A 'BUNCH of tatty old papers' found in a house clearance in Weymouth have made their way to the other side of the world to be uncovered as rare works of a famous New Zealand artist.

Around two years ago, a second-hand dealer in Weymouth did a house clearance. Amongst the items was a mouldy folder containing works of art now known to be by Frances Hodgkins.

The folder of works, referred to as a ‘bunch of tatty old pictures', was sold soon after at an antiques fair.

It is believed that all of the works, signed by Hodgkins, are by the influential artist.

The works have now made their way to New Zealand in time for the 70th anniversary of the artist's death.

Hodgkins, who spent many years living in Dorset, died at Herrison House psychiatric hospital in 1947 near Dorchester.

Curators piecing together Hodgkin's history in New Zealand are now trying to trace the discovered works back to their original home in Dorset.

Andy Boston, an art collector from New Zealand working on the project, said: "The astonishing thing about the works in the folder is that they contain very personal subject matter to Frances Hodgkins including some realistic self-portraits which she was never believed to have attempted."

There were rare textile designs and paintings of people closest to Hodgkins including British painter Cedric Morris included in the works.

Mr Boston said: "We are trying to identify the house clearance in Weymouth that the folder of works came from in an attempt to trace it from there back to Corfe Castle or perhaps Herrison House.

"Frances had a studio in Corfe Castle and her last place of residence before going to Herrison House was The Greyhound Hotel.

"Any assistance that anyone can give us will be gratefully accepted and will help to give more of a personal insight into one of the leading British modernist painters."

He said: "Unfortunately all we know is that it was a general second-hand dealer from the Weymouth area which fits with the fact that Hodgkins' last days were spent at Corfe Castle and then Herrison House.

"We are hoping if we can identify the house the portfolio was found in then we can trace someone who lived there to either her studio, The Greyhound or Herrison House."

Mr Boston is keen to hear from anyone who may know anything about the works.

He said: "I saw an article in the Echo dated April, 17 2003 by an art historian Richard Wallace who was then searching for lost works by Frances Hodgkins, especially portraits of locals.

"I believe that the oil sketch of the boy may well be of a local youth at the time. I was wondering whether he is still around/known of? I believe he could well be key in solving the mystery of the hidden portfolio."

The studio Frances lived in at Corfe Castle before she became unwell was owned by Francis Newbery.

Mr Boston said: "There are a few elderly Newberys who have passed away in the period 2013/15, whose obituaries appeared in the Dorset Echo, so my aim now is to see if any of them are related to Francis Newbery thereby creating a direct link from Corfe Castle to the second-hand dealer in Weymouth."

If you know anything about the works, contact Mr Boston by emailing mobilemeals2@gmail.com