Paul Nash (1889-1946) has become a leading name in the sector and the auction in Wareham on April 14 offered two works on paper, two handwritten letters and a selection of original black and white photographs taken by him.
Offered as eight lots, the works all came from a vendor whose family had hosted Nash in Dorset in the 1930s and '40s. Becoming great friends, they often accompanied Nash as he travelled around the county sketching and photographing local sights and monuments which later used in his paintings. All eight lots sold on the day for a hammer total of £13,080 - six selling to five different bidders.
The top prices among the group came for the two works on paper. One of them, Whiteleaf Cross was a sketch from 1931 for his major oil painting of the same title now in the Whitworth gallery in Manchester. The Whitworth acquired the painting of the monumental carved chalk cross overlooking the vale of Aylesbury for almost £7000 back in 1979, but a large finished watercolour of the same subject appeared at Christie's in June 2007, selling at a premium-inclusive £38,400 to the Buckinghamshire County Museum.
The 7 x 10in (17.5 x 25cm) pencil drawing here was heightened with crayon and watercolour. It had featured in a 1935 exhibition at the Redfern Gallery before being given to the vendor's mother by Nash himself.
Against a £1200-1500 estimate at the Cottees' sale, it drew decent competition and was knocked down at £5500 to an online bidder on the-saleroom.com. It was the top lot of the sale.
The other work on paper by Nash was a pencil and watercolour entitled Trees in the Garden at Furzebrook House. It was inscribed in the bottom right "for Tom and Gillian Souvenir from Paul". Estimated at £800-1200, it took £4400 and sold to a different bidder.
Elsewhere, there were 18 lots relating to writer and artist Lawrence Durrell (1912-90) - who often signed his work under the name Oscar Epfs. The pictures, books and ephemera came to auction from a direct descendent and made a total of just over £6000.
Best known for his novels, poems and travel writing, Durrell's oil paintings, watercolours and acrylic pictures were often exuberantly coloured, such as the depiction of fishing boats on the beach at Kyrenia in Cyprus which was offered here with a £500-800 estimate.
The 18in (46cm) square watercolour on white board was a (possibly unfinished) preliminary work for a painting which was illustrated in Durrell's book Spirit of Place, Letters and Essays on Travel, published in 1969. Drawing good competition, it sold to an online bidder at £2200.
Ten of the 18 Durrell lots sold to online bidders.
Also at the sale were two works by Fred Yates (1922-2008) which both sold above estimate. Wellington Clock Tower, Swanage, a signed oil on board, took £950, while Swanage Bay with Boats Moored took £900.
The buyer's premium at Cottees was 15%.