Joan Charles reports from Tatton Park
After going through a herd of deer we reached the gardens, which were looking their best, especially the rhododendrons whose colours were so superb. I have yet to see a more picturesque backdrop to the programme.
There was quite a long queue at reception, but who cared on such a lovely day in exquisite surroundings with wonderful birdsong and, of course, our favourite experts?
I had a portfolio of 40 prints in a folder of 19th-century French provincial furniture and was surprised to be guided to the furniture expert rather than books. The expert I spoke to was Lennox Cato – a most charming man – who really enjoyed looking at the prints but informed me that they had a very limited market. He told me they were of interest only to a dealer in old continental furniture and possible worth £20-£30. Not a bad return, as I only paid a euro for them at a Nice flea market last year.
I moved on to ceramics and eventually sat down next to Henry Sandon, probably the favourite of most visitors. Some weeks ago I bought a piece of stoneware that had a look of Troika about it, although it wasn’t marked. I was very curious. Henry thought at first it had been made using Troika moulds which had been acquired after the factory closed down. He decided to seek another opinion and was then able to tell me that it was in fact made by a potter called Louis Hudson working in the 1970s and collected by a small group of specialists who were prepared to pay £30-£50 for a piece at the time. The most amusing fact that came to light was that when he packed in ‘potting’, Louis became a long distance lorry driver!
After a very informative afternoon, I headed back to Warrington and all its road closures. But did I mind? Of course not – I had a wonderful day out!