Date Posted: 8th February 2022

Lily is not for sale - nor the wine but it's a nice photograph of her waiting for Michael's return or more probably for the next meal!.

I’ve always been fascinated by auctions. They are pure theatre;  full of drama, excitement and sometimes skulduggery.

When I was first asked to advise on the resale of the 1992 winning Wallbank in November 21 last year, I had decided not to get involved. My partner Michael had just been admitted to hospital with a damaged spine.  I asked around the people who I thought might be interested but had little time to devote to it. The owners got in touch again after Christmas when Michael had been readmitted and was very poorly so it went on hold. It wasn’t until the owners said they were coming up to Keswick for a weekend break in February and could bring the painting that I capitulated knowing that I am possibly the only person with the connections and the complete story.

The painting arrived  last Thursday and I enjoyed  the memories it brought back and I liked the people who were reluctantly selling it after 30 years. They had read the story about Karen in HERCULES AND THE FARMERS WIFE (2009/ 20011 Aurum) and the sequel LIFE CLASS (2016 Prospero) with the BOTTLE TOPS chapter recalling another London debut for Karen. Michael arrived back home in an ambulance the next day (Friday) and I managed to find an hour on Sunday when he was sleeping to hastily send a newsletter to everyone, asking for offers over £800.

I was totally unprepared for the reaction. Offers began to come in. My in-box was soon full. People requested a better image. People I hadn’t seen since 2012 when I sold the gallery made offers, others I hadn’t seen for much longer before that made contact again and offered to come up and collect. A couple I was particularly fond of were very keen and wrote remembering the times they’d enjoyed round the table in the kitchen at Castlegate House  Purchasing it would  give us an excuse to visit you to collect it  - - I assume your cake is still excellent !

I suddenly found myself  in the role of  a cake-making auctioneer. I hadn't anticipated this. I issued a deadline to all interested parties; 12 noon today.

And the winner was … the highest bidder at £2250.  Confidentiality  forbids me giving a name but it couldn’t go to a nicer person. However all those who made an offer are lovely especially my number one fan and all those who brought back memories of gallery days.

Thank you each and everyone!


Michael is making good progress and I’m now giving him my full attention again. Honest!