THE first ever draught of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is on its way to Australia after almost a century in the North East.

The watercolour painting, which was produced for Teesside company Dorman Long, fetched a whopping £26,000 at an auction today (Tuesday).

The painting, which had made its way to auction following the collapse of Cleveland Bridge, in Darlington, had sparked "phenomenal" interest for across the world prior to the sale. 

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Julian Thomson, managing director for Anderson and Garland, said: “We’re delighted with this result.

"The presale interest from across the world was phenomenal.

"Not only is this a visually stunning picture but a unique piece of history too.

"After an intense bidding battle between telephone bidders, it finally sold to a buyer from Australia, which is fantastic, especially as the bridge celebrated its 90th anniversary this month.”

The draught was produced for Dorman Long, which constructed the bridge in 1932, and had been kept at Cleveland Bridge since 1982, when the companies were amalgamated.

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It made its way to auction following the liquidation sale of Cleveland Bridge assets, which was held after the company collapsed last year.

It was hanging at the Darlington headquarters until January, when it was one of the last remaining items to be sold, among a motley collection of furniture, IT equipment and machinery.

Newcastle auction house Anderson and Garland had put an estimate on the watercolour of £2,000 to £4,000.

Bidding started with an online offer of £1,800.

However, things soon heated up, with an intense battle between telephone bidders.

It took a matter of minutes for the painting to sell for £26,000 to a customer in Australia. 

The watercolour, which was signed and dated in 1924, was produced by Cyril Arthur Farey for Doman Long as a perspectives and visual mock up for the bridge.

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In January 2020, the original builder’s draughts of the Tyne Bridge, produced by the same artist, again for Dorman Long were sold at Anderson and Garland for the hammer price of £1,850.

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