Episode 20 Restoration Roadshow


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Episode 20

Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. Against the stunning backdrop of Burghley House, Eric Knowles and his team save yet more timeworn treasures.


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Hello, I'm Eric Knowles. Antiques and heirlooms, we've all got them.

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But are they tired, broken, faded and destined for the bin?

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On this programme, we could bring them back to life and maybe make you a bit of money.

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Find out how on Restoration Roadshow.

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Welcome to Burghley House in Lincolnshire,

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built almost 500 years ago by Elizabeth I's closest adviser, William Cecil.

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Over the years, successive generations of the family

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have filled this place with amazing treasure.

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'It's family heirlooms like these that our Restoration Roadshow goers are queueing up to find out about.

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'What everyone wants to know is how much are they worth and can they be restored?'

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It's in a sad state, but it could come up quite nicely.

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'And if so, will they make a profit, should they decide to sell at auction?'

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-220. 240. 260...

-Come on, come on.

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'Coming up, we try to shake new life into this worn-out, antique baby's rattle.'

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It's a total disaster zone up here.

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'And can this family crest give its heirs the benefit of a sparkling education?'

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The eldest son of the eldest son who this gets passed to is also allowed a free place at Cambridge University.

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'And a bit of close investigation turns up a surprise for ceramics expert Roger Hawkins.'

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If the glass shelf hadn't collapsed, this would have collapsed anyway.

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-'But can he fix it?'

-£300?

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-'And will it seal the deal at auction?'

-£200? 150 then?

-Oh...

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'I'm delighted to be here in Lincolnshire for our Restoration Roadshow.

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'The locals have really done us proud. I've seen some antiques in my time, but I am impressed.'

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You can see it's actually eaten away. It's some form of acid or lacquer.

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'First to catch my eye is this battered sterling silver baby's rattle,

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'brought by owner Liz Rothera. They don't make 'em like this any more. But this one is no great shakes!'

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You're going to tell me that this was your rattle? If it was, you weren't a careful child.

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No, I wasn't. It was my rattle and it was my mother's before me.

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I was allowed to play with it as a child, then swiftly taken away once I'd broken it.

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-So you were responsible?

-I think I was responsible for the break, yes.

-Public admission.

-Public admission.

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-Looking at it, you can see that it's got an entire bell missing.

-Yes, it has.

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It's a total disaster zone up here, isn't it?

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I think we've got something of a chasm there which is going to need some attention.

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-I mean, in this condition, you're literally talking maybe £40, £50 at the tops.

-Yeah.

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You're questioning whether it's going to be worth restoring?

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I think it'll be worth restoring just because of the family sentimentality issue.

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'What a remarkable story!

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'This elaborate piece of craftsmanship means a lot to Liz

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'as it once belonged to her mother who sadly died when she was just 56 years old.'

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Because my mother died so young and she never saw my children,

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these things become hugely important,

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so this is why I love this so much, it reminds me of my mother and everything that it meant to her.

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'What a shame this precious hand-me-down is in such a state!

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'But I know just the man to help and he's based right here at Burghley.

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'One of the many things that makes Burghley House so special is its emphasis on conservation.

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'The 18th century stables have been converted into workshops,

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'home to a team of expert restorers who can be called on at a moment's notice to support the house.

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'Barry Witmond is Burghley's resident gold and silversmith and with 40 years of experience,

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'I'm sure he can breathe new life into Liz's treasured heirloom.'

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It's Birmingham, date letter K.

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I'm more of a practical person than a theorist,

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but I assume it's round about 1909.

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-My grandmother was born in 1909.

-Really?

-Yes. Yes.

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I'm not sure who the maker is, but it's C and... It looks like a C and an N.

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I would be interested to have your much-valued opinion, Barry, as to what it would be worth,

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-had it been in absolutely tip-top condition.

-Round about 300.

-Wow!

-£300.

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Unfortunately, this has been totally ripped off.

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'Worth restoring then, but how much will it set Liz back?'

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Well, to restore this...completely,

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to replace the bells, to put a plate over there and put the holes back on,

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-we're going to be looking at about £300.

-OK.

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-But there's a second choice, I think.

-OK.

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As it's just going to be put in a cupboard, so it looks right, I would suggest we leave the bells.

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I will still put a plate completely over that

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and put some holes round the outside, so it keeps there, and then apply this on.

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The cost for that will be £40.

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OK. That sounds good. That sounds better.

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'Great stuff, Barry. Luckily, he has all the tools he needs in his workshop at Burghley.

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'But it's no small task repairing such a delicate thing

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'and it will be intriguing to see if Barry can pull this one out of the fire.

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'We're attracting quite a crowd here in Lincolnshire,

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'but nothing is too much for our experts, including this murky bit of family history,

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'belonging to Kent Perry. It's in desperate need of a makeover.'

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It's a very interesting crest. I'm intrigued to know that bit more about it, so tell me what you know.

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We think it's a family crest.

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We think that it's the crest of Bishop Alcock who is the founder of Jesus College, Cambridge,

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and supposedly, we are descended from him down the ages.

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I don't know how, I don't know where, I don't know if because he's meant to be a bishop, unmarried, no children,

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so the link is tenuous at best,

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but there is another story that my mother told me

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that the eldest son of the eldest son who this gets passed to

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is also allowed a free place at Cambridge University.

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So when I was 10 or 11 years old, my mother phoned them and wrote to them and asked them this question.

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And they replied saying, "Never heard of it, sorry." I don't know if the link is there or not.

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You're a very lucky young fellow to have something like this which has been passed down and passed down.

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This is a real family heirloom in every sense of the word. Where are you keeping it at the moment?

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I don't want to hang it up in the house because we've got a brand-new house and this looks really grotty.

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-And I don't want...

-Hang on. You think this looks grotty?

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-It looks grotty, even though it is family history and heritage.

-Yeah.

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-My girlfriend wouldn't have it put up in the house.

-Really?

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If it looked a bit nicer and brighter, she might be more forthcoming with it.

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When it comes to value, has anybody considered what it might be worth?

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The money's not an issue because I'm not going to sell it.

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It wouldn't be worth anything to anyone, other than me and my family.

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I just want it cleaned up, so it looks good and it's an heirloom I can be proud of.

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'Our painting expert Lucia Scalisi has conserved everything from priceless Holbeins to Picassos.

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'Cleaning up 300 years of Kent's family history will be pretty challenging too.'

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So, Lucia, a bit of a challenge?

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It certainly is, Eric.

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These things... I think it's a hatchment.

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And these things would have been brought out on high days and holidays and mainly funerals

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and hung in the church and reflect the attachment of the person to the church.

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On the front, you see the level of discoloration.

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Every time they were brought out for whatever function they were brought out for, they would be oiled out.

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This builds up over the years and it becomes more and more discoloured.

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To improve the appearance, you can do a surface clean and a re-varnish.

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'Lucia uses a high-grade white spirit to show Kent

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'how bright the colours will be if he has it restored, but don't try this at home, folks.'

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You can see it re-saturates the colours. There is some gold on this.

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You can see the gold in those areas.

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Is this labour-intensive?

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Is it going to take a lot of time and a considerable amount of money? It comes into the equation.

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-Yes, definitely.

-About 250, something like that.

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-Yeah, go for it.

-Family pride to the fore.

-Exactly.

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'In its current state, it's probably worth around £200

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'and Lucia's charging 250 to clean it up.

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'I've done a bit of homework

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'and I think this family crest could be worth over £800 once restored.

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'So, it's money well spent in my book,

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'but only if Lucia can restore it without causing further damage to that fragile paintwork.

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'Our experts are working flat out,

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'prescribing restoration remedies for a whole host of intriguing paraphernalia,

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'all in need of urgent treatment.

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'Ceramics enthusiast Richard Lenton is a kindred spirit who loves his art pottery,

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'but sadly, his Doulton stoneware vase has suffered a serious mishap.'

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-It's no exaggeration to say that this is the stuff of nightmares, isn't it?

-Absolutely.

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Are you on therapy for this or medication?

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I mean, to see a pot detached from its base, that's sorry, isn't it?

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Yes, it is. I could be on medication if you tell me any worse.

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You hold on to that while I look at the base.

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-With pots, you always look at the base, don't you?

-You certainly do.

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And this gives away its pedigree.

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So we've got Doulton Lambeth

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and this is going to be some time, I think, in the 1880s.

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-What is important is this monogram, isn't it? "ES."

-Yeah.

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-Give us the name.

-Eliza Simmons.

-Eliza Simmons.

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'A decorator working for Henry Doulton in the 1880s,

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'her exquisite work is some of the most collectable of Doulton pottery.

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'Richard hopes our restorer can fix his up for auction.'

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What's it worth as it is...?

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Oh, dear me. To be honest with you, as it is, it's £100 sort of a thing.

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Isn't it, really? Do you mind me asking what you paid for the thing?

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I paid 160 for it which, to me, was a steal at the time.

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I think you're absolutely right.

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The good news, I think, is it's quite a tidy break.

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There's only a few little bits that are missing on the surface.

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I'm just wondering what on earth our ceramic restorer is going to say about this?

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'Luckily, Roger Hawkins is one of the country's leading experts in ceramic restoration.

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'He's handled everything from Egyptian antiquities to priceless Meissen vases.'

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Let's get my professional's magnifying glass out because I think I can see...

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Yes, if it's any consolation,

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probably if your glass shelf hadn't collapsed,

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this would have eventually collapsed anyway

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because where it's broken away from there, that's a firing fault. That happened in the factory.

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There may have been a bit of moisture in the clay when it was fired

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or it might have been the way it was potted.

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Whatever reason, there's a manufacturing fault there, so that was a weak spot.

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-Any slight bump and that would have given away.

-That's interesting.

-It HAS given away.

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So, for me to restore and disguise what is the damage

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would mean gluing it, filling it

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and if I do any over-painting to hide these little chips here,

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but to do that and to spend the time on that and doing it very, very carefully,

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I would see about £100-worth of my time and labour in doing that.

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Yeah, OK, we'll go for it.

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'So, Richard has agreed to the repairs, but he's already forked out £160 for the vase.

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'Add on Roger's 100 and it's getting a bit pricey.

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'I only hope it reaches the top end

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'of my £300 to £400 estimate at auction.

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'Coming up, a £5 bargain hides a surprise secret.'

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If I wanted to pick that up from a gallery,

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-they're going to charge me £500 for it.

-How much?!

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'Here at Burghley, Barry's working tirelessly on the damaged silver rattle.

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'There's a whacking great hole where the handle used to be, but he hopes to disguise this with a new plate,

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'created using the same sterling silver that the body's made out of.

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'First, he cuts and files it into a perfect circle,

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'then uses a traditional technique to shape it into a dome.'

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I like to restore things in the manner that it was made

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and this is how it would have been made originally.

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'These traditional techniques are key to hiding the repairs,

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'along with a silver solder that should attach it seamlessly.'

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What I'm doing now is heating up to an even temperature,

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so both the new cap and the original body are the same temperature.

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And this will allow the solder to run evenly and freely all the way round,

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being careful not to overheat it, otherwise the little rings will drop off as well.

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I'm going to put a piece of solder on the top,

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then I will apply the ring to that.

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'Hold your breath. It will take a steady hand to position that handle dead centre.

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'I just hope our tiny silver rattle can withstand being heated to 630 degrees.

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'Here's another piece right up my street - a miraculous find brought in by Margaret Barber.

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'It's a glass bottle made by the renowned Rene Lalique

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'and contained an essence called Imprudence.'

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I'm intrigued to know where you got it.

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I bought it from a bric-a-brac stall.

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I didn't realise it was Lalique until quite a few years later.

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I don't know why I hadn't looked on the bottom, but it was a bit of a shock when I found it was Lalique.

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-I bet it was. How much did you pay for it?

-Only a few pounds.

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Under £5 probably. £5, something like that.

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'What a find! It's so rare to stumble upon a piece like this. Impressive stuff.'

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Its original intention is probably for toilet water

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or if you're feeling flush, if you pardon the pun, it could be for cologne.

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'Collectors are always sniffing around Lalique scent bottles, even slightly chipped ones.'

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-So this is the damage?

-Yes, it's chipped, isn't it? It's broken.

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It was like that when I bought it.

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On Restoration Roadshow, we are here to say when to restore and when not to restore.

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In a situation like that, I wouldn't lose any sleep.

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'Repairing the chip would involve grinding, then polishing the glass.

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'It could crack, so it's best left well alone.'

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Is it something that you're thinking of sending to auction or...?

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Well, I don't particularly think it's worth very much really.

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Whether it's worth very much is relative to you because if I wanted to pick that up from a gallery,

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-they're going to charge me £500 for it.

-How much?!

-£500.

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-Crikey!

-If you were to sell at auction, they'd probably estimate it at 300 to 500, something like that.

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-So, not bad for a fiver, is it?

-No, it isn't, is it?

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-Let me ask you again. Are you thinking of selling this at auction?

-Yes!

-I think we would, yes.

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Prompted by my husband at the back!

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Can you think of a very good cause to spend the money on?

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It would help to pay for a holiday for my grandchildren.

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'So, the Lalique bottle is off to auction with no restoration.

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'I reckon this superb steal could fetch £300 to £500, despite the chip on the stopper.

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'But will our bidders sense a bargain? We'll find out later when it goes under the hammer.'

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'Here in Lincolnshire, Lucia is surface-cleaning the 300-year-old family crest.

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'Under the scrutiny of those fetching magnifying glasses,

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'it seems that all that glitters is not gold.'

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It's not until you start cleaning properly

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that you start to learn what's going on in the surface.

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And this is very interesting

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because all these yellow areas which I thought earlier may have been gold

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are in fact a tinted varnish.

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And it's a tinted varnish over silver metal leaf to make it look like gold.

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And all these little white flecks that you can see in these areas here

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are actually silver metal.

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And it was a cheap way of gilding.

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I say "cheap", the metal was obviously silver and cheaper than gold,

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but the process itself was quite a technique.

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You have to have quite a talented craftsman doing that.

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'Next, Lucia applies a protective layer of varnish,

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'but with the panel nailed into its frame, it's no easy job.

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'She has to make sure the varnish doesn't collect at the edges, but she can't hang around either.'

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I have to work fairly quickly because you've got the evaporation rate of the varnish.

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And I need to get the whole lot covered before it starts drying. That's it for now.

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'So, can Lucia bring this grotty relic back to life

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'without stripping away any more of that precious gold tint?

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'Remember that broken Eliza Simmons vase?

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'Ceramics restorer Roger Hawkins couldn't do much with it here, so he's taken it back to his workshop.

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'He needs a bit of peace and, importantly, the right tools for the job.

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'Gluing its base was the easy bit, but he's having a far tougher time deciding how to hide the break.'

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The problem I've got with this one

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is if you can see from there

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all the way round to there,

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that's not the damage, that's the firing fault.

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So that's part of its history

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and it would be quite wrong for me to fill all that and over-paint it

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because that's where it broke.

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So the best thing I can do on this is leave it alone and not do any more.

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I could perhaps, I think, put a clear filler along here,

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just to fill the join in,

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so that it doesn't absorb any airborne pollution and dirt over the years and gradually get worse.

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The break will be visible, but we should leave it as it is.

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'That's a big call from Roger.

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'With the firing fault plain for all to see, will the bidders still buy it at auction?

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'Back at glorious Burghley, the Restoration Roadshow is drawing to a close.

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'Our experts have had a field day fixing up broken and neglected family treasures.

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'Now it's crunch time as we reveal their handiwork. Liz brought in a 19th century silver rattle.

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'Having belonged to her mother and grandmother, it's of great sentimental value.

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'But after years of use and abuse, it was in a terrible state, including a huge hole in the top.

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'It was so damaged, silver expert Barry had to make a new top plate from scratch

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'and carefully match it to the original silver work. But will he impress? It's the moment of truth.'

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-I hope you like this.

-I know I will.

-It'll be a great surprise to you.

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-Look at that!

-You can't see the join.

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You cannot see... You cannot see anything.

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I actually am lost for words. Barry, that is just...

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That is fantastic. I can't thank you enough. It's wonderful.

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'Before, this injured little rattle almost brought tears to my eyes,

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'but now with a perfectly shaped plate and re-attached handle, it lives to shake again.'

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I have to compliment you, Barry, because that is not so much a restoration.

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-That's more of a resurrection.

-Thank you very much.

0:21:210:21:24

'Thanks to Barry, Liz and her family can enjoy this toy for generations to come.

0:21:240:21:30

'It's a great end to a great day. We've met some lovely folk

0:21:300:21:33

'who have delighted us with their heirlooms and finds.

0:21:330:21:38

'Some are going home like Liz's newly restored silver rattle, but others are off to auction

0:21:380:21:43

'like Margaret's remarkable Lalique perfume bottle that didn't really warrant restoring.'

0:21:430:21:49

-Not bad for a fiver.

-No, it isn't.

0:21:490:21:52

'And Richard's Eliza Simmons vase that was in desperate need of expert attention.

0:21:520:21:57

'Fingers crossed, they'll both do well at auction.

0:21:570:22:01

'But first, it's time to reunite Kent with his family crest.

0:22:010:22:05

'It's been a labour of love for Lucia, cleaning over 300 years of family history

0:22:050:22:11

'without causing further damage, but will Kent appreciate her efforts?'

0:22:110:22:15

Oh, wow!

0:22:150:22:17

That looks quite a bit better.

0:22:170:22:20

-You can see the colours.

-You can see the reds in it now.

-Yeah.

0:22:200:22:24

You can see the blacks, you can read the image and the coat of arms

0:22:240:22:29

and you've got the three cockerels' heads that are quite clear.

0:22:290:22:33

'Before, this unique family heirloom was smothered in layers of grime and discoloured varnish.

0:22:330:22:39

'Now its colours shine through for all to see, but is it good enough to grace the walls of Kent's new home?'

0:22:390:22:45

Thank you very much. It's great to be able to take it home in a state like this.

0:22:450:22:50

-Good. I hope you hang it on the wall now and enjoy it as part of your family history. It's fantastic.

-Yes.

0:22:500:22:56

'So that's two family treasures back where they belong. But will our auction items find new homes?'

0:22:560:23:03

'The Restoration Roadshow has arrived at the Thomas Mawer Auction House in Lincoln.

0:23:080:23:14

'The bidders are out in force, so let's hope they're willing to part with some of their hard-earned cash.

0:23:140:23:20

'Remember the broken Eliza Simmons vase with the tricky firing fault?

0:23:210:23:26

'Ceramics restorer Roger Hawkins has spent hours seamlessly repairing it,

0:23:260:23:30

'but has he done enough to impress owner Richard Lenton?'

0:23:300:23:34

-The last time I saw this, it was in two bits.

-Absolutely.

-But now...

0:23:340:23:38

-That's brilliant. Can I pick it up?

-Yeah, do.

-Yes, the glue's set!

0:23:380:23:43

LAUGHTER

0:23:430:23:45

Absolutely brilliant.

0:23:450:23:47

You've left the firing crack in.

0:23:470:23:49

From the ethical point of view, you leave firing faults. It's part of its history.

0:23:490:23:54

An inexperienced restorer would probably have tried to cover it up,

0:23:540:23:58

but to fill that firing fault would have meant doing more irreversible damage in filling it.

0:23:580:24:04

-Yeah, that's very, very, very good. Well done.

-We have a satisfied customer.

0:24:040:24:09

We do, but it all depends on whether we've got any Eliza Simmons enthusiasts

0:24:090:24:15

in that auction audience today.

0:24:150:24:17

If it doesn't, I'm happy to take it home. You've made a fantastic job.

0:24:170:24:22

'Richard's got that look in his eye.

0:24:220:24:24

'He's so taken with Roger's handiwork, he's now in two minds about selling,

0:24:240:24:29

'so he's set a high reserve of £375.

0:24:290:24:32

'Having bought it for £160 and spent 100 restoring it, the vase needs to reach the top end of my estimate

0:24:340:24:40

'if Richard is going to be happy parting with it.

0:24:400:24:43

'Let's hope our bidders are just as smitten.

0:24:440:24:49

'If you are interested in buying or selling at auction, you will have commission and other charges to pay,

0:24:500:24:56

'so be sure to check with the auction house.

0:24:560:25:00

'Everything that's been restored will be noted in the catalogue like Richard's vase.'

0:25:000:25:06

-Do you feel a slight flutter there?

-Well, looking forward to it, yeah.

-I am too because it's a lovely vase.

0:25:060:25:12

Next lot, 567.

0:25:120:25:14

-Here we go.

-Eliza Simmons stoneware vase.

0:25:140:25:18

And who's going to start me on this one at...£300?

0:25:180:25:23

At £300? At £300?

0:25:230:25:25

£200 to get it going then? £200?

0:25:250:25:28

-£200? 150 then?

-Oh, they're playing hard to get.

0:25:280:25:32

-£100 at the back...

-He's not going to buy it for £100.

-Nowhere near.

0:25:320:25:37

150. 180. 190.

0:25:370:25:40

-Nearer.

-A touch nearer.

-£200?

0:25:400:25:43

-220. 240. 260...

-Come on, come on.

-It's getting there.

0:25:430:25:48

-320.

-Come on.

-Anyone else? At 320...

-Come on.

0:25:480:25:51

-Oh!

-Didn't sell.

0:25:510:25:54

-So...

-Not quite.

-320 in the room.

-Yeah, almost but not quite.

0:25:540:25:59

'So, Richard's wonderful vase fell short of its reserve,

0:26:000:26:04

'but its restoration was money well spent

0:26:040:26:07

'and having seen Roger's work, he doesn't seem too downhearted.'

0:26:070:26:11

Well, if nothing else, Richard, you're going home with a testament

0:26:110:26:15

that...that Roger Hawkins is one cracking restorer.

0:26:150:26:19

I shouldn't use the word "cracking" where pots are concerned!

0:26:190:26:23

I'm not unhappy to take it home,

0:26:230:26:25

so, at the end of the day, it nearly made it, it didn't make it,

0:26:250:26:29

but as far as I'm concerned, I'm not losing out really.

0:26:290:26:33

'Next to go under the hammer, the remarkable glass bottle made by famous designer Rene Lalique

0:26:330:26:39

'that Margaret Barber picked up for a jaw-dropping £5.'

0:26:390:26:43

-Are you feeling a sense of excitement?

-Yes, I am. I'm a bit nervous as well.

0:26:430:26:49

You're not alone. Everybody looks as though they're cool as cucumbers,

0:26:490:26:53

but they're all wondering whether they'll buy their lot or their item will sell.

0:26:530:26:58

'Margaret is hoping to raise some money for a holiday with her grandchildren.

0:26:580:27:03

'Despite a slight chip which wasn't worth restoring, this desirable piece could start a bidding war.'

0:27:030:27:09

I know we estimated this at £300 to £500 and you have put a protective reserve on it?

0:27:090:27:15

-Yes, we have - £300.

-£300?

-Yes.

0:27:150:27:18

Well, it's well worth that and more.

0:27:180:27:21

-How's the pulse?

-Oh, it's rising.

0:27:210:27:23

Well, that means you're alive, doesn't it?

0:27:230:27:26

-'And our bidders are on tenterhooks too.'

-127, thank you.

0:27:260:27:31

Next lot, the Lalique scent bottle.

0:27:310:27:34

And who'll start me on this one at £200? At £200 for the scent bottle?

0:27:340:27:39

Thank you, madam. £200.

0:27:390:27:42

220. 240. 260. 280.

0:27:420:27:45

300. At £300.

0:27:450:27:48

-320. It's going.

-Yes.

-320.

-It's going now.

-320.

-I've sold it.

0:27:480:27:53

-340 at the back.

-340.

-360.

-360.

0:27:530:27:56

360, lady's bid at 360. Are you out?

0:27:560:27:59

Lady's bid at £360. At £360 then...

0:27:590:28:02

-360...

-It's gone.

-It's gone.

-Thank you very much.

-Well done.

0:28:020:28:07

I never had any idea it was worth as much as that.

0:28:070:28:10

'That's over £350 profit, less auction fees. Not bad, considering Margaret only forked out a fiver.

0:28:100:28:18

'It's been a pretty successful day in Lincoln

0:28:180:28:20

'and thanks to our experts, a whole host of tired, broken and neglected objects have been given a new life

0:28:200:28:27

'and some even new homes.'

0:28:270:28:29

Join us again and marvel at the skill of those expert restorers on Restoration Roadshow.

0:28:290:28:35

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2010

0:28:580:29:02

Email [email protected]

0:29:020:29:05

Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap, restoring them to their former glory and maybe even making some money at auction.

In today's show from Burghley House, Eric Knowles and the team pull out all the stops to save tired and careworn family antiques from the bin.

While Burghley's resident gold and silversmith Barry Witmond tries to shake new life into a wonderful Victorian baby rattle, Lucia Scalisi aims to shed much needed light on a painted family crest buried under layers of grime.

Ceramics expert Roger Hawkins has a lot on his plate too. Can he resurrect a badly cracked 19th-century Royal Doulton vase designed by Eliza Simmance and help it shine at auction? And will a Lalique vase picked up at car boot sale for just a fiver prove a surprisingly valuable purchase for its unsuspecting owner?