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Ronnie Archer-Morgan on© BBC

Antiques Roadshow' Ronnie Archer-Morgan left shocked by 'to die for' Shakespeare item

An incredible special collection appeared in the latest episode of Antiques Roadshow.

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
June 10, 2024
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Ronnie Archer-Morgan’s latest valuation on Antiques Roadshow left one guest delighted after she brought a set of wooden items with links to the famous playwright, William Shakespeare.

The collection came from a tree grown by Shakespeare, and an amazed Ronnie told the guest: “Well these stunning items made of beautiful mulberry wood are amazing… These two here, they're what is known as Bardolatry, that is about the Bard, Shakespeare - you've got to tell me where you got these amazing things.”

Ronnie valued a set of items linking to Shakespeare
Ronnie valued a set of items linking to Shakespeare

He continued: “They're stunning. I don't know if you know the story, but Shakespeare, born in 1564, in his early adulthood, bought a house in Stratford [Upon-Avon] called New Place. And in it, he planted a mulberry tree. The new owner, moving on 200 years, was tired of people visiting Stratford to see Shakespeare's mulberry tree and had it felled.

“And then he chopped up the trunk and the logs and they were dispersed amongst local wood turners and carvers, one of whom was called George Cooper. And George Cooper started making souvenirs to sell to people that visited Stratford called Bardolatry, and these two are such items.”

The items appeared on Antiques Roadshow
The items appeared on Antiques Roadshow

He continued: “They've got Shakespeare's coat of arms here and his face, a portrait there, an ink box, it opens up and it's got compartments there to take ink and pens…. This also has a portrait of Shakespeare and you have to twist his head to open up to get his stuff. Beautiful, beautiful early work. Something to die for - they are heavenly.”

But we’d all like to know just how much they went for! Ronnie revealed that the guest could fetch around £8,500 for the collection, leaving her amazed. He said: “A box like this is something like £4,000. And for those two and £2,500, so in total, that's something like £8,500.”

Antiques Roadshow expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan© BBC
Antiques Roadshow expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan

The episode also featured a wooden duck with a brilliant history, which expert Eric Knowles examined. Chatting to the historian, the guest revealed that the duck was used by his grandfather for hunting pursuits on Lake Windermere, using it as decoys during hunting.

Speaking about the unusual item, Eric said: “So they'd be out there shooting at this? Thinking it was the real thing?”, before pointing out puncture marks, adding: “They did strike it!”

Ronnie Archer Morgan admires a ceramic pot by Nigerian craftswoman Ladi Kwali on Antiques Roadshow© BBC/Callum Lawrence
Ronnie Archer Morgan admires a ceramic pot by Nigerian craftswoman Ladi Kwali on Antiques Roadshow

The guest replied: “My grandfather took it back to Old England, and they put it on a silver platter because the gentry would be having duck for their dinner. And they would lift it up, and the duck was there, along with the funeral card.” The funeral card, which came with the duck, read: “In memory of a wooden duck, brutally done to death on Lake Windermere on the 28th day of February 1908 by three cold-blooded poachers, namely The Major, The Parson and Joe. May their sins damn them to eternal hellfire.”

Eric called the tales of the duck “priceless” and suggested it would go for around £5,000, to which the guest replied: “It wouldn't go to anybody other than the family and I'd make sure that it was looked after.”

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