A Victorian passport once owned by a famous artist has been discovered at a school in Devon.
The artifact was found by volunteer archivist Sarah Coe, who is also a student at the University of Plymouth, at Mount Kelly College, in Tavistock.
Sir Charles Lock Eastlake was president of the Royal Academy from 1850 and the first director of the National Gallery.
Dr Susanna Avery-Quash, senior research curator at the National Gallery, said it was “an astonishing discovery”.
So far, it remains unclear how the passport came into the school’s possession.
Ms. Coe was researching archives dating back to the university’s founder, Admiral Kelly, when she discovered the passport.
Mrs Coe said: “One afternoon I was going through an old trunk of Admiral Kelly’s papers and there I discovered a very old passport stamped with the name Sir CL Eastlake and I immediately study it”.
The passport contains many consular stamps, many dated 1858, which was when Sir Charles traveled throughout Europe examining works in private and public collections as well as purchasing works for the Gallery Nation.
Dr Avery-Quash personally visited Mount Kelly on Friday to collect valuable artefacts for loan to the National Gallery.
She said: “The National Gallery archives already hold another Eastlake passport so the loan of the Mount Kelly Eastlake passport will happily reunite two related documents.” It will give us more information about the fascinating life and work of the extremely famous Sir Charles. relevant to the world of Victorian art and pivotal to the origins and development of the National Gallery, the institution we know and love today.”