PRIVATE photographs taken by classic children's author Roald Dahl have fetched more than £84,000 at a charity auction.

Proceeds have been earmarked for the Roald Dahl Museum and new Story Centre, which opens In Great Missenden in June.

Among the lots up for sale at Christie's on Monday, December 14th, were a picture of Roald Dahl's first wife Patricia Neal with children sat under her skirt which sold for £7,500.

Duncan McEuen, auctioneer, said it was a wonderful afternoon and a great honour to be involved with such a fascinating collection.

He added: "The sale was 100 per cent sold, with many photographs exceeding their pre-sale estimates. It was a wonderful tribute to one of Britain's most loved writers."

More than 40 photographs, fresh details of the author's life and times, and artwork from friends Quentin Blake and Gerald Scarfe were all up for grabs.

Roald Dahl spent years living in Great Missenden, where he worked from a hut in his garden writing stories that went on to become classics.

It is the family's hope that through a new story centre and museum, situated in the village High Street, will tell the life story of the writer, but more importantly go some way to promote literacy among children.

Dahl's widow, Liccy, was particularly taken with the photographs which cast fresh light on Dahl's wartime experiences. She said: "I found those images particularly moving. They give an insight into what he went through in the war."

Two photographs of Baghdad market taken by the author in 1940 fetched £5,500 while his picture of the Arch of Ctesiphon in Iran made £6,000.

All photographs were reprinted by his 18-year-old grandson Luke Kelly, an assistant photographer at American Vogue, who discovered the haul in the writer's archive as it was being sorted for the new centre.