A FIRST edition draft of Sir Edward Elgar’s ‘Variations for Orchestra’ appearance on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow has reportedly sparked controversy.

A draft of Variations for Orchestra, better known as the ‘Enigma variations’, was shown on Sunday’s edition of the show, with the item attracting an astonishing six-figure valuation.

Jude Hooke, who took along the score to the programme, was visibly taken aback and there were gasps from the audience when an estimation of between £80,000 and £100,000 was given by an auctioneer.

On the show, Ms Hooke explained that the manuscript belonged to her late husband, who worked as a clerk in Worcester Cathedral. The draft dates back to 1899 and is signed by Elgar himself.

Manuscript expert, Justin Croft, explained on the show that the score belonged to A. J. Jaeger, a trusted friend who had re-inspired Elgar when he considered giving up music early in his career.

Elgar went on to dedicate arguably the most famous variation, Nimrod, to A. J. Jaeger.

The unique piece consists of not only rough sketches but also notes to A. J. Jaeger asking for the work “to be criticised please”.

The expert also explained the 20-page manuscript was “extremely sketchy” showing the early stages of the composition process.

But reports in The Times newspaper says the broadcast shocked the Elgar Foundation, claiming it disappeared from their safekeeping two decades ago.

The paper says Ms Hooke has contacted Christie’s auction house and requested that they sell the score for her.

But David Mellor, the chairman of the Elgar Foundation, is understood to have since contacted Christie’s and warned that the score should not be sold, due to illegitimacy in Ms Hooke’s ownership.

The paper adds that parties hope legal action will not be necessary but if the collection is not returned “subsequent action will be taken”. The controversy follows recent developments with Elgar’s archive, which has now been moved by the Elgar Foundation to London.

One of the campaigners, West Worcestershire MP, Harriett Baldwin said that the move was the wish of Elgar’s daughter, Carice Elgar Blake. ““I have received a detailed briefing from the Elgar Foundation regarding the circumstances surrounding the moving of the original manuscripts to the British Library which was a term of the will of Clarice Elgar,” the MP said.

“I am also satisfied that people wishing to study the papers will be able to once they are digitised and this will go a long way towards ensuring future generations don’t lose out.

"But I am also reassured that Elgar’s legacy will be preserved across the county and the National Trust is doing a great job managing The Firs, which was his birthplace in Lower Broadheath.

“We are rightly proud of the composer and I hope that this discussion about him and his legacy has done much to stimulate more interest in his life and works.”

Adrian Gregson, Archive Policy and Collections Manager at the Hive told us that: “The County Council is unhappy about the move from Worcester. The Elgar Foundation have now moved the archives to London.

"It is an ongoing situation and we expect discussions to be going on with the parties involved.”

The Worcester News has previously reported the Elgar Foundation took the decision to help "promote" Elgar and his work worldwide, but came under fierce criticism from campaigners, who also launched a petition.

Elgar's papers were first lodged with the county record office in 1966 but were moved to the birthplace museum in 2002.

At the time Dr Adrian Gregson, deputy leader of Worcester City Council, said he was dismayed at the decision, with Worcestershire County Councillor Lucy Hodgson adding it was a strange decision to “take the archives away from a place so closely associated with Elgar”.