Lay’s Auctioneers

Lay’s Auctioneers (previously known as 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.

In September 2022, the firm changed its name to Lay’s Auctioneers and opened The Lanner Auction House in a former Methodist church in the village of Lanner, near Redruth in west Cornwall.

Victorian centre table

Most watched: Victorian centre table attracts interest ahead of auction

11 June 2024

An intriguing Victorian centre table, in the manner of Morant & Co, is coming up for auction this week at Lay’s Antiques & Interiors sale.


Vendor left ‘speechless’ after ‘Ben Nicholson’ mural withdrawn from Lay’s auction

03 June 2024

A row over the attribution of a ‘Ben Nicholson’ mural painting that appeared on the BBC’s 'Fake or Fortune?' led to the work being withdrawn at the last minute from an auction in Penzance.


Picture postcards from Polar explorers delight at Lays

13 May 2024

Letters and postcard written by Antarctic expedition members were sent to New Zealand host family

Heath Composition Black, Red, Grey

Year starts with a Modern British bang according to London gallery

19 April 2024

Portland Gallery’s regular look at 20th century art includes its own actions and observations on the wider market


Cornish art collection creates Newlyn School wave of interest

15 April 2024

One of the most important groups of works by the artists’ colony to emerge recently indicates level of demand in this market

Nicholson mural

Wall mural from a Surrey cottage featured on BBC’s Fake or Fortune? comes to auction in Cornwall

06 March 2024

A mural painted on a wall inside a Surrey cottage which starred in an episode of BBC’s 'Fake or Fortune?' is to be offered with a £40,000-80,000 estimate.

Steamer with Fish by Alfred Wallis

Works fly over estimate at Lay’s sale of the Branfield collection

29 February 2024

Underlining the strength of demand for quality pieces of 20th century Cornish art by well known names, the collection of art historian and author John Branfield and his late wife Kathleen (known as Pep) commanded plenty of interest at Penzance saleroom Lay’s.

Antarctic expedition letters

Letters from 1901 Antarctic explorers show warm feelings for their earlier hosts in New Zealand

26 February 2024

A long-forgotten group of letters written by senior members of Scott and Shackleton’s first trailblazing 1901 expedition to the Antarctic has been discovered.

Dorothea Sharp view of St Ives

Five highlights from the Branfield collection of Modern British art at Lay’s

15 February 2024

Art historian and author John Branfield and his late wife Kathleen spent 50 years building their collection of Cornish art and ceramics. It will now be dispersed at Lay’s in Penzance on February 29.


Life of a debutante — and views of destroyed ships

02 January 2024

The handstitched booklet titled Balls & My Partners, 1844-1845 was written by Adelaide Horatia Elizabeth Seymour (1825-77) as she enjoyed the life of a debutante.


Modern British works – why it's worth making a fresh start

04 December 2023

Cast-iron provenances and first appearances on the market combine to boost value in a Cornish saleroom

Boat and Fish

Penzance gallery celebrates contribution of local collectors to exhibitions ahead of auction

06 November 2023

A Cornish exhibition gives the final chance to view a group of more than 150 paintings and ceramics by influential artists and potters working in the county before they are dispersed at auction.


Tuke trio comes together in Cornish saleroom

25 September 2023

Two portraits and a shipping scene by the Newlyn School artist were consigned from three different sources

Peter Hone

Peter Hone's collection comes to auction in Cornwall but is on view in his Notting Hill home

21 September 2023

Fancy a chance to view a treasure trove of classical friezes, Grand Tour discoveries, textiles and drawings in an ornate Notting Hill home?


Mystery manuscript identified at Cornish auction

18 September 2023

One of two texts in a single volume revealed after eager bidding to be by Hungarian Jesuit


Arts & Crafts courtesy of jeweller Ella Naper and mentor Frederick James Partridge

04 September 2023

Jewellery from the estate of Ella Naper (1886-1972) was offered at Lay’s (21% buyer’s premium) in Lanner, Cornwall on August 10-11.


Pearce peppers up a Penzance auction

17 July 2023

In the oeuvre of ‘primitive’ painter Bryan Pearce (1929-2006), still-lifes are significantly rarer than his marine and harbour scenes.


Pick of the week: Joanna ploughed on as Reginald

03 July 2023

Works by Reginald Pepper (fl.1970s-90s) are not very common at auction – and this is not just because he doesn’t exist.


Silver owned by the 'Golden Ball' gambler who frittered away a fortune comes to auction

29 May 2023

This pair of silver wine decanter stands or bottle coasters by Philip Rundell (1746-1827) for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, (London 1819 and 1820) sold for £10,500.


Letters reveal heartbreak of Princess Di

01 May 2023

A collection of 32 letters and cards written by Diana, Princess of Wales to two friends came for sale at Lay’s (18% buyer’s premium).