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Bargain-filled art sale returns in Sheffield to find out what's Under the Bed

Gallery owner Karen Sherwood looks some of the pieces on offer. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Gallery owner Karen Sherwood looks some of the pieces on offer. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Most people relish a bargain - and art enthusiasts are no different.

For around 20 years the Cupola gallery in Hillsborough has been giving buyers the chance to pick up original pieces at uncommonly low prices through its Under the Bed sale, which returns on Tuesday.

Artist Barbara Sykes with 'Dancing like Pavlova'. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Artist Barbara Sykes with 'Dancing like Pavlova'. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Last year more than 4,000 items were offered up by artists from across the UK and beyond, and visitors can expect the chance to rummage through a similar haul in 2018. The range is vast, from paintings to photos, sculpture, jewellery and 'everything in between'.

Karen Sherwood, founder, director and curator of Cupola Contemporary Art, said the sale originally evolved out of a conversation she had with an artist friend, Lyn Hodnett.

"Many years ago she invited me to view her work and pulled out a load of older pieces from under her bed," she said.

"When I asked whether she would exhibit these pieces, she said 'no', as they were out of date and no longer fitted with her current work. However, when I asked her if she would sell them, she replied she definitely would."

Customer Kevin Duffy looks at a piece of glass work by Hazel Burnham. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Customer Kevin Duffy looks at a piece of glass work by Hazel Burnham. Picture: Scott Merrylees

A dilemma presented itself - how could Lyn sell the art if she wasn't prepared to exhibit it? In response, Under the Bed was born.

Work across all media is available, priced from £1 up to a maximum of £350.

"The sale has grown year on year from its early beginnings," said Karen. "Every artist has older and early work and now the gallery receives packages from as far away as the Ukraine as well as from Sheffield and every other part of the UK. Unusually, the gallery does not select the work for the sale and every artist, amateur or professional, can drop off work for the sale."

There is an inherent surprise factor to the event - the 'most anticipated' of the gallery's calendar - that adds further excitement, she added.

“We never know what will be in the sale and that's why it is so much fun. We have a customer that books a day off work every year to come up from London to enjoy it."

And the fact it is a January sale held at the proper time is novel in itself, Karen thinks.

"It's a January sale in January, shock horror," she joked. "Not on Boxing Day, not before Christmas, but in January."

Under the Bed opens at 10am on Tuesday, January 9, running until February 3. The sale will be open in the evening from 7.30pm on Friday, January 12.