Rare John Byrne and Ian Rankin work aid appeal

John Byrne launches the Christian Aid Book Sale
John Byrne launches the Christian Aid Book Sale
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A RARE self-portrait by artist John Byrne and a collection of novels by Sir Walter Scott are among hundreds of unique works set to go on sale at one of the capital’s largest charity showcases of collectibles, it has been revealed.

The annual Christian Aid George Street sale features over 60,000 donated items including literary and artistic works in an effort to support deprived communities across the globe.

Artist and playwright Byrne, who became famous for his ‘faux-naïve’ style, has become the latest patron of the event and has given away a unique self-portrait work to be auctioned off for the cause.

However, other items set to be listed for sale include a 19th-century collection of Scott’s complete works and a signed first edition of Ian Rankin’s debut novel ‘Knots and Crosses’.

Hundreds of volunteers - including experts drafted in from as far afield as the United States - have sorted through the collection of donated works and collectibles with all proceeds from the sale going towards helping those in some of the poorest parts of the world.

The painting, entitled ‘Self-portrait with a small bird,’ will be separated from the rest of the sale, instead going under the hammer as part of a silent auction with a reserve price of £5,000.

Several of Byrne’s works, including portraits of former partner Tilda Swinton, comedian Billy Connolly and actor Robbie Coltrane currently hang in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The novel, published in 1987 while Rankin was a postgraduate student in the capital and features the debut of his most famous character Inspector John Rebus as he investigates the abduction and murder of several young girls in the city.

However, this rare first edition of the book includes an inscription on the inside cover from the author.

The sale has grown from a single box of books in 1974 to encompass thousands of items, including antiques, records, sheet music and toys.

Collectors are also expected to be clamouring for the Scott works, which includes the Waverley Novels, Poetry and Prose in a hundred beautifully bound volumes, published in 1844.

Another 19th-century find is ‘The Ruined Abbeys of the Border,’ illustrated by pioneering Scottish photographers Wilson and Thompson in 1865.

The unusual work includes text from ‘Howitt’s Ruined Abbeys & Castles of Great Britain’ and is regarded as advanced for the time due to its use of images

Sale convener Mary Davidson encouraged collectors to come along and discover other hidden gems among the thousands of items.

She said: “We hope that people will come along and find treasures among the books and other things for sale, remembering that the money they spend will support some of the poorest communities in the world”.

The sale starts on Saturday, May 12 and lasts until Friday, May 18 at St Andrew’s and St George’s Church.