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Antiques Roadshow on tour in North Yorkshire
Last summer it was York, earlier this year Scarborough, now Fountains Abbey has hosted the Antiques Roadshow as it filmed again in North Yorkshire. MATT CLARK went to see if any unknown Rembrandts turned up.
THEY feared the worst, some clutching cherished heirlooms fastidiously wrapped against the elements, others sheltering their family silver in rucksacks.
But, for a change, the rain clouds stayed away and the sun shone gloriously over Fountains Abbey as hordes queued for the Antiques Roadshow, hoping granny’s battered hand-me-downs might be long-lost Ming vases.
None were of course, but for many visitors it was a golden opportunity to learn the history of family treasures, most of which had only sentimental value.
Take David King’s two Wheatsone concertinas. A few years ago they were valued at £800 each. Now they are only worth half that for the pair.
Then there was George; a pottery turtle from the Seychelles. Sadly not worth a penny.
“That’s not the point. I would never sell it anyway,” its owner was heard to say.
Perhaps one of the most interesting items was brought along by David Lydall, from Ripon.
His father was part of Donald Campbell's Bluebird team and the water speed record holder once gave him a signed photo album, which fascinated roadshow expert Paul Atterbury.
Most of us would think £4,000 is a lot to pay for a painting, but Rupert Maas told one collector that his 18th century Italian gilt frame was worth around £4,000 – and that’s without an old master in it.
BBC1 is currently filming the 35th series of the Roadshow, which will be screened in the autumn. Its public face is Fiona Bruce, who took over from Michael Aspel in 2008.
“I find people interesting and I’m professionally nosey, so I like to be out chatting to people in the queue, finding out what they’ve brought and for me, that’s part of the enjoyment,” she says.
“I watched the Antiques Roadshow when I was a kid and I can’t believe I’m now on it. I feel very lucky to do something I enjoy so much.”
Fiona’s last series was watched by an average of six million viewers and included a painting by Rolf Harris bought for £50 and valued at £50,000, a beer flagon made from Oliver Cromwell’s horse and the medical chest taken on Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to the Antarctic.
Among the finds for the new series is a collection of Michael Jackson’s possessions which he left in a hotel and never reclaimed.
So did the experts discover an unknown Rembrandt yesterday? You’ll need to wait and see.
But collectables aside, the undoubted star of yesterday’s episode was Fountains Abbey itself; a rare treasure trove of antiquity which made even the earliest items brought for valuation look new.
“This is one of the best locations we have used,” says Fiona.
“I had no idea Fountains Abbey was so large. It’s absolutely stunning and fortunately it’s not raining.”
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