A lifelong love of art that opened my eyes to cash in the attic

Art in Liverpool is usually linked to the music industry, but things were different for me as a boy growing up in the city made famous by the Beatles.

A train into the centre wasn’t just to blag my way in to see an “X”-rated horror movie, it was to ander transfixed through all those rooms at The Walker Art Gallery on William Brown Street.

Art first made an impact on me after my dad collected enough four-star petrol tokens to receive a free print of “And when did you last see your father?” by William Frederick Yeames (1835-1918).

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Seeing the original for the first time was magical. I stared at the picture for hours believing it to be me standing there in front of that terrifying audience.

Today I like to own pieces of art that just amaze me by their sheer brilliance. I think “I wish I’d have done that”. Art humbles me.

Recent pieces that I have purchased include an original by Darren Baker, a local artist who has recently been asked to produce a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen to commemorate her 85th birthday. Maybe the value of my piece will increase following its production.

This leads me nicely into the story that still astounds me. The story of Norah McGuiness.

Two months ago I was in need of a skip to clear up the resulting mess from having new kitchen worktops.

Having it sat on my drive inspired me to clear out some of the rubbish that was collecting dust in my loft.

A black and white TV, broken Scalectrix and several pairs of shoes that could play a starring role in Ashes to Ashes, all filled up the big yellow skip.

I then came across an old, dusty painting that, once my dad had died, nobody wanted, so I found it a home in the loft. I thought perhaps I would use the frame one day.

However, before dismantling the painting I thought I would check out the artist, and within three minutes of searching on the internet I discovered that Norah McGuinness (November 7, 1901, County Londonderry, Ireland – November 22, 1980, County Dublin) was an Irish painter and illustrator.

Further surfing presented me with past auction sale prices of Norah’s work. I regained consciousness with the sale price still on my screen – 20,000 euros.

Two months on and the painting is in the safe hands of Bonhams Auction House. It was recently displayed in Dublin prior to going under the hammer next month.

Hoping to send both my mum and sister away on dream holidays, I eagerly await the outcome.

“Are you going to sell it?” asked Bonhams, in true Antiques Roadshow style. “Too right I am,” I replied.