Antiques Roadshow expert 'can't breathe' as he lays eyes on Royal Wedding plate 'worth its weight in gold'

ANTIQUES Roadshow expert admitted he "can't breathe" as he laid eyes on Royal Wedding plate "worth its weight in gold".

BBC One's Fergus Gambon was blown away by the 19th century plate designed to celebrate the wedding of King George V and Queen Mary.

The ceramics and glass expert was thrilled to value the Royal plate designed by French painter Désiré Leroy.

Viewers watched Fergus examine the decorative item at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire.

Fergus was stunned by the rare nature of the piece, admitting that it would be "silly" to put a price on the plate.

He revealed to the owner that he wouldn't find anything else like it. He said: "It takes my breath away, it really does, It doesn't get any better than this."

The guest, who had purchased the plate at an auction several years ago, replied: "Well, that's lovely."

The expert explained: "In 1893, the Duke of York and Princess Victoria Mary of Teck were to be married, and later on become King George V and Queen Mary.

"And the town of Derby as it was then wanted to present the Royal couple with a wedding gift.

"So the town of Derby presented this as a wedding gift."

Fergus added: "If you think about our Royal Wedding of Will and Kate, it's the late 19th century equivalent isn't it?"

"That's right, yes," added the Antiques Roadshow guest.

The TV expert went on: "So, a major royal event and service therefore you'd expect to be of the highest quality."

"The more you look at it, the more you realise the extent of the work involved because obviously it's all hand-decorated.

"You've got a wonderful cypher in the centre, which is 'G and M' for the happy couple."

Fergus gushed over the special item that was hand-painted and featured floral garlands that had been glided around the edge.

He said: "You've got the order of the White Rose up the top and you've got these fabulous floral garlands around the edge, which are all hand-painted.

"But even more amazing than that is the gilding and I think people often underestimate a gilding.

"Because the gilding is raised above the surface isn't it? Not only is it raised, it's tooled," the expert went on.

"So there are a little flowers and petals all picked out on the gilding.

"An incredibly labour-intensive process that involves a gradual build-up of layers of ground up glass. It's fantastic, and a sign of the greatest quality."

BBC One viewers were excited to find out how much the precious item was worth.

Fergus revealed: "Valuation, I mean it seems a bit silly doesn't it? Because you're not going to get another one very easily, are you?

"They used to say that the work of Leroy was worth its weight in gold.

"At auction, it's going to be a major piece. We're going to be looking at £6,000, something like that."

Antiques Roadshow continues on Sunday on BBC One.

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