Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. The team swings into action once more against the stunning backdrop of Burghley House.
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Hello, I'm Eric Knowles. This is the programme where you can find out
if those damaged heirlooms and treasures can be restored back to their former glory
-'and make you some money at auction.'
Find out how much on Restoration Road Show.
Here we are at Burghley House in Lincolnshire.
It's a stunning setting for our Restoration Road Show, and what makes it unique
is its team of in-house restorers, who work across a variety of ongoing projects.
These independent experts operate out of workshops
in the stable courtyard, and can be called upon at any time.
'And our restorers have joined their ranks today to check out your dusty and damaged treasures
'and maybe bring back some of the sparkle.
'And what everyone wants to know is, how much are they worth?'
If this was in really good, neat order, and I wanted to go into a shop and buy one,
they're going to charge me probably £600 or £800 for it.
'Should they be cleaned up and restored?
'And will they end up back home, or make some money at auction?
'Coming up, I go weak at the knees for a 17th-century snuff box...'
I really want to fondle that.
Do you think I should see a doctor?
'..Roger reveals the worst culprits for breaking antiques...'
I like grandchildren, they bring me lots of work.
'..and will Rod get stitched up by a Victorian sewing box?'
Without that silk it'll put a lot of pressure on me,
and this grey beard will get a little bit greyer, I think.
The good people of Lincolnshire are arriving today with carloads of treasures.
There's a pot with a bit of history to it.
We're never sure what's going to emerge from your attics or cupboards
but our restorers are always ready to advise.
This painting's been rolled up, which is not the best thing to do to canvas paintings at all.
'I've got my hands on a lovely Georgian snuff box.
'It's been in John West's family for many years and it's a delight.'
I see a few names on here and a few dates.
-And everybody's called Fowler. Family name?
-No, it's not.
My grandfather was the last parish tax collector in Lingfield, in Surrey.
His predecessor, I think, the tax collector before him, was a Fowler.
And I believe that the last Mr Fowler gave it to my grandfather.
Probably around about 1925, 1930.
All right. So it's been in the family for quite some time.
But the earliest date I can find on here... We've got 1802...
1851... Oh, 1711.
1711. That's going back a while, isn't it?
-That really is going back a while.
My wife and I looked at it some months ago and we thought, what a sad object it is.
And it obviously has a lot of love over much of its lifetime,
and we did wonder whether we could find somebody to give it a good home.
At first glance, you think it's going to be carved wood, but put it to the light
and it's semi-translucent, and you can see that it's actually tortoiseshell.
Since the 1970s, the trade in tortoiseshell has been tightly regulated.
But in its day, it was highly prized.
I think an auction house would probably quote £200 to £300, in this condition, anyway.
And it goes without saying, when you find them in tip-top condition they can fetch an awful lot more.
But this one isn't up to snuff.
It needs some expert care to get it back to full health and ready for auction.
Lucky for us, Rodrigo Titian is on hand.
With a lifetime of experience specialising in decorative objects, not much fazes our Rod.
But even he was taken aback when he saw the name on the base.
The John Fowler I know,
-he was the reason why my father came to England from Italy and started off his business...
..restoring. So I have...
It's as if I have John Fowler blood running through my veins, kind of thing.
That's how I feel about John Fowler. So seeing this now really excites me.
'Let's hope Rod can harness all that passion, skill and craftsmanship to help this sad little beauty.'
The hinge, or the hinge area, is obviously, as you know, a bit damaged, a little bit loose here.
We can tighten the hinge mechanism up a tiny bit just to secure it a bit more.
Also, in fact, the finish itself is a bit grubby.
I'm going to do the old saliva test in here, and you can see straightaway,
-it will actually come up a little bit better.
-Working with these restorers,
I mean, the first minute they can spit on something, they do.
They say, oh, it's the enzymes, Eric, you know.
If we were to give it just a light clean,
no repair work of the hinge area there but just tightening up the clasps, if anything,
so it doesn't rock like that, you're looking at about £100, to do that.
If we were to actually bring back that tiny bit of tortoiseshell there,
then I'd say a further...
£80, to do that. So you're bringing it up to about £180 now.
Once restored, if you do everything, it could be worth up to £400 plus.
This is food for thought.
I'm quite comfortable with conserving it,
-to make it as it is, looking better.
-Yes, OK. I can see where you're coming from.
If we were just to tidy up, literally just tidy it up a little bit but leave it as it is,
and just do the rest of the work, it's still acceptable.
No-one's going to really be too bothered by that,
if the rest of it is a little bit more aesthetically pleasing,
and that's probably a good route to go.
John's decided not to go for the full restoration.
He's going to get the clasp tightened and have it cleaned and polished.
As Rod says, it's looking a bit grubby, so in its current state it's worth around £200 to £300.
But with Rod's restoration at £100,
it could fetch up to £400 at auction,
something not to be sniffed at.
So, Rod, it's time to polish up your act, show this little snuff box some much-needed love,
and help it really shine at auction.
In fact, looking at some of the walking wounded here today, it's a good job our restorers
have come prepared, with blowtorches, paintbrushes and a trailer-load of tools sharpened
and ready to deal with anything and everything that's put in front of them.
You have to remove it from a piece that has
the same age as the piece that you're working on,
otherwise it doesn't match and it looks silly.
Next up, Keith Slater is desperate for a bit of help and advice.
He's arrived with some 1970s Italian porcelain, which he bought
for quite a lot of money, but now he's what you might call a bit snookered.
Everyone watching is going to recognise this as
a piece of Capodimonte because it's such a collectible type of porcelain
and very, very popular. Any factory can now start up
and use a Capodimonte name, and some of them do.
But this one, I see, has the mark here. It looks like a cast from a chess set.
That's Bruno Merli's mark.
His factory is very highly regarded, so it is a good piece.
So tell me, where did you acquire this?
I acquired it in 1982 from a Capodimonte sale, which they had in Sutton.
Obviously delighted, because it reminded me of when I was younger.
It reminded you of your lost youth playing billiards in various bars
-up and down the country, no doubt?
But these players have clearly hit a problem, so, Roger,
we need you to have a shot at getting play started again.
Roger Hawkins is more of a pot man than a cue expert, but after
a lifetime working with ceramics, he can turn his skill to most things.
So come on, Roger, these poor chaps are desperate for a game.
I left it at my in-laws' and they let their grandchildren play with it.
I like grandchildren, because they bring me lots of work.
They're always breaking things, so I have no objection to them at all.
So how much did you pay for it? Can I ask?
-Did your wife know that?
Mm, that's quite a hefty sum, Keith, and the bad news is that it's
currently only worth about £80 to £120.
But on the plus side, I'm sure it can be restored, and that's what you really want.
But what's the score when it comes to the question of cost?
To restore these cues and put them in better condition
would probably be around £50 to £60.
So what do you think? Do you think it's worth spending the money on it?
I think so, yes. It would be like a labour of love, and I want to keep it.
So Keith paid £800 for this piece and is spending £50 to £60
on getting it fixed.
Once repaired, this Capodimonte
could fetch up to £300 at auction.
But Keith's not looking to pocket any money.
He just wants to get the lads back on the table.
So, Roger, it's game on. Mix that glue and match that paint and see if you can chalk up another success.
Coming up, two silver candlesticks arrive, but are they a pair?
The shop put them up on the shelf, and he just happened to get them mixed up.
And, will this 300-year-old snuff box be in with a sniff when it goes to auction?
We're privileged to be here in the magnificent grounds of Burghley House.
As for me, well, I'm enjoying the opportunity of meeting so many Lincolnshire folk,
who have done us proud.
I'm intrigued to know where you got it?
I bought it from a bric-a-brac stall.
If I wanted to pick that up from a gallery, they're going to charge me £500 for it.
The restorers are working flat out to keep up with it all,
and this next treasure is an absolute delight.
Liz Rother has brought in a late Victorian walnut sewing box,
that's been in her family for a few generations.
This box originally belonged to my great grandmother,
and she's 21 in the picture.
She got married in the November of the same year that the box is dated, 1873.
This his her who's probably been inscribed here?
I think this is her on the box, yes.
-I believe the box was passed down to the eldest daughter of each generation.
I received it when my mother died, my mother died very young, at the age of 56.
She passed it on in her will to me.
That's why I love it, of course. I in fact have a daughter who will eventually inherit it as well.
'But this is one poorly heirloom.
'It will take an expert to help the interior regain its silky luxe.
'Over to you, Rod.'
It's lovely that you have this quilted top on
the inside here, that's actually in perfect condition to be honest.
-It's a beautiful, vibrant blue.
-It really is.
-I'll give you an idea of the restoration aspects, and the costs involved.
We've got the frayed silk here, that's missing the cushion sections on all four sides.
The one at the front here is really gone, isn't it?
-So that definitely needs replacing.
-The only other thing
is the silk itself.
If we're keeping this - which I strongly advise that we would,
as there's nothing wrong with it -
we can only match the silk colour to a degree, plus or minus.
-So there's going to be a difference, unfortunately, aesthetically.
Rod's going to find it hard to match the silk.
In its present condition, this sewing box is worth around £120.
And, with all that work involved, it's going to cost Liz £300 to have it restored.
And then it'll only be worth around £250.
'But for Liz, it's not about the money.'
But I would really love it to be restored fully.
It's a piece that I've always loved.
And actually, even though I'm not selling it, I think it'll be worth
far more to me personally to be able to pass it down to my daughter as it originally was.
-And hopefully with the same colour silk.
-Yes. Or similar to.
-Similar to, yes!
We're always very passionate about the restoration that we do,
but even more so when it's something that is of deep sentimental value.
So, Rod, I've got everything crossed that you can find the colour to match that original blue silk.
It needs to be able to survive another few hundred years in Liz's family.
Many of you have decided to bring your lovely treasures to our Restoration Roadshow today.
We've got old masterpieces to restore,
'desks to rebuild, some broken and some just waiting to go to auction.
'We also offer advice, and sometimes restoration
'just isn't the right way forward, particularly if you want to sell.'
I think it's rather jolly,
but I think it's not really worth restoring.
And our next case is a pair of early 1920s silver candlesticks, brought in by Jean Abbott.
So where are we with these?
A is 1925...
and the Z is 24. The shop that bought them put them
-up on the shelf and he's just happened to get them mixed up.
But they would have been made only months apart, so they were sold as a pair.
And as there is only a year, it can be accepted as a pair.
-They made quite a lot of these, an apprentice might have 30, 40, 50 to do in a week.
Yes. This is a very mass-produced pair of sticks, the style that they've always done.
They're tarnished and some of the silver is missing, but lucky for us, resident restorer Barry Witmond,
who is based here in Burghley, is a specialist gold and silversmith with over 40 years' experience.
But what can he do?
It's had a good life.
It's been used, enjoyed and someone has tried to scrape off
the wax that's fallen on there, and that's what worn it away.
You can see where it's gone right through the edge.
This is very, very, very thin.
This piece has lost it totally.
If you wanted to sell them at auction, how much do you think an auctioneer would estimate those for?
I think you're going to be looking in the region of about £40 to £50 in the state that they are in.
I wouldn't recommend restoring these.
The cost will certainly outweigh whatever you would get for it.
They've had a good life.
And they're still usable.
Restoring these candlesticks would cost over double their value,
and as June wants to sell them, she's going to take them straight to auction just as they are.
'Let's hope they light someone's fire and make a few pounds to boot.'
Please, come on. Somebody help me.
Our restorers have their hands full today.
Loads of items have come their way, but they never give up.
Rod started the day on a rather grubby 300-year-old snuff box ingrained with dirt and grime.
So far, what I've done is actually just given it a very light clean.
I've actually concentrated on the right-hand side of it.
As I'm looking at it here, you can actually see a big difference already in the way it's reviving.
What's happening is, the blooming is actually so embedded in there
that it's creeping itself back up again, so I'll have to be
a bit more abrasive with what I'm actually applying.
And as I start to penetrate down, it will actually improve and actually stay that way.
So at the moment, the bit that I've just done, I'll show you,
it does look very revived. Unfortunately, though,
in about ten minutes that will come back up again.
I need to just keep going a bit more, a bit more each time, so eventually it will stay
more like that, because the blooming will get less and less and less.
'Blooming has caused the tortoiseshell's natural oils to turn cloudy and grey.'
It's actually quite a tricky piece to work on because it's a small piece,
and if I press too hard as I'm pushing down trying to get the blooming out,
there is the potential I could break it somewhere, so I've got to be very delicate with it as well.
So will Rod strike the right balance between elbow grease and lightness of touch? We'll find out later.
Remember the jolly Capodimonte ceramic billiard table with the broken cues?
Well, Roger's glued them back together and sanded them down
ready for painting, but it turns out these cues aren't quite what they seem.
The strange thing is that they are metal.
These paints I use are paints that I normally use for
my pottery and porcelain restoration, but as far as
painting these metal cues, that shouldn't really make any difference.
It's rather ironic that I have lots of porcelain, I've ended up doing the metal.
Well, we know you like a challenge or two, Roger,
and I have every faith you can turn your hand to a bit of metal work.
I'll put that to one side for an hour or so to let it dry,
and then we'll come back to it, and if I'm happy with that I can then...
Those two cues will be ready to glue back onto the billiard table itself.
Looks like Roger hopes to get the game under way again pretty soon
but, hey, remember to make those cues straight!
So as our restorers carry on fixing, mending, sanding and cleaning, Rod has been given the difficult job
of trying to help this lovely 19th-century sewing box.
He's had to pack it up and take it to his workshop.
When you are looking at saving things, if you can salvage as much as possible it's always nicer.
I think in this instance the silk itself is just too perished, it's so far gone.
It's frayed, it's got loose ends everywhere.
It really isn't going to be a matter of saving that at all.
I could rip it off, but I want to try to make it as neat and tidy as possible
because there's a chance I might be able to use the backing itself.
It's always good to think that way.
If I don't use it, fine, fair enough, but at least if I take it off,
it's giving me the option to be able to use it.
And I'd prefer that, to be honest, it's nice to be able to try to
keep as much of the original as possible.
'It's a delicate process. Rod mustn't gouge or mark the inside of the box,
'as he needs a smooth and even surface to attach the new silk...
'..if it ever arrives.'
The only problem I have at the moment is that the silk
which has been ordered from France,
which was the only one that I could find which was as close a match as possible, hasn't arrived.
One of the dates they told me has come and gone, I'm expecting it literally any minute,
so without that silk it'll put a lot of pressure on me,
and this grey beard will get a little bit greyer, I think.
Well, I certainly hope that silk arrives, as without it
this lovely sewing box is going to look distinctly threadbare.
'It's that time again when our restorers have done all they can for your keepsakes and antiques.
'They've worked like Trojans. But the big question is,
'will all that effort pay off when they give you back your coveted heirlooms?'
Wow! That's amazing!
Keith Slater brought in a 1970s billiard game.
Roger fixed the cues and glued them back in place, but it's been a fiddly and unusual process for Roger
as he's had to work with metal rather than his preferred ceramics.
Will Keith be happy with the result?
-There we are. Back to its former glory.
-Yes, very good.
Very good, yes. Did you have any difficulty with it, Roger, or...?
I did in the fact that I had to glue back this cue,
and because it's made of that metal
it's very, very thin and there's a very small surface area to glue the two pieces together.
Before the old boys had lost their cues, but now they're ready to play their shots again.
And not only that,
we have an extra ball and we can play billiards. LAUGHTER
That's fine. That's really nice.
'Well, I'd say that's one satisfied customer.
'Can Rod make it two? Time to find out how he's got on with that dusty old tortoiseshell snuff box.
'When owner John West first brought it in, it was ingrained
'with over 300 years of dirt and falling apart at the seams.
'Rod's had a tough job cleaning it up and it's revealed some unexpected surprises,
'so what will John make of it?'
Come on, Rod. I can't stand the suspense.
I want to see the result of your labours today. Reveal all, come on.
Let's go for it, then.
-OK, here we are.
-Now, it has actually come up
a lot nicer than I thought.
Before, this grimy snuff box wouldn't have graced anyone's pocket.
The shell was grey and cloudy, the hinge loose and the detailing covered in dirt.
Now it's been given a new lease of life.
'The hinge is fixed and the once invisible silver stud work around the edge shimmers for all to see.'
I have to say, that is remarkable.
I didn't realise that this was sort of a type of pique work?
-With these little silver studs.
-That's quite remarkable.
That alone, I think, to be honest, has actually made the piece really stand out, much more attractive.
It really has.
Well, you've just spent £100, so the big question is, do you think it's money well spent?
Yes, I do. I think it's brought it back to life.
I could even use that word "resuscitated" it.
-Well, you could, yes.
-Because it's transformed.
-Isn't it just?
Especially that lovely pattern round the outside.
Just buffing the silver up and giving it a shine.
-It looks super, yes.
-And I hope it finds a good home.
Somebody to cherish it.
What a transformation.
Rod really has worked wonders today.
John inherited this snuff box so it didn't cost him anything.
He spent £100 restoring it,
and I hope it will fetch over £300 at auction -
assuming we find the right bidders.
What a cracking day it's been here at Burghley.
We've seen an incredible selection of lost, injured and shattered treasures
which have all benefited from our restorers' well-trained eyes.
'Some are going home, like Keith's 1970s billiard table...'
That's really nice.
'While others are heading off to auction, like this 300-year-old snuff box...'
I really want to fondle that.
Do you think I should see a doctor?
'And these 1920s silver candlesticks.
'Let's hope they make our buyers' eyes light up with enthusiasm.'
Please, come on, somebody help me.
'But first, let's catch up with Rod and that 19th-century walnut sewing box.
'When we first saw it, the inside was tatty and coming apart.
'Has he been able to rescue it for the next generation?
'And what will owner Liz think?'
-There we go.
I'm sorry, but it's perfect!
You are a clever man.
I didn't think you were going to get the blue.
Well, I traipsed up and down London literally looking at nearly every silk shop,
and in the end the silk
that I did choose had to be shipped in from France, can you believe that?
Before, the sewing box was tattered, frayed and unusable.
Now the sumptuous new silk has restored its former opulence.
I'll be honest with you, I'm absolutely gobsmacked. I can't believe it.
It's much nicer to have found something that is as close a match as possible,
where really at first glance it looks perfect.
Obviously as you look at it for a bit longer you can see the difference, but it's not too drastic, I think.
-I'm so pleased I got it done. What a difference!
-Thank you so much.
I am absolutely... I can't tell you.
Here we are at Sworders auction in Essex.
With so many appealing items on display today,
let's hope the bidders are in a mood to splash some cash.
First under the hammer is the 300-year-old snuff box.
Now remember, it didn't cost owner John anything as he inherited it.
But he's paid £100 to have it restored, and we are hoping it will make upwards of £300.
John's so delighted with the transformation
he has put a reserve on it of £300,
and I reckon it's worth every penny.
Remember, if you're interested in buying or selling at auction,
you may have commission and other charges to pay,
so be sure to check with the auction house.
Everything that's been restored should be noted in the catalogue.
1475 is this good 18th-century oval tortoiseshell snuff box.
150 I start, at £150.
-Can I say 60, anywhere?
-I want to bid but I'm not allowed.
170? 180? 190? 200?
-And ten anywhere?
-Come on, come on, it's worth that and more.
Not sold, unfortunately.
Well, not sold.
I have to say, I'm very surprised.
I think just a case of not the right people here on the day.
John couldn't be here today, and with his snuff box
unable to nudge above that £300 reserve price, for the time being he will get to keep it.
Now it's time to see how the silver candlesticks do at the auction house in Lincoln.
They were brought in by Jean Abbott.
So your lot's about to appear under the gavel, so how are we feeling?
-You are? Good.
Let's hope it makes the reserve.
Let's hope for that, and let's hope for a little bit more.
We estimate they could make between £40 and £50.
This nice pair of silver candlesticks, lot 553A.
£30, to start, we've got £30 in front. £30. 35?
60? 65? 65...
-Come on, come on.
'Please, come on, somebody help me.'
-You're in the money, honey.
That was OK, wasn't it?
-I'm happy with that, we got more than the reserve.
-I'm very happy with that.
With no restoration needed, the candlesticks went for
more than their auction estimate, and Jean couldn't be happier.
So, as the gavel falls on yet another auction,
the good news is that we find ourselves with a satisfied customer.
So join us again and marvel at the skill of our expert restorers on Restoration Roadshow.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap, restoring them to their former glory and maybe even making some money at auction.
It’s all hands to the pump in today’s instalment as the Restoration Roadshow team swings into action once more.
Against the stunning backdrop of Burghley House, expert restorer Rod Titian uses his considerable skills to revive a 17th century tortoiseshell snuff box that hides a remarkable secret. Elsewhere, Roger Hawkins has a shot at repairing a Capo Di Monte billiard table ornament with real sentimental value, and Burghley’s resident gold and silversmith, Barry Witmond, puts a pair of 1920s candlesticks to the test.
In a busy day for Rod Titian he has to try and save an exquisite late 19th century walnut sewing box that’s been owned by the same family for generations. But it’s no easy task and, unless he can find the right material to match the box’s silky blue interior, he’ll be doomed to failure.