William Burges brooch

The recently rediscovered white metal, gilt, coral, lapis lazuli and malachite brooch designed by William Burges, estimate £10,000-15,000 at Gildings on March 5.

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To recap, it was back in March 2011 that jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn chose a slot on the Roadshow to highlight a series of annotated watercolour brooch designs by Burges held by the Victoria and Albert Museum. He and Charlotte Gere had published them in 1989 in their book Artists’ Jewellery.

After Munn told viewers he had been searching for one of these Burges brooch for more than 20 years, a Leicestershire lady contacted her local saleroom to show them a Gothic revival jewel set with a heart-shaped garnet and turquoises fashioned as forget-me-nots. Munn famously called this his ‘Tutankhamun experience’. The brooch was later sold at Gildings in August that year for £31,500.

Burges brooch set with a heart-shaped garnet

This Burges brooch set with a heart-shaped garnet and turquoises fashioned as forget-me-nots was discovered 12 years ago. It sold for £31,500 at Gildings in August 2011.

A subsequent edition of the Roadshow featuring the full story of the brooch unearthed another identical example in 2012. The owner again contacted Gildings, which was able to negotiate a private treaty sale with the V&A (it is now on display in the new Jewellery Gallery).

It is thought both brooches, engraved to the back with the initials JPMS, were made to mark the wedding of Burges’ friend and fellow architect John Pollard Seddon in 1864.

‘Bridesmaid gift’

The third and most recent discovery is a different white metal and gilt design incorporating coral, lapis lazuli and malachite cabochons.

Matching another of the designs in Burges’ sketches, it too is thought to have been made as a bridesmaid gift for a wedding (for a yet unidentified individual named Gibson).

The owner, Flora Steel, had bought it at a Midlands antiques market in 1988 for less than £20. A chance viewing of a Roadshow ‘Most Wanted Finds’ clip on social media led to her own appearance on the 2023 Christmas special.

She said: “I’ve always adored Antiques Roadshow, so when the clip popped up on my phone, I said to myself, ‘that reminds me of the brooch I found 35 years ago’. So, I decided to have a better look at the V&A drawing and, lo and behold, there was my brooch. I practically fell off my chair.”

William Burges brooch

BBC Antiques Roadshow and Leicestershire auction house Gildings have combined again to find a third brooch by the great Victorian designer and architect William Burges.

Like the previous two owners, Steel contacted Gildings which was delighted to authenticate it and suggest a guide price of £10,000-15,000.

Director Will Gilding welcomed the third chapter of an extraordinary story. “So, now another Burges brooch has been discovered via Antiques Roadshow. For it to happen once, amazing. Twice, remarkable. A third time? Pinch me!”

On the festive episode of the Roadshow broadcast on December 24, a delighted Geoffrey Munn described the latest find as a “breathtaking discovery and a most marvellous relic of high Victorian art” adding that its value was “not the tiniest scintilla of the excitement it has generated for me”.