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Watercolour painting


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A Rowlandson revolution? Drawing conclusions as major-name works come up for sale again

29 June 2004

BACK in July 1984, Christie’s took £75,000 (£81,000 with premium) for Thomas Rowlandson’s (1756-1827) pièce de résistance watercolour of Box-lobby loungers.

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Travies looks good and soft enough to touch...

16 June 2004

OVER a period of 30 years, the late Sir Charles Clarke of Broadhurst Manor in Sussex built up a remarkable collection of engravings, drawings and other material by Edouard Travies. He came to be recognised as the leading authority on the artist and his collection of Travies lithographs of La Chasse and other similar suites of plates is perhaps the finest ever to have come onto the market.

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Why the watercolour world of Lear now looks affordable

15 June 2004

OVER the last couple of years, a number of auctioneers have been complaining that lesser-name Victorian watercolours in the sub-£500 range have become the weakest of all areas at picture sales, sometimes to the point of having no market at all.

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Langley-lover triumphs again

09 June 2004

THE West Midlands auctioneers Fieldings (12.5% buyer’s premium) are making something of a habit of getting impressive prices for market-fresh watercolours by the Newlyn School painter Walter Langley (1852-1922).

Scenes from the Snowfields and the Ice World

19 May 2004

A travel sale held by Christie’s South Kensington on April 29 was a mix of books, prints and pictures and seen here are two items from a section of that sale devoted to the Alpine regions.

Rival trio at Sudbury set new record for Bawden watercolour

05 May 2004

INTENSE competition between three bidders on the telephone and two in the room pushed the watercolours of Edward Bawden (1903-1989) into new financial territory when this signed and dated, 1956 composition, right, House at Ironbridge, fetched £10,500 at the Sudbury, Suffolk rooms of Olivers (12.5% buyer’s premium) on April 1.

An impossible overall view... but Snowdon is sale high point

05 May 2004

JOHN Varley Senior (1778-1842) was one of the most prolific watercolourists of his generation, exhibiting no fewer than 700 works at the Old Water Colour Society between 1805 and 1842.

Pre-Raphaelite’s time has come...

15 April 2004

With a dozen works by the artist currently on show at Tate Britain’s Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, Sussex auctioneers John Nicholson (15% buyer’s premium) could hardly have picked a better time to offer a watercolour by George Price Boyce (1826-97) than at their March 17 sale in Fernhurst.

An underrated library chair is a £5000 best seller

15 April 2004

OF the 830 lots offered in Fieldings (12.5% buyer's premium) February 28 sale, a painting provided the highest price but a chair the biggest surprise.

Bidding stays solid in the gossamer world of Annie French

01 April 2004

WITH a style, as one writer has put it, “sweetly intensified to a point where the world is reduced to a world of gossamer”, Annie French (1872-1965) was a Glasgow School artist who took the Art Nouveau idiom of Beardsley and Burne-Jones to new decorative extremes.

Traditional demand lifts bidding in provinces

01 April 2004

WITH a name like the Old Picture Palace, the former cinema in Matlock that is the newly acquired saleroom of the Derby auctioneers Bamfords (15% buyer’s premium) should be the sort of venue where the more traditional end of the art market should feel at home.

Roses’ bloom has faded, but not blown over

23 March 2004

FIFTEEN or so years ago works by the likes of Helen Allingham (1848-1926) and the Stannards of Bedfordshire had the sweet smell of success all over them. However, in more recent times the general consensus is that watercolours of this genre, which I loosely describe as “roses round the cottage door”, have slipped from favour.

The problem of identifying bonafide Boningtons…

23 March 2004

Illustrated in colour on the catalogue cover of Clevedon Salerooms’ March 4 sale was a watercolour described as being by Richard Parkes Bonington (1801-1828).

Sisterly seamstress sentiments help to sell samplers

16 March 2004

IN addition to technical excellence, decorative appeal and early date, sentiment is an important player in the sampler market.

When Newlyn is still a prize catch...

16 March 2004

WITH collectors’ taste in Modern British art shifting in recent years from pre-war to post-war, the once all-conquering Newlyn School has not generated as many headline-stealing results as it did in the late 1980s.

Scot tops the international scene at Sussex sale

13 February 2004

Scottish, Greek and Australian subjects gave a welcome international feel to the main highlights among the pictures offered on the third day of Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) January 27-29 sale in Lewes.

Withdrawn Canadian views go home

11 November 2003

WITHDRAWN from sale at the eleventh hour, a recently-discovered portfolio of late 18th century topographical watercolours of Canada have been sold by private treaty to Library and Archives Canada and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Promised Land fulfils its promise at £13,800

16 October 2003

Exceptional subjects still have the capacity to fetch exceptional prices, as the Bury St Edmunds auctioneers Lacy Scott & Knight (10% buyer’s premium) discovered when this unsigned and unattributed 19th century watercolour came under the hammer on September 20 with an estimate of £250-400.

Pooh, Piglet and Toad the washerwoman

30 June 2003

A watercolour and drawings sale held by Bonhams on June 10 included a small group of E.H. Shepard illustrations from the estate of the late Jean Ames, who as Jean Gourlay had befriended the artist during the late 1930s and early 1940s, prior to his second marriage, and though the saleroom was non-committal on the matter, it is possible that these versions were specially made by Shepard for Miss Ames.

Multi-million pound deal struck in row over Blake watercolours folio

14 February 2003

A secondhand bookshop in Glasgow and two Yorkshire dealers are celebrating a windfall of several million pounds after settling their dispute over the ownership of a lost cache of William Blake watercolours. The folio of 19 illustrations for Robert Blair’s poem, The Grave, one of the most exciting “finds” in art market history, have been sold through London art dealer Libby Howie, acting on behalf of an anonymous collector, for an estimated £4.9m.