99p print will raise £3,000 for Gambian charity


It was on sale for just 99p, and she bought it before investigating it further. Jo said: “I had gone to the new clearance depot in Cavendish Square and was just having a nosey around when I spotted this. “I wasn’t sure if I liked it but for 99p I thought ‘what the heck?’ My mother was an art teacher in the 1970s so I was quite used to seeing wacky artwork around. Apparently it had been on the wall for a couple of weeks and it was just time for it to go. “When I went out to the car I had a closer look, and I could see there was writing on the back and it made me start thinking if it was more valuable than I first realised. It wasn’t until I looked on the internet that I saw what it was worth. “It said: ‘To Freya from Jake and Shirley Nicholson. George and Rufus by Ben Nicholson. A fabric print by the Edinburgh Weavers by Alastair Norton from a picture by Ben Nicholson’.” The piece turned out to be a fabric print by Buckinghamshire painter, Ben Nicholson, created in 1938 on spun rayon and cotton, produced by the Edinburgh Weavers. It is one of four prints made from a single piece of cloth, which makes it a unique piece of work. One of the others is in the V&A Museum. Jo said: “After a call to Bonhams I arranged to drop it off at their Oxford auction house and now it is ready to be auctioned at Knightsbridge with a price of between £2000 – £3000. “I also think it might be better than the rest because the two characters are in the centre of the piece whereas the other example has St Ives Bay cut in two with the characters either side. Another one was sold in 2010 and that went for £3,100, so who knows how much this will fetch.” Jo intends to donate 10 per cent of the money the print raises to Barnados, and the rest will go towards funding a reserve for Empower. Jo said: “It was only the day before that I was talking with another charity about needing reserves in order to be accepted by the Charity Commission. We’re registered with HMRC as a charity but as soon as you start receiving more than £5,000 a year in income you have to register with the Charity Commission which we were in the process of doing.We don’t have a reserve because all the money we raise goes straight to the projects and I didn’t know what I was going to do to be able to find the £2,000 to £3,000 that the other charity was recommending. “The next day my prayer was answered but as I was blessed with this gift I am giving 10 per cent back to Barnados and the rest to the charity I have set up. I didn’t earn this money so it seems only right to benefit others rather than gain myself. “To some people this amount is not a life changer, but for Empower and the work we do in rural Gambia it is a massive life changer.” The print will be auctioned off on March 4.