Despite his limited output, which was hampered by failing eyesight, his pictures hang in the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate and Imperial War Museum. His work rarely makes it to auction: just 14 results are listed on the Blouin Art Sales Index.
So when his pictures do come on the secondary market they tend to cause a stir. In 2010, Bonhams set a new auction record for the artist when it sold a portrait of the distinguished palaeontologist Clive Forster-Cooper for £66,000.
The picture, which shows the sitter in his office at the Natural History Museum in London where he was director during the Blitz, now resides in the Tate collection.
Eight years on and another Frampton portrait was consigned by a private overseas collector to Bonhams (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) and entered into its Gentleman’s Library Sale in Knightsbridge on February 14.
The 3ft 6in x 2ft 11in (1.06m x 89cm) oil on canvas, pictured above, depicts Frederick Morris Fry, a member of the Council of the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute. Estimated at a conservative £2000-3000, it attracted keen bidding, eventually selling to a UK private collector for £24,000 – the second-highest price for the artist at auction.
Veronique Scorer, head of pictures at Bonhams Knightsbridge, said: “Meredith Frampton was a highly accomplished painter. His portraits demonstrate not only a mastery of technique but also an eye for detail that allowed him to penetrate beneath the surface of his sitters.”