Vigilant bargain hunters were quick to spot an extraordinary world-wide interweb discount offer yesterday as a famous Cambridge College took the unprecedented step of discontinuing and selling "at a bargain basement price" a reproduction artwork it had hoped might swell the coffers of its increasingly implausible development appeal.
The artwork - an oblique aerial view of Alma Mater College's new multimedia, recreation, corporeal-wellbeing, student welfare and equal-opportunity mindfulness centre - by alumnus Ivor Xerox was originally commissioned as a limited edition gift for distribution as a reward to high-value donors but was quickly put on general sale once it became clear that the mere threat of its arrival was enough to trigger a mass cancellation of previously promised cheques. Recently it could be acquired by anyone blessed with deep pockets and an aesthetic blindspot - for a mere £550 plus VAT [unframed] of £750 plus VAT framed*.
* As in "you've been" [Ed].
Writing in this month's edition of Unique Dorset Fine Art Magazine, Fine art critic Ifor de Tayle has opined that the painting is, in its own way, a remarkable achievement: "Perhaps the only work in the entire history of art which manages to make its already irredeemable subject look worse than it actually is... that's some achievement".
Justifying the change in sales strategy, Fellow for Rape and Pillage, Mr Bloodfromastone Strongarm, said that the artwork had served its intended purpose and had been a major factor in reaching the £228 million target set by the College for the new building and other improvements* planned as part of its 479th Anniversary Campaign.
Now that the College is looking to establish other priorities in its next Campaign - there are rumours it may involve raising funds for state-of-the-art environmentally sustainable heating for the College's croquet equipment over-wintering store and underground car park - the reproduction painting is, he said, "no longer objective-appropriate".
* unspecified but thought to include a range of upgrades to Fellows' accommodation, stipends, allowances and travel expenses with at least £4.50 per head per annum ring fenced for student hardship.
Still, whether by design or - more likely - by accident, copies of the little-regarded print became available today on a re-seller site [Threadbone Remaindered Stock Ltd] for a mere £1.50 or 3 for £3s. Site administrators were unforthcoming about the whole matter, categorically refusing to say whether there had been an attempt at a quick wholesale fire-clearance or a clerical error which had offered the importunate an unintended opportunity to "hang something hideously distracting on their otherwise bare walls". Either way it appears to have made little difference. Though the relevant article was viewed more than 25,000 times in the first hour after posting, only 3 had been sold by the end of yesterday's business - one intentionally and two by mistake after a partially-sighted browser had clicked 3 times in error.
Anyone interested in learning more of the College's Past, Present and Future Fundraising Campaigns can access further details via the College's digi-extraction facility and make mandatory contributions by pressing the Digi-squeeze™ button - HERE .
Digi-squeeze™ is a proprietary one-way money transfer system, the © and exclusive use of which is owned and exclusive licensed by The Master and Fellows of Alma Mater College Ltd.