Antiques Roadshow returned to the BBC last night with another episode from Helmingham Hall and Gardens in Suffolk.
This was the third time in the history of the show that it was presented from this location, and the public didn’t disappoint the experts with the array of quirky, “jaw-dropping” and wonderful artefacts.
One item which peaked the interested of expert Lennox Cato was “an exotic-looking” wooden birdcage and, while the owner remained calm when he revealed the value of the item, he couldn’t contain his excitement.
First of all, the expert was keen to find out about its history.
I’ve never seen a birdcage as interesting and as beautiful as this.
“Well it was inherited by my husband from his family who lived in Suffolk,” the lady explained.
“But, I’m afraid he doesn’t know anymore than that. He doesn’t know where they got it from. I’m sure they inherited it, but I don’t know who from.”
Lennox then discussed the decoration and design of the birdcage and those watching at home saw him say: “The colours are… well, they’re just amazing!
“Working from the top looking down, the carved finials and these little baubles hanging are bone. To signify it is a birdcage we have a little bird in this wonderful oval patera.”
Forming the square shape was brass bars which Lennox explained “had been blackened”.
What did take catch his eye was the coat of arms on the front and the owner said: “I’m afraid we’ve never looked into whose that is.”
Antiques Roadshow: ‘Breaks all the rules’ Expert overwhelmed by priceless birdcage
BBC One viewers saw Lennox take the lady through the mechanics of the birdcage, showing her how the doors opened and explained the little two drawers either side were for feeding the animals.
“This is what we call parquetry work. Little pieces of wood nicely simulated to form patterns. We have maple, we have padauk, ebony,” he continued, in reference to the varieties of wood it was made from.
As for it’s origin, Lennox revealed: “It’s English, dated around 1790, 1800. All the years I’ve been dealing, I’ve seen a number of birdcages
“But I’ve never seen a birdcage as interesting and as beautiful as this. This, to me… wow. It breaks all the rules.
“If you saw this for sale, it could quite easily cost you £15,000,” he stated.
Elsewhere in the episode, a rare sapphire ring was presented to Joanna Hardy who was stunned to learn how the stone was natural.
“I’ve never seen a yellow sapphire which is natural because you say you have the certificate saying that it’s natural, and it hasn’t been heated in anyway,” she said.
Antiques Roadshow returns to BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.