Brian Blessed Says He Threw Away A Picasso ‘Worth £50m’


Brian Blessed reckons that he threw away a picture sketched for him by Picasso, because he thought it was rubbish.

In doing so, the 79-year-old actor, he of the legendary booming voice, thinks that he probably missed out on about £50 million.

That’s his figure, of course, but it’s likely that a sketch by the artist would be worth a few quid.

Picasso’s ‘Women of Algiers’ sold in New York in May for £130 million, the highest price ever paid for a painting.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, and when asked if he’d ever learned any harsh lessons about money, the perennially good value Blessed details how he approached the painter and cubist somewhat brazenly in a gallery in Sheffield, aged 12.

He tells it best in his own words:

“When I was 12, there was a World Peace Congress outside Sheffield [in 1950] that attracted 360,000 people including singer Paul Robeson and American and British generals.

“Picasso was there, painting, and I raced ahead of everybody and stood before him.


“I asked, ‘Are you Picasso?’ and he replied, 'Yes, I am’. I told him, 'You sound more like Carmen Miranda, so if you’re really Picasso, draw me something’.

“He said, 'I will draw you a dove of peace’, which he did and handed it to me. I said, 'That shows you’re not Picasso, that’s not a dove!’

“Picasso replied: 'For the first time I have a critic, the child does not believe this is a dove’.

“I threw his drawing on the floor and in doing so, threw away about £50m. It was picked up, presented to the assembly as a symbol of the peace congress of 1948 and now hangs in Sheffield Gallery.”


Blessed, who has been doing the rounds publicising his collection of memoirs, called, rather brilliantly, 'Absolute Pandemonium’, has revealed a wealth of staggering anecdotes of late.

First he revealed that he once choked the late Peter O'Toole with his bare hands, and punched the playwright Harold Pinter into unconsciousness.

He also told how, while he was starring in 'Z Cars’, he delivered a baby in Richmond Park, and had to bite through the umbilical cord with his teeth.


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Image credits: Rex Features