And now he's crossing the Atlantic with Clipper

A former butcher has become one of the world’s leading marine artists, charging up to £40,000 for his paintings.

Richard Firth (pictured) did not sail when he begun what was originally a sideline career, but this Saturday he will depart Rio de Janeiro for Cape Town in the second leg of the Clipper Round-The-World race.

Mr Firth, 40, began as a butcher after leaving school aged 16, but a delivery to an artist’s studio 15 years ago inspired him to pick up his paintbrush.

He learnt his trade using a beginner’s paint-by-numbers kit, but now sells his work in some of the world’s most prestigious auction houses, such as Christie’s in New York.

He said: ‘I’d start in the butcher’s shop at 0730 every morning and after work I’d paint until two or three in the morning, creating paintings good enough to sell.’

He is crossing the South Atlantic on board Gold Coast, the Australian entrant that won the race’s opening leg from Southampton.

He is only doing the one leg, but said that he was ‘looking forward to the different weather conditions’.

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