Woman who appeared on Antiques Roadshow with £100k Elgar manuscript threatened with possible legal action

11 July 2018, 14:13

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A woman who appeared on Antiques Roadshow with an original Elgar manuscript has been threatened with legal action by the Elgar Foundation.

On Sunday night, a manuscript containing the original drafts and revisions of Elgar’s famous Enigma Variations appeared on the popular TV show, brought in by guest Jude Hooke.

The manuscript, which contained revisions of the work signed by the composer himself, was valued by specialist Justin Croft at £80,000 – £100,000. Ms Hooke gasped and said: “I thought maybe Elgar’s autograph might be worth something.”

Since the programme was filmed, Ms Hooke has reportedly asked Christie’s auction house to sell the manuscript.

According to reports in The Times newspaper, the manuscript was bequeathed to the Elgar Birthplace Museum by the composer’s daughter, Carice.

It went missing from the Elgar Foundation in Worcester 1994 and its whereabouts hadn’t been known since.

The Times reports that Ms Hooke’s late husband worked at the same firm of solicitors as Sam Driver White, a former vice-chairman of the Elgar Foundation. Mr Driver White died last year.

The foundation has asked for it to be returned to the Elgar archive, now housed at the British Library.

Elgar's original manuscript
Elgar's original manuscript. Picture: Antiques Roadshow

David Mellor, chairman of the Elgar Foundation and Classic FM presenter 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 and we have already warned Christie’s that this property cannot be sold by them because the person who is offering it is not the legitimate owner.

Jude Hooke, from Worcester, said on Antiques Roadshow that the manuscript had belonged to her late husband, who was a music scholar and a lay clerk at Worcester Cathedral, and “had done quite a bit of work on early Elgar pieces”.

Christie’s said yesterday the item is not being offered in “any forthcoming sale”.

The British Library, which has been looking after the composer’s archive for the Elgar Foundation, has said they are glad to see the score’s return.

A spokesperson told The Times that the Elgar Foundation was “in touch with the person who discovered the score, with a view to restoring it to its place in the research archive of music manuscripts and correspondence, which is now at the British Library.”

“As an unusual hybrid of printed score, annotations and pasted-in passages, Jaeger’s score will regain its full significance alongside the full autograph manuscript of the Enigma Variations, which is held at the library.”

Classic FM has approached Ms Hooke for a response.