Fawlty Towers comedy legend John Cleese selling Durham Cathedral painting for thousands

Actor and writer John Cleese

Actor and writer John Cleese

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FUNNYMAN John Cleese has put his privately owned painting of Durham Cathedral up for sale.

The work by Albert Goodwin, called The Interior of Durham Cathedral, is being sold for £8,500.

The 10ins by 15ins picture is among 25 Goodwin paintings in the summer show at The Chris Beetles Gallery in London’s West End.

It is one of at least five Goodwin pictures owned by actor, writer and comedian Cleese, who created and starred in the classic 1970s BBC TV comedy series Fawlty Towers.

Last year, Cleese, 71, sold about 80 of his paintings - including four Goodwins, although not the Durham one - for about £750,000 at the gallery.

He said at the time: “It is with heavy heart and a dodgy knee that I have decided to sell my collection of English paintings.

“For one reason only – I have nowhere to hang them (sound of distant violins).

“They have been in storage for three years and I now feel others should have a chance to enjoy them (cheerful brass band music).”

Goodwin - 1845-1932 - is described as “the last of the great Victorian travelling artists”. He produced at least four pictures of Durham, all featuring the cathedral. One is titled Fishing In The Wear, Durham.

Hammond Smith, Goodwin’s biographer, said: “From the very start of his artistic career, Albert Goodwin was regarded as an artist of considerable talent and originality and today this judgement still stands.

“For Goodwin’s ‘imaginative landscapes’ are seen to have been among the most individual artistic productions of their time.

“His delicate colour schemes, his finely felt sense of atmosphere and his poetic treatment of landscape have rightly made Goodwin one of the most popular minor masters of British watercolour painting.”

The current world record for a Goodwin painting is £251,000, the sum paid at Sotheby’s in London in June 2001 for his 1906 oil painting,

The afterglow, San Giorgio Maggiore and the Dogana, Venice.