Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. In Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Eric Knowles and his team of brilliant restorers take on every challenge.
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I'm Eric Knowles and I'm surrounded by people with broken antiques.
They're here to see if we can give them a new lease of life
and maybe make a little bit of money along the way.
Find out how much on Restoration Roadshow.
'This is Chatsworth, a majestic 450-year-old estate set in the heart of the Peak District.
'It's a picture-perfect venue for today's Restoration Roadshow.
'Many of you have pitched up bearing all sorts of tired antiques,
'and I'm getting quite excited.'
Well, I like that.
'But the all-important questions you want answered are...
'How much are they worth?'
If I want to go and buy one of these,
the price tags are in the £4,000 to £5,000 bracket.
'Should you get them cleaned up and restored?'
Wow, look at this! It's got to be restoration. It's got to be conservation.
'Will the items go home or be taken to auction?
'And how much will they make under the hammer?'
At £2,100, then...
Coming up on today's programme, giving this pair of early 20th Century figurines
the their tiny hands back is going to be a major operation.
We battle to save a piece of First World War military history,
a map of the Western Front.
He must have carried this around with him in the trenches, looking at the state of it.
'We need to preserve it for the brave soldier's granddaughters.
'And, while I'm not a squeamish man, I have my limits.'
No, don't show me any more. I can stand the look of it.
'Can we save this French gilt chair that's had the stuffing knocked out of it?
'And will it get everyone jumping out of their seats when it goes to auction?'
'Chatsworth is a grandiose mansion with attitude and pulling power.
'It's luring in a steady stream of Derbyshire folk
'with their motley collection of treasures old and new.
'I'm taken by this fabulous 19th Century ornate gilt chair, brought by Mel Dexter.
I don't know about the word restoration. I think you chair is in need of first aid.
Not quite open heart surgery, but it's in a bit of a state, isn't it?
-Was it in this state when you inherited it, or did you buy it?
I bought it in Paris at an antique market.
And I thought it had got potential.
-But I stuck it in the garage and it's been there ever since.
What a comedown for this beautiful ornate chair.
It harks back to the baroque furniture made popular
during the reign of Louis XIV, back in the late 17th Century.
What did you pay for it? That's what I need to know.
It was about £80.
Money very well spent. I reckon it's got to be worth two - minimum, as it is.
However, once you spend that money on and get it looking
absolutely the bee's knees, you could be, you know, £350, £400.
But if Mel's got any chance of selling his chair,
he needs our textile man, Rick Turner, to get it into a state fit for a king.
When it comes to upholstery, Rick's the ruling champion.
From breathing new life into Chippendale chairs for Oxford University
to restoring vintage cars from Rolls Royces to Aston Martins.
Now, Rick, I've got you listed as Dr Textiles,
so are you going to need an awful lot of scalpel work on this job?
That's full surgery, I'd rather say.
It's got to be completely restored, everything taken off.
Underneath I see there's a board, so that's got to come off.
-So you'd expect webbing under there?
-Yeah, there'd be webbing.
-It's absolutely rotten.
So that's all absolutely had it.
Once you take that off, we'll be stripping the webbing off, ripping the seat out completely.
-It's done in horsehair.
-Is that what that is? I don't want to get too near that. It takes me back...
-I'm just thinking of the Grand Cinema on a Saturday morning.
I was sat on that stuff.
No, don't show me any more. I can't stand the look of it.
-OK, so what sort of money are we in for?
-I reckon about £250 or so.
OK. It's a chunk of money, but I think we both agree, do we not,
that it'll be money well spent?
I think so. It looks like we are in safe hands.
'You can be sure of that, Mel, because at the moment, this chair's worth around about £200.
'But once Rick's does his stuffing and covering for £250,
'Mel could see his chair fetch up to £400 at auction.
'But first, Rick needs to rejuvenate this regal piece, and that means
'putting the original, if a little itchy, stuffing back in the chair.'
'Our restorers are already tending to the first casualties of the day.
'Next up is an incredible trench map from the First World War.
'Preserving it will call for someone with specialist surgical skills.
'That's a call to arms for paper conservator, Louise Drover,
'who's worked at London's Victoria and Albert Museum and helped save many a work for the National Trust.
'This map has certainly seen a lot of action and survived life in the trenches, but only just.
'It belonged to the grandfather of Yvonne Culverson and her sister, Marie. So it means a lot.
-Do you want to see a photograph of him?
-Yes, let's see it.
Oh, it's lovely.
That was him about 1916, we think. He served, we think, at Passchendaele,
-and then he was gassed in December 1917.
Sent back to England to convalesce, got married in the March and then got sent straight back again.
Oh my goodness me!
'This map dates back to January 1917.
'Over 6 million lives were lost in the Great War, with a further 14 million injured.
'Allied forces ran the gauntlet of death daily in no man's land,
'coming under constant attack from snipers and shelling.
'It beggars belief that this map survived at all.
'But the burning question is, can Louise rescue it for the future?'
I would recommend three things to do to this.
A good surface clean
because we've got lots of ingrained dirt and surface deposits.
Second thing would be to flatten out this deep creasing
that's actually causing these fractures to become worse.
They're actually detached all together. And reattach those areas
and reinforce this loss and perhaps any weaknesses in the folds.
It will be much more stable.
-The cost for this would be in the region of £150 to £160...
..just to stabilise those areas and flatten out this deep creasing.
Yeah, that would be lovely.
'Louise, you really have your work cut out with this one.
'It's currently worth around £50 and Louise will expertly tend to its injuries for £150.
'This map isn't going to go to auction and the truth is it won't go up much in monetary value.
'But it holds real sentimental value for Yvonne and Marie, and you just can't put a price on memories.
'So, can Louise fill those missing gaps? Find out later.'
'Coming up, a well-travelled 1920s chest.'
My grandma took it from China to Hong Kong.
'But will it go the extra mile and bag a high price at auction?'
-He's starting at the top end.
'And Rick's going flat out to give this 19th Century gilt chair the majestic seat it deserves.
'But will his hard work be royally rewarded when it goes under the hammer?
280, do I see?
Come on, where's 280?
'Our restorers have no time to dawdle, so it's paint pots to the ready and chisels to the fore.'
It's fairly obvious that there are a lot of scuff marks and scratches here.
It's worth spending money on, it is a really pretty box.
The workmanship in that is fantastic.
'Christine Bird has turned up with an injured pair of early twentieth-century nodding figures.
'Restoration paramedic, Roger Hawkins, is charged with rebuilding their missing limbs.
'When it comes to ceramics and porcelain, Roger is one of the country's leading restorers
and his reputation has taken him as far afield as Hong Kong and America.
They're absolutely typical German nodding figures.
They're made from what's called hard paste porcelain,
but they're actually called bisque figures.
And that referred to the fact that they just have a first firing and they're not glazed.
It's actually a French term and it means biscuit firing.
Have you any idea of the age?
They have to be over 100-years-old.
These type of figures, they were making these through the 1880s up to the 1920s, so it's easily
imaginable that these were from that date, so absolutely spot-on.
And were they always broken like this?
Yes, I've never known them with the hands on.
Right, OK. You'll be pleased to hear that I can make those hands,
put the hands back on and you'll never know they'd been damaged.
The worry we have is the cost of doing that, because I assume you'll
be wanting to keep them, will you, because of the sentiment attached?
Yes. They belonged to my father's cousin and they were his mother's.
In auction, if these were perfect, you would expect them to fetch between £30 and £40.
The cost of restoration - and we've seen that it's just
both hands are missing, one hand on each figure -
to make those hands would probably cost in the order of about £80.
Now that is more than they're worth.
You have to decide whether the sentiment attached to them is worth you spending that £80 on them.
I think it would be nice to have them done.
Good on you, Christine.
Everyone needs a hand!
Sadly, these little figurines aren't worth much at the moment.
Roger wants £80 to restore them.
But then Christine would be lucky to get £30 to £40
if she took them to auction.
But, as we see so often on Restoration Roadshow,
many of you aren't motivated by money.
It's sentimental value that counts.
Let's hope Roger's efforts will meet with the approval of these figurines.
All work and no play make our restorers such a happy bunch.
Let's open it up. Oh, look at that!
Great, what a difference! Wow!
But they're not the only ones hard at work.
Chatsworth is also undergoing much-needed restoration.
Behind these huge tarpaulins, some specialist undercover work is going on.
The Chatsworth masterplan is a five-year plan of conservation,
restoration and renewal of large parts of this building.
Part of the huge undertaking is giving the stately home's exterior a good old scrub.
And it's producing some great results.
That's how dirty the stonework was three months ago, so it's wonderful
to see this really vivid contrast, taking off 300 years of pollution,
smoke, soot and bringing it back to this incredibly crisp original colour and condition.
These really do look brand new pieces of stone, as though they were quarried yesterday.
But in fact, they are 300-years-old.
'So, while the stonemasons give Chatsworth a wash and brush-up,
'at the outdoor workshop, Rick is rescuing Mel's 19th Century gilt chair
'while Louise has locked itself away to preserve Yvonne and Marie's important piece of heritage.
'It might be broken, hidden under the bed and a family heirloom, but is it worth restoring?
'Wei Ling Gi has a case in point.
'She's brought this interesting 1920s chest. And it's been a real globetrotter.'
I have to admit that, at first appearance, I thought it was lacquer.
But I notice it has been stitched down the side.
It's actually covered in leather, in hide, isn't it?
Date-wise, it must be some time in the 1920s.
I think my grandma took it from China to Hong Kong after the wedding.
I think that's why it has been used, actually. It's not been well kept.
-So it's been a working trunk?
-Can I have a look inside?
-It's not locked, is it?
So we just open that up and...
So it's quite simple inside.
Just looking at it,
I don't think there's an awful lot you can do to it.
-Do you know what it's worth?
-I've no idea at all.
Right, well, personally, I don't think it's going to be worth an awful lot.
As it is, it may be worth £30 to £40.
You need to just give it a little bit of attention.
What I would recommend is a tinted beeswax.
Just give it a going over with tinted beeswax because
with a bit of beeswax, you may find yourself getting nearer £50 or £60.
Is it something you are thinking of selling?
Well, I wouldn't mind to sell it because I haven't got much room to put it in at the moment.
'So it's off to the auction for this oriental 1920s chest.
'While it's worth £30 to £40 now,
'it's a small item, so Wei Ling could save money
'and give it a little polish herself to improve her chances of getting £50 to £60 at auction.
'It just goes to show, sometimes even the simplest bit of care can make a difference.'
'It's all go here at Chatsworth, with dozens of broken heirlooms demanding our attention.'
-Oh dear! Two headless figures.
'But, while new treasures keep coming in, Rick's been working away on Mel's worn-out gilt chair.
'He's already taken the board off the bottom, replaced the old webbing and reattached the springs.
'And now it's time for a spot of stuffing.'
The next process is to actually start putting the horse hair in these pockets.
Go all the way round.
'Horse hair was commonly used in upholstery in the 1800s,
'so it's the only option if Rick want to retain
'the authenticity of this 150-year-old chair.'
Horse hair's brilliant, because it's very springy.
It gives a good edge roll as well.
Some of these modern ones don't last, this will last a long, long time,
a lot longer than modern ones.
'I suppose there is no arguing with that. The chair's lasted this long.
'We want it to survive a whole lot longer.'
A little bit of felt on top, then calico, then the cover.
So it's quite a lengthy process. It's going to be brilliant when it's finished.
'I like Rick's confidence, because we need this imperious chair
'to hold court and command a top price when it comes up at auction.'
'Remember that wonderful First World War trench map belonging to Yvonne and Marie's grandfather?
'Louise has retreated to her workshop where she's lovingly piecing it back together.'
So I'm just preparing these edges.
They've been slightly reinforced at the back with a very fine cotton tissue.
I'm just rolling back any of these curled up areas
which have all the detail on.
They've got the roads, there are various farms and villages.
I'm just basically preparing this section so that it can be married up with the rest of the map.
'It's an exact science, aligning the pieces with all the map details to match up.
'With that done, it's the turn of the holes.
'Now that looks like a job and and a half to me.
'I can't even imagine how Louise will actually fill all those gaps.'
This material here is a polyester that we use.
It'll enable me to trace round the hole, so I'll trace around this hole
first using this pen.
I'm just going to come over a couple of millimetres, because the edges are so friable.
I just want to make sure that this patch is well attached.
So I've made a shape so I can easily trace through using my tissue.
I shall trace through using a needle,
and I can see that perfectly well,
and this is basically going to score a line round the tissue,
and then I shall finish it off by applying a water pen,
which will actually break the tissue through and leave a few fibres
at the edge so that they can latch on to the edges of this loss.
'Now that's clever. It's just like darning, but with paper.
'I'm amazed such a delicate medium can be conserved like this.
'It's work that requires the skill and nerve of a surgeon.'
'Speaking of which, ceramics restorer Roger is also back in his workshop
'preparing to carry out some hand transplants on those early 20th Century bisque figurines.'
Here's some epoxy resin filler, and I have to make from this a hand.
Now the hands on these figures are, fortunately for me, fairly crude.
So stick it on there and see whether it looks about right.
That's about it the right size and shape, I think,
so I'm going to put a little indentation in the middle -
one there, and one there -
and then just dent them there
to make the little finger tip, and that's already a little hand.
'You've got to hand it to Roger, when it comes to ceramics he really is top dog.
'But will Christine agree when she sees her reconstructed figurines?
'And will it be an emotional reunion for Yvonne and Marie
'when they set eyes again on their grandfather's First World War trench map?'
-Are you ready?
Here we go.
'Back at Chatsworth, and it's that all-important Restoration Roadshow moment.
'It's why we were all here, and our restorers haven't even managed
'a tea break between rescuing those broken and tired treasures.'
Oh my goodness!
'Fingers crossed we'll be seeing a few smiling faces when everyone's reunited with their heirlooms.'
Oh, it's magnificent!
'Rick's been busy reviving Mel's 19th Century gilt chair,
'and now it's time for the grand reveal.'
Now, I can tell you that I've been watching Rick all day,
and he's certainly put in the hours, so how are we feeling here today?
-I'm really excited.
-Let's see what you get for your money.
Oh, wow. Yeah, that's fabulous.
-I love it.
It's really made a difference.
Rick, I've got to say, how on earth did you manage to bring this chair back to such a wonderful state?
It's a matter of stripping it all out and rebuilding it,
you know, using all traditional methods. Being wood it's a bit
porous in places so I had to use a staple gun here and there.
'Well, whatever Rick's had to use, it certainly worked.
'Before, the bottom of the chair was held together by an ugly board.
'Rick's replaced it with webbing and covered it in new material.
'The edges were stained and rusted, but now they have a delicate trim.
'The seat was all saggy and lumpy,
'but the horse hair stuffing has plumped it right up.
'And I think Rick's chosen a fabric that revives the chair's long-forgotten regal splendour.'
-Where's my chair? I love it.
-You do, you love it, but you're thinking of selling it?
-As much as I love it, I really want to sell it.
-You're going to stick to your guns on this one?
-I am, yeah, go for it.
-The odds are stacked in your favour, I think.
'But we still need the right bidders on the day,
'ones who'll appreciate Rick's skilled work when it comes to auction.'
At 270? super chair.
Come on, come on.
'Meanwhile, Roger's been carefully crafting new hands onto Christine's early 20th Century figurines.
'So, will his work get the nod?'
-You're looking forward to, yes?
-Yes, please, I am.
-This is the hand you've put on, isn't it?
I can't remember which one, was it that one?
Can't you remember?
Don't you know which hand I've done?
-No, that's a testament to your work, isn't it?
-I think it's that one.
-That's right, yes, that's the one that was off.
I'm really pleased with them.
'And I'm pleased, too. Before, these bisque figurines
'seemed destined to be disfigured for life.
'But Roger has given them back their hands, and they're perfect.
'It really is quite impossible to tell which ones are new.
'So, was it money well spent?'
I know they're not going to be worth what I'm spending on them, but they mean a lot to me,
and they are, whatever the value, a family heirloom, aren't they?
I'm happy with them.
I have to say, our restorers have worked like Trojans today.
I'm really chuffed, and seeing all the wonderful reactions they've inspired makes me feel warm inside.
Here are some of the treasures that have benefited from their handiwork.
As we've just seen, Christine's figurines are now intact
and can nod to their hearts' content in her living room.
We have a couple of treasures heading for auction -
Mel's 19th century gilt chair that wouldn't look out of place in
a royal palace, and the Wei Ling's (????) grandmother's leather chest.
All it needs is a bit of spit and polish, but will it bag any bidders when it goes under the hammer?
But before we go to auction, let's not forget Yvonne and Marie's Great War trench map
that Louise has spent hours painstakingly piecing together.
-So before we draw back the curtain, how are we feeling, ladies?
Very excited, it's fantastic, yes.
-Are you ready?
-Here we go.
That is really good.
-That's so much cleaner than it was before.
-And it's filled in
-all the bits that were missing, and you can just see so much more of it.
That's no exaggeration.
Before, this map was being assaulted on all fronts.
It was full of holes and the folds were coming apart hiding the minute details.
Now, with the ragged tears filled in, you can clearly see the names
of towns and villages, but, most importantly, its deterioration has been stopped in its tracks.
And the really nice thing as well is it still looks like a really old
map that's literally been through the wars.
You can still see the folds, but they're not crumbling any more.
No, she's done an amazing job on it, hasn't she?
This has cost you how much, ladies?
-But in return you've preserved a piece of family history,
-because this has been in your family for almost 100 years.
It just looks stronger and like it's going to last.
So have I got two happy ladies?
-Yes, it's fantastic.
It's a really good job.
It's auction day Bamford's in Derby.
There's a flurry of activity, as bidders check out the treasures
on offer and limber up for the specialist sale.
We have just over 500 lots this morning.
But do remember that auction houses charge fees and commission,
and everything that's been restored will be noted in the catalogue.
First up is Mel's 19th century gilt chair.
Even in its sorry state, I valued this ornate chair at £200-250.
Rick then gave it back its noble features for £250, so that now
I reckon it deserves to get £400 at auction.
-Lot number 50.
-This is it.
A nineteenth-century France giltwood saddle(???) corner chair, really nice thing.
He's giving it be good push, isn't he?
I can start at £270. 280 do I see?
-At £270, 280 now?
-At 270, super chair.
-Come on, where's 280?
280, thank you Madam. 290, 300...
-Come on, come on.
-At 290, it's still with me, 300 do I see?
-No, it's worth more than that.
-All done then at 290?
I'm afraid that remains with me, not quite there.
-A bit disappointed.
-Yeah, me too. I mean that's worth all the money.
Some you win, some you lose.
There was obviously some interest there, but it just waned.
Are you happy to take it back?
I would be really happy to take it back anyway.
-It's a good-looking object.
It's been given a new lease of life, hasn't it?
Yeah, and it'll sit really well in my sitting room anyway.
Lot number 170.
Next up is Wei Ling's leather chest, and she's brought along her partner, John.
You've spent no money at all on having the thing restored?
-No, I didn't.
-A bit of furniture polish.
A bit of furniture polish, who did that?
-Oh, you did that, did you? OK.
When I first saw it, I thought the chest was worth £30-40.
All it needed was a bit of buffing to make it worth near £50-60, but are those bidders out there?
-Lot number 170. An early 20th century Chinese lacquered rectangular linen chest, great lot.
£100 please. £100?
-He's starting at the top end.
30 then, let's start. £30 bid.
Yeah, we've got a buyer at 30.
We want a buyer at 35, we want a buyer at 40, don't we?
-We've got another buyer.
40, 50, 55...
£55 now bid.
It's going, it's working. Come on.
At £60, all done and selling at 60.
-That's not bad.
So, what do we think?
-Yeah, very good.
I was sad to let it go, but you can't keep everything.
-And they are rather bulky, to say the least, aren't they?
It's obviously going to find itself a new home now, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
-And you're OK with that?
I'm OK, I'm quite happy with that.
I hope they enjoy it as much as I have.
So, join us again for some more nail-biting action, and to find out
if your tired antiques can make some money here on Restoration Roadshow.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [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.
In wonderful Chatsworth House, paper conservator Louise Drover battles to restore a First World War trench map that has definitely been in the wars. Meanwhile, ceramics genius Roger Hawkins is forced to perform delicate surgery on some fragile 20th-century figurines, while upholstery expert Rick Turner gets stuck in to a 19th-century gilt chair that has had the stuffing knocked out of it.
But at the end of the day will their efforts be rewarded? Will the owners be happy with what they see? And if any items go off to auction, will they steal the show and make a pretty penny?