PUPILS at Thames Primary School will benefit from an extraordinary gift made almost 90 years ago as a painting goes under the hammer.
The South Shore school has now been revealed as the owner of an iconic painting which is expected to fetch a staggering £150,000 at auction.
As revealed by The Gazette last week, the painting – called Captain of the Eleven – was painted in 1882 by Philip Hermogenes Calderon and used by Pears Soap as one of the very ﬁrst advertisements.
But now, 86 years after it was donated to the school by a former governor, it will finally be removed from the walls of the Severn Road site and sold.
The cash from the sale will be used to benefit future generations of local children according to headteacher Tracey Harrison.
She said: “It was a difficult decision for us to part with the painting but we hope it will provide a wonderful legacy for future Thames children.
“Over the years, it has begun to deteriorate and we want it to go somewhere where it can be in a proper collection, cared for by experts and enjoyed by everyone. The money will be ring- fenced and used for a specific project at the school which we are yet to decide.
“We will put a replica in its place however so children can still see it every day.
“A plaque will be installed to help us remember the kindness of the governor who donated it.”
Lily Henderson was the governor at Thames at around the time it was discovered how valuable the painting was.
She said: “We were absolutely amazed when we discovered it was an original, we had all assumed it was a print. “It was incredible to think it had hung in the school hall all those years with children playing netball and football right in front of it.”
The painting has now been taken away for restoration before it goes on sale at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings sale in London on July 11.