FOR a man linked inextricably with terror, ghosts, ghouls and vampires, the gentle pastimes of birdwatching and painting watercolours would not be your first guess when it comes to hobbies.
But Peter Cushing (1913-94) had a very different side to the sinister roles he became known for in the film world, from Hammer Horror ghastliness to the horribly named Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars (1977).
“I’m actually a gentle fellow, never harmed a fly and I am a keen birdwatcher,” Cushing said.
“‘I do get tired of the neighbourhood kids telling me ‘my mum wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley’.”
In later years, after the death of his beloved wife Helen and a prostate cancer diagnosis, he retired to the peace and quiet of Whitstable in Kent where birdwatching and painting were favourite pastimes.
Two of his earlier watercolours are coming up at auction on December 2 at Hansons in Etwall, Derbyshire. Adrian Rathbone, head of paintings at the auction house, says: “They can be traced in the current vendor’s family directly to Cushing and show his sensitivity in execution and talent with a brush. His paintings can fetch many hundreds of pounds on the rare occasion they appear at auction.
“This pair will be offered with a signed postcard from the man himself and are expected to fetch £400-600.”