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.


Twentieth century design in the regions led by Beuer chaise longue

07 January 2019

While five-figure sums for top-end 20th century design furniture are familiar in the international centres of New York, Paris and London, fewer pieces appear in the UK regional market.

Doulton Lambeth vase

What lots caught bidders’ eyes this week? Five auction highlights including a Spitfire instrument panel and a Barlow-painted Doulton Lambeth vase

14 December 2018

ATG’s selection of hammer highlights over the past week include a modernist slate fireplace and an intriguing blue glass tankard.


Newlyn School art offered at auction in nearby Penzance

12 November 2018

Edwin Harris (1855-1906) is one name that did not feature in the Robin Hanbury-Tenison collection of Newlyn School art at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (see main story in this section).


Affordable art: Six works sold or offered for under £650 including a David Jagger portrait

23 October 2018

Three modestly valued works selling at regional sales below £650 and three upcoming lots offered the next week.


Celebrated diarist turns to decorations

10 September 2018

In a worn but period calf binding, a 1697 first of John Evelyn’s Numismata. A Discourse of Medals… made £350 in the book section of a recent Cornish auction.


Serious story from the Scilly season

13 August 2018

From 1936-45, St Ives artist John Wells (1907-2000) embarked on a series of labour-intensive creations while working as a GP on the Isles of Scilly.


Saleroom selection: Three pictures under £1000

07 May 2018

Three modestly valued works at regional sales.


Rudiments of reading and other tales of childhood

19 March 2018

Early children’s books, many from a single collection formed by the late Mary Joy Sanger, provided a principal attraction in a February 27 sale held in Penzance by David Lay (18% buyer’s premium).


The Leicester Square buzz and bustle captured in oil painting

12 February 2018

A bustling scene of Leicester Square by genre painter Edward Prentis (1797-1854) took £6800 at David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) of Penzance.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.