The contents of the Regency manse near Montrose were dispersed at the auction held at L&T’s Edinburgh saleroom on October 10. Most had been acquired over the last 15 years as the current owners of the estate made a conscious effort to restore it to its former glory.
Overall, the paintings, watercolours and prints at the auction raised a hammer total of £259,110.
Here ATG picks out 5 key sales. The buyer’s premium was 25%.
1. Glasgow Boy’s still life – £10,000
The oil paintings at the Kirkton House sale were led by a rare still life by 'Glasgow Boy' artist Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922). The picture was described as ‘carefully composed’ in the catalogue with the delicate brushwork and soft colouring “creating a subtle interplay of texture and tone”. Still-Life of Pink Geraniums had provenance to the artist’s family and had been acquired from The Fine Art Society in London. Estimated at £6000-8000, it was knocked down at £10,000 to a private client bidding online.
2. Portrait of an artist’s wife – £4800
One of Sir Gerald Festus Kelly’s (1879-1972) portraits of his model and longtime muse Lilian Ryan, who later became his wife, sold at the Kirkton House. Titled Jane XLVI – in a BBC interview Ryan recalled that on first hearing her name Kelly had exclaimed '”What a bloody name, I can't call you that I shall call you Jane” – the 3ft 3in x 2ft 8in (1m x 81cm) oil on canvas from 1946 was one of over 50 paintings depicting the sitter. She is shown here wearing an oriental silk robe which arguably made it slightly more distinctive than most. Estimated at £4000-6000, it sold at £4800.
3. Wild West show in Arbroath – £8500
The most heavily represented artist in the collection of Kirkton House was James Watterston Herald (1859-1914). The sale offered a series of watercolours reflecting his most regular subjects – Scottish harbours, coastal views, provincial towns and Edinburgh scenes. This watercolour was more unusual, depicting Buffalo Bill's travelling ‘Wild West show’ going through Arbroath. It had been acquired from The McEwan Gallery in Ballater. Estimated at £7000-10,000, it was knocked down at £8500.
4. Griggs’ architectural study – £2800
Meticulously detailed architectural views were the stock in trade of Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs (1876-1938). This view entitled The Almonry demonstrates his skill at representing the Gothic facades, pointed arches and spires in printed form and it was works such as this that led to him being one of the few etchers awarded full membership at the Royal Academy in 1931. From an edition of 82 in this state, it was pitched at £2000-3000 and sold at £2800.
5. Nevinson print – £6000
The strongest competition among the impressive collection of 92 prints at the Kirkton House sale came for what appears to be an early and scarce CRW Nevinson (1889-1946) print. Enitled The Pool, the 9.75in x 6.75in (25 x 17cm) etching was signed and dated 1919. Against a £250-400 estimate, it sold at £6000.