Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked as miniature portraits receive six-figure valuation

Antiques Roadshow: John Smart portraits valued around £200k

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Antiques Roadshow fans were treated to a classic instalment of the BBC show recently as Fiona Bruce visited the British Museum in the previously aired episode. However, two guests were left stunned when expert Rupert Maas revealed their miniature portrait collection was worth £200,000.

Rupert began: “This I’m sure you know, is a really outstanding collection of miniatures. Did take you a long time to collect these?”

“Yes, a number of years,” the guest replied before revealing she had been collecting them over the past 20 years. 

“Fantastic, they’re all 18th-century miniatures I don’t even know where to start. What’s your favourite?” Rupert asked.  

The guest pointed to a portrait of a young girl as Rupert commented: “She’s gorgeous, isn’t she?

“I just love her, the ringlets she’s got, she’s got the prettiest hair.”

Read more: Antiques Road Trip expert stunned as painting makes ‘brilliant’ profit

“This lace is very beautiful,” the guest said and the expert added: “The lace is lovely. 

“I think her complexion, those dimples and there are little rosy cheeks she’s such a pretty girl flashing eyes too. And what about this one?”

“Ah, this is by [Jean-Baptise] Sambat a French artist – and this was painted in prison,” the owner replied.

“In the bastille perhaps?” Rupert asked and the guest confirmed it had been and was in the prison book of art.

“It’s an amazing looking thing,” Rupert said. “Because I don’t know why it’s almost the most human of all of these, in terms of just a straight portrait of a man who may have been concerned for his life, but also an intelligent man. 

“I think you can read that incredibly good likeness, extraordinarily powerful.”

Rupert pointed to a portrait of actress Sarah Siddons before noting a portrait of actor John Philip Campbell.

The guest’s husband explained: “He is her brother, he has quite a history because he was theatre manager at Theatre Royal Drury Lane at the time it burnt down around about 1800 and he was responsible for the rebuilding of the Theatre Royal to what we know of it today.”

“I think it’s so glamorous,” Rupert remarked of Sarah’s portrait. “It’s amazing what you can get out of just a pure silhouette.

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“It’s a very beautiful example,” he added before pointing to another piece.

“And then really we’ve got to say him, isn’t he terrific? Is he by John Smart because he was a great English miniaturist? Talk about humanism he is alive that man with very piercing penetrating eyes.”

“We are looking at a very great value I think for some of these things,” the expert said.

“Would you be able to put a stab at how much you paid for them all over the last 20 years?”

The guest’s husband said: “I would think the combined total here is £45,000 to 50,000.”

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Rupert revealed: “The miniature market these days has been far from miniature, to say the least. 

“They’ve really gone up I don’t think you could buy these easily again, these days it’s very difficult to find them in the first place and then it’s going to cost you an absolute shedload to buy these now. 

“Well, we’re into six figures, that’s for sure – John Smart alone if they were in a sale room, I think that’d be worth £20,000 to £30,000.

“Well, if I was asked to put a figure on them, I think we’d be closer to 200,000 – I know I’m pushing it a bit.”

“Wow,” the guest’s husband remarked. “That’s made our day.”

Antiques Roadshow continues on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.

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