FOOD was so scarce in some parts of Hampshire during the Second World War that at one point artist Montague Dawson survived by living on soup made from lawn cuttings and nettles.

Mr Dawson – who lived at Smugglers House, Hythe, before moving to Milford on Sea – survived this hardship and went on to become, in the 1960s, one of the world’s highest paid artists.

He enjoyed an annual income of £100,000 when in 1967 the average Southampton house cost £4,050.

Now two of Mr Dawson’s paintings could fetch a total of more than £100,000 at an auction in America today.

One of the pictures, Bowling Along, was painted in the 1940s and one expert says that the yacht most prominently featured might have been owned by the late Sir Owen Aisher, the late Marley roofing tiles magnate who was a member of the Hamble-based Royal Southern Yacht Club and of the Cowes-based Royal Yacht Squadron.

Between 1970 and 1975, Sir Owen was president of the Hamble-based Royal Yachting Association.

After examining a photograph of Bowling Along, Jamie Rountree, Honorary Custodian of Pictures at the Royal Yacht Squadron, said: “This is a lovely picture and may possibly depict one of our old members’ yachts (that of) Sir Owen Aisher, who normally painted the hulls of his yachts light green and named them Yeoman.

“In the background are Dragons racing, which might mean that this is a ‘Round The Island’ race.

“However,the houses look a little Mediterranean in style, so I cannot be sure.”

Sir Owen’s son, Robin Aisher, was an Olympic yachtsman and represented Britain at three Olympic Games in 1960, 1964 and 1968, winning a bronze medal in the 5.5 metre class at the 1968 Olympics.

Montague Dawson was so passionate about the sea and boats he named his daughter Nyria after a J-Class yacht.

Bowling Along is expected to fetch between 70,000 and 90,000 dollars (£54,000-£69,000) at Sotheby’s in New York.

At the same auction his 1930s painting, The Red Jacket On Open Seas, is tipped to sell for between 50,000 and 70,000 dollars (£38,000-£54,000).

Montague Dawson died at the Western Hospital, Southampton, on May 21,1973. He was buried at Boldre church, Lymington.