Thousands queue with family heirlooms for Antiques Roadshow

Words & Photos by Dave Barry

About 3,700 people queued patiently in hot sunshine as two episodes of Antiques Roadshow were filmed at Castle Howard.

An equally patient panel of experts in various fields quickly appraised every submission.

Family heirlooms, household treasures and car-boot bargains were taken for inspection.

Among the more unusual items which were lovingly bubble-wrapped and transported to the stately home was a replica of Napoleon’s death mask.

Presenter Fiona Bruce said was pleased with the turnout and venue, which she said had been top of her list.

Fiona, who visited Scarborough with the show in 2012, has been hosting Antiques Roadshow for 10 years.

Programme director Simon Brant said “Castle Howard was a stunning backdrop for a special show” and offered “a huge thank you to the people of Yorkshire for such a great turnout”.

The episodes recorded at Castle Howard are due to be broadcast in the autumn.

They will feature the show’s first host, Bruce Parker, who was a presenter of news and current affairs programme Nationwide. He helped launch Antiques Roadshow 40 years ago. The show’s first antiques expert was Arthur Negus, who had previously worked on a similarly-themed show, Going for a Song.

The two most expensive objects to be sold as a result of being valued on the show are a 1932 camera which realised £465,000 in 2013 and the Christofle et Cie Japonisme jardiniere, which was valued at £10,000 but sold for £668,450.

The highest value placed on an item taken to the show was £1m for an original 1990s maquette of the Angel of the North sculpture by Antony Gormley, owned by Gateshead Council. The valuation was made by Philip Mould, one of the experts at Castle Howard.

However many items assessed the experts are worthless and seldom shown on TV, to spare the blushes of the hopefuls who took them in.

Antiques Roadshow records programmes across the UK, throughout the year, with some of Britain's leading antiques and fine-arts specialists, who offer free advice and valuations.

The series has spawned versions in other countries with the same TV format, including Canada and the USA.