ONE of Wirral’s best-known footballers was due to sell off his ‘secret’ art collection this week.
Birkenhead-born footballer Peter Davenport played for Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland during a career which netted both an England cap and a Wembley FA Cup final appearance.
Less well known is that throughout that last three decades Mr Davenport, 49, has been squirrelling away a vast collection of maritime paintings, focusing on those featuring the Liverpool waterfront.
He admitted that few if any of his colleagues had known anything about this secret passion for marine art which had been inspired by paintings owned by his parents.
He said: “I never bought for investment, it was always what I liked the look of.”
Until now, since he has decided to sell much of his collection to concentrate on travel posters.
This week North Wales fine art auctioneers Rogers Jones Co were to sell 27 of his pieces.
The money raised will help fund future purchases of early railway carriage prints and rail transport and tourism posters.
He said: “It is a wrench, but I need the capital.
“I’ve decided to move in a different direction. People living in Birkenhead have always had the best view of Liverpool’s waterfront and it inspired me to collect pictures that reflect that.”
There are numerous highlights in the collection, and most valuable is an oil on canvas by Frank Henry Mason (1875-1965) showing shipping in the Mersey with ferry boats by the Pier Head, which was painted in about 1949. Its estimated value is £2,500-£2,800. Mason was once a cadet at the HMS Conway naval school in Birkenhead and became a prolific maritime artist.