Painting finds a fitting home

Captain of the Eleven painted in 1882 by Philip Hermogenes Calderon
Captain of the Eleven painted in 1882 by Philip Hermogenes Calderon
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A painting auctioned for £290,000 by a Blackpool primary school has been given pride of place at the home of cricket.

The Long Room, at London’s Lord’s cricket ground, is the new home of Phillip Calderon’s Captain of the Eleven.

Thames Primary auctioned the 1882 painting in July 2012 to raise funds for the school after they were told it was Calderon’s original, and not the replica as they originally thought.

The painting, which was used in a Victorian campaign to advertise Pear’s Soap, had been on display in the Severn Road school for 86 years, and was donated by former councillor WD Hallstead.

Coun Lily Henderson was chair of the school’s governors when the painting was sold.

She said: “When I was chair of governors Lord’s called the school, and said they heard we had a copy, and wanted to borrow it.

“I said they could do that, but it needed cleaning up, and we needed it back as soon as they were finished.

“But someone at Lord’s recognised it as real.

“When we found out how much it was worth, we did think Lord’s should’ve had it, as it would be a fitting place for it.

“When it came back we insured it, and it was put back in the hall.”

The school ultimately made the decision to auction the artwork through London auction house Bonhams, and it bowled everyone over when it fetched £289,250.

Tracy Harrison, headteacher at Thames Primary School, said: “It’s a fitting place for it to be with it being a painting about cricket.”

“It’s in the best place it could be.”

The painting was loaned to Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord’s, by a private collector in September 2012, and hangs on the West Wall, which faces The Long Room’s windows, and looks out on to the famous pitch.

A spokesman for the ground said: “It’s a typically clean-cut depiction of youth in the Victorian era, which matches the atmosphere of the iconic Victorian pavilion at Lord’s.”