An intricate portrait of Jasper Carrott which the comedian paid thousands of pounds to have done has been accidentally sold by a charity shop in a heart-stopping bungle – for just £20.
The legendary Brummie entertainer, real name Robert Davis, commissioned artist Hilary J Baker to produce the etching using his hair, fingerprints, blood and saliva.
Hilary then donated the piece to Kemp Hospice Charity shop to display for their art trail earlier this month.
The 80cm by 80cm artwork was marked with a ‘Not For Sale’ sign and was hung on the wall of the shop in Bewdley, Worcestershire.
However, a volunteer who accidentally sold it to a mystery woman who didn’t realize it was on display and snapped it up for £20 on July 13.
The charity has now launched a desperate appeal for the customer to return the picture so it can be returned to Jasper, 77.
Artist Hilary, 60, explained: ‘The picture is a forensic etching print which required many visits to my Bewdley studio by Jasper, and I used his hair, fingerprints, blood and even spit in my unique forensic etching process.’
‘Jasper is a friend and he had to sit many times for the work. He commissioned the work, I haven’t even told him it’s gone,’ she confessed.
‘I would hope he would see the funny side as long as it is returned.
‘It was the proof from which I would create more etchings and obviously I would present it to Jasper.’
Studio-owner Hilary added: ‘The picture means a great deal to me, and I was devastated to learn it had been mistakenly sold.’
After Hilary loaned the portrait to the charity as a favor, it was displayed in the shop as part of Foundry Artist Art Trail 2022 which included 20 locations around the town.
‘I thought it would be a nice picture for the charity to put on their wall for the art trail. I found out it had been mistakenly sold when I went into the shop and my picture was not on the wall,’ she said.
‘All I know is that a dark-haired lady with a Black Country accent bought it on the morning – with several other items – of July 13.
‘We have tried to contact the police but they will not help. The only hope is that the customer realizes what has happened and returns it.’
Hilary, who works around the world, charges upwards of £5,000 for her commissioned works.
Caroline Beech, CEO of Kemp Hospice, said: ‘We were devastated to learn that this genuine and unfortunate mistake had occurred, and everyone across the whole team is very concerned to see Hilary reunited with her picture as soon as possible.’
Gary Barnes, Kemp Hospice’s head of retail, added: ‘We have exhausted all avenues of tracking the picture down, which is why we are now appealing for help from our local community.
‘We are genuinely sorry for what has happened. We’ve conducted an internal investigation and are confident that it was an unfortunate human error.
‘We hope that the person who purchased the picture will understand and will get in touch to help us reunite it with Hilary.’
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