“Keep the secret! Don’t tell anyone what actually happened!” This was the firm instruction from host Nicholas Owen at the end of an evening talk at Tadworth Court on 27th September, which revealed dramatic facts about the painting of a mystery lady. Organised by the Friends of The Children’s Trust, the 60-strong audience was kept enthralled, as Gregory Bratza, a descendant of former owner Lord Russell shared the outcome of his research about the portrait at the top of the stairs of Tadworth Court mansion.
Mr Bratza, an architect with considerable experience of listed buildings, became fascinated with the story and legend associated with the unknown lady, when he visited Tadworth Court, now home of The Children’s Trust, in 2012. He said: “I have always known about the portrait of the unknown lady, or white lady as she is often described, so when I visited the mansion in 2012 with my friend Nick Owen during National Heritage Day, the story and legend surrounding the portrait set me off. I have a circle of friends who have helped me, including an art historian, a senior archaeologist with a passion for history and my brother-in-law who knows everything about plants and was able to explain the symbolic meanings of the plants and fruits depicted in the portrait.”
Bob Gunn of the Friends of The Children’s Trust added: “It was another great evening of murder and mystery intrigue and we are most grateful to Gregory Bratza for an amazing insight into the legend of Tadworth Court’s portrait of the unknown lady. This was the second time that Mr Bratza has given this talk, which again attracted lots of interest. For the benefit of future audiences we are keen to keep the new facts under wraps. We would also like to thank Nicholas Owen, who is an ambassador for The Children’s Trust, for hosting the event.”
The evening raised over £600 for The Children’s Trust, the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk
Portrait of Tadworth Court’s Mystery Lady
(and from left to right): Nicholas Owen, Bob Gunn and Gregory Bratza
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