Shocked couple told statue used as doorstop could be worth £1m

Norfolk couple Neil and Barbara Betts shocked when told sculpture used as doorstop they are told could be by Henry Moore.

Norfolk couple Neil and Barbara Betts shocked when told sculpture used as doorstop they are told could be by Henry Moore. - Credit: BBC Studios

A Norfolk couple are left open-mouthed with shock on TV show Fake or Fortune after being told a statue given to them by a neighbour and used as a doorstep could be worth £1 million.

Retired dairy farmer Neil Betts and his wife Barbara, who, over the years have also used the piece of metal as water feature with a hosepipe draped over it, are given the “life changing news” that it could be a work by Henry Moore.

 Fake or Fortune hosts Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with a sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore. 

Fake or Fortune hosts Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with a sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore. - Credit: BBC Studios/Ben Fitzpatrick

Hosted by Fiona Bruce, the BBC1 programme sees art experts including co-host Philip Mould investigating the intriguing sculpture.

Neil and Barbara inherited it from their former neighbour, Mrs Williams, who at that time lived next door to them at Mergate Hall at Bracon Ash, near Mulbarton.

The sculpture had been found in the long grass of the grounds of the hall when Neil had struck it with his strimmer while helping the Williams family clear the garden. 


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When Mrs Williams died, she left it to the Betts along with all of her possessions.

Fake or Fortune hosts Fiona Bruce discuss sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore, in the garden of Neil and Barbara Betts. 

Fake or Fortune hosts Fiona Bruce discuss sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore, in the garden of Neil and Barbara Betts. - Credit: BBC Studios

It was only when a friend suggested it looked very much like the work of renowned sculptor Henry Moore that the Betts began to see it in a different light – and started to call it Henry.

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The true origin of the work will be revealed when the show is broadcast on Wednesday at 9pm, but in a clip shown on the One Show, Fiona and Philip were seen discussing the odd looking piece of metal with the Norfolk couple in their garden.

Philip tells the couple that the sculpture could actually be a Henry Moore piece and if proved it would have a huge value.

Neil and Barbara Betts

Neil and Barbara Betts were given the sculpture by former neighbour, Mrs Williams, who at that time lived at Mergate Hall at Bracon Ash. - Credit: BBC Studios

"If we can prove that this is a one-off - not one of a series, but a unique object by a much loved, highly regarded sculptor of the 20th century - we could be talking in excess of half a million pounds. Who knows, it could even be £1m,” he tells them. 

Mr and Mrs Betts exchange a look of shock, before he explains “Wow!”

His gobsmacked wife adds: "That's extraordinary! Absolute shock. Henry the doorstop? The water feature?”

Fake or Fortune host Fiona Bruce with a sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore.

Fake or Fortune host Fiona Bruce with a sculpture, possibly by Henry Moore. - Credit: BBC Studios/Ben Fitzpatrick

The programme helps the Betts research this distinctive piece and compile a dossier of evidence for submission to the Henry Moore Foundation, which has the authority to decide whether previously uncatalogued pieces are genuine works by Moore.

There’s a huge amount at stake. If it is a unique piece it will make the couple millionaires, but if it’s not, then it’s probably worth just a few thousands.

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