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The Antiques Roadshow guest brought a plate which was decorated with the face of a young girl and had been passed down from her grandfather. Expert Serhat Ahmet was thrilled to be presented with the item and was keen to find out where it had come from.
“What a mesmerising pair of eyes. What is the story behind this young lady?” asked expert Serhat.
The guest replied: “Oh it was my grandfather’s and he was a gardener and chauffeur born in 1860 and he worked for a big house somewhere, don’t know where.
“Because of the oil dripped out of the car, they gave him the plate to catch the oil.”
“So, let me get this right – this was used to catch the oil dripping from the engine?” Serhat asked.
As the guest answered “yes,” Serhat continued: “Well what we have is a Minton’s Aesthetic Movement charger for hanging on the wall, beautifully pained with underglaze enamels. It’s dated 1871.”
The guest exclaimed: “Oh, it’s 1871?”
“The artist is Rebecca Coleman and it’s signed just here,” Serhat added.
“And Rebecca Coleman was one of the main artists at the Minton’s factor who used a lot of the portraits on plates, were based around her daughter.”
“Well, I call her Lizzie,” the guest revealed. “I don’t know what her real name was.”
Inspecting the plate in more detail, Serhat explained: “If we turn the plate over, we’ll see here the mark for the Minton’s Art Pottery Studio, which started in 1871, so this would have been one of the first pieces to come out of the factory.
“It’s marked here with the cipher for 1871, and as we can see, it’s been hanging on the wall and that’s exactly what it was for.
“The lovely detail on here with the peacock feather – a nod towards William Morris, who was designing in that period, as well.
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“So, the Aesthetic Movement was a very important movement for Minton. A lot of new pieces came out of their production – things that the world had never seen before.
“So, these were extremely popular. Very hard to find, though. Because of the techniques used, not many of them were made.”
Serhat asked the guest: “Do you have any idea of the value?” after they pointed out an oil stain on the plate.
“A couple of hundred, I should think,” they replied. “Maybe. If that.”
“Well, it’s a very good example, excellent condition, fantastic subject, beautifully painted, so I’d put a value of £2,000 to £3,000,” Serhat confirmed.
The news startled the guest who exclaimed: “Oh! Great. Thank you. She’s my friend.”
Antiques Roadshow returns Sunday on BBC One at 7pm.
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