Tuesday 26 March 2019

£1m Faberge flower to feature on next Antiques Roadshow

The object is one of only three to be valued at £1 million in the BBC show’s 40-year history.

BBC Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce (Andrew Milligan/PA)
BBC Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A Faberge flower valued at £1 million on Antiques Roadshow despite being treated as “part of the furniture” features in the next instalment of the BBC One show.

News of the ornament, brought in by an Army reserve cavalry squadron, emerged last year.

Viewers will see the gold, diamond and jade object in the first episode of the new series, hosted by Fiona Bruce, in April.

The Faberge flower joins an Angel of the North model and an FA Cup trophy as one of only three items to be valued at the eye-watering figure in the show’s 40-year history.

Hon Col Stamford Cartwright and Geoffrey Munn (Antiques Roadshow/BBC)

The show’s jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn has described how his “pulse was racing” at the sight of the precious object.

And he said that putting such a high value on it was not without its stresses.

“To make a judgment of that enormity is a tricky thing to do so I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t pressurised,” he said.

“This was a sensation beyond our wildest dreams really – this is a towering masterpiece from Faberge.

“It’s what we call an ‘object of fantasy’ because it has absolutely no function whatsoever except to be a source of pleasure – and it is…

“It is the rarest, most poetic manifestation of Faberge’s work that one could ever hope to see.”

Colonel Stamford Cartwright, who took the object in on behalf of the squadron, known as B (Staffs, Warwick and Worcs Yeo) Sqn The Royal Yeomanry, said they were “over the moon” to discover its value.

Faberge pear blossom (Antiques Roadshow/BBC)

“Because you grew up with it you tend to treat it as part of the furniture. The regiment has got some huge silver pieces, which absolutely tower over this little thing,” he said.

The ornament was gifted to the squadron, then known as the Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, in 1904 by Georgina, Countess of Dudley, the wife of Lord Dudley, the second in command of the regiment.

Col Cartwright, the squadron honorary colonel, said the object was “a focal point for the members of the regiment and to the current serving soldiers”.

“It reminds them not only of the sacrifice of fallen comrades but also that there is a continuation… It forms a bond for comrades right the way through from the 1900s,” he said.

Presenter Bruce said “word quickly got around that something very special had been brought in”, adding: “We weren’t disappointed.”

The object, owned in trust by the Worcestershire Yeomanry Charitable Trust, features on Antiques Roadshow at 8pm on BBC One on April 15.

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