Antiques Roadshow visited Hartland Abbey on 19th February, and turned up a few spooky surprises – including an Edwardian portrait whose subject had haunted the home of the owner.
Hartland Abbey is close to the most perilous stretch of coastline in Cornwall, where hundreds of seafarers have lost their lives. Antique dining chairs , like the one shown by Judith Miller at the start of the Antique Roadshow, would often wash up after a shipwreck – along with tales of ghostly sailors and phantom vessels. Such stories are usually dismissed as nonsense, yet one of the items brought for appraisal – a painting in a broken frame – had a very spooky tale of its own.
The otherwise unremarkable portrait showed an Edwardian woman in a blue gown, seated at a piano. Apparently, before obtaining the painting, the owner had lived in a mansion which was haunted by a glowing blue figure, accompanied by the sound of classical piano music. One day, he visited a junk shop – where the owner showed the painting to him, mysteriously saying it should be returned to its original place in the mansion. The owner did so – and the hauntings ceased.
A slightly more gruesome offering was a Georgian tooth extractor, complete with a dentist’s model to be used for practice. Other items included a quilt made from gowns worn by members of the royal household, and a 17th century antique cabinet, actually a marriage chest, valued at £4,500. Whether it’s a Georgian instrument of torture, or a Victorian balloon back dining chair , a Cumbrian antique dealer can always help you find that perfect piece for your home.
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