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Cleaning lady’s devotion to dusting earns her family an artistic windfall worth tens of thousands of pounds


North London cleaning lady’s devotion to dusting has earned her family an artistic windfall worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Mrs Annie Gaughan cleaned for critically acclaimed ceremacist Lucie Rie for many years at her home in Finchley Road and was given some of her work as a parting gift when she stopped work.

Rie, a refugee from Nazi Germany, is hailed as one of the greatest potters of the 20th century and her collectors including legendary fashion designer Issey Miyake who organised an exhibition of her work in Tokyo.

Mrs Gaughan’s son Austin, who has decided to auction the works left to his mother, said: “My mum and dad were tailors, and then in later life when mum stopped tailoring she started doing cleaning jobs and she ended up cleaning for Lucie for about 10 years.

“When Lucie gave Mum the bowl she took much more interest in her work and started looking it up and I took her down to Bond Street and she went to one of the sales.

“Weve had it now for 25 years or more. My mum gave it to myself, my wife and my son and he’s now looking to buy a property and we just thought it was a good way fo getting him on the ladder.”

The keepsakes, which are being offered for sale at Chiswick Auctions on March 29, include a bowl and a mould used for making her ceramic buttons which made her name in the fashion world after they were used by designers including Miyake.

Chiswick’s design specialist Maxine Winning says she expects the button mould will fetch £600 with an experimental bowl expected to fetch a similar amount, but Rie also gave Mrs Gaughan a turquoise and manganese glazed bowl which could sell for as much as £30,000.

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