Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Swanage Pier and Seafront, Dorset 2

Antiques Roadshow 2023 - Swanage Pier and Seafront, Dorset 2

Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Swanage Pier and Seafront, Dorset 2 – In the quaint and scenic locale of Swanage Pier in Dorset, set along the historic stretches of England’s Jurassic Coast, a captivating episode of the Antiques Roadshow unfolds. Here, Cristian Beadman unexpectedly comes upon ancient dinosaur footprints amidst the anticipatory queue of attendees. The picturesque seaside environment enhances the charm of this episode, offering the perfect backdrop for the display of an eclectic and unusual array of items. Among these treasured finds is a stunning, beaded glass window, lovingly rescued from the demolition of a local fish shop. This beautiful artifact is accompanied by a meticulously maintained collection of waterline model boats, charmingly described by Marc Allum as ‘big boy’s toys.’



In this episode, the esteemed Serhat Ahmet examines a life-sized pottery model of a graceful pelican. This striking piece, crafted by the celebrated manufacturer Doulton, captivates his interest, showcasing the fine detail and artistry synonymous with the renowned brand. Raj Bisram’s enthusiasm shines as he explores the historical significance of a well-preserved American baseball bat and mitt, artifacts dating back to the turbulent times of the Second World War. Amidst these diverse discoveries, Geoffrey Munn stumbles upon an absolute gem: the original, intricate designs for the coronet specially created for King Charles. This exceptional piece, crafted for his Investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969 by master goldsmith Louis Osmond, reveals an unexpected and whimsical detail. Munn uncovers the surprising role a humble ping pong ball played in representing the crowning glory of this royal masterpiece.



As the episode progresses, John Benjamin offers his expert insight into a collection of intimate photographs and delicate jewellery. These precious items once belonged to the exiled dowager empress Maria Feodorovna, mother to the last tsar of Russia, adding a touch of historical intrigue and royal elegance to the array of artifacts presented. In a delightful challenge, Ronnie Archer Morgan invites Fiona to discern the odd one out within his unique and extensive private collection of walking sticks, adding an element of playful mystery to the show’s diverse showcase.

The episode reaches a resplendent conclusion as Will Farmer highlights a magnificent example of lost wax casting in bronze. This exquisite piece, crafted by the highly sought-after sculptor Joseph Bernard, a pivotal figure in the Paris art deco movement, captures the attention and admiration of all. Bernard, who collaborated with the same renowned foundry as the iconic artist Degas, boasts works prominently displayed within the illustrious halls of the Louvre, further elevating the allure of this stunning episode of Antiques Roadshow at the enchanting Swanage Pier in Dorset.


Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Swanage Pier and Seafront, Dorset 2



The Charming Seaside Setting of Swanage Pier

Set along the picturesque stretches of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset lies the quaint and charming town of Swanage. Known for its classic seaside atmosphere, Swanage’s crown jewel is its historic pier, first opened in 1859. Stretching out into the shimmering blue waters of Swanage Bay, the pier exudes old-world Victorian elegance with its traditional wooden decking and ornamental ironwork.

On a sunny summer’s day, the pier comes alive with color and activity. Locals and tourists alike enjoy leisurely strolls to the very end, taking in sea views while listening to the cries of wheeling seagulls overhead. Grab an ice cream or candy floss and try your hand at fishing or crabbing off the sides. The pier provides the perfect vantage point for admiring the sweeping panorama of Swanage Bay, from the curve of the sandy beach to the cliffs and coves marching off into the distance.

It’s this picturesque seaside setting that forms the backdrop for a fascinating 2023 episode of the Antiques Roadshow. As the crowd queues in anticipation, the Victorian pier, with its timeless atmosphere, enhances the old-fashioned charm and mystique of the featured antiques. Against this nostalgic coastal backdrop, intriguing histories are revealed and surprise treasures unearthed.


Mesmerizing Discovery – Ancient Dinosaur Footprints

While queued along the pier for Antiques Roadshow, eagle-eyed Cristian Beadman makes a marvelous discovery – a glimpse into prehistoric times right underfoot! Spotting unusual indentations in the stone surface of the pier, his natural curiosity is piqued. Consulting with a geologist, he learns the markings are 125-million-year-old dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous period.

Most likely made by an Iguanodon, these deep three-toed tracks offer a window into when this location was part of a muddy estuary, trodden by giant reptilian creatures. The footprints join a sequence of nearby finds along the coast, cementing the area’s reputation as one of the richest in Britain for dinosaur fossils.

This revelation creates quite a stir, drawing crowds to view the ancient imprints. The markings prove particularly significant given their rarity and remarkable preservation. This lucky find adds an extra layer of fascination, giving locals and visitors the feeling of stepping back in time. There’s something strangely magical about treading the same stone as a dinosaur from eons past!


Rescued From Demolition – Stunning Beaded Glass Window

Another highlight of the episode is a colorful beaded glass window, brought in by local resident Fiona Clarke. She explains how she salvaged the piece from the demolition of Harry’s Cafe, once a popular Swanage fish and chip shop before closing in 1978.

Fiona always admired the window which was headed for the skip pile. She convinced the builders to let her keep it, sensing its artistic value. The focal point is an intricate symmetrical pattern of colored glass beads framing the name “Harry’s”. This lively design immediately grabs the eye. Surrounding it are clear beveled glass panes allowing light to permeate while obscuring views into the shop.

Expert Marc Allum praises Fiona’s foresight in saving this “little gem” from destruction. He explains that from the late 19th century onwards, such decorative windows were popular in British shops and pubs. The technique was cheap and cheerful, using layers of colored and clear glass beads to create a dazzling multi-hued effect. This example boasts an ornate central panel not always seen.

Allum believes the window dates to around 1910 when Harry’s first opened, making it over 100 years old. Its appeal lies in being a relic of Swanage’s past while showcasing a vivid, artisanal design. Allum values this “ Slice of Pier-side Swanage History” at £100-£1,000, bringing a smile to Fiona’s face. She’s thrilled but insists it’s not for sale – the window will remain in the family home where it’s cherished.


Big Boy’s Toys – A Treasured Collection of Waterline Model Boats

Vintage model boats capture the imagination of many a maritime enthusiast. In this episode, David creates ripples of nostalgia when he brings in an impressive fleet of intricately crafted waterline models. These types of models only depict the portion of a boat visible above the water. David focuses on British naval and merchant vessels from 1900-1960.

His collection began as a young boy when he was gifted a model of the Titanic. From then on he was hooked! Over 70 years he’s amassed around 200 boats. Treating his models with care, he brings a selection in pristine condition. Marc Allum admires their precision, pointing out details down to portholes and rigging. Made by manufacturers like Bassett-Lowke and Merc, many date from the 1920s-1950s making them good collectibles. Allum says half the joy comes from researching the history behind each boat.

David demonstrates how the models can float in a tank, powered by candle or steam power. Allum humorously dubs it “big boy’s toys”. He values individual boats from £50-£500 but stresses David’s entire collection could be worth £30,000-£50,000. For David these models are priceless – each evokes childhood memories, feeding his passion until “the final voyage!”


Pelican in Paradise – A Doulton Pottery Marvel

Distinctive pottery always captivates the Antiques Roadshow experts, as seen when Serhat Ahmet examines an ornate pottery pelican. The owner explains it was passed down through her late husband’s family, originally purchased in the 1950s-60s. Standing at 2 feet tall, the bird’s grace and workmanship grab Ahmet’s attention right away.

Turning it over reveals the pelican is a Doulton product, stamped “Doulton Lambeth”. Ahmet delves into Doulton’s history as a British icon starting in 1815. By the late 1800s they employed top artisans and embraced new glazing techniques. This allowed more elaborate, decorative wares. Ahmet admires the life-like detail given to each feather and the expressive almost humorous face. Doulton favored animal motifs. Perched on a tree stump base, this pelican reflects their naturalistic style and mastery of form. Ahmet explains it was likely modeled by an artist, then molded and hand-painted.

Given the quality and desirable Doulton name, he values this rare “Pelican in Paradise” at £800-£1,200. The owner is astonished but admits she’d never part with it – its sentimental value is even greater as a link to her late husband. Ahmet says it’s the “jewel in the crown” of any collection.


Batter Up! – An International Love Story in Baseball Memorabilia

American sports memorabilia often depicts an era, as discovered when Raj Bisram examines a baseball bat and mitt dating to World War II. The owner explains his Canadian father was stationed in New York where he met and married a local girl in 1942. Her brother gifted them the baseball set as a wedding present.

The mitt features the iconic “Rawlings” trademark while the bat bears the maker “Hillerich & Bradsby” – both major companies. Bisram notes baseball gained popularity in the early 20th century and truly “captivated the nation” by the 1940s. It became an American pastime, far more than just a sport. This set symbolizes the friendship and romance between two young people brought together during wartimes. The glove’s worn condition indicates it was well-used and cherished. Bisram imagines many lively games in that New York neighborhood. He values the bat and mitt at £50-£500 but stresses their real worth is as a touching memento of an international love story.


A Crown Jewel – The Origins of Prince Charles’ Investiture Coronet

In a remarkable discovery, Geoffrey Munn examines original 1969 blueprints for the coronet created for Prince Charles’ royal investiture as Prince of Wales. This previously unseen piece provides insider insight into this historic event.

The intricate designs depict the coronet’s crown and arches adorned with the Prince of Wales insignia, badges, and symbolic floral emblems. What catches Munn’s eye is a tiny orb at the apex described in the plans as a “table tennis ball”. This peculiar feature prompted Charles’ request for something “less bulbous”! Munn explains this ball was used by master goldsmith Louis Osmond to conceptualize the coronet’s shape. By Investiture Day, it was elegantly transformed into a gleaming solid gold orb set with jewels.

Munn emphasizes that along with the dazzling detailed drawings, this tiny ping pong trimming represents the foundations of a real “jewel in the crown”. He values the designs at £10,000-£100,000 given their significance in British royal history. The ping pong ball proves curiosity comes in all sizes – even those fit for a King!


A Trove of Royal Secrets – Treasured Possessions of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna

Imperial Russia’s lavish opulence is exemplified in an exquisite collection of jewellery and photographs once belonging to Maria Feodorovna, mother of Tsar Nicholas II. Following the 1917 revolution that toppled the dynasty, she fled to exile in her native Denmark.

Her granddaughter managed to secretly gather some of her left-behind possessions in Russia. This trove was passed down through generations before finally being presented to the Roadshow. John Benjamin marvels at the fine quality and detail of the pieces. He focuses on a jeweled pendant, still housing a tiny portrait photograph of a youthful, beautiful Maria. The glimmering brooches and necklaces demonstrate exceptional Imperial Russian craftsmanship. Of equal fascination are the candid family photographs offering a glimpse into private Romanov moments away from the public eye. These intimate images provide a poignant record of Maria’s life before loss and exile.

Benjamin values this “time capsule of Imperial Russia” at a minimum of £150,000. But he believes their historical significance as records of Maria’s life and mementos of turbulent times makes them priceless.


The Mystery of the Walking Sticks – An Antiques Challenge

Collecting walking sticks is one of those hobbies people tend to poke fun at…that is until they witness Ronnie Archer Morgan’s jaw-dropping display! In a lighthearted segment, Fiona Bruce gets challenged to spot the odd stick out among Ronnie’s vast collection numbering over 1000.

At first, they appear indistinguishable to the untrained eye. But Ronnie points out subtle differences – exotic woods, decorative handles, engraved bands. He picks up seemingly identical sticks, explaining one is Indian rosewood while the other Jamaican vine wood.

Slowly Fiona starts noticing irregularities in shape, color tone, or finial detail. Ronnie confirms she’s on the right track. He highlights uniqueness like a stick owned by Winston Churchill himself.

While playful, Ronnie has a serious passion and knowledge of canes backed by 50 years of collecting. He believes the handle reveals the owner’s personality. Fiona gains a new appreciation for this overlooked collectible. She may not guess the exact oddball, but this “stickler” for detail clearly has an eye for quality!


Foundry of Fine Art – A Degas Sculpture Cast in Bronze

In a thrilling final appraisal, Will Farmer examines an exquisite bronze figure of a dancer. Cast from the lost wax method, its balance and detail initially suggest an Degas original. However, the figure’s base reveals it is inscribed “C.A.B” identifying sculptor Joseph Bernard.

The elderly owner recounts acquiring the piece from his father, though its origins are uncertain. Farmer spotlights Bernard as a prominent Parisian sculptor active in the early 1900s. Strongly influenced by Degas, he often depicted dancers and embraced the same bronzecasting foundry used by Degas.

Many of Bernard’s works were commissioned as public monuments in France and abroad. Farmer emphasizes his immense talent while tracing the ties between Bernard and Degas. This exquisite bronze essentially channels the spirit of a Degas dancer but represents Bernard’s skills.

Though not by the master himself, Farmer still values this museum-quality casting at an impressive £1,000-£10,000. He encourages the owner to proudly display this pinnacle of French artistry. The episode concludes on the high note that even when pieces lack concrete provenance, their own majesty helps ensure they will not be overlooked!


5 Key Takeaways

The 2023 Swanage episode of Antiques Roadshow offers much intrigue! Here are 5 key takeaways:

1. Ancient treasures can appear when least expected – like dinosaur footprints on a pier or beach! Cristian Beadman’s chance finding highlights how relics from the distant past can still emerge, bringing astonishment and wonder.

2. Artistic relics are worth preserving for posterity, as Fiona Clarke demonstrated by saving the beaded glass window from demolition. Its local history and cheerful design give this modest piece great significance.

3. Collections deeply resonate when tied to memories and passions, evidenced by David’s decades-old waterline boats and Ronnie’s devotion to unique walking sticks. The personal connections make them priceless.

4. Unexpected items can illuminate broader histories. The ping pong ball in Prince Charles’ coronet designs provides a tiny but illuminating peek into a monumental royal occasion.

5. Provenance isn’t everything – sometimes an item’s own majesty and artistry gives it immense value. Though maybe not an original Degas, Joseph Bernard’s exquisite bronze dancer still stands as a treasure.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the 2023 Antiques Roadshow episode in Swanage:

How old are the dinosaur footprints discovered on Swanage Pier?

The footprints are approximately 125 million years old, dating back to the Cretaceous Period when Swanage was part of a muddy estuary where dinosaurs roamed.

What was special about the beaded glass window featured on the show?

The colorful window dated to around 1910 and was originally part of Harry’s Cafe, a popular Swanage fish and chip shop. It was saved from demolition and showcased period decorative work.

What makes the waterline model boats collected by David so unique?

David’s fleet focused on British naval and merchant vessels from 1900-1960. The models boast intricate details down to portholes and rigging. Many date to the 1920s-50s making them good collectibles.

How did a ping pong ball help in the creation of Prince Charles’ investiture coronet?

The original 1969 design blueprints for Charles’ coronet showed a ping pong ball representing the orb. This allowed visualization of the shape before the actual gold orb with jewels was meticulously crafted.

Why was the collection of Maria Feodorovna’s jewels and photos seen as historically significant?

These were treasured personal items that belonged to Maria, mother of the last tsar of Russia, before she was exiled after the 1917 revolution. They provided insight into her life and times.

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