Alasdair Gray artwork raises £4,800 for Scottish charities

AN artwork by Scottish painter and author Alasdair Gray which was used for the First Minister’s official Christmas card last year has been sold for £4,800 at auction.

AN artwork by Scottish painter and author Alasdair Gray which was used for the First Minister’s official Christmas card last year has been sold for £4,800 at auction.

Bella Caledonia went under the hammer at Great Western Auctions in Glasgow yesterday.

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Money raised from the sale will be split between four Scottish charities – the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), the Glenachulish Preservation Trust and Save Small Tribes Trust, a charity selected by Gray which works to protect people affected by the clearing of rainforests.

Each charity will also benefit from the sale of limited edition prints of Bella Caledonia given to them by the First Minister to aid their fundraising efforts.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the artwork from my 2011 Christmas card has once again raised such a substantial figure for four extremely deserving charities.”

Bella Caledonia uses an image first painted by Gray as part of a mural in Oran Mor in Glasgow, where the card was launched in December.

The auction result means artworks from the First Minister’s official Christmas cards have now raised more than £131,000 for charity since 2007, with organisations such as the RNLI, Mary’s Meals and CLIC Sargent all benefiting from the proceeds.

Yesterday’s sale was handled by auctioneer and TV antiques expert Anita Manning, who was assisted at the podium by the First Minister.

She said: “We at Great Western Auctions feel very privileged to have been asked by the First Minister to sell his Christmas card. These are four very deserving charities and to make £4,800 in the sale room is wonderful. We were thrilled that the First Minister came to the auction house today.”

Maria Gill, CHAS chief executive, said: “Bella Caledonia is an extraordinary painting and to be one of the beneficiaries is a great honour.

“As Scotland’s only children’s hospice charity, the sale of this iconic painting will help us to continue to provide specialist care to families across Scotland when they need it most.”

Val Morgan, from SCIAF, said: “Every penny given to SCIAF, especially during the current downturn, is gratefully received and will be put to work helping some of the world’s poorest people, many affected by war, extreme poverty, disease and disasters.”