Antiques Roadshow expert delivers huge valuation after learning ‘tragic’ history of vase

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BBC’s Antiques Roadshow sees members of the public from up and down the country visit with their precious belongings in tow in the hope they might be worth a large amount of money. Last weekend’s instalment saw one guest get more than she bargained for when she received a whopping valuation for a vase her grandfather had bought for just one pound in a “junk shop”.

Fiona Bruce and her team came from Wrest Park in Bedfordshire in the latest episode of the BBC show. 

One particular item caught the eye of expert Judith Miller when a guest brought along a William De Morgan vase.

The vibrant blue and green ornament was decorated with birds and proved a hit with Judith, who got to work valuing the item.

The vase was in fantastic condition and it wasn’t long before the guest received the all-important verdict. 

The show regular asked the lady: “It’s really beautiful, how did you get it?”

The guest went on to share the familial connection to the vase. 

She said: “The story is, my grandfather was a ceramic potter and he was in Shaftesbury one day and he passed by a junk shop there.

“He went in and I guess he probably didn’t show great enthusiasm because I think the price was about a pound and he bought it.”

Complimenting the item, the expert said: “Well I’m not surprised, he certainly had an eye for it.

“Look at the colours! Look at the most beautiful, fantastical birds – it has everything,” Judith remarked. 

She went on to explain how the potter had studied Persian design in detail and was also a friend of famous textile designer, William Morris.

Continuing her assessment, she said: “You can sort of see that Arts and Crafts look to it. 

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“William De Morgan stopped potting in 1907, I think this vase comes from the period just before that.”

However, she explained the sadness connected to the item, with a more detailed look into the artist’s past. 

Judith revealed: “It was very sad, he had written that he had spent his life trying to master the techniques and when he had, nobody wanted to buy them… so tragic.”

She soon reassured the guest her vase had significant value, adding: “But that’s not the case today.

“William De Morgan is one of the really hot names in ceramic design and just looking at it, I’m not surprised.

“I would happily estimate this vase at quite a bit more than a pound,” she said, leaving the guest with a huge smile on her face. 

The expert noted: “I would estimate this vase between £3,000 and £3,500!”

The guest was left speechless by the whopping valuation, responding: “Wow, okay. I didn’t expect that!”

Antiques Roadshow airs Sundays at 8pm on BBC One.

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