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PUBLISHED: 11:33 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 12 April 2019

Is this clock worth anything?

Is this clock worth anything?


In a new regular column, antiques expert Mark Fraser find out if Liz Nice's family are sitting on a fortune. Let us know if you want Mark to value your hidden treasures

Clarice Cliff vase - worth a small fortune? (Er, no)Clarice Cliff vase - worth a small fortune? (Er, no)

My dad loves auctions, so my parents have a lot of interesting items in their house.

When Mark Fraser contacted me and offered to do an ‘antiques roadshow’ column for us I decided to kickstart it with items from my parents’ home. If you want to have your own treasures valued by Mark, please email a picture of the item and he will tell you what it’s likely to fetch at auction. Any information you can tell us about the item will help. Contact Mark via me at

1. Longcase Clock.


My parents’ grandfather clock has been in our family since the 19th century. I still love to stay over at my parents’ house and hear it ticking outside my old bedroom. It chimes every night and if you wake at three in the morning it’s very comforting to know there’s still a long time before you have to get up! We believe it was made in Thetford. But is it worth anything?

Is this cabinet Georgian?Is this cabinet Georgian?


If you were to ask 100 people to think of an ‘antique’, a good proportion would say the longcase of grandfather clock. There really is nothing more traditional. The trouble is that there is a fine line between traditional and old fashioned and unfortunately many today, particularly the young, think of the longcase as exactly that - old fashioned! It’s sometimes difficult for folk to accept that their much loved family heirloom is worth less today than it was a generation ago but sadly with many pieces of antique furniture this is the case, and the longcase clock has suffered more than most. In simple terms, in 2019, if you had £500 to spend at auction you could buy an above average example.

Your clock is typical of the early Victorian period. Its oak case is quite usual for the more rural counties. The hood has a ‘swan neck’ pediment and a painted dial.

The movement will run for 8 days as opposed to the 30 hours of the more cottage type of country clock and it will strike and chime.

You say it’s a Thetford clock so this is obviously inscribed on the dial but you have not mentioned if the maker’s name is also there.

If not I would hazard a guess that it was made by John Spendlove, the most prolific Thetford maker who worked from 1830-1846. 
VALUE: About £300, maybe a bit more if bought in East Anglia

OWNER’S VERDICT: Darn! But we would never sell it and it’s good to learn more about it

2.Clarice Cliff vase.


When my grandparents’ friend, The Reverend Maurice Pirani died in the 1980s (he was rector of Timworth and Fornham St Martin churches in Suffolk), my grandfather had to sort out his estate. No one wanted the vase so it was retained by my family as a memento of a dear friend. It says ‘Bizarre’ on the bottom.


This piece of Clarice Cliff is decorated with the Crocus pattern. This was by a distance her best selling design and it was in production from 1928-1963. When it first came on the market it proved so popular that a special Crocus workshop was opened where the paintresses worked only on this pattern. It was produced in several colourways with this one being known as Original Crocus. It is a quite common misconception that when ‘Bizarre’ is seen on the underside of a piece of Clarice Cliff it refers to a pattern whereas in fact it was an overall name given to the complete range of geometric designs. Interestingly the young paintresses employed to decorate the wares called themselves ‘The Bizarre Girls’. Due to the quantity of pieces decorated in this pattern, your piece is unfortunately not worth a huge amount.

VALUE: About £60

OWNER’S VERDICT?: Again, it is the memories it contains, not how much it is worth

3.Cabinet Bookcase.


This sits in my parents’ dining room. Dad has always wondered if it is Victorian or Georgian.


This is a George III mahogany cabinet bookcase which 
would have originally sat on 
either a bureau or cupboard base. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries when pieces such as that became unfashionable, the vogue was to split them, leaving simply the bureau or cupboard to be used separately. They would then often commission a table base such as yours to form a far more elegant-looking display cabinet rather than bookcase. These ‘marriages’ proved so popular that cabinet makers of this later period then started producing replica pieces in exactly the same style, mostly in these cases with glazed sides making them genuine display cabinets. Although difficult to be 100% from a photograph, yours does seem to be a Georgian cabinet on a later stand.

VALUE: £200-300

OWNER’S VERDICT?: Dad is delighted it is Georgian!

More about Mark Fraser

Mark Fraser has been firmly entrenched in the world of art and antiques for over 35 years. He has valued and catalogued literally hundreds of thousands of items from furniture, clocks, silver, paintings, ceramics, glass, toys, books, records and everything in between. He is relocating to Norfolk in June to start his own business as an Independent Valuer undertaking professional valuations for probate/IHT, insurance and family division. Appointments can be made from mid-June onwards. His website is:

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