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A previously unheard piece of music written by Sir Edward Elgar is being sold at auction in Lichfield.
Notated on musical manuscript and then signed by the composer, the piece dates back to 1924.
Believed to be scored for a string quartet, experts believe the tune could be a brief overture for a more comprehensive piece.
It will be sold by Richard Winterton Auctioneers on 26th March.
The music was discovered tucked inside an autograph book belonging to a former matron at Barnado’s, Lydia Tabb, who died in 1983.
Lydia’s great niece Linda Brewer and Linda’s sister Jane Coombs remember visiting her as children.
“My dad would mow the lawn while we would sit with her eating sandwiches and watching the wrestling,” said Linda, from Solihull. “But I don’t remember her ever mentioning the autograph book or the Elgar manuscript.
“It’s a bit of a mystery as to how Lydia compiled the signatures of so many famous and influential people and we would love to find out more.”
The autograph album dates from 1923 and contains 69 signatures including five Prime Ministers – Herbert Henry Asquith, David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald and Winston Churchill – and authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, Sir JM Barrie and Rudyard Kipling.
Other signatures in the book include those of Charlie Chaplin, the future King George VI and figures from the First World War including Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the supreme Allied Commander during WW1, and Field Marshal Earl Haig.
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