Captain Sir Tom Moore's 100th birthday portraits to be auctioned by Sworders to raise money for his own charity
A collection of works of art given to NHS fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore for his 100th birthday is being sold at auction by Sworders.
All proceeds from the sale of the 130 paintings and drawings – which is being conducted online by the Stansted-based fine art auction house – will go to the Captain Tom Foundation, a charity set up by his family.
Captain Sir Tom united the nation in the summer and gave hope and inspiration when it was needed most during the Covid pandemic.
The former Army officer hoped to raise £1,000 for the health service that had nursed him through a fractured hip and cancer scare by walking 100 laps of his garden, 50 metres at a time, before he turned 100 on April 30. In the end, the total donated by the public was £38.9m.
The “Captain Tom effect” reached well beyond his own garden. He inspired fundraisers across the world, from five-year-old British schoolchildren to war veterans in Russia, Canada and Africa.
He and his family were humbled by the outpouring of generosity from people all over the world. Even once the £38.9m had gone to NHS Charities Together they continued to receive scores of messages of support and encouragement.
It became clear to the family they could go on helping many more people and subsequently the Captain Tom Foundation was set up to benefit four causes close to their hearts: combatting loneliness, supporting people facing bereavement, championing education and equality, and supporting friends overseas.
Captain Sir Tom's actions also inspired artists to mark his achievement and he received over 120 portraits.
"I was overwhelmed to receive so many wonderful pictures – there are some very talented artists out there," he said.
"We discussed how best to celebrate them all and felt holding an auction would be a brilliant way to share these wonderful pieces with a wider audience whilst also raising valuable funds for causes close to our hearts. We're grateful to Sworders, who have partnered with us to make all this possible."
The pictures range from cheerful amateur sketches to works by professional artists. Estimates range from £5 to £5,000-plus.
Manchester artist Jamie Green, who has appeared in two series of Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year, created his artwork using a reclaimed cupboard door sourced from an architectural salvage yard. The piece was put together over the course of a week.
Jamie, who lives in Manchester, says the door is about 100 years old itself, so “seemed to be the perfect foundation” to start with.
“I applied a military green paint to the door surface to create a solid base,” he said. “Using various chisels, I etched into the surface to create the portrait. I wanted to create this as a tribute to the outstanding fundraising successes Captain Tom has achieved, and in some way myself make a small contribution."
While at home in Hertfordshire nursing her baby Lily, Justine Thomas, who is married to husband Alex, was inspired by Captain Tom to begin painting again.
She said: "In the middle of April, while in the thick of lockdown and the middle of my maternity leave, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in years to pay tribute to the incredible Captain Sir Tom Moore.
"His beautiful, kind face kept me sane as I stole an hour or so whenever my 9-month-old baby napped. It took two months to finish and roughly 100 hours in total.
"One reason I haven’t painted in a long time, alongside the fact I have a full-time job and now a (very active!) baby, is my anxiety about picking up a paintbrush again and possibly quitting halfway through or failing altogether. Unfortunately, painting is both my source of anxiety and my antidote to it. But Captain Sir Tom inspired me to do it with his great courage, determination and perseverance.
"The other reason is that I haven’t painted a portrait since my Grandpa’s, which I submitted to the BP Portrait Award in 2014. Since Grandpa, my muse, passed away in March last year aged 100, I could never see myself painting again. But Captain Tom reminds me so much of my Grandpa – everything from his sweet nature, kind temperament, cheeky sense of humour and the glint in his eye – that I felt compelled to pick up a paintbrush once more.
"Captain Tom has been the shining light of the lockdown, except for me that light shone directly on something that had been dormant in me for quite some time and gave it life again. I have found a bit of me again and that’s thanks to Captain Tom."
The auction is live online at www.sworder.co.uk until Remembrance Sunday (November 8) at 6pm.
* Founded in 1782, Sworders is one of the longest-established fine art auction houses in the UK, conducting over 50 auctions each year. Specialist auctions include British and European paintings, Asian art, jewellery, watches, furniture, silver, 20th-century design and modern and contemporary prints.