The Elgar Foundation has recently claimed that it is the rightful owner of a manuscript by the composer in which the foundation is named, following its appearance on the BBC Antiques Roadshow.
In the episode, a woman brought along an original manuscript signed by the composer Elgar. The manuscript is a hybrid of printed score, paste-in passages, and annotations by Elgar. It was valued by the programme’s expert Justin Crooke at between £80,000 and £100,000.
After the episode aired, the Elgar Foundation claimed that it was the owner of the manuscript and want it back, claiming that the manuscript went missing from its collection in 1994. The Elgar archive is now housed at the British Library and the Foundation want the manuscript to be part of the archive.
The chairman of the Foundation, David Mellor, said:
“I don’t know how this unique manuscript left the possession of the Elgar Foundation or got into this lady’s hands. But one thing is certain. She has no proprietary right to it.”
The Foundation has got in touch with the lady who took it to the Antiques Roadshow and asked for it to be returned. It was reported that the auction house Christies had been approached to sell the manuscript, but its spokesperson said that it was not listed in any future sales.
Antique dealers are very careful about establishing whether people they buy from are the genuine owners. When you purchase items such as antique dining tables or late Victorian furniture from Lancashire antique dealers, you can be assured that they are genuine and, unlike the Elgar manuscript, do not have disputed ownership.
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