More than 450 works of art, many created by celebrities but unsigned and uncredited, went on display in Yorkshire yesterday as part of an initiative to raise money for heart research.
Professional artists, including the cartoonist Ralph Steadman, were exhibited alongside gifted “amateurs” like the actresses Liza Tarbuck, Zoë Wanamaker and Miriam Margolyes, musician Robert Smith and Yorkshire gardener Alan Titchmarsh, at the headquarters of Northern Ballet in Leeds.
The postcard-sized works are now being offered for sale on eBay. A list of contributors has been published, but the identify of individual artists is being hidden from bidders until the auction is over.
The Leeds-based charity Heart Research UK, which has organised the auction, said it would allow anyone to acquire “one-of-a-kind masterpieces created by huge names from the worlds of art and entertainment”.
The organisation’s chief executive, Kate Bratt-Farrar, said the quantity and quality of the artwork donated to the “Anonymous heART” project had been “astounding”.
She added: “We’re always looking for fun and interesting ways to raise money. The Anonymous heART project allows people to support ground-breaking medical research but also get a little something back, owning their own mini-masterpiece created by an artist or celeb.”
The Ebay bidding, which closes on Sunday, ranges from £2.50 on some items to more than £3,000.
One piece, depicting a streak of red paint trickling from a heart shape and bearing the legend, “if only I’d thought of the right words”, currently has a top bid of £3,600, having opened at £2.50.
The charity, founded 50 years ago, has funded more than £10m in medical research at hospitals and universities across the country during the last decade.
Ms Bratt-Farrar said: “The money we raise will help us continue our pioneering medical research, helping us benefit patients as soon as possible.”