been left to freeze to death in the garden.
Now it's back in the land of the living with all its crevices filled in,
looking worthy of its original price tag.
It's marvellous what you done. Bits aren't going to come off in my hand?
-No, you can play the bongo drums on this.
-I don't think I'll go that far.
Well, maybe best not, but thanks to Caroline it certainly has a new lease of life.
You went along to that little shop and brought it back,
even in such a sorry state, but you have been its saviour.
If it wasn't for you, it would still be there or perhaps have gone into a local skip.
It's something, now, that I can put into a room and it will look great.
I think you've done a marvellous job.
Hasn't he just?
Roger spend hours slaving over this beauty, originally worth £2,500.
Roger's rescued it from the bin,
but now I've seen the end result I think its value is closer to £500.
The moral of the story is -
don't put precious pots out in the garden to freeze.
Let's hope we find as good a new home for our final item, that charming Victorian cot.
Here in Derby at Bamford's auction house,
Notty's cot is in good company with so many items on sale today.
Let's hope our bidders are in the mood to splash some cash.
Notty paid just £25 for this portable cast iron and brass cot
and is hoping to get £80 to £120 for it here at auction.
They don't make them like this any more,
so fingers crossed there's a collector or two in the audience today who'll appreciate it.
Remember, if you're interested in buying or selling at auction,
you will have commission and other charges to pay, so be sure to check with the auction house.
Everything that's been restored will be noted in the catalogue.
So, have we got a reserve on this?
-Yes, I have - £80.
-£80. Oh, well. £80, it's well worth that.
We know it's worth £80. And it looks the part, doesn't it?
-He's done a good job with it.
-OK. What's he going to start the bidding at?
I've got 11 bids on commission.
11 bids. Oh, well, that's good.
I will start at £80. Five, do I see?
At £80 and five now?
-£80, that's your reserve, isn't it?
-There's another bidder. 85.
100. That's £100 in the doorway. 10, do I see?
£100, is it going to go for another bid?
At £100, back of the room.
Got £100 for it.
All done at 100.
It's nice to get to three figures, isn't it?
-It is, actually. Super.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'm very happy.
That's £20 over Notty's reserve - a great result.
And not only did we make a few bob, that delightful Victorian cot's found a new home to boot.
So it's smiles all round here in Derby, and it just goes to show -
you have to choose carefully which items to restore.
So until the next time, it's goodbye from Restoration Roadshow.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap, restoring them to their former glory and maybe even making some money at auction.
Eric Knowles and his brilliantly talented group of restorers take to the road again in search of antiques and heirlooms destined for oblivion. The team set up shop at magnificent Burghley House, and in next to no time everyone's busy tending to all manner of items brought in by the public.
While picture restorer Lucia Scalisi casts an expert eye over a majestic 17th-century portrait of Charles II, Tim Akers tackles a demi-lune cabinet in need of some serious beauty therapy and a charming Victorian cot that's destined for the auction house.
But it's ceramics maestro Roger Hawkins who faces the toughest test when a lady turns up with a Moorcroft vase that would be worth thousands - if only it hadn't suffered a severe case of frostbite. Can Roger save the day?