Norfolk artist’s painting in John Cleese’s collection

It was painted by the hand of a celebrated Norfolk artist and owned by one of the country's best known comedians.

And now the oil painting Dawn, by Royal Academician Sir Arnesby Brown, is among a number of works of art belonging to Fawlty Towers and Monty Python star John Cleese that are up for sale in London from October 26.

The �45,000 painting is the second most valuable picture in the �750,000 Cleese collection, which includes 80 paintings, drawings and cartoons. The sale follows Cleese's costly third divorce.

Mr Cleese, 70, said: 'It is with a heavy heart and a dodgy knee that I have decided to sell my collection of English paintings. For one reason only: I have nowhere to hang them (sound of distant violins). They have been in storage for three years and I now feel others should have a chance to enjoy them (cheerful brass band music).

'I no longer have the wall space to hang them. I have reduced my living spaces from seven houses in various continents at the extreme – which is absurd – to a nice, comfortable little cottage in Santa Barbara. I am trying to have a simpler and smaller life.

'My beautiful pictures have now been in store for three years and I prefer that new owners experience the excitement of my original collecting.'

Sir Arnesby Brown lived and worked at The White House, Haddiscoe, near Beccles, until his death at the age of 89, on November 16, 1955.

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A major exhibition of his work was staged at Norwich Castle Museum in 1935 and, three years ago, his oil painting, Near Acle, Norfolk, sold for �38,400 at Christie's in London.

His importance as an artist was officially confirmed in 1915 when he was elected to the prestigious Royal Academy.

Since the Royal Academy was founded in 1768 there have been only around 600 Royal Academicians – others include Sir Alfred Munnings, John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner.

Dawn, along with the rest of Cleese's �750,000 art collection, will be on sale from October 26 until November 13 at the Chris Beetles Gallery in St James's, London.

It was reported that Mr Cleese's divorce from third wife, American-born psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger, could cost him nearly �1m a year and �3m in homes. Papers filed in California revealed a request for Mrs Cleese to keep the couple's homes in New York and London. Lawyers also asked for half of his income going back to 1992, the year of their marriage, and annual maintenance of �900,000.