"one of the most important art historical objects ever to be seen"
A brooch by the Victorian designer and architect William Burges which produced what BBC Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn described as his "Tutankhamun moment" had been uncherished for many years and was close to being sold at a local market for just a few pounds.
Now it has been valued by Mr Munn at up to £10,000 and is to be sold at auction by Gildings of Market Harborough at a Fine Art and Antiques auction in early August. It has been described as "one of the most important art historical objects ever to be seen" on this long-running, popular BBC programme.
The jewel belongs to Jill Cousins of Market Harborough. It had been in her jewellery box for 20 years, before she decided to take it along to a market to see if she could sell it "perhaps for £10." Fortunately, although she had left it out to take, she forgot to put it into her handbag.
For just hours later, she saw Mr Munn on the Antiques Roadshow describing the brooch as his "most wanted" and something for which he had searched for over 20 years. The designs are in the Victoria and Albert Museum and had featured in a book of which Mr Munn was the co-author and he showed a set of 6 watercolour designs on the programme.
Mrs Cousins dashed to compare them with her brooch. There was a perfect match. A few days afterwards, she took the brooch into Gildings for their advice and help.
Mr Mark Gilding contacted the BBC programme to tell them about the find. He and Mrs Cousins were invited to a recording of the Antiques Roadshow a few weeks later in Birmingham, where a surprised and stunned Mr Munn was able to see her brooch and confirm its authenticity.
It had not been known whether any brooches had actually been made from the Burges designs. This brooch, made of silver, was probably for the wedding of his close friend John Pollard Seddon and his wife Margaret. The brooch is engraved with the initials "J.P.M.S." and has four turquoise forget-me-knots with a central red cabochon garnet heart.
Mr Gilding said: "It was all extremely exciting and Geoffrey Munn was overwhelmed to see something for which he had been looking for so long. The brooch had been inherited by Mrs Cousins’ mother from her old primary school teacher 20 years before she gave it to her daughter. Neither of them liked it very much at that time."
"William Burges is such a highly regarded designer and architect, anything by him creates tremendous interest and items of jewellery are extremely rare. Now we hope it will attract great attention when it is offered for sale."
For Further information and images please contact Mark Gilding at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01858 410414