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‘Aladdin’s cave’ of antique treasures discovered after hospital worker dies

Antique experts were amazed when an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of treasures were unearthed at the home of a late hospital worker.

Priscilla Kidman died earlier this year aged 97, leaving behind a trove of antiques that she had amassed during her lifetime.

Experts have found 150 items and it’s believed that they will fetch around £30,000 at auction.

Priscilla’s collection includes silver, centuries-old letters, vintage greetings cards, fine ceramics and paintings.

One of the most spectacular pieces is a globe dating back to 1810, just 40 years after Captain Cook discovered Australia.

There are also some examples of embroidery that date back to 1680, some 341 years ago.



Priscilla Kidman in her youth

A couple of diamond brooches, an Edwardian emerald and a Meissen teapot from 1770 are also in Priscilla’s collection.

Her treasures will be going under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire on February 24.

It is understood that the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary almoner’s collection was amassed over her lifetime.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “The collection of the late Priscilla Kidman captures the art of collecting over 70 years.

“Our valuers have been amazed by the finds during what has been a fascinating cataloguing process.

“For example, uncovered from a cupboard was a stump work embroidery dating back to circa 1680.

“Depicting a lady in a landscape with acorn leaves, it was made during the reign of Charles II.

“There were other unique historical finds, too. In one box, we came across a letter sent from Australia to Wiltshire in 1852 talking about the Australian Gold Rush.

“The writer described finding ‘that trash called gold’.



Where a letter from 1852 describing the Australian Gold Rush was found

“In another box we found an 1813 workhouse token from Birmingham with an oval portrait of a young gentleman with a lock of his hair.

“Other items include a beautiful diamond crescent brooch, an Edwardian emerald and diamond brooch, a Meissen teapot from 1770, an important carved Cantonese ivory glove box, which is expected to make over £1,000, and a beautiful table globe, circa 1810.

“The Globe was made only 40 years after Captain Cook discovered Australia.”

Priscilla was born in Derby in 1923 to George and Marjorie Kidman. Her father was a general physician at the city’s hospital.

Dr Kidman played rugby for Guys Hospital in London and for the Barbarians against Wales. Marjorie was known for her philanthropy in Derby and was involved in the local music scene.

Priscilla was brought up in Derby until she was 13, by which time she transferred to a private boarding school, St Mary’s School in Calne, Wiltshire.



Victorian diamond and emerald brooch

She read at St Anne’s College, Oxford in 1941 and during the Second World War in 1944, Priscilla joined the Wrens and served in Portsmouth until 1946.

She qualified afterwards as an almoner in Winchester and returned to Derby where she worked for three decades, rising to senior almoner and later social services lead at Derby Royal Infirmary.

After her retirement in 1984, Priscilla travelled the world for more than 25 years, persuing her hobbies and interests and visiting friends and family.

Among her endeavours were Italian and Spanish lessons, painting and embroidery. She supported various charities and was a keen churchgoer.

Mr Hanson added: “Priscilla was a talented, vibrant intellectual with a tremendous eye for artistic beauty and an eclectic taste which encompassed fine antiques and items woven into world history.

“She left a lasting legacy of both beautiful and historical objects. It has been a privilege to catalogue her items.”

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