The popularity of holiday homes has opened up a demand for pictures of Welsh landscapes, mostly by 20th century artists, and a desire from tourists to take home paintings from the regions.
The latest Welsh Sale, which included ceramics, prints, watercolours and oils from the usual roll call of Welsh names, was held in Cardiff on May 13 and posted bullish results totalling £220,000 with an 80% selling rate. “There was purposeful bidding; people who knew what they wanted and were determined to get it,” said Rogers Jones.
The surprise of the day was the catalogue’s cover lot, a signed 20in x 2ft 5in (52 x 74cm) oil on board by Edwin V Forrest (1918-2002), an artist born in England but of Welsh and Manx parentage who spent a lot of time as a youngster in north-east Wales.
“He’s not exceptionally well-known – he didn’t make that step from local artist to being well-known around the UK, but there are a few collectors out there for his work,” said Rogers Jones.
Considered among the best examples to come to auction, it depicts the picturesque Llanrwst Bridge over the Conwy in north Wales. Competitive bidding in the room and on the phone ensured it bettered a £700- 1000 guide to sell for £5400. The price is believed to be a comfortable new record for the artist at auction.
A painter whose works have increased in value is Charles Wyatt Warren (1908-93). Included in the sale was a 13in x 2ft 11in (34 x 88cm) oil on board of a whitewashed cottage by a lane in Snowdonia. It took a top-estimate £1000 – a jump from the £400 or so a canvas like this would have made a few years ago.
While Welsh landscapes drew the strongest bidding, there was also demand for an Evan Walters (1893-1951) portrait of a Welsh industrialist family.
Signed and dated 1924, the large 3ft 7in x 4ft 7in (1.1 x 1.41m) work is believed to depict the family of William Williams (1840-1904), a former Mayor of Swansea and businessman, who is said to have been one of Swansea’s richest men at the time of his death in 1904.
Purchased by the vendor’s father from a Swansea antique dealer, it sold on mid-estimate at £2000.