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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Artist Midge bites back at auction

20 November 2017

Just a clutch of canvases by the Cornish artist Marjorie Frances ‘Midge’ Bruford (1902-58) have gone under the auctioneer’s gavel.

Mining and other Cornish pastimes

25 September 2017

Works of Cornish interest featured prominently in a sale held by David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) of Penzance, among them those from the library of the writer and scholar, PAS Pool.

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Not a krazy amount for a toy but spot-on

11 September 2017

Topping the 175 toys at David Lay’s (15% buyer’s premium) sale at Penzance on August 22, was this 1930s clockwork tinplate Krazy Kar marked By Permission Walt Disney – Mickey Mouse Ltd to the rear and Made in England to the left-hand side.

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Bray family art collection sells out in Penzance

14 August 2017

As well as the Richard Platt consignment, David Lay offered more than 100 lots of modern art by a local Cornish family.

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Online battle to buy works by obscure mid-century artist Richard Platt at David Lay

14 August 2017

Little-known but well-connected artist proves a hit as his widow sells 40 works in Penzance.

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Artist who is now ruffling feathers

17 July 2017

“If I was a dealer, I’d buy the whole lot and put on a show. He’s a sort of great ‘undiscovered’ artist.” Mimi Lay of the Penzance auction house David Lay is referring to a consignment of graphic art by the 20th century painter and lithographer Richard Platt (b.1928).

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Death Railway survivor's sword comes to Cornish auction

22 June 2017

The ‘value’ of an auction lot cannot always be summed up by price alone. While not at a high estimate level, a sword coming up in a Cornish saleroom has a fascinating background. And whatever the final result is, the historical value can be viewed as priceless.

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Cornish and Celtic lots from an all-rounder academic and bard

30 May 2017

First Professor of Cornish Studies at Exeter University and Bard of Gorseth Kernow, Charles Thomas (1928-2016) was both a prolific writer and a bibliophile.

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Shipshape Cornish work sails back home

15 May 2017

A Newlyn School work by Albert Chevalier Tayler (1862-1926) topped David Lay’s (18% buyer’s premium) April 27 sale in Penzance.

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Celebrating Japanese woodblock artists and the Brits they inspired at galleries and auction

18 January 2017

The beautiful Japanese woodblock prints created by artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige inspired similar works across the world and most famously the paintings of Van Gogh.

Gibson photographic archive

Penlee House Museum buys evocative photograph archive

07 July 2016

An eleventh-hour private treaty deal has secured a photographic archive for the Penlee House Museum and Gallery.

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The £52,000 Penzance purr-chase

25 February 2015

This finely modelled ancient Egyptian bronze cat head with original large gold hoop earrings was the uncontested star of David Lay’s latest auction in Penzance, Cornwall.

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Interesting historical documents or receipts for a £306m fortune?

08 July 2014

The big question at David Lay’s auctioneers in Penzance next week: Are these bonds worth a few hundred pounds or up to £3.6m each?

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Cornish coup as Hepworth sells for £60,000

10 August 2009

This 113/4in (29cm) high slate sculpture titled Maquette for Large Sculpture: Four-Square (Four-Circle) was the first that Penzance auctioneer David Lay had offered for sale.

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From the Baltic to Penzance

10 March 2008

It’s not just the London salerooms that are benefiting from the renewed enthusiasm for Russian works of art. The highlight of the sale conducted by David Lay of Penzance on February 28-29 was this late 19th century silver gilt and cloisonné enamel presentation vodka set.

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Specialists rule Qianlong vase is ‘right’ and bid £5000

20 October 2004

A COUPLE of exotic sleepers swelled the tally at Lays Auctions (15% buyer's premium) September 23-24 sale which also boasted healthy prices for more home-grown fare such as Troika and Newlyn copper.

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Samuel Palmer and the Merry Maidens of Penzance

22 September 2004

THE 30 plates, all India proofs on heavy paper, that make up an 1857 volume of Etchings for the Art-Union of London by the Etching Club include three by Samuel Palmer – one shown right.

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Local crafts carry Cornish sales through month when tourists reign

24 August 2004

THERE are local buyers aplenty for Cornish fare such as Newlyn copper and Troika pottery, but for the lion’s share of their sales Lays (15% buyer's premium) depend on a broader geographical spread of dealers and collectors whose participation tends to peter out during the height of the tourist season.

New young collectors vie with keen Cornish for Troika

15 June 2004

AUCTIONEERS David Lay (15% buyer's premium) of Penzance can rely on strong local demand for home-grown collectables such as Newlyn copper and Troika pottery at the bi-monthly sales.

Cornish Hobbit has few financial rivals

13 May 2004

A 1937 FIRST edition of The Hobbit was always likely to be the big story in the April 14 books and collectables sale held by David Lay of Penzance. In a jacket with some chips and losses, notably towards the spine ends, and showing an ink correction to the mis-spelt version of Charles Dodgson’s name on the back flap, it duly sold at £10,500.

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