Watercolours

A painting method that employs pigment suspended in a water-based solution, usually applied onto paper.

Though its earliest origins are thought to be prehistoric, its history is usually dated from the Renaissance, when it was used by artists such as Albrecht Durer.

While it may be used as for the creation of preparatory studies, it is also an art form in its own right, and is a technique used for botanical illustration, wildlife illustration and topographical painting as well as traditional genres, particularly landscape.


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Hooray for the hussars: Duke of Gloucester's regimental collection brings demand

14 September 2020

The collection of pictures formerly owned by Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, offered at Bellmans included 42 lots relating to the 10th Royal Hussars.

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Major general sought after by militaria fans

07 September 2020

A group of three watercolours depicting Indian scenes attributed to Major General John Brownrigg Ballasis (1806-90) attracted interest at a timed sale held this summer by 1818 Auctioneers (20% buyer’s premium) in Milnthorpe, Cumbria.

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Himalayan raja rises to £4600 when reoffered

07 September 2020

An intriguing Indian miniature portrait drew strenuous competition against an estimate of just £30-50 at Clarke’s (18% buyer’s premium) in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

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Indian miniatures expand appeal as demand grows on the subcontinent

07 September 2020

Indian miniatures are a common sight at UK auctions. With a keen, dedicated and often very knowledgeable collecting base, they remain a somewhat independent but active sub-set of the art market.

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Thorburns break from country house cover

10 August 2020

The contents of a country house in Exmouth turned up not one but two large watercolours by Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935), the pre-eminent British painter of ornithological subjects.

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German artist's view of Oxford from afar brings bidding at Sherborne sale

06 July 2020

The German-born watercolourist and musician John Baptist Malchair (c.1730-1812) was a key figure in 18th century Oxford.

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Dealer Katz defined and refined

22 June 2020

London auction of dealer's works follows similar 2013 sale and Rafael Valls offering held this April

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Pick of the week: Meet the fakir who likes his sheep raw

22 June 2020

The highlight of Bonhams’ rescheduled sale of Indian and Islamic art held on June 11 was a group of a nine Company School watercolours with an unbroken provenance back to 1812.

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Early eyewitness views of Australian Aborigines

15 June 2020

An album of 12 early watercolour drawings of Australian Aborigines made a surprising £72,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) at Forum Auctions in London.

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Politician and peer in portrait form brings strong interest at Surrey auction

08 June 2020

A group of portrait miniatures sold recently by John Nicholson’s (30/25% buyer’s premium) in Haslemere, Surrey included this English school image, c.1700, of William Fermor, 1st Baron Leominster.

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West Dean buys new picture revealing its grand 19th century entrance hall

27 May 2020

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has bought a watercolour depicting the grand entrance hall of college's residence.

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‘The dust and mud of humanity’

26 May 2020

In 2017, this lost portrait miniature of a young Dickens emerged at an auction in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa where it sold together with some household goods for the equivalent of £27.

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Bidders back a local artist in Cumbria

18 May 2020

Seven lots by celebrated local artist Percy Kelly (1918-93) put in a decent performance at the most recent Antiques & Fine Art sale held by Cumbrian saleroom Mitchells (22% buyer’s premium).

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ATG letter: Please broaden my horizon

11 May 2020

MADAM – I wonder if the collective, wonderful wisdom of the ATG community might be able to shed any light on this watercolour below, or the artist whose name seems to be ‘Jacopo’ or some variant – the vowels are not entirely clear. I suspect it is not the 15th century one!

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Philip Mould sells “Pride and Prejudice” portrait miniature to Jane Austen’s House museum

15 April 2020

Dealer Philip Mould has sold a portrait miniature of the woman who inspired a classic Pride and Prejudice character to the Jane Austen’s House museum in Chawton.

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Comerford miniatures bought by single bidder

13 April 2020

The Comerford collection of portrait miniatures, offered for sale by Chiswick Auctions last month, was acquired almost in its entirety by a single bidder.

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Holman Hunt depicted by studio assistant

13 April 2020

The sale of portrait miniatures held online by Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) included a watercolour on ivory of the artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910).

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Collection assembled by descendant of circumnavigator Anson anchors travel selection

16 March 2020

Offered very early on in the books section of the Travel & Exploration sale at Bonhams (27.5/25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium), a 24-lot collection relating to George Anson amassed by the late Colin Paul, a descendant of the admiral, attracted considerable interest.

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Sexy and sultry Flint tempts buyer

09 March 2020

Textbook watercolour by the British artist takes one of his higher prices in recent years.

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Napoleon: his majesty and tragedy depicted

02 March 2020

Napoleon Bonaparte’s magnetism remains as forceful as ever in UK salerooms.

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