Unusual Father Christmas figure discovered in forgotten Yorkshire store

An unusual Father Christmas figurine which has been lost in storage for more than two decades has been uncovered in a major project for South Yorkshire's Brodsworth Hall.

Curator Eleanor Matthews with a plaster figurine of Santa which has been discovered at Brodsworth Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

The figure, which is believed to date from the 1950s, was originally found near the housekeeper’s bedroom at the Victorian country house when it was taken over by English Heritage in 1990.

But, wrapped up and placed in storage at the art and social history store in Helmsley, he was forgotten about until a recent storage project.

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Not much is known of the plaster figure’s origins, but there is speculation among the hall staff that it may be a holiday souvenir for the former owners, the Grant-Daltons. There have been suggestions that the figure may be from Germany or Holland as it looks like “the Belsnickle” or “Pelze Nichol”, which are characters popular in those countries. Often, they are depicted holding a branch in one hand and a basket in the other.

“We’re unsure of where he came from originally but think that he may have been a gift or holiday souvenir and we have wondered if there may be members of the local public who might know more about his origins,” said Eleanor Matthews, assistant collections curator.

“It is our hope that one day he may be conserved and restored to his former glory. Being made of many different materials like plaster, papier-mache and fur-trimmed cloth, he would be a fascinating conservation challenge, perhaps for a conservation student.”