Antiques Roadshow guest refuses to sell 140-year-old heirloom embroidery Not important09/30/2021
Antiques Roadshow guest says he wouldn't sell family sampler
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Furniture expert Elaine Binning described the unique decoration as “gorgeous”. It had been given to the Antiques Roadshow guest by a relative and had been in his family for generations. Elaine informed the owner it could be worth hundreds, but he made it clear on the hit BBC valuation programme he had no interest in selling the embroidery.
“I’m looking at the gorgeous colours of this sampler, and I’m imagining it’s not often out in the sunshine like this,” Elaine commented.
She asked the guest: “Do you know who made it?”
“Yes,” he replied. “It was made by my great-grandmother when she was about 12, so about 1880.”
Elaine observed: “And it looks to be around that late nineteenth century period. And so, was it just handed down to you over the generations?”
“It was given to us as a wedding present by my grandfather’s sister,” explained the owner of the family heirloom.
“So she’d kept it in her coal shed for some time, but it was well protected obviously. So it’s got family connections.”
“Well, I can’t think of a nicer wedding gift,” commented Elaine. “And it just doesn’t have the look of something that’s ever spent much time in a coal shed.
“And this is made with wool, stitched on a canvas ground, and samplers like this were made by young girls all around the country, just like your great-grandmother.
“They tended to follow the same conventions. So a fruit-filler urn, flower sprays. Most of all, perhaps, this meandering floral border.
“And is there anything that you’ve noticed about it that you particularly like?”
The intrigued guest replied: “Yes, a couple of things.”
Alluding to a change of colour in one section of the design, he explained: “She must have run out of brown wool here, sort of started back up in red for that little bit.”
“How brilliant,” Elaine responded. “So it looks as though it’s got sort of a later extension because she ran out of wool.”
“That’s right yeah,” said the owner of the embroidery. “And the other thing is the inscription at the bottom, which doesn’t stand out very well in this light.
“But at home you can read it quite clearly – and it’s in Welsh. It’s a verse from the Bible.”
He read aloud the message in Welsh before explaining what it meant in English.
“It translates into ‘be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life’,” he explained. “And then it says ‘amen, remember.'”
“And there’s her name on it, too,” Elaine pointed out.
“Yes,” he responded. “Her name, Janet Williams.”
“Well, if you were to sell this at auction, it would be around £200,” Elaine started to explain.
“Well the value isn’t important to me – it’s part of our family history,” the guest remarked as Elaine thanked him for bringing the item to the show.
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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