Loading...

Antiques Roadshow - the Morgan Connection

13th August 2020

Ten years ago on Antiques Roadshow, a remarkable story unfolded when a painting was brought in for valuation. It was thought to be a copy of William Orpen’s notorious WW1 painting originally titled “The Spy”, later renamed “The Refugee”. In fact the girl in the picture was neither, she was Yvonne Aubicq, the artist’s mistress. Claiming she was a German spy caused great embarrassment with the British authorities, which Orpen struggled to sort out. The original painting has been on display at the Imperial War Museum for many years (below).

The owner of this particular painting, John, had owned it for a long time and believed it to be nothing more than a very good copy. But Rupert Maas, the Antiques Roadshow expert, was convinced it was too good to be a copy. He had a hunch it was painted by Orpen himself, and valued it at £20-30,000. John was delighted!

But there was more. With some further research, Rupert Maas discovered proof that John’s painting was the real thing, or in fact a second example of it – painted as a thank you to newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook, who had sorted out the difficulty over the original made-up spy story. With that provenance the painting was now valued at £250,000! John was flabbergasted, as you can imagine…

So what does this have to do with us, and with Morgans?

Firstly, Yvonne Aubicq married Orpen’s chauffeur, Williams, and with money Orpen gave them they bought a Bugatti Type 35. Williams had a successful Grand Prix career, and was best known for winning the first ever Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. He was later a celebrated member of the French Resistance during WW2.

The second part is that John, better known by his friends in the Morgan world by his nickname Robin, was a very accomplished Morgan racer back in the 1960s, as well as London Centre Secretary and a former editor of Miscellany! Having enjoyed owning the painting for many years he sold it and bought a Plus 8 with the proceeds. He died last year at the age of 88.

 

Back


Our latest news

Mar 03, 2021

NEC Restoration Show

Update 3rd March 2021 from the organising committee: It is with great sadness that we have to announce that, as a consequence of the ongoing impact of Covid-19, Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show, with Discovery, will not run on 11-13 June 2021 as...

Read more about this story >
Feb 24, 2021

Miscellany March 2021

Miscellany magazine was dispatched on 25th February! This month we have news of our 70th anniversary celebrations including Mogfest, planned for July, and more interesting stories including the Morgan which competed in the 2019 Peking to Paris rally, a late-60s adventure to ...

Read more about this story >
Feb 01, 2021

Mogfest 2021

 The first Mogfest & Annual Dinner event is scheduled to take place on 9th – 11th July 2021. Previously postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event will now be held over three days and feature an enhanced programme in celebration of the club&...

Read more about this story >
Jan 25, 2021

Miscellany February 2021

February's Miscellany  - this time we've got several travel articles, with Ken Grindrod's trip to Tuscany the main feature. Also Corsica, Brittany (with motorhome & Mog) and Northern Ireland, lots of technical tips including winter tyres, LED headlights,...

Read more about this story >

Read more news

Miscellany - The magazine of the Morgan Sports Car Club

We have a fantastic 65+ page monthly Club magazine, sent to current MSCC members only. All subsequent issues are available online to members who are issued a pin to login to the members' section. Join the Club in the membership section. Deadline for copy is around the 7th of the previous month and the 12th for adverts (see tab under services for details)