Rayon X

Rayon X, attributed to Francis Picabia, estimated at £800-1200 at Parker Fine Art Auctions.

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1. Picabia picture

An experimental piece attributed to French artist Francis Picabia (1879-1953) will be offered at Parker Fine Art Auctions in Farnham, Surrey on April 11.

The rayograph which measures 6 x 10in (16 x 25cm) is titled Rayon X and was created by laying artefacts on photograph paper and exposing it to light.

It has provenance to Marie de la Hire, an author on the artist and exhibition organiser who staged a Picabia show in 1920. The lot includes an exhibition catalogue as well as letters and ephemera relating to another previous owner: the artist William Timym (1902-90).

According to the auction catalogue, Timym fled his homeland of Austria in 1938 due to the Nazi occupation and hoped to use the current work for the cover of a book satirising the destruction of ‘degenerate’ art. The estimate is £800-1200. View the catalogue entry for this lot on thesaleroom.com.

2. Tudor bronze wool weight


Tudor bronze wool weight, estimate £5000-7000 at Bishop & Miller.

On April 11 Suffolk saleroom Bishop & Miller offers the collection of dealer Keith Hockin.

At the vanguard of the early oak furniture trade from the 1960s onwards, he opened his shop in the market square of Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, at the beginning of the 1980s. Many fine examples of early domestic metalwork are among the 444 lots. They include, estimated at £5000-7000, this rare 6in (14cm) Tudor bronze wool weight.

Cast in a shield shape with the Royal Arms of England, and a square piercing for suspension, it is stamped with possible foundry mark, a probable verification mark plus four times with the royal crowned cipher h.

Although the arms and cipher may refer to either Henry VII or VIII, the use of a lower case rather than a capital letter is more commonly associated with the reign of Henry VII who implemented a complete reform of the English national system of weights and measures in 1495.


3. Manchester United poster


Manchester United coloured poster signed outside Norbreck Hotel, Blackpool, 1964, estimate £500-700 at James and Sons.

James and Sons’ Sporting Memorabilia auction on April 9 in Fakenham, Norfolk, features Manchester United programmes, tickets, ephemera, documents including contracts and trophies among the lots.

Shown here is a Red Devils coloured poster signed outside Norbreck Hotel, Blackpool, 1964, estimate £500-700.


4. Mod Brit mural


Mural once painted on a wall, to be offered as ‘Ben Nicholson, Untitled Mural, May 1947’ with an estimate of £40,000-80,000 at Lay's.

A mural painted on a wall inside a Surrey cottage that starred in an episode of BBC’s Fake or Fortune? is to be offered for auction. Aired in 2022, the episode investigated whether the artwork was by Modern British artist Ben Nicholson (1894-1982) or his friend Frederick Staite Murray.

Staite Murray (1888-1972), brother of ceramicist William Staite Murray (1981-1962), was an engineer and, together with his wife Madge, became enthusiastic collectors and patrons to the celebrated Modern British artists of the time.

The mural was painted onto the wall of Staite Murray’s home, Red Stream Cottage in Bramley, Surrey, and in the TV show was deemed a one-off collaboration between Nicholson and Murray.

It will be offered at Lay’s Cornish Art & Fine Art sale on April 11. Lay’s says that in May 1947 Nicholson was holding an important retrospective of his work at the Lefevre Gallery in London, for which he asked to borrow five of his early works from Fred and Madge, almost half of their collection.

Lay’s says it is “not implausible to think that having stripped their walls of so many paintings, Nicholson painted the mural to show his appreciation, one that merged elements of his current work, and of the paintings he had taken away”.

During the Staite Murrays’ time at the cottage, the room where it was painted also featured an alabaster sculpture by Barbara Hepworth.

Lay’s, commenting on Fake or Fortune?, said: “Although some of the Nicholson specialists consulted for the programme felt that the work was a collaboration between Nicholson and Fred, the programme’s researchers made an emphatic case for the mural being by the single hand of Nicholson, a gift for his good friends the Staite Murrays. The weight of evidence and provenance made fascinating and compelling viewing.”

The current owners have had the mural expertly removed and preserved and it will be offered as ‘Ben Nicholson, Untitled Mural, May 1947’ with an estimate of £40,000-80,000.


5. Peter Lanyon landscape


Small Green Landscape by Peter Lanyon, estimate £10,000-12,000 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Paintings from the estate of actor Peter Barkworth (1929-2006) come for sale at Canterbury Auction Galleries on April 12, 13 and 15.

Barkworth, who performed a host of stage, film and TV roles in the 1960s-70s, was a passionate collector. When he died, he bequeathed 55 works to the National Trust to be hung at Fenton House, London, a few minutes’ walk from his home in Hampstead’s historic Flask Walk. But he kept hold of his favourites, leaving most to his partner David Wyn Jones, who died last year.

Works by Ivon Hitchens, Samuel Peploe, LS Lowry and William Scott are joined by this 6in (15cm) square gouache and collage by Peter Lanyon (1918-64) acquired from the Redfern Gallery in 1986. Dated c.1963, Small Green Landscape is among the works Lanyon produced based on his experience as a glider piolet.

Estimate £10,000-12,000.