The penniless artist... with assets of £6.5m

You might think that if you'd painted works worth several million you'd be laughing all the way to the bank. But Robert Lenkiewicz never did, not least because he never had a bank account.

The artist, who died in 2002, paid no tax, kept no financial records and was weighed down with debts. After seven years of investigating his estate, however, lawyers have found that he was anything but lacking in assets.

Lenkiewicz's work was highly regarded, notably by the British museum which rated 10,000 of his works as being of national significance.

He still owned many of these and a substantial book collection.

And then there was also the small matter of an embalmed corpse of cancer victim Edwin McKenzie, a tramp who died in 1984, which was stored in Lenkiewicz's cupboard drawer.

Lenkiewicz had painted MacKenzie, along with portraits of many other tramps and alcoholics since moving to Plymouth in 1964. Whilst alive, Mr MacKenzie lived in a concrete barrel overlooking a rubbish dump.

The book collection alone is now valued at £1m.  The rest of Lenkiewicz's assets total £5.5m, of which most is likely to be due to the paintings rather than Mr MacKenzie.

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