Antiques Roadshow guest speechless at value of Shakespeare book with special feature

Antiques Roadshow: Expert estimates value of memorial jewellery

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Antiques Roadshow expert Fuchsia Voremberg left a visitor lost for words as she analysed a special book he had brought in to be valued. The BBC show saw a unique edition of a Shakespeare classic with the added feature of special message by Edwardian illustrator Arthur Rackham.

“I can’t help thinking that the book you’ve brought along could have been set in this scenery,” Fuchsia commented, taking in the Dyffryn Gardens setting in Cardiff.

“This is a wonderful edition of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“And this edition is illustrated by Arthur Rackham and has a rather nice surprise just inside.

“This is what looks, to my eye, an original sketch by Arthur Rackham with this lovely inscription which reads ‘To Nurse Morley from her obstinate so it is alleged, but grateful patient Arthur Rackham, Limpsfield, 1938’.

“Who was nurse Morley to you?” she asked the guest.

“She was my aunt,” he explained. “She was one of five sisters, the only one in the family that never married and devoted her life to nursing.

“And I believe that she nursed Arthur Rackham in his later years when he was ill.”

“So when did the book come to you?” asked the rare books and manuscripts specialist.

The guest explained: “My mother gave me the book 20 years ago, and I knew nothing of Arthur Rackham at the time.”

“That’s amazing,” the valuation expert replied. “1938 is the year before Arthur Rackham died.

“So he was a South London-born illustrator who hit his stride really, in the Edwardian period.

“He’s most famous for these really characteristically kind of spiky ghoulish and Gothic but luxurious drawings.”

Detailing some of the sketches, she explained: “So, you have Bottom the weaver with the head of an ass.

“And he’s being pulled at and teased by these mischievous fairies.

“And it really speaks to the sentiment of the inscription of the alleged obstinate patient.”

Fuchsia continued: “If we turn in here we can see there Pucking fairy sitting on the roots of a tree surrounded by toadstools.

“And it’s just a marvellous, beautiful, colour printing – a gorgeous gift to receive.

“In terms of the valuation of the book, I can see it with an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500.”

Taken aback, the guest could only muster “Oh,” as he took in the news.

“Thank you so much for bringing it along, you must be very proud of your aunt,” commented to Antiques Roadshow valuer.

“Yes, I am,” he admitted happily.

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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