A FAMOUS Norman Thelwell cartoon will remain on Merseyside after fetching £5,600 at an auction last week.
The 1952 drawing exceeded its estimated selling price of £3,000 on September 25, at Wright Manley in Beeston, Cheshire, when buyers from as far as London joined the bidding.
Former owner of the drawing Marla Johnson, 71, of Thornton Hough, decided to sell the item after a friend bought it for her from a shop in the Cotswolds over 30 years ago.
Marla, who lives five miles away from Thelwell’s birthplace, said: “I had so many things stored in my house, I thought it was worth selling some of it.
“The picture was just hanging on my wall and I knew I wouldn’t miss it.
“I have sold things at auctions before and have always enjoyed the day out.”
The picture was the first of 1,500 of Thelwell’s cartoons and was feared lost when a retrospective of his work was shown without it to mark his 80th birthday.
Marla shared a secret with the News before she sold the drawing, which shows a blacksmith asking “Ow do they feel then?” as a girl tries out the shoes he has just fitted to her pony.
The equestrian enthusiast said: “If you look closely at the blacksmith on the picture, who appears in a lot of Thelwell’s art, you can see a line cut out around him.
“It actually looks like Thelwell has drawn the blacksmith, been unhappy with him, so cut him out and put another version in his place.”
The identity of the buyer, who lives in Merseyside, is not being revealed but Wright Manley auctioneer Bill Witter said: “I think in these economic times people are still happy to buy something that puts a smile on their face.”