“If people want to sell within three months, they know they can come to us. Similarly, all the buyers know if they need any stock we have very regular sales. It is a killer though,” he says.
Among the highlights on May 3 was a typical Victorian portrait by British artist Charles Sillem Lidderdale (1831-95), bought through a gallery some 20 years ago.
Signed with a monogram and dated 1892, the 2ft 8in x 22in (81 x 56cm) oil on canvas shows a girl holding a basket of blackberries with a lurcher by her side.
In good condition and in an old Victorian frame, it was the subject of a two-way bidding battle between collectors who ensured it bettered its punchy £3000-5000 estimate to sell for £6400. The winning bidder is based in the US.
“It’s a funny thing about Lidderdale – one in 30 or 40 paintings will make a staggering price, and no-one really knows why,” says Parker.
Bonhams holds the record for the artist, according to the Art Sales Index, taking £22,000 for an 1876 portrait titled In the Schoolroom in January 2014.
Dynamic cavalry scene
A dynamic cavalry skirmish and its companion piece by Austrian artist August Querfurt (1696-1761) sold on bottom estimate at £6000.
The 20¼ x 2ft 5in (51 x 74cm) oils are typical of the battle scenes and hunting subjects that Querfurt painted for 18th century Viennese society. “There used to be a lot of them around, but today they are quite rare,” says Parker.
The privately consigned works were in good original condition, and sold to a private buyer in Italy.
Contrasting with this energetic pair was a far calmer picture of a river landscape dating to the mid-19th century by Frederick W Watts (1800-70). Measuring 3ft 4in x 4ft 2in (1 x 1.27m), the oil on canvas, which had resided in a collection for some 25 years, sold on bottom estimate at £5000.
The view, filled with figures and cattle against the backdrop of a river running through a tree-lined landscape by a watermill, echoes Watts’ great influence, John Constable.
Elsewhere, the marine and seascapes section included a blustery view of Cork Harbour by Thomas Luny (1759-1837). A Royal Navy frigate sails dangerously close to rocks and a warning lighthouse standing sentinel to the right of the picture.
A good example of the artist’s work, the 15 x 20in (38 x 51cm) oil on canvas had passed through commercial London gallery WH Patterson. It sold for £3100 against a £1000-2000 estimate.