#cushingcollectable : WEDNESDAY: You may remember these posts from two Wednesday's ago? And after posting them, I promised to share the story of how I came to own those handwritten autobiography notes of Peter Cushing's...Well....the top post is Peter Cushing's Bureau, purchased just a few years ago. I was lucky to purchase it from a lady, who lived a short distance from Peter Cushing's home at Sea View in Whitstable.
HER HUSBAND HAD BEEN a great fan of Peter's work and he purchased the bureau at the Cushing Collection Auction in Canterbury after Peter Cushing died. Sadly, he too passed a year or so before I purchased the bureau, and his wife was slowly down scaling down her home and relocating.
WHEN THE TIME CAME to go along to her home to collect the bureau, it was quite an emotional parting for her, it was her husband's pride and joy. But when she found out 'where' the bureau's new home was going to be and about PCAS, she was over-joyed! During our meeting at her home, we had some tea and cake and chatted, and found out geographically, we had much in common too!
AFTER AN HOUR OR SO, the time came to carry the bureau out and carefully pack it up for it's journey to my home. I thanked her and told her how extremely pleased I was to be it's new owner, that it would be very well looked after and also pressed into use too!
IT WAS AT THIS POINT, she asked ' Oh, would you also like to take away these too?' She held out a plastic slip folder. Through the ageing and yellowing plastic, I could see inside, a wad of paper, and on the one corner, held by two large paper clips I could just make out lines of handwriting, in blue fountain pen ink! At the same time, I immediately recognised that distinctive style.. it was Peter Cushing's handwriting.
WHILE CAREFULLY SLIDING the paper out from the folder, I looked at her..she was smiling! I said, 'It's Peter's handwriting!!' She beamed back at me, 'Yes!', she said, she was as excited as I was! 'My husband said it was, but I have no idea what it all means. Is it an unfinished letter, he seems to be writing...is it his story and are all those titles his films too?' I barely heard what she had said, I was quickly scanning the pages. It was pretty obvious, these were notes about the contents of Peter's autobiography, in his own hand. 'It's Peter's notes.!', I said 'It's his autobiography. How wonderful! They are very rare indeed, you must be sure to take great care of them.' I said, 'Oh no..' she smiled, 'I want YOU to have them!'
QUICKLY, I DID THE SUMS in my head of their value and blurted, ' Well, that's extremely kind of you, but, I could not buy these today, I have...' but before I could finish, she laughed saying, 'Oh nooo. I WANT you to HAVE them. They should be with you!' I started to explain their value, a nice little break away with the proceeds maybe? But, she wouldn't listen, 'No. I am quite happy with the sale of the bureau...'
IT WAS THEN SHE said something that made my jaw drop so hard, the bump of it hitting the hall carpet could probably be heard down at Sea View.... ' My husband, didn't pay for them anyway..' I was puzzled, 'So, how did you come by them?' I asked. 'Oh, they were just inside THE BUREAU......!' 'What?' I said. 'They were in the pull down desk, in that folder!' she explained.
I THEN REMEMEBERED what many collectors had told me about the Canterbury auction. There had been so many lots, Peter had so much packed into his home and studio, when it came to dividing things into lots, often someone winning a bid on a book that belonged to Peter, got home and opened it to find an autographed note paper inside. People who purchase items of his clothing found scarves, silk handkerchiefs, cuff-links and pens tucked into them! It was something special, some extra item, however small, a thank you for your purchase..as there was mountains of items to sell. The bureau had been in the auction catalogue, as one of the very few pieces of Peter Cushing's furniture for sale... an expensive antique and a good price was expected, and archived!
AND SO, that is the astonishing story, of how I came by those notes...and the generosity of two women, the lovely lady who owned the bureau and Peter's long time friend, Joyce Brougton, who put the lots together for that auction! Bless you, ladies!
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