A horse named Idle Chatter was the unlikely star of a musical production given by Taunton Operatic Society back in 1953.

Each evening the horse had to clamber up a specially constructed ramp at the Gaumont Theatre – now the town’s Mecca Bingo Hall in Corporation Street – to play a key role in The Arcadians – an Edwardian musical comedy.

His groom, Jack Blackmore, joined the well-behaved horse each night on stage. As can be seen from the accompanying picture Mr Blackmore was not a fan of the limelight. Look closely and you will see he is obscured by the horse and only his legs appear in the photo!

In gratitude for the horse’s faultless performance the operatic society presented the horse’s owner Miss Violet Wellesley, of Churchinford with a bone handled engraved riding whip.

Now this intriguing piece of local history and the photo showing Idle Chatter’s star performance has been consigned for sale at Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s forthcoming Biannual Autumn Sporting Sale on Friday, October 6.

The whip by maker Swain has a pre-sale estimate of £50-£70. It is among more than 400 lots that will feature in the prestigious sale put together by valuer Stuart Triggol, which attracts buyers and vendors from across the country and internationally.

Included in the sale are no fewer than three Mabel Hollams pictures – two of Bay Hunters and a third of a dog named Molly. The Westcountry artist is always popular in the saleroom and these lots are sure to appeal to sale-goers.

As well as an interesting picture section the sale will include a comprehensive range of sporting books, silver, jewellery, ceramics and decorative items. Football, rugby, cricket and golfing items are all featured.

Equestrian saddlery and luggage plus hunting horns, flask, hats, boots and coats will also be featured in the sale along with numerous fishing rods, reels and accessories.

The sale and the monthly antiques sale will be on view on Tuesday, October 3 and Wednesday, October 4, from 9am-5pm at The Octagon Salerooms, East Reach, Taunton.

For more information please contact the saleroom on 01823 332525.