SKEGNESS Town Council are bracing themselves to enter the bidding stakes for the original artwork of the resort’s famous logo, the Jolly Fisherman.
In October, the recently discovered original 1923 artwork, noted as the most famous of all seaside advertising posters, will go under the hammer at a West London auction, where it is expected to fetch around £5,000.
Head of Tourism, Bob Suich, said he plans to send Jolly himself to bid at the auction, but fears the current financial situation of both the district and the town council will not stretch to £5,000: “What we need is a partnership arrangement between the council and the private sector.” he said.
According to Skegness’ town clerk, Alan Crawshaw, although the town council do own copyright to the logo, they will have to bid along with everyone else if they want to bring the artwork home to Skeggie, where many will argue it belongs — but he shares Mr Suich’s reservations: “We will debate whether or not to bid for it at our next finance committee meeting in September, but I think £5,000 is beyond our means.”
The artwork, by one of England’s greatest poster artists, John Hassall, came to light for the first time in 72 years just last week. It was discovered in a garden shed in Homchurch, Essex, by a woman who was sorting out some old railway books, and was probably acquired by her husband who was
a railwayman in the 1950s.
Auctioneer experts have said of the find: ‘In the poster world, it’s like discovering the Mona Lisa.’
Patrick Bogue of London Auctioneers Onslows, where the poster’s future home will be decided, told The News it is in remarkably good condition: “Considering how long ago it was painted, it’s in excellent shape. The colours are still very bright. We are expecting a lot of interest, particularly from museums and collectors of John Hassall’s work — perhaps someone from Skegness will be amongst them.”