Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. In Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Eric Knowles sets his team of brilliant restorers another series of challenges.
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I'm surrounded by people who've brought weird and wonderful collectibles
in the hope that we can inject new life into them,
so maybe they can be sold at auction and make a bit of money along the way.
Find out how much on Restoration Roadshow.
We're here at Chatsworth for today's Restoration Roadshow,
home to the Cavendish family for over 450 years.
We've got paintings, dolls and arts and crafts bed heads all coming through the gates.
For me, stepping inside this majestic house is like entering a sweet shop.
But keeping everything in mint condition is a restoration marathon.
Back in 1930, this stunning painted hall nearly collapsed,
and the restoration programme continues to this day.
We'll be finding out more later.
Here at Chatsworth, our restorers already have their hands full.
Coming up, an 18th century clock, but not to everyone's taste.
My wife says of this clock, she'd rather have a corpse hanging on the wall.
Roger's got a family treasure.
But it's gone to pieces.
A terminal case if ever I saw one.
And tucked away in the house for 90 years...
Well, it was under my grandma's bed, wrapped in a curtain. Now I think the curtain might be worth a bob or two.
But can it be restored for auction, or taken home?
And will it make any money under the hammer?
'Chatsworth is attracting all sorts of intriguing treasures today,
'like this 18th century painted and lacquered tavern clock, brought along by David Donegan.'
Well, this is obviously a clock that was designed to get noticed.
It's seen ravages of time, and I think it's had a little bit of treatment over the years.
Well, it's fallen off the wall at least twice.
You can see from the damage.
-Has it really?
-Yes. So it hasn't obviously done it any good.
It's good looking clock. What I like about it is this lacquered finish.
-Date-wise, I'm thinking it must about around about, what, 1760, maybe 1770?
-I believe that's right.
'The tavern clock got its name as a result of the Government's clock tax.
'Every clock owner had to pay a five shilling fee,
'so people got rid of them
'and relied instead on clocks in public places, like taverns.'
-I'm assuming the mechanism works.
-It does, yes.
I think if you were to re-offer it in this condition,
I think you might be getting near to £1,800, or possibly a couple of thousand.
The thing is, once a clock like this is given the full treatment,
if I want to go and buy one of these in a very smart clock shop up there in London,
then the price tags are in the sort of £4,000 to £5,000 bracket.
I think it's at that stage where
you've got to give it back its dignity, cos it's looking very tired.
Well, it is, but my wife says of this clock
that she'd rather have a corpse hanging on the wall than this clock.
So I suppose it does need some attention.
-I detect from that, your wife's not a clock lover?
-She hates clocks.
She won't have a clock in the house.
Really? So where are you keeping it today?
It's in the hotel that I own in Bakewell. It's amongst 50 other clocks, I have about 50.
Is it something that you're considering placing at auction?
Well, it keeps good time.
-I rather like this one.
-It's going to stay.
-It's going to stay and earn its keep.
Unless it falls off the wall again, in which case...
-What we'll do is we'll get our restorer to put a big rubber tyre underneath it here.
-Oh, yes, yes!
Rod Titian has worked in palaces and for royalty so I suspect he won't go for my tyre suggestion.
But with his 25 years' experience as a furniture restorer,
this battered old tavern clock is in the safest of hands.
Well this is actually a chinoiserie clock.
The decoration is a replica, really, of the Chinese decorative work they used to do on lacquer pieces.
And it's the European counterpart.
There's a lot of decoration missing here, and it's actually raised and slightly rough.
That could benefit from taking down, and then I can replace the decoration where it's actually scarred as well.
You can see all the scarring from different angles, and areas like here, which actually are bubbled.
What I would suggest there is not to keep that, because to be honest,
it's got to a stage where it's so crumbly
that I would just remove that completely, and then just touch that in.
So, I think, breaking down the costs, if we were to do the initial section at the front here, £400.
To do all the other areas that I mentioned, a further £150.
-So it takes us to about £600 or so.
-Well I would agree with that. I think it's first class.
Do you think your wife is going to love this clock any more?
She'll never see it. She never comes to the hotel.
-Oh, she doesn't?
OK. You communicate by mail or what?
THEY ALL LAUGH
I don't think we need to go into this any further, do we?
'I know Rod loves a challenge,
'but persuading Mrs Donegan to give this beauty the time of day will be a real toughie.
'I fancy it's going to take more than gold lacquer and a steady hand to win her round.
'And here's a real test for our ceramics restorer.
'A wonderful, but sadly very damaged early 20th-century bone china pot made by Royal Worcester.
'Luckily, ceramics guru Roger Hawkins is just the man for the job.
'He's seen a few breaks in his 30 years' experience,
'and will be as upset as I am to see this majestic pot in such a state.
'It's a 999 from Trish Pickering.'
-Now this you have to tell me about, because this has had a hard life, hasn't it?
The lid is really smashed
and all the old glue around there has been done.
-What's its history?
-Well, this is a picture of my grandparents.
And when we cleared their house out, they found this.
And then it was at my parents' house, and I always liked it.
I remember when my parents got it, it was broken inside, and then gradually the lid got broken.
It's Worcester, made in England and looking at the mark,
-that suggests to me it's around 1915 period.
The Worcester porcelain factory has been in production since 1751.
In the 1900s, the company employed talented ceramic artists like Kitty Blake.
Her painted flower and fruit pieces are highly sought-after.
Have you any idea of what its value is?
I did see it in the guide, and it was between £150 and £200.
If it were in perfect condition, now, the retail value may well be around that.
If you were to put in auction like this, I would suggest a valuation of nothing.
-Unfortunately, it is just too badly damaged.
However, I can restore this completely. I can put it back into condition as if it were perfect.
The only problem with that is it's just a pure economic question.
Because looking at this,
there is a lot of work in doing the lid on its own.
But to do the lid and the jar together,
it looks to me like it would be around sort of £350 to restore that.
Is it something that you're going to keep or would you want to sell it?
I do want to keep it, because I haven't got many mementos of my grandparents.
It would be quite nice to have it restored and then pass it on to my family.
-So, something you think you will go ahead with having done?
Trish is putting family pride to the fore.
Worth nothing in its current state, it's going to cost a whopping £350 to bring it back to life,
a price tag it could never hope to reach at auction.
But sentiment outweighs value in this case, and for Trish,
this little piece of family history is priceless.
So there are future generations counting on you, Roger.
Good luck making this whole again.
Coming up, can we revive this tired Victorian writing box?
Find out how Rod's ticking along with that lovely clock...
I'm making this look easy. It's really hard.
And join me for a behind-the-scenes peek at the restoration of this beautiful historic home.
'Everywhere I turn today there are objects in need of specialist attention.'
You've got a motley selection, and some of them are in desperate need of a vet.
'Raiding attics, basements and cupboards, many of you have had a real clearout.'
They're not my style. My mum would have said, "Oh, sell them and buy something that you like".
'And some of you, like John and Pat Spate here, are looking to downsize,
'so it's a case of out with the old and in with a few bob, hopefully.'
Well I can see from this missing piece of fret, that this object's been damaged generations ago.
-How many generations has it been in your family?
On the box itself, there's a signature saying
that it was given to an aunt of my grandfather's in 1881.
Oh, there it is.
I think it was made somewhere either in northern Italy or the Swiss area. It's got a Tyrolean feel.
-It's obviously somewhere where they've got a lot of snow because they're on a sledge.
Where's this been kept over the successive generations?
Well it was under my grandma's bed, wrapped in a curtain.
And then it was under my mother's bed, wrapped in the same old curtain,
and it's under our bed, wrapped in the same old curtain.
Now, I think the curtain might be worth a bob or two.
'Well, I doubt you'll get much for the curtain,
'but early Victorian writing boxes like this one,
'used for penning letters, postcards and maybe the odd classic,
'are collectible pieces. But this one's water damaged, which will affect its value.'
-As it is, it's in such a state that maybe it's worth £100 or £150 maximum.
I do think with, you know,
a little bit of tender, loving care and a few caresses from our restorer,
it'll bring it back into a value range which may be nearer £300 or £400.
'Good news for John and Pat, who are looking to sell at auction.
'But can it be given a much-needed facelift?
'Furniture restorer Tim Akers thinks it can.
'With 30 years' experience working on everything from museum pieces to treasured family items,
'he knows a good thing when he sees it.'
It's a beautiful piece of walnut. It absolutely glows, doesn't it?
It just oozes warmth.
It's wonderful. And it's got the most wonderful grain to the side.
I love the pierced fretwork on it.
It's just a beautiful thing, a really beautiful thing.
Obviously you've got a certain amount of water damage to the main panel, which is a shame.
With regards to what else we need to do to it, the main area of damage is the fretwork. Let's have a look.
And it has been off a long time. If you have a look at the top there and the difference in colour,
it hasn't got that glow, so the rest of it has been waxed
for at least 50 or 60 years longer than the piece that's been detached, because you can see the difference.
The work involved is to repair the fretwork, glue the joint back, do something with the water mark.
OK. So what sort of price are we talking about for that work?
-£150, I would have thought.
-So, it seems like a good price to me.
-It sounds good to me, that, yes.
All right. It goes without saying, it's a special box,
-and when it goes to auction, let's hope we get you a special price.
-Let's hope so, yes.
'It might only be worth £100 to £150 as it is,
'but spending that £150 to restore it
'could help John and Pat double their money at auction.
'It's a delicate job requiring specialist tools, so he'll have to take it back to his workshop.'
On Restoration Roadshow we restore treasures large and small,
but imagine what it takes to conserve a magnificent estate like this,
with over a mile of painted walls and ceilings.
Its most famous room, the Painted Hall,
commissioned in 1690 to honour William III, has been the scene of many dramas.
In 1930, the ceiling threatened to come crashing down and reduce all this to rubble.
Incredibly, they were able to hoick it back up and avert disaster,
but by 1990, the paintwork desperately needed restoring.
There was varnish that had got very dirty, wax protection layers under the varnish,
and just the accumulated dirt from hundreds of thousands of visitors.
And so we decided that it would be worthy, finally,
of a very thorough inspection and then a clean.
It was a monumental task costing over £100,000, and just finding time to do it wasn't simple either.
We decided to actually do some of it whilst we were open to the public,
and we had a scaffolding filling the room
and the conservators were working high up above the public who were walking underneath.
The work illustrated just how tricky painting these murals would have been, not to mention restoring them.
People notice that they're using tiny brushes and cotton wool buds
to slowly clean layers of varnish and dirt off.
You could see people thinking, "I can see why this is very lengthy, very expensive, very specialist,"
and maybe developing a greater appreciation of what it takes to look after a great historic building.
And we get the same reaction here on our roadshow
when we bring your tired and broken antiques back to life.
Under the care of Rod, our furniture expert,
that 18th century clock has undergone hours of surgery.
He's refilling the many cracks and carefully remodelling the intricate Chinese decoration.
The next stage is quite intricate, which is what I'm doing now, which is why my breath is very slow.
It's because there's a lot of concentration that's involved when you're putting on lines.
What I'm finding is, which is a bit annoying, is that the way the decoration was put on in the past,
was that it was actually done a little bit on the kind of primitive side, for the want of a better word.
What I mean by that is it's not exactly perfect,
so where there's the scrolls on the top, lines coming down on edges,
they're a bit wavy, they're not as straight as I would have done them myself.
So what I'm having to do is to actually tie my decoration in
with the decoration of the actual piece itself.
So, I'm having to be not as perfect as I might like to be, basically.
And that's tough for someone who's used to absolute precision.
Rather you than me, Rod.
I'm making this look easy. It's really hard.
Pieces like this are so special.
Every inch of lacquered paintwork reveals the breathtaking skill of the person who crafted it.
And craftsmanship is what ceramics restorer Roger Hawkins is about to demonstrate by the potful.
He's brought the beautiful Royal Worcester pot back to his workshop
for a bit of serious reconstruction work.
With the delicate lid missing some of the beautiful gold latticework,
Roger will have to make the missing pieces by hand.
He starts by making an impression of the latticework in modelling putty, then prepares the hole for filling.
I'm just going to put a bit of glue on the stumps of these pieces,
so that when the filler goes in, it will adhere.
But like many jobs in restoration, this is trial and error.
Hopefully emphasis on the word "trial" and not the word "error", but we will see.
It certainly looks more trial than error. Now for the tricky bit, filling in the hole.
The idea now is to put this over the hole,
make it fit, and because it's flexible, it will.
And I'm now going to press into that some of this filler.
With the impression in place, he fills the hole with ceramic filler,
being careful to wipe away any excess.
Once set, it's time to see if it's paid off.
If I pull this off, we'll see whether my filler has formed the shape.
Will you look at that?
Impressive stuff. But it's a long way off making it as good as new.
Tim has also forsaken the grandeur of Chatsworth
for the less opulent surroundings of his specialist workshop.
When you're working with a sharp chisel on a delicate 19th century writing box,
you don't get a second chance.
He's been hard at it, removing years of old adhesive,
and there's a valuable tip for all you glue-it-yourselfers.
People, they mean well, they probably glue it back because they think,
"well if I don't, I'll lose the piece". But please don't do this.
You don't do the piece of furniture any favours.
Instant quick-drying glue is irreversible, a big no-no when it comes to restoration.
We should always allow for future work.
Tim's using a traditional type of specialist glue.
Injecting it with meths means it can be taken apart again if it needs to be in the future.
He's using not one, not two, but six clamps to secure the glued fretwork.
If it slips, he'll be forced to file down some of that original finish,
but he can't apply too much pressure.
If I clamp it too hard, I can fracture the other areas of this fretwork,
so I can't just put masses of pressure on.
It's got to be very delicately done and very precisely done,
and I've got to work quite quickly because the hot glue,
I've got to get it in place, all the clamps in place, pressure on, before the glue cools down.
I've got to work quite fast.
To about there. I almost have to mentally prepare myself for this.
Even after all the years I've been doing it. Everything's in place.
I really only have one chance with this. Let's go.
Got to work fast. It's already cooling on me, so...
To remove the excess glue, I'm going to put a little clamp there.
One at the back. Come on, quickly.
This is where I need more hands.
And then a huge weighty clamp to go on top, to give it the downward pressure.
There you go.
Thank goodness for that.
With all the glue and clamps in position,
Tim will have to wait eight hours to discover whether he's been able to create an invisible mend.
Back in Derbyshire, our Restoration Roadshow is drawing to a close.
Restorers have been working flat out and now it's my favourite moment,
time to reveal their handiwork.
One man who could certainly use a brew is Rod Titian.
He's worked up a thirst replacing missing sections of gilded decoration.
But it's time, please, ladies and gentlemen, and I can't wait to see what its owner, David, thinks.
I don't mind telling you that I've been watching Rod from afar and he's been a model of concentration.
But, Rod, I can't help but think when I saw the amount of work that was needed on this clock,
that you might have bitten off a bit more than you could chew.
Decoratively there was a lot to do, a lot to put back. The decoration was quite fine in places as well.
And there's a lot of ink work as well, fine ink work,
so in general I'm extremely happy with the way it's gone.
All right, well, that's one happy bunny.
-I'm looking for two happy bunnies. Shall we just pull this?
-Take it away.
There you go.
So, feast your eyes on what was, quite honestly, a bit of a wreck of a clock.
You really have done a cracking job. No doubt about it.
I didn't believe for one moment you could do anything like it.
This bit here, for example, I think it's absolutely fantastic how you've replaced it.
'Before, this bruised and battered 18th century tavern clock
'looked like it had knocked back one too many.
'Now, with the surface filled and smoothed and the missing decoration repainted, it's happy hour again.'
What you've resisted, doing, Rod, is actually putting that tyre on the bottom that I suggested.
This is a balancing clock at the best of times.
One thing I did do was just to check the stability of the plate at the back where it hangs from.
-And it is actually nice and stable, so it can be used, it can be hung in that way.
I hate to say it, but you've done a first-class job.
Well, that's very good of you.
Initially, we were saying it was worth maybe £1,800 to £2,000.
I think it's fair to say, Rod, that we're now looking at a clock that is going to be worth what, go on?
Well I would say very close to £5,000, £6,000, if it were to go to auction.
I'll take four now, if you want to!
-We're tempted, but it's an offer we have to refuse, isn't that right, Rod?
-Even though your wife would probably be very happy.
-Absolutely delighted. It's absolutely first class, thank you very much.
-You're most welcome.
'With a £5,000 price tag now attached to this lacquered beauty,
'maybe David's wife will be as delighted as he is.'
THEY ALL LAUGH
But can we make it two? Remember that tired Royal Worcester pot brought in by Trish Pickering?
It was in such a bad way that Roger had to take it back to his studio,
remove all the old glue, stick it back together and fill in the holes.
And now it's the moment of truth.
Will it be £350 well spent?
So you made that decision, to spend some money, a fair amount of money, because it was a complicated job.
But let's just see the end result, shall we? Are you ready?
Yes, I'm actually... I can't wait to see it, actually.
Well hold on to your hat, because here's the big reveal.
Here we go.
Wow. Is that the same pot I brought? I can't believe it.
Well, I'm actually speechless because I didn't realise that it would be restored so well.
'Before, this pauper of a pot didn't live up to its royal name.
'Now it's together again.
No more cracks, no more holes, you can't even see the joins.'
-It's a regal little pot, is that.
-It is. It's very pretty, isn't it?
-It's very pretty.
And add to that the fact it's had restoration by Roger Hawkins,
I mean, that adds to the perfect pedigree, I can tell you.
'And thanks to all his hard graft, this good-as-new family heirloom can be admired for generations to come.
'So, it's smiles all round here in Derbyshire. We've seen some fascinating collectibles here today.
'Some are on their way home, like Trish's charming Royal Worcester pot
'and David's stunning 18th century tavern clock with its gilding now fully restored.
'The others are off to auction, like John and Pat's neglected Victorian writing box.'
-Kept under the bed for how many years?
-Oh, at least 80.
'I'm just hoping that Tim's done enough to impress the Spates and the bidders
'when the curtain's lifted at auction.'
'It's sale day here at Bamford's auction house in Derby,
'and John and Pat Spate are hoping their writing box will find a buyer.
'But first, they need to be reunited. Remember the state it was in?
'Well Tim's been toiling away in his studio, treating the water stains and fixing the fretwork.
'And I can't help thinking they might want to hold on to it. Let's find out.'
Have you got any thoughts as to whether you might be keeping it or selling it?
I don't want it under the bed for another 90 years.
So if it's going to go to a good home, that's fine with me.
It was a bit tatty, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he's done, but I've got to be sensible.
OK. Well shall we see whether or not they are great expectations or what?
I love doing this bit, I really do.
-A feeling of power. OK.
-That really is nice.
-Isn't that nice?
'Before, this glorious Victorian writing box was nothing to write home about. Now it's turned a page.
'The walnut surface is gleaming again, and that fretwork, well,
'you'd be hard pressed to find the hint of a break.
Which was the broken fretwork?
-That one. Yes. Oh, that's lovely.
What do you think of it now?
I think it's absolutely beautiful.
I think he's done a cracking job.
Unfortunately we haven't got the room and we are downsizing, so, I think it must go to auction.
-It's got to go.
-I like it.
-No, you can't have it.
'Well that's decided then. I like a man who knows his own mind.
'It's all down to the bidders now, but it's certainly too good a piece to just give away.
'As it was it, it wouldn't have been worth more than £100 to £150.
'But to my mind the £150 restoration fee was money well spent,
'as they could now be looking at a price tag of between £300 or £400.
'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 should be noted in the catalogue.
'And by the sound of it, Pat's still half-tempted to keep it having seen Tim's handiwork,
'as is so often the case on Restoration Roadshow.'
-We're getting close, aren't we?
-Yes, we are.
Have we got some tension there? Are we feeling a little bit... Yeah?
-A little bit nervous.
-A little bit nervous.
Well, I've been watching people pick it up and have a look at it. You've set a reserve, haven't you?
-It's worth three... I mean, I just know, it's worth £300.
To use a well-worn phrase, it's ready to go.
The 19th century continental marquetry wrap desk.
-Where is it? There it is.
-He's what I call a Formula 1 auctioneer, this fellow.
I think he's doing about 150 lots an hour. He can talk the talk, as they say. Anyway, here we go.
I can start here at £270.
280 do I see anywhere in the first?
280, 290, 300? Has it at 300.
300, come on, it's worth more than that. Come on!
At £300 in the centre, 310 may I say? At 300, 310.
Oh, look, there we go. There's another bid.
320. It's a super thing. 320?
It's worth it. 310.
At 310. All done now, it's selling.
Quite sure? At 310.
Well, it's gone at £310. So, you know...
-Yeah, I'm not disappointed.
It's done now. I'm relieved it's all over now.
You know, I know I had second thoughts about selling it, but I know it had to go.
We hadn't got the room, so that's it.
-And I can get rid of the curtain it's been in for 80 years.
-You certainly can.
'Well, I'd like to have got a little more for it.
'I certainly think Tim's skill deserved a higher reward.
'But at least it's now off to a new home to be appreciated.'
Well it just goes to show that our restorers' skills is worth every penny,
because we were certainly on the money.
So, join us again for another amazing transformation here on Restoration Roadshow.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap, restoring them to their former glory and maybe even making some money at auction.
In the elegant setting of Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Eric Knowles sets his team of brilliant restorers another series of fiendish challenges. But can the restorers bring back to life the neglected and broken items brought in by the general public?
Furniture restorer Rod Titian attempts to save an extraordinary 18th century tavern clock that’s suffered the ravages of time. Tim Akers wonders if the writing’s on the wall for a lovely Victorian desk, and Roger Hawkins has to draw on all his experience to bring a highly sought after Royal Worcester vase back from the dead.