When Trentham turned TV set

DSCF7672
Worth looking into: Bunny Campione gives David from Meir Heath an appraisal of an ornate French 19th century spectacle case with spectacles inside.

When Trentham turned TV set

Christine Conlin got a press pass for the September 3rd visit of BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow

Didn’t they have a lovely time the day they came to Trentham? Despite the chill breeze and occasional morning showers, sunbeams shafted onto the red umbrellas dotted around the upper Italian Gardens. Sitting under the umbrellas, reference books to hand, were over a dozen well-known antiques specialists talking to people eager to have their items identified and valued.

Show presenter Fiona Bruce
In the pink: in a woollen wraparound coat and patent leather flatties Fiona Bruce was dressed for a dry but chilly day outdoors

“It’s my first visit to Trentham and the landscape is simply stunning,”

said Roadshow presenter and BBC news reporter Fiona Bruce at a pre-opening press call.

Fiona, who also collects children’s embroidered samplers, was particularly struck by Trentham’s tall herbaceous borders and had fallen in love with the fairies round the lake. It was to be a long day for Fiona, who remained on hand with the central reception team, for the specialists who’d stocked up with water and sweets to keep their voices going, for the camera crews and for the owners, who patiently queued first for the reception desk, and then to be seen by their allotted specialist. But the wait was worth it – if you’re in by 4.30pm, you will be seen, the Roadshow guarantees. It would be a good day for ceramics, predicted pottery expert John Sandon (son of Henry Sandon).

“As we’re in Trentham, I’m expecting to be shown items which won’t have travelled far, including perhaps some trial versions of prestige pieces which never went on sale but which pottery workers might have taken home as a keepsake,” he told the Gazette.

 What a find! Glass expert Andy McConnell was thrilled by this rare Cauldon Ware lustreware bowl inherited by Lucy from Trentham from her great uncle, glass designer Frederick Carder. Born in 1863 near Stourbridge, Carder is better known in the USA, where he co-founded the Corning Glass Works and produced glass for Tiffany and the Empire State Building. “This Carder piece is a Roadshow first!”  Andy enthused.
What a find! Glass expert Andy McConnell was thrilled by this rare Cauldon Ware lustreware bowl inherited by Lucy from Trentham from her great uncle, glass designer Frederick Carder. Born in 1863 near Stourbridge, Carder is better known in the USA, where he co-founded the Corning Glass Works and produced glass for Tiffany and the Empire State Building. “This Carder piece is a Roadshow first!” Andy enthused.

It wasn’t all about cashing in – most owners were more interested in finding out about the background and history of their items than their monetary worth. As for those lucky few who discovered that their item was much more valuable than they had thought – they seemed even more determined not to part with them. But, as was generally the case, an item’s worth was not very great, the specialists had a lovely way of letting you down gently. They seemed genuinely thrilled by everything they were shown and made every owner seem valued. They put the item into historical context and pointed out features an untrained eye would overlook, such as a silver watch chain whose every link was hallmarked.

Seeing double: twins Anita and Annette from Newcastle weren’t disappointed by Fergus Gambon’s modest valuation of the pair of green and gilded 1860s earthenware vases they’d picked up at an Eccleshall car boot sale. At least they’ve got one each!
Seeing double: twins Anita and Annette from Newcastle weren’t disappointed by Fergus Gambon’s modest valuation of the pair of green and gilded 1860s earthenware vases they’d picked up at an Eccleshall car boot sale. At least they’ve got one each!

Sometimes, a specialist’s attention would be drawn to a watch or piece of jewellery an owner was wearing which proved more interesting – and sometimes more valuable than the item presented. But with every item, the specialist was keen to tease out its owners’ story – as a family heirloom or a find in a car boot sale.

Access all areas: thousands enjoyed the free entrance to Trentham Gardens on Roadshow day
Access all areas: thousands enjoyed the free entrance to Trentham Gardens on Roadshow day

The Roadshow was surprisingly accessible – whether you were there as an owner or a casual visitor you could just stroll in, look in on valuations and join other bystanders in the on-the-spot filming sessions for items of special value and interest. This was a chance to witness live filming techniques. Once the main part of the interview is “in the can”, the crew recorded the “noddies”, the listener’s reactions they later edit in to contrast with the “talking head”.

All it’s cracked up to be: New Zealand Roadshow fan Sandy, holidaying in London brought with her a charming lidded china pot she had  bought home in a Taupo “op shop” for all of 20p. Though attracted by its delicate design, decoration and colours, she’d been unable to identify it so suspected it was a fake. Not so – ceramics expect John Sandon verified it as genuine Sevres porcelain from 1770, worth £1,000!
All it’s cracked up to be: New Zealand Roadshow fan Sandy, holidaying in London brought with her a charming lidded china pot she had bought home in a Taupo “op shop” for all of 20p. Though attracted by its delicate design, decoration and colours, she’d been unable to identify it so suspected it was a fake. Not so – ceramics expect John Sandon verified it as genuine Sevres porcelain from 1770, worth £1,000!

And when an unexpectedly high valuation came up, the crew would ask the crowd to re-reprise their “oohs” and gasps for the re-takes! If you fancied a break from antiques, you could tour the lower Italian Gardens with their waving ornamental grasses, lose yourself in the floral maze, explore the show gardens, take a refreshment break or just go for a wander by the lake.

Enid from Milton is the granddaughter of Wedgwood copperplate engraver Thomas Cartwright. One of the items she brought along was this transfer paper of an image she believes he engraved.  The 1930s aerial view of Los Angeles, shows a church, a stadium and sports grounds and housing in sharpest detail.  As Enid told ceramics expert Stephen Moore, shortly after May 1945, some US senior airforce personnel were taken on a private visit to Wedgwood, which had exported to the US throughout the war.  On seeing this design on a charger, a US general exclaimed that he’d spotted his house on the plate and wanted to purchase it!  But his request was refused on the grounds that the piece was unique.  Can Gazette readers add any more to this extraordinary tale?
Enid from Milton is the granddaughter of Wedgwood copperplate engraver Thomas Cartwright. One of the items she brought along was this transfer paper of an image she believes he engraved. The 1930s aerial view of Los Angeles, shows a church, a stadium and sports grounds and housing in sharpest detail. As Enid told ceramics expert Stephen Moore, shortly after May 1945, some US senior airforce personnel were taken on a private visit to Wedgwood, which had exported to the US throughout the war. On seeing this design on a charger, a US general exclaimed that he’d spotted his house on the plate and wanted to purchase it! But his request was refused on the grounds that the piece was unique. Can Gazette readers add any more to this extraordinary tale?

 

Shining example: Stella from Cocknage was delighted when metalwork expert Duncan Campbell told her hat the 1908 Birmingham silver fretwork fruit bowl her grandmother had bought for £5  in a 1941-2 Spitfire sale was now worth £350.
Shining example: Stella from Cocknage was delighted when metalwork expert Duncan Campbell told her hat the 1908 Birmingham silver fretwork fruit bowl her grandmother had bought for £5 in a 1941-2 Spitfire sale was now worth £350.

 

Clock this: having put a modest valuation on the late period mid-range gents’ fob watch shown him by Colin, who was visiting Eccleshall, expert Ben Wright spotted the watch Colin was wearing and teased out the story behind it. Colin is the founder of Orchid, a charity for sufferers and survivors of the rare form of cancer he was successfully treated for in 1996. For Orchid’s 10th anniversary, he swam the Channel, underwater, at a depth of 5 metres, completing the crossing in a respectable 12 hours 5 minutes. To celebrate, Colin bought himself a Rolex diver’s watch, whose value, Ben assured him, had since increased by £1000!
Clock this: having put a modest valuation on the late period mid-range gents’ fob watch shown him by Colin, who was visiting Eccleshall, expert Ben Wright spotted the watch Colin was wearing and teased out the story behind it. Colin is the founder of Orchid, a charity for sufferers and survivors of the rare form of cancer he was successfully treated for in 1996. For Orchid’s 10th anniversary, he swam the Channel, underwater, at a depth of 5 metres, completing the crossing in a respectable 12 hours 5 minutes. To celebrate, Colin bought himself a Rolex diver’s watch, whose value, Ben assured him, had since increased by £1000!
High hopes fulfilled: Glen and Maggie from Tamworth had their expectations confirmed by jewellery expert John Benjamin that Maggie’s silver and diamond winged brooch which Glen picked up in a car boot sale had indeed belonged to the pioneering woman pilot Amy Johnson MBE.  Its provenance was confirmed by the monogram of Charles Chivers Wakefield of Castrol Oils, who co-sponsored Amy’s record breaking 1930 solo flight from London to Australia. This 1930 photo of Amy in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia shows her wearing it. Photo credit: The W. E. Fretwell Collection.
High hopes fulfilled: Glen and Maggie from Tamworth had their expectations confirmed by jewellery expert John Benjamin that Maggie’s silver and diamond winged brooch which Glen picked up in a car boot sale had indeed belonged to the pioneering woman pilot Amy Johnson MBE. Its provenance was confirmed by the monogram of Charles Chivers Wakefield of Castrol Oils, who co-sponsored Amy’s record breaking 1930 solo flight from London to Australia. This 1930 photo of Amy in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia shows her wearing it. Photo credit: The W. E. Fretwell Collection.

 

So what’s it worth asks Elaine Robinson. The walking stick has been in the family for several generations (3 possibly 4) and is made from an unknown material, and not wood. Elaine was directed to Bunny Campione on Miscellaneous who was impressed by the gold inlay which appeared to be marked 18ct she went across to Jewellery Expert John Benjamin who then pronounced it to be gold plate on base metal so the stick is virtually worthless – so  bang went the winter Cruise! All that glisters is not gold, a disappointment  but the plus side was that the visit to The Antiques Roadshow was a worthwhile experience the experts were so approachable, friendly and informative. It was an eye opener to see all the behind the scenes work by production and technical staff involved in this episode of the programme .
So what’s it worth asks Elaine Robinson. The walking stick has been in the family for several generations (3 possibly 4) and is made from an unknown material, and not wood. Elaine was directed to Bunny Campione on Miscellaneous who was impressed by the gold inlay which appeared to be marked 18ct she went across to Jewellery Expert John Benjamin who then pronounced it to be gold plate on base metal so the stick is virtually worthless – so bang went the winter Cruise! All that glisters is not gold, a disappointment but the plus side was that the visit to The Antiques Roadshow was a worthwhile experience the experts were so approachable, friendly and informative. It was an eye opener to see all the behind the scenes work by production and technical staff involved in this episode of the programme .

Our local venue came up trumps, and whatever your reason for attending the Roadshow – as owner, onlooker, volunteer or professional – your visit to Trentham Gardens would have been a day of added value. The Trentham filming, part of the 26-programme season of the 38th series of the Antiques Roadshow, will be broadcast during the autumn and winter of 2015-2016. The transmission date, which is yet to be confirmed, will be publicised on the BBC Antiques Roadshow website on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mj2y