Very rare Syd Barrett painting up for auction
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Roger Barrett - Orange Dahlias In A Vase, 1961The Cambridge based Cheffins auction house, who sold the contents of Syd Barrett's home in St Margaret's Square, Cambridge, where he had lived since 1981, after his death in 2006, is auctioning a very rare artwork by him at the end of this month.

The painting, titled Orange Dahlias In A Vase, 1961 and signed R.Barrett, is currently in the possession of childhood friend Phil Harden, and will be sold off on May 27th. The artwork was created by Barrett when he was just 15 years of age, and was a mix of watercolours and pastels.

There were nine later artworks sold in the previous Cheffins auction, raising £121,000 to fund local art training. The estimated selling price for this newly revealed artwork is between £3,000 - £5,000 plus buyer's fees. We suspect though that this is a VERY conservative figure and expect the final hammer price to be a lot higher.

The auction house explains the provenance: "In 1957, Barrett began his secondary education at Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, which aimed to emulate the public-school model. As a student, Barrett was emphatically average and, to most of his teachers, remarkable only in his inability to follow the rules. To Gerald Arthur Clement Harden, the school’s art teacher between 1938 and 1971, however, Barrett was a conspicuous and prodigious talent and one of the very few pupils permitted to use Harden's oil paints.

"Painted when Barrett was just 15 years old, the present lot was gifted to Harden by the artist shortly before he left the school and began studying art at Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology. Although generally perceived as an unmotivated student by most of his tutors, Harden’s support encouraged Barrett to pursue further study in painting and ignited in him a passion for art that would continue to burn until his death in 2006."

To see the painting in more detail, and for more details of the auction, including how to bid, visit