Fine Art continues to excel at Tennants Auctioneers, with buoyant sales and high prices achieved by the Picture Department across diverse areas of collecting from 17th century to the present day. March saw a succession of high-profile sales at the North Yorkshire auctioneers, including single-owner collections, with new auction records set and an impressive average sold rate of 92%.
The month was opened with the Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 6th March, which saw L.S. Lowry’s ‘People in a Park’ sell for £165,000 (plus buyer’s premium). The work was a typical example of the figure pictures Lowry painted during the latter part of his career and exceeded the presale estimate of £60,000-90,000. The painting, which is thought to have never been seen on the open market, was signed and dated 1971 and came with provenance from John Fletcher of Oldham, who gifted the painting to his housekeeper. In the same sale ’Trolleys’, a limited edition screenprint by Banksy from 2007 sold for £40,000.
A new auction record was set for Bradford-born artist Frederick Cecil Jones (1891-1966) in the Yorkshire View Sale, also on 6th March, which was a single-owner sale of the collection of Mr George G Hopkinson. Jones’s view of Scarborough, painted in 1950, was secured by a private collector in North Yorkshire for £6,500 (plus buyer’s premium), smashing the previous record of £2,300 which had been set at Tennants in 2014.
‘Sea Birds’, a large-scale watercolour by the much-loved wildlife artist Archibald Thorburn sold for £25,000 in the British, European and Sporting Art Sale on 20th March. The same sale saw a newly discovered drawing by Augustus John of his muse and mistress Dorelia McNeil sell for £16,000. Augustus John (1878-1961) was regarded as one of the finest artists and the pre-eminent society portraitist of his day. Poetic and impressionistic, John’s inciteful portraits capture the spirit of the age and the bohemian circles in which he mixed. Dame Laura Knight’s ‘Old Garden’ also exceeded expectations to sell for £11,000 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000.
The bumper month was aided by good private collections consigned to Tennants, which included the Selected Contents of Forcett Hall, North Yorkshire, as instructed by the Executors of the late J.H. Edwards-Heathcote Esq., which were sold in the Spring Sale on 19th and 20th March. Pictures from Forcett Hall included John Thomas Hamilton McCallum’s ‘Returning with the catch’, which sold for £7,500, and Sir Oswald Birley’s ‘Portrait of Francis Pike of Salwick Hall, Lancashire’, which sold for £5,200. From The Curious Collector Sale on 27th March, an extraordinary single-owner collection of fine art, antiques, natural history, curios, and collectables from a private residence, came Frank Dobson’s bronze ‘Reclining Nude’ (sold for £5,500), and Ronald Ossory Dunlop’s ‘Shipping on an estuary’ (sold for £3,500).
Tennants are now inviting entries for their next sales of Modern and Contemporary Art and British, European and Sporting Art which will be taking place in June and July respectively.
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