Nude postcards found in secret section of antique desk at Leeds mansion

Staff at a Leeds mansion made a cheeky discovery when they found a collection of classical nude postcards stashed in the secret section of an antique desk.
The nude postcards that were found. Thye have been blurred to protect their modesty.The nude postcards that were found. Thye have been blurred to protect their modesty.
The nude postcards that were found. Thye have been blurred to protect their modesty.

During a spot of routine upkeep, staff at 500-year-old Temple Newsam House were working on the vintage piece of furniture located in one of the house’s back rooms.

Realising that one of the books in the desk was actually a craftily concealed compartment, they carefully removed it to explore what treasures it might contain.

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They were found in this antique desk.They were found in this antique desk.
They were found in this antique desk.
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Inside they were surprised to find a quite extensive collection of French postcards depicting a series of nudes which are thought to date from the early 20th century.

Maya Harrison, principal keeper at Temple Newsam, said: “This is definitely one of the more unusual finds that the team at the house have made and not something we’d normally expect to discover but it certainly did give us all a laugh.

The desk has been at the house for a very long time and we’d never realised that the books were actually secret compartments before. It was really exciting to think what might be inside but we’d never have guessed in a million years what they actually contained."

She added: “Of course we can only speculate who might have hidden the postcards and why but it does go to show that most objects in a museum have a story to tell and that history is full of surprises.”

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One of the country’s finest Tudor/Jacobean mansions, Temple Newsam House was used as a family home for much of its 500 year history.

The birthplace to Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots, today the house displays one of the most important collections of fine and decorative arts in Britain.

The house is currently closed to visitors as part of COVID-19 restrictions, but information on the collection and any planned reopening details can be found at: museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/temple-newsam/*************************

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Laura Collins