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Invisible Man makes auction appearance

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 19, 2012

Auctioneer Mark Hales inspects a painting under the watchful eyes of MP Tom King's Spitting Image puppet and a portrait of a lady in mourning

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TV auctioneer Mark Hales has at least two stern looking faces up for auction with nearly 300 years of history separating them.

The first is an original Spitting Image foam puppet of former Defence Secretary Tom King – now Baron King of Bridgwater.

The second is a portrait of a serious-looking lady in mourning attire, thought to be the third wife of Admiral Sir George Rooke, hero of the historic sea battle of Vigo Bay in 1702.

Rooke's third marriage took place in January 1706, to the sister of Edward Knatchbull, a lady reported to be worth "a great fortune in Kent".

The painting is part of a collection of 18th and 19th century portrait paintings to be auctioned at the end of the month at Hales Auctioneers in Bovey Tracey.

The foam Spitting Image model of Baron King should attract collectors of television paraphernalia from the 1980s.

The former MP for Bridgwater was the subject of a song in the satirical ITV programme in which he was depicted as the Invisible Man during his term as Employment Secretary.

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