Johnny Depp bought three guitars, a skull-encrusted vase and an easel to furnish his new London home during a surprise visit to an antiques centre in Lincolnshire.
The Hollywood actor, 59, known for his roles in Pirates Of The Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts, arrived at Hemswell Antiques Centres on Friday (3 March) by helicopter and was taken on a private tour after hours. Owner Robert Miller, 58, said he overheard Depp talking about the late musician Jeff Beck while testing different guitars during his visit.
Beck, who died aged 78 in January, released an album with Depp last year titled 18 and they played a number of live gigs together.
Robert told the PA news agency: “He just bought a lot of very quirky items. A desk chair, three guitars, paint sets, easels, a few pictures, posters, just a whole range of things for decorative items for his own personal property. He chose a vase with a skull on it. Guitars obviously. He was very friendly with, best friends with Jeff Beck, he sat and played a few tunes on this guitar I think just for old times’ sake really and then decided to buy three of the guitars that were there.
“I think I overheard him talking (about Beck) to one of his colleagues that was with him.”
He said he was told a special guest would arrive at 4.30pm on Friday, but had to conceal his identity because Depp “just wanted to relax and walk round without being bombarded by the general public”. He explained: “We hosted refreshments for him and he was able to walk around.
“It was great because he was his normal self and he was very relaxed and was able to spend time looking at things and playing on the guitars that he wanted to play on. He felt very at home.”
Depp “overwhelmed” by the tour
Hemswell Antique Centres is Europe’s largest antiques centre and has links to Pinewood Studios, which has produced films including the Superman, Harry Potter and James Bond franchises.
Robert said Depp visited with someone from Pinewood Studios to furnish a house he has bought in London and was “overwhelmed” with the private tour. He told PA: “Johnny said to me he spends a lot of time in hotels and places where you can’t really go out because he just gets completely hounded by the general public.
“He was overwhelmed, he said he could’ve stayed here all night, but he had to get back because of the flight times into London. He’ll definitely be back.”
Having kept the visit a secret, Robert said staff were “quite surprised when he walked through the front door”. He added: “He interacted with the staff very well, we asked if he’d take a group photograph with the staff, and he allowed that to happen.
“One of the two staff who have got children came back later and he did a selfie with them so it made their day. He was a very sociable person, quite quietly spoken, but very sociable, very friendly and chatty. Not what I expected.
“I think it was nice the way he came across and he was interested in what he was looking at.