Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked over value of statue in show first

Antiques Roadshow: Expert values Robert Burns statue

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During Sunday’s classic episode of Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce took viewers to Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. Throughout the hour-long programme, the experts saw a number of unique items including a World War pistol worth £3,000 and a rare set of silverware. However, it was a Robert Burns statue which caught the eye of Dendy Easton.

Before the segment began, host Fiona explained to viewers that it was one of the heaviest items to ever appear on the programme in Antiques Roadshow history.

“It must have weighed a tonne to bring it here,” the expert said as the guest replied: “It was a tonne actually to be precise.”

“It’s cast iron,” he continued. “And of course, it’s not done as one, it’s done in six parts. Now, where do you get this?”

“It turned out he’d actually been found in the 1950s in Durban, underneath a compost heap,” the guest explained.

Dendy looked on in shock as he asked: “What?”

The guest went on: “It stayed in the one family from the 1950s until we bought it in 2015.”

Discussing the history of the enormous statue, the expert told her: “The sculpture is by David Watson Stevenson, who is a very famous Scottish sculptor.

“And he worked in bronze and marble, and he trained at an art school and then trained in Rome.

“Now the question is how did it get down there?”

The guest shook her head as she admitted: “That’s what we don’t know.”

“The Scots went out there a lot in the early 1900s and they made a lot of money,” Dendy added.

He predicted the statue would have been found in a “very grand garden”.

He shared: “And of course, things change in 50 years.

“So it was made in 1901, so 50 years later…out of fashion, things have changed, people moved on, and it’s got discarded somehow.

“Luckily, it’s been found, and it’s extraordinary it’s one piece.”

When asked how much they paid for it, the guest’s husband said to get it restored and brought back from Cape Town, it set them back £5,000.

“Now we come to what it might be worth,” Dendy said. “Because it is cast iron and cast iron statues don’t always make a lot of money, but it is a Rabbie Burns.

“An iconic Scotsman. The estimate will be somewhere in the region of £10,000 to £15,000.”

The guest looked lost for words as the expert added: “And I think there’ll be a lot of collectors that will want this.

“It is a lovely, lovely thing to see here, and in fact, you bought Rabbie Burns home, haven’t you?”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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