An auction sale of giant Gromit sculptures has raised more than £2.3million for charity.
Art fans from across the world were locked in a fierce bidding frenzy at the sale, hosted by Bargain Hunt’s Tim Wonnacott.
Five hundred bidders crammed into a specially erected pavilion in Bristol, with 1,889 taking part in the four-and-a-half-hour auction online.
The focus of the sale was 81 5ft-tall dogs decorated by artists, celebrities and designers including Sir Quentin Blake, Jools Holland and Cath Kidston.
Pixar’s Gromit Lightyear – based on the Toy Story character – was the star lot, reaching a staggering £65,000.
Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe’s Watch Out, Gromit! and Newshound, by Aardman Animations’ Nick Park, received joint second-highest bids, fetching £50,000 each.
The sculptures, weighing about 90lb on average, had previously attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Bristol, where they were displayed as a public arts trail over the summer.
Eleven smaller Gromits, weighing 33lb, were also auctioned by Wonnacott during the sale, which attracted bids from Australia, America and Japan.
After hours of tense bidding, the 91 Gromits had reached a grand total of £2,357,000 – more than doubling previous estimates of £1million.
Funds raised will support Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, which is raising £3.5million for an expansion of Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Speaking after the auction, a stunned Mr Park said the amount of money raised had wildly surpassed his expectations.
“I couldn’t wait to see the Pixar Gromit Lightyear go because obviously that was a top runner,” he said.