Two beautiful ink drawings, penned by the late Jersey based naturalist Gerald Durrell, surpassed all expectations last month to sell for £6,000.

The drawings, purchased by RBC Wealth Management in Canada three years ago, were donated to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and auctioned at it’s 50th anniversary ‘Firefly Ball’. This exquisite pair significant exceeded expectations and sold on the night to a mystery buyer.

The sketches were drawn by Mr Durrell for reproduction in Wildlife Preservation Canada’s (WPC) newsletter as his Christmas thank you to Canadian members. WPC is the Canadian affiliate to the Trust. The first sketch is called Love Thy Neighbour At All Times and features Blue Jays with a nest of two nestlings. The second is called The Ark’s Anniversary and depicts various pairs of birds and animals dancing together with Mr Durrell and his wife, Lee, dancing in the centre.

Earlier this month Gerald’s widow, Dr Lee Durrell, showed the drawings on an episode of the BBC Antiques Road Show. For valuation purposes, they were expected to fetch between £800-£1,200 each so Lee was delighted when the closing bid fetched nearly tripled the estimate.

‘We are very grateful to RBC Wealth Management for giving us this unique opportunity,’ she said. ‘By donating two of Gerry's most charming sketches to 'The Firefly Ball' auction, both funds and awareness have been raised for his Trust's worldwide conservation work.'

Dendy Easton, a paintings specialist, commented:

‘When one puts these things into auction, if they weren’t by Gerald Durrell, they would probably get a few hundred pounds. But people buy with their hearts and I would estimate the value of these to be between £800 and £1,200 each. They will easily get more at your auction due to the goodwill people have towards Durrell. I might even bid myself!’                                              

Francis Binney, RBC Wealth Management’s Environmental Officer in the British Isles, added:

‘We are delighted that the drawings have raised such a significant sum for Durrell. We felt it fitting to return two treasures of Gerry Durrell’s to generate income for the Trust on their 50th anniversary. I hope the sketches bring joy to the mystery owner.'

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Issued by Lisa Gutcher, Image PR, tel: 734444

Notes to Editors

About RBC Wealth Management

The international arm of RBC Wealth Management services over 35,000 high net worth individuals and institutions through 35 offices in the British Isles, Continental Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Latin America and North America.  RBC Wealth Management provides integrated and diversified international wealth management expertise and solutions, asset management and trust services to high net worth individuals and to corporate and institutional clients.  Services provided by RBC Wealth Management consultants, advisors, private bankers and trust officers include trust and estate planning, tax advice, discretionary investment management and investment advisory services, structured solutions, banking, lending and global custody.  For more information, please visit www.rbcwminternational.com

RBC Wealth Management, a segment of RBC, directly serves affluent and high net worth clients and provides asset management products and services to institutional and individual clients.  The business has more than C$480 billion of assets under administration, more than C$230 billion of assets under management and more than 4,500 financial consultants, advisors, private bankers and trust officers. 

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies and among the largest banks in the world, as measured by market capitalization. We provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 18 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 53 other countries. For more information, please visit www.rbc.com.