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Sisters stunned to discover late dad’s secret paintings in attic

The artwork shows landscapes around Hugh’s beloved Derbyshire as well as scenes from vacations the family took to Scotland, Cornwall and Sussex.

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Hugh Penfold with one of his many paintings. (Hansons via SWNS)

By Adam Dutton via SWNS

Two sisters were stunned after finding their late father's paintings hidden in his attic which are now worth hundreds of dollars.

Hugh Penfold died at 96 in 2020 and his daughters Sheena and Anne were tasked with clearing out his bungalow.

The siblings found dozens of oil paintings around the property which their father had proudly had framed.

But they were gobsmacked when they found 150 paintings tucked away in the loft which they had never seen.

The artwork shows landscapes around Hugh’s beloved Derbyshire as well as scenes from vacations the family took to Scotland, Cornwall and Sussex.

Hugh Penfold at his easel. (Hansons via SWNS)
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Poignantly, one of his last paintings was of his garden in Shelton Lock, Derbys., where he and his late wife Rita had lived for 70 years.

Hugh was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he retired, but despite living with the disease for 30 years he painted almost every day.

The sisters, whose mom Rita died in 2017, are now auctioning off 100 of their dad’s paintings to raise money for Derby’s Lilian Prime MS Centre.

His daughter Sheena Penfold, 65, a retired account director, said: “He must have painted those for mum.

“There were so many paintings it was unbelievable.

“We gave family and friends the opportunity to choose one of dad’s paintings as a memento and we’ve kept loads.

“But there are so many we’ve decided to auction around 100 to raise money for MS.

“It’s our father’s legacy and we would like to use it to help others.”

Hugh started painting and drawing when he was a 16-year-old working as a draftsman
in London.

In 1942 he was conscripted into the Royal Air Force and served during World War II.

After the war he studied art at college and moved to Portsmouth to work in advertising which is where he met his future wife Rita Bradshaw.

Hugh Penfold with his works of art at a Derbyshire exhibition. (Hansons via SWNS)

The couple married in 1950 and moved to Shelton Lock in Derbyshire where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Sheena added: “Dad was involved in a diverse range of projects from producing instruction manuals for Rolls-Royce to creating technical illustrations for the original "The Times Atlas of World History."

“But in his spare time, he picked up his brushes and headed to his easel in his conservatory. He was a true artist at heart.

“He painted prolifically throughout his adult life, predominantly in oils, sometimes exhibiting at Derbyshire galleries.

“He often painted commissions or gifts for family, friends and colleagues. His works were mostly landscape paintings of the places he and mum loved to visit.

“Tragically, in his mid-60s, just before his retirement in 1989, dad was diagnosed with MS.

“Fortunately, he was able to continue to indulge in his passion for a further 10 years or so, until the early 2000s when poor dexterity and failing eyesight meant he had to finally hang up his brushes. Nevertheless, he had produced around 60 years of magnificent work.”

Hugh’s paintings are expected to fetch £1,500 ($1,877) when the collection goes under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on May 31.

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