Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett’s guitar will be auctioned off to raise funds a national charity and a Cambridgeshire hospice.
The singer-songwriter left the band in 1968, as they were about to achieve global recognition, and lived in his mum’s basement in Hills Road, Cambridge.
Barrett recorded two solo albums but suffered from mental deterioration, which was blamed on his drug use, eventually becoming a recluse, He died of pancreatic cancer in 2006 at the age of 60.
His nephew Mark Barrett, aged 57, is now selling the 12-string Yamaha acoustic guitar with proceeds to be split evenly between mental health charity Mind and the Arthur Rank Hospice in Shelford Bottom.
Syd Barrett mentioned the guitar in a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone magazine.“It’s my new 12-string guitar,” said the musician, born Roger Keith Barrett. “I’m just getting used to it. “I polished it yesterday.”
Mark Barrett said the guitar was stored with his father, Alan Barrett – Syd’s brother – after the Hills Road house was sold in 1974.He said his uncle “never collected the guitar” and his father “continued to store it over three subsequent house moves, eventually offering it to me” after Syd’s death.
“I finally collected it from my father’s house in November of 2020, shortly before he died,” he said. “Unfortunately, I never got to know my uncle Roger, though I would have loved to, but he was a recluse in his later years.”
The guitar has a serial number of 1090448 with a date code for October 21 1969.
Also up for auction at Cheffins in Cambridge is what is believed to be the last artwork created by Syd Barrett.
The watercolour and pencil drawing is titled Still Life With Lemons And Green Bottles, and is initialled and dated “RB Jan – 06”. Drawn just months before his death, it was discovered at his home in Margaret’s Square, Cambridge, where he lived for the last three decades of his life.
It first went under the hammer at Cheffins as part of the sale of the contents of his home in 2006, and is now being sold by a private collector with a pre-sale estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.
Martin Millard, director at Cheffins, said: “Syd Barrett still has a cult-like status as one of the greatest icons in the world of music. Syd’s Pink Floyd years were turbulent, marred by drug addiction and struggles with his mental health; however, when he retired to Cambridge, he became a recluse. His lack of public presence in his later years only went to add to the intrigue which still surrounds him.“It therefore seems incredibly fitting that Mark Barrett has chosen to support both Mind and the Arthur Rank Hospice with the proceeds of the sale.”
He said the lots are “sure to be of keen interest to his global army of superfans”, adding that Barrett “frequently destroyed any artworks he made once they were finished” so the painting is “a significant item”.
Also part of the auction are a garden table and four chairs that were home-made by Barrett; a Cambridgeshire High School for Boys photograph from 1959, featuring Barrett, Roger Waters and Storm Thorgerson; and with a Cantabrigian programme for She Stoops To Conquer from 1961, featuring Barrett as Tom Twist.
The auction will take place on Thursday October 28.