A secret art sale which boasted pieces by an array of famous artists raised more than £45,000 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Turner Prize-winning Tracey Emin, world-renowned David Hockney and cult street artist Pure Evil were among hundreds of people who donated postcard size pieces to organisers of the charity fundraiser.
And Emin’s pieces proved particularly popular despite being anonymous – with an American-based collector forking out almost £8,000 for the former wild child’s four sketches.
Bidding started at just 99p and all 600 lots were sold, with online bidding for some items topping more than £3,000.
But it wasn’t just the work of famous artists which caught the eye. Other contributors included the current prime minister, David Cameron, comedy icon Ronnie Corbett, TV journalist David Dimbleby and former UK tennis star Greg Rusedski.
Plenty of local people also offered up pieces, including a four-year-old aspiring painter called Eva, a 100-year-old former teacher and staff and residents from St Wilfrid’s itself – with hospice volunteer Pat Bowley seeing her piece sold for almost £200, much to her surprise.
Speaking after hearing the news she said, “I simply couldn’t believe how much mine went for. We were watching the bids come in at home and were over the moon at how much it raised. I think the whole project has been the most brilliant idea and such fun to be part of.”
The entire 600 postcards were exhibited at The Towner gallery while art fans and hospice supporters alike followed the bidding on eBay right up until the hammer fell on Sunday evening.
The auction was the brainchild of St Wilfrid’s ambassador Charles Grimaldi, who said, “I am thrilled that so many enjoyed supporting the event with their art or coming to the exhibition or bidding in the auction, which got over 8,000 bids from a worldwide audience and raised such an amazing sum.”