Famous artist draws in the collectors

A Dorset mental health support group that wrote to famous artist Grayson Perry for help was amazed when he sent them an artwork to auction.

The sketch is worth several thousand pounds and will be sold at Duke’s of Dorchester with proceeds going to the Willow Tree Group, based in Blandford.

The drawing in black ink and pencil on an A4 sheet of paper appears to represent a troubled mind.

It was sent through Royal Mail’s Special Delivery service in a jiffy bag marked ‘Sender: G. Perry. DO NOT BEND’. 

Inside the bag was the A4 piece of paper with the drawing signed by the artist with a yellow Post-it note stuck to the outside of the package.

The note read: ‘Dear Barrie, This drawing by Grayson Perry is for the Willow Tree Group silent auction. It is probably worth about £2,000. Good luck!’

Barrie Smith from the group said that after its funding was cut it had to find £7,000 a year to continue.

He wrote 120 letters to various people and businesses he thought might help including the artist who is famous for wearing frocks and in art circles is best known as a potter.

Barrie said: “I had seen Grayson Perry on the news and on the TV and he seemed a sympathetic and caring person who might help.

“I wrote to him via the Saatchi Gallery and a few weeks later a package arrived. Normally I tear these things open but for some reason I didn’t with this one, which was just as well.

“Inside a crush-proof case was a jiffy bag containing the artwork, and the note saying it was worth £2,000. I couldn’t believe it.

“Our group meets once a week for lunch and has been going for 25 years. When our funding was cut we decided to carry on but we had to fund ourselves.

“It is a hugely generous donation from Grayson Perry and was too big for us so I asked Duke’s if they could auction it.”

Amy Brenan from Duke’s said: “The sketch is based upon the mechanics of the mind.

“Grayson Perry has drawn a series of disjointed motorbike engine parts in black ink, highlighted with red pen and shaded with pencil, with speech bubbles enclosing expletives and adjectives describing a disturbed mental state.

“The sketch is extremely powerful and typifies Grayson’s use of contemporary and controversial themes, often with an autobiographical theme.

“For example, phrases used in the sketch include ‘When are you going to take responsibility?’, ‘My Mother was right about you’ and ‘I want a divorce’.

“It is almost a dissection on paper of someone’s troubled mind.

“We are delighted to be able to sell this work and have waived our usual premiums so the group gets as much as possible.”

The sketch will be sold on 16th April together with the original jiffy bag it arrived in and the Post-it note.