ANTIQUES expert Eric Knowles is to appear at the Treeby & Bolton gallery in Keswick to mark the launch of an exclusive piece of Moorcroft pottery inspired by a local Lake District landmark.

The veteran of BBC television's Antiques Roadshow will be joined by Nicola Slaney, who designed the new Ashness Bridge vase which features the remote beauty spot overlooking Derwentwater in the Borrowdale valley.

Both will meet customers at the gallery's high-profile design debut on Saturday May 7 from 12-3pm. Nicola will talk about how she came up with the eye-catching design for the five-inch Moorcroft vase, while Eric is to give a lecture on arts and craft in the Lake District and about the new item.

Moorcroft with its distinctive tube-lining is highly collectable and the numbered edition Ashness Bridge vases are only available at the gallery in Lake Road. Besides the bridge over Barrow Beck, the £395 vases feature bright yellow daffodils amid clusters of ancient trees. The two expert guests will make them even more of a collector's item by signing them for anyone who buys one on the day.

Manager Libbie Barton said: "We are very excited about our Moorcroft event. It is a thrill in itself to have the designer of our own unique Moorcroft vase here and now for it to be confirmed this week that Eric Knowles will be joining Nicola really is something very special, not just for Moorcroft collectors but for all ceramics and antiques enthusiasts."

Eric, 63, is a ceramics specialist and ambassador for Moorcroft who has been part of the furniture on the Antiques Roadshow since 1981. The Lancastrian had originally joined Bonhams Auctioneers in London as a porter just five years earlier. He is now one of Britain's best loved antiques experts, currently presenting Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and fellow BBC TV show Antiques Master.

Nicola has been a designer for Moorcroft since 1997 and she is often influenced by Blackwell, the arts and crafts house in the Lake District. Her personal mark is already under the glaze on every Ashness Bridge vase but she will be armed with a special gold pen to add her signature to each exclusive piece during her visit to the gallery.

The vases are all individually numbered and also feature the Treeby & Bolton backstamp on a Moorcroft piece for the first time. Both guests will be happy to meet customers during the afternoon but space will be limited and people are advised to contact Treeby & Bolton to book their place.

Libbie said: "I am from Borrowdale and have very fond childhood memories of playing at Ashness Bridge but it is also perhaps the most photographed packhorse bridge in the Lake District, as well as being very local to the gallery. It is a traditional stone-built structure where visitors can enjoy breathtaking scenes over Derwentwater and across to Bassenthwaite Lake, with Skiddaw rising above Keswick."