Two sheets of original artwork for the story of Mr Mudd the farmer, painted by Bernard Venables, come up for auction next week. The unframed water colour sheets, by the writer and illustrator of Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing, are both signed and measure 290mm x 420mm. Bernard was an illustrator by trade and produced many other works apart from his famed Crabtree creation, though this is the first I’ve hear of Mr Mudd. I’d love to hear more from readers who can tell us more about this farmer, who reveals Bernard’s ecological interests in these strips, where he learns about land-use grants, pesticides, hedgerows and symbiotic eco-systems. They are estimated at £80-£120, which seems very cheap for a unique piece of Venables memorabilia. Details here.