Entertainment & Arts

Lucian Freud egg shell portrait sells for £27,000

Image caption Freud gave the egg shell portrait as a gift in 1979

A self portrait painted on an egg shell by artist Lucian Freud has sold at auction for £27,000.

Freud used oil and ink to paint the portrait for an Easter-themed exhibition at the Langton Gallery, London in 1979.

His fingerprints are visible on the back of the hen's shell.

It was sold to a private collector at auction and the lot included a note from the artist to the present owner - the curator of the 1979 exhibition.

The woman, named only as Hope, had kept the fragile egg in a desk drawer ever since, protected only by tissue paper and a cardboard egg carton.

There was also a handwritten invitation to the exhibition which read: "Dear Hope. I'd like to see you. Perhaps we could solve the Egg promblem [sic] on the spot.

"Please let me know when you are coming up. Love L."

Information on the note said: "Exhibition from 16 February to 18 March. Monday to Friday 10 to 6 Saturday 10 to 1."

The anonymous buyer shelled out nearly twice the pre-sale estimate of £15,000.

Another portrait drawn by the artist, of his father Ernst Freud, was also sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on Thursday - for £37,000, including buyer's premium.

Freud, a grandson of the psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, died in July 2011, aged 88.

In October his work "Boy's Head" was sold for £3m to an anonymous bidder.

This year opening hours at the National Portrait Gallery were extended to allow nearly 60,000 people to visit an exhibition of his works.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites