1936NE05B.jpg
Roquebrune from 1960 by Duncan Grant (1885-1978), an oil painting from the collection of Grace Higgens, the Bloomsbury housekeeper, estimated at £15,000-20,000 at Gorringes' sale in Lewes on May 13.

You have 2 more free articles remaining

Grace Higgens (1903-1983) joined the bohemian household of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant as a young maid in 1920, and for the next 50 years ran Charleston, becoming a close friend of the family.

The collection of 11 items, which includes paintings and ceramics by Bell and Grant, as well as a bronze bell used for summoning guests for meals (£200-400), is being sold by Grace's son John Higgins (b.1935) at the Lewes rooms on May 13.

Both John and his mother often sat for portraits, and included in Gorringes' sale is an oil on canvas of Grace at the kitchen table by Vanessa Bell, estimated at £8000-12,000, a study for The Kitchen, 1943, which hangs upstairs at Charleston.

There is also a portrait of John Higgens painted in 1939 - one of the first works to be painted in the top studio at Charleston, which carries an estimate of £3000-5000.

Cattle and Granary (view from Charleston), 1948, by Duncan Grant is another offering at £6000-8000, as is Roquebrune, 1960, also by Grant, given to Grace in 1960 after a trip to the South of France, where Grace, who could not swim, almost drowned after trying to join the others in the sea.

The Lewes salerooms are just a few miles from Charleston and, in September last year, Gorringes sold an archive of more than 700 letters between Helen Anrep and various members of the Bloomsbury Group for £50,000.

Contact 01273 472503 or visit www.gorringes.co.uk

By Anna Brady