Pensioner's Pissarro painting 'sold for care' by Essex County Council

image copyrightNICK STRUGNELL
image captionDistrict Judge Anselm Eldergill praised the care provided to the elderly man

A painting belonging to an elderly man was sold for £24,000 to help pay for his care home fees, a council has revealed.

Essex County Council said Stratford-upon-Avon Sunset - a 1906 work by artist Lucien Pissarro - was auctioned to pay for the unnamed man's care.

Council bosses had been given permission by a Court of Protection judge to raise funds via the painting.

The artwork was worth £20,000-£30,000, a hearing last July was told.

District Judge Anselm Eldergill also ruled that the council could sell a house owned by the man, plus other possessions.

The court heard the man's son initially objected to possessions being sold, but later changed his mind.

Public interest

Judge Eldergill said the man had been moved into a care home after undergoing surgery. He said local authority officials had been appointed to make decisions for him because he was found to ''lack capacity''.

He added that care home fees had been running at nearly £400 a month and the man was faced with an annual cash shortfall of nearly £15,000.

Judge Eldergill heard evidence from the man's relatives and local authority officials before deciding how to raise money.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and analyses issues involving vulnerable and sick people. Hearings usually take place in private.

Judge Eldergill ruled that detail of the case could be reported after the Independent newspaper and the Press Association news agency argued that coverage would be in the public interest.

The judge said the elderly man should not be identified - and no detail of his address publicised.

But he ruled that Essex County Council could be named and praised staff for the "high level of service" they had provided to the pensioner.

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