Antiquities Roadshow guest’s mind blown away as she discovers great aunt’s gift has a royal connection


ANTIQUES Roadshow left a guest lost for words after discovering that a gift from his great aunt had huge historical connections – and a significant prize.

Appearing in Salisbury, the woman brought a work of art passed down to her by her relative, and was immediately taken aback when she discovered the piece was part of a collection that had appeared across the world.


Woman left on the verge of tears after hearing the astonishing story of a piece of clothCredit: BBC

When asked if she was surprised that similar pieces from a collection appeared at the V&A; Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, she replied: “Yes. . ”

“It’s a pretty important thing,” explained the expert. “Do you know what this is?”

The guest said she knew it was a piece of fabric from 17th century India, but nothing else.

Her great aunt, who had worked in the Houses of Parliament, gifted her the coin because she knew her love of textiles and crafts.

Textile work dates back to the 17th century


Textile work dates back to the 17th centuryCredit: BBC

“It is a fragment of what would have been a large group of textile hangings, absolutely, which would have decorated a very, very large interior in England or northern Europe at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century,” said he declared.

“This is not just any sample, it belongs to a very famous suite of textiles, they came out of a wonderful house called Ashburnham Place. It’s a house in Sussex, and the Ashburnhams were royalists, and when Charles II was restored to the throne he raised them to a peerage and they built a magnificent house.

“And this sample here would have been part of the textile furniture to decorate this very, very big house.”

The woman was amazed at the coin's value


The woman was amazed at the coin’s valueCredit: BBC

“We have to remember that after the Restoration Britain opened direct trade with India,” he continued. “For the wealthy, what happens is that they start to acquire Indian textiles that are beautifully embroidered or printed with bright colors and the most desirable designs are these large exotic flowers.

“The idea was that even if you were in England, in winter under gray skies. Your interiors would be decorated with these fuchsia and purple and bright blue and yellow floral designs, and why this is so important is that this is one of the earliest examples of a type of Indian textile known as can be.

Therefore the rarity of the coin, and the value? “I think on a good day, between £ 8,000 and £ 12,000.”

The woman was left in shock, with the crowd around her also stunned by what appeared to be a simple piece of cloth with such a historical note.

“I am amazed,” she said. “I wish my aunt was here to see this.

Antiques Roadshow airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on BBC One.

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