BBC Antiques Roadshow expert exclaims 'should've bought more!' as £65 painting fetches huge four-figure value

BBC Antiques Roadshow expert exclaims 'should've bought more!' as £65 painting fetches huge four-figure value

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 26/05/2024

- 21:00

Expert Frances Christie was the one to deliver the valuation to her guests

Antiques Roadshow fans got another chance to revisit the Windermere Jetty on Sunday evening as the BBC aired a classic episode of the long-running programme.

Fiona Bruce and the team of experts headed to the Lake District in the 2021 episode where guests offered up items including a James Bond poster, historic sailing trophies and wooden dinghies.

However, it was a painting by Pakistani artist Anwar Shemza that caught the eye of expert Frances Christie when she discovered the guest - who'd attended with her daughter - held a close connection to the late painter.

"Now this is a painting by Anwar Shemza who in the '50s, he was one of the movers and shakers in Pakistan which is a long way from Windermere," Christie began as she perused the painting.

"So I'm wondering how this painting of his, The City Walls, came to be yours," she probed, prompting the Antiques Roadshow guest to explain: "Well, Anwar Shemza used to be my teacher in the '60s in my senior school and I admired him very much as a teacher.

"He took me to London with the art group and introduced me to the National Gallery and then took the group to an exhibition of his own at the Commonwealth Buildings in London."

BBC Antiques Roadshow: Frances Christie

BBC Antiques Roadshow: Frances Christie was shocked to discover how much the guest paid for their painting


Christie was keen to learn about the artist as she asked: "What was he like as a teacher?"

"Very influential. He introduced me to the impressionists; Cezanne, (and) Paul Klee," the guest replied which piqued the interest of Christie.

Christie chipped back in: "I'm glad you mentioned Paul Klee because Klee was one of Shemza's favourite artists - a real inspiration to Shemza.

"And I think you can see that in this picture, both in the colour and also in the stylised way he's created these walls. He did study in Lahore and we don't know where these walls are, but they could be walls back in Lahore.

BBC Antiques Roadshow: Frances Christie

BBC Antiques Roadshow: Frances Christie was the expert on hand to deliver the verdict


"Did you get these straight from him?" Christie asked, prompting the guest to answer: "No, sadly he died in the '80s and his wife was selling some of his works."

The guest then highlighted the "colour and the atmosphere" of the painting as the reason why she bought and revealed it bore even more significance now as she "gifted it to my daughter when she left home because it was on her bedroom wall".

Getting into the business end of the discussion, Christie turned her attention towards its value as she said: "This is a really interesting one to consider because, as I say, in the '50s he really was one of the leading lights on the contemporary scene in Pakistan.

"He was known as a poet, he wrote several books in Urdu... he was a really great cultural presence at the time.

"And then of course he came to Britain...and he came to teach you and this picture really encapsulates all that and it gives us an insight into the Commonwealth movement of people as well.

"In terms of value, if this was to come on the auction market today, we would probably put an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500."

BBC Antiques Roadshow

BBC Antiques Roadshow: The guests revealed they bought the painting for just £65


Clearly taken aback, the mother and daughter looked at one another before the latter remarked: "Well that's considerably more than what you paid for it!"

"I paid £65," the guest admitted, which caused a surprised Christie to exclaim: "Oh great! You should've bought more!"

Luckily enough, the guest did as she explained: "I did! I went along with the intention of just buying one but I came away with three!"

Fans only got to see how one of the paintings fared when put under the spotlight but if the owner's other two fetched similar values, the guest stood to make between £3,000 and £4,500.

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