Paintings found in attic on sale
Published 02/09/2010 | 11:39
A pair of rare oil paintings destined for the skip after being found in a pensioner's attic could fetch £30,000 at auction, it has been revealed.
The 75-year-old woman was having a clear-out at her home in Surrey when she came across the works by Australian artist William Blamire Young, which were covered in dust. They had been bought by her father 60 years previously and kept in the attic as her mother did not like them.
She planned to throw them away and asked neighbour Spencer Wright for advice on how to dispose of them. Realising they should not be consigned to the dustbin, Mr Wright used an application on his iPhone to research the artist, having spotted a signature on the paintings.
Mr Wright said: "I knew they were something special because they were very old, and in old frames. They were under glass, but you could tell it was oil on canvas.
"Having the Christie's app allowed me to go to them directly, and stopped the paintings going to the dump."
He emailed photographs of the works to the auction house, which invited Mr Wright and his neighbour, who wishes to remain anonymous, to visit for a valuation.
"The nicest thing was taking them to the reception, and the specialist turning up," said Mr Wright, who plans to attend the auction later this month with his neighbour. "He automatically knew they weren't fakes. You could tell by the expression on his face.
"All my neighbour said she wanted was a new TV - the man from Christie's said she'd be able to buy a few of them.
"This kind of thing doesn't happen every day. When you hear what they are worth, your jaw does drop. I was just shocked because I didn't expect my neighbour to have something like that hidden away in her loft."
The pictures were revealed to be Light Horse and Artillery, which were painted in 1904 to celebrate the birth of the Australian army. They were formerly owned by its founder, Major General Edward Hutton.