By John Wigglesworth
Yesterday I was up at 6.30am to take two paintings that have baffled me for some time, and an old mahogany medicine chest to Salisbury Cathedral for the Antiques Road Show!
Knowing I would not be able to park in there, I left my car in the huge Waitrose shopping centre, free and a good walk into town and the cathedral.
It was almost a 20-minute walk. The chest was heavy and I carried in two large bags which nearly killed me. Once there, I was searched on arrival and joined the 100ft-plus queue! It was to become much longer. I arrived at 8.20am.
I met nice people and we looked at each other’s goodies. The event opened at nine. The queue stretched back to the main gate by now and was formed into a snake! When it moved on to inspection, it took some time and we were given a ticket telling us where paintings and furniture items were!
My oil pictures came first! It seems they had been overpainted and that was why I could not find the signatures.
Nice painting, but my Mum – way back in 1945 – had made a mess painting them. She had the habit of painting things. They were worth about £39 to £40 each! My dream of big sums was shattered.
Next, and a long wait again, was the medicine box. Lovely to talk to the others waiting. When my time came and I put my box on the table, the lady was very impressed by the make and quality and the fact all the glassware was complete and the original key was in the lock. It dated from the late1890s to 1900s.
By now, the crowd queues were some four or five deep. In the opening discussion, I made fun of the contents and everyone had a good laugh. Valuation based on the quality and contents complete was £300 to £400.
When I turned to walk all the way back to my car, the crowd was massive, filling the whole grass area. It was a struggle to get out, and by the time I got to the car, it was 12.50pm.
Conclusion? It was worth going, the crowds were the biggest I have ever seen for this show. The box I have played about with since mid-1940s took me back to my childhood, and what fun I had looking at the little bottles and what was in them, some still there, full of some drugs that today are illegal. It was a trip well worth making and the crowd around me laughed at my antics, including the expert.
Yet another highlight in my ageing life.