Lucian Freud egg shell portrait sells for £27,000

Lucien Freud egg shell self portrait Freud gave the egg shell portrait as a gift in 1979

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A self portrait painted on an egg shell by artist Lucian Freud has sold at auction for £27,000.

Freud used oil and ink to paint the portrait for an Easter-themed exhibition at the Langton Gallery, London in 1979.

His fingerprints are visible on the back of the hen's shell.

It was sold to a private collector at auction and the lot included a note from the artist to the present owner - the curator of the 1979 exhibition.

The woman, named only as Hope, had kept the fragile egg in a desk drawer ever since, protected only by tissue paper and a cardboard egg carton.

There was also a handwritten invitation to the exhibition which read: "Dear Hope. I'd like to see you. Perhaps we could solve the Egg promblem [sic] on the spot.

"Please let me know when you are coming up. Love L."

Information on the note said: "Exhibition from 16 February to 18 March. Monday to Friday 10 to 6 Saturday 10 to 1."

The anonymous buyer shelled out nearly twice the pre-sale estimate of £15,000.

Another portrait drawn by the artist, of his father Ernst Freud, was also sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on Thursday - for £37,000, including buyer's premium.

Freud, a grandson of the psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, died in July 2011, aged 88.

In October his work "Boy's Head" was sold for £3m to an anonymous bidder.

This year opening hours at the National Portrait Gallery were extended to allow nearly 60,000 people to visit an exhibition of his works.

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