David Lay

David Lay are a firm of fine art auctioneers and valuers based in Cornwall. Founded in 1979 by David Lay, they hold regular auctions at the grade II listed Penzance Auction House.

The business often deals with private collections such as the contents of the Pendarves Library which they sold in 2013. Other areas of expertise include Oriental works of art, prints, collectables and books.


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Cheers! Harold Knight portrait takes £46,000 at David Lay auction

08 August 2022

A combination of artist, sitter, date and quality ensured a compelling Newlyn school portrait caught the eye at David Lay’s latest auction in Penzance.

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Watches: Sherpas on the rise

18 July 2022

ATG reports on the market for the Enicar series of watches that were taken to Everest

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Portrait bust provenance with Peel appeal

06 June 2022

This late 18th century portrait bust of a gentleman by a sculptor from the circle of Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823) is traditionally thought to depict the prominent British Whig statesman Charles James Fox (1749-1806).

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Delft teapots belie humble origins and are now popular and pricey

04 April 2022

Teapots made in delftware were never particularly functional nor popular in either England or the Netherlands.

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Art market: Further reflections on rare Stanhope Forbes sales in Penzance auction

28 February 2022

Works also sold in Penzance but not for six figures help to understand this market

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Emms dog portraits rear their heads in different parts of the country

28 February 2022

A couple of dog portraits by leading Victorian canine painter John Emms (1844-1912) brought a flurry of bids at separate auctions held just a day apart.

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Messum bangs drum for Newlyn school

14 February 2022

A rare opportunity to gauge the market for a major Newlyn School painting came at David Lay’s latest auction in Penzance when a lively and clamorous scene by Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947) was offered with a £120,000-180,000 estimate.

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Exceptional examples of Victorian metalwork come to the fore at David Lay

17 January 2022

Christopher Dresser created a number of daring geometric designs for silver and silver-plated toast racks in the late 1870s and early 1880s, both for Hukin & Heath and for James Dixon & Son.

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Park's portrait of wife Peggy impresses

03 January 2022

An artist’s painting of his wife turned heads at a recent David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) auction in Penzance, selling over 10 times above estimate.

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Cryséde shawl in demand

27 September 2021

Alec Walker (1889-1964) created Cryséde fabrics as a small experimental silk-printing firm in Newlyn in 1920.

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Mathematician’s descendant adds up to a new highest sum in the saleroom

27 September 2021

A small flurry of recent good prices for Australian artist Herbert Ivan Babbage (1875-1916) continued at David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) in Penzance, Cornwall.

William Black

St Ives artist re-appears at auction in Cornwall

21 June 2021

William Black is a little-known member of the St Ives artist group who, having been an architect after the Second World War, worked as an artist in the town following an inheritance in the early 1950s.

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Princess Di on ‘the Boss’ – the queen

19 April 2021

A group of some 40 letters and greetings cards sent in 1990-97 by Diana, Princess of Wales, to her good friend Roger Bramble sold for almost £70,000.

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Rare Swansea porcelain all white to buy

05 April 2021

Experiments with porcelain at the Swansea factory began in 1814 with the arrival of William Billingsley and Samuel Walker from the Nantgarw China Works.

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Knight might and awesome foursome

15 February 2021

Quartet of West Country works featured in the same sale as our £105,000 cover star

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Beryl Cook market boost: highest auction price for 12 years

15 February 2021

The highest auction price for 12 years for Beryl Cook (1926-2008) was posted at David Lay’s recent fine art sale.

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Pick of the week: So what am I bid for my great-great aunt?

08 February 2021

A nude study by Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) found plenty of admirers when it appeared at the latest fine art sale held by Penzance saleroom David Lay (18% buyer’s premium).

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Dod and Gluck stand out in Penzance

12 October 2020

Works by two Modern British female artists whose stars have been rising commercially over recent years topped the bill at the latest fine art sale held at David Lay (18% buyer’s premium).

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Rich variety of printed material sold in Cornwall auction

31 August 2020

Extensively interleaved with scholarly notes and running to over 700pp, a Japanese and English Dictionary compiled by JC Hepburn was a notable rarity in a Cornish summer sale.

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Promotions and appointments at Bonhams, Swann Galleries and David Lay

08 July 2020

An update of moves and appointments from across the art and antiques industry.

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