A rare artefact associated with the mutiny of HMS Bounty is to go on sale in Dorchester.

The piece of bark cloth that is thought to date back to 1837 could sell for up to £10,000 at Duke’s auction house.

It was discovered hidden in a bureau with a note attached to it explaining how it had been ‘manufactured on Pitcairn Island by the descendants of John Adams the mutineer, from a bark of tree’, and was a version of paper or primitive fabric for the islanders.

John Adams was part of the crew that mutinied on the HMS Bounty in the south Pacific in 1789 – a moment of naval history later immortalised in the Marlon Brando film ‘The Mutiny on the Bounty’ in 1962.

Guy Schwinge, art adviser at Duke’s, said: “My client was restoring an old bureau when he discovered this Pitcairn memento inside it.

“It was quite an incredible find and fortunately a note attached states what it is and where it is from.

“There are only two other examples known about and one is in the British Museum that has a similar attached note and is dated 1837.

“It seems likely they were collected at the same time, which was just eight years after the death of Adams, who passed away aged 61 in 1829.

“He had four children so it is likely that one of them made this bark cloth that was collected by a passing ship.

“How it came to be hidden inside the bureau will probably remain a mystery, but it is a wonderful item from one of the great maritime tales.”

Dorset Echo: Bella Schwinge with the bark cloth from PitcairnBella Schwinge with the bark cloth from Pitcairn (Image: Deep South Media)

The rare find is to go under the hammer at Duke’s auction house in Dorchester on Friday, December 8 at its 200th anniversary sale, with an estimated value of between £5,000 - £10,000.

The descendants of the mutineers still live on the island which is administered from New Zealand.

Mr Schwinge added: “The descendants of the Bounty still live on the island, the capital of which is Adamstown, named after the longest-lived mutineer.

“The story of the mutiny continues to fascinate, and items connected with it are highly collectible.

“The bark cloth is one of a great number of interesting items we are selling at a special auction to mark our 200th anniversary.”