'Myrtle’s Hanging Baskets' (1989) by Olwyn Bowey – £7400 at Sworders.

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The 440 lots had been acquired since the 1960s by the late Barbara Holliday, a farmer’s wife from north Cumbria.

Holliday’s cosmopolitan taste adorned a handsome Victorian house in the hamlet of Highlaws, near the Solway coast.

As well as regular trips to auctions in the provinces and London she immersed herself into the British art scene, befriending and corresponding with a group of noted painters and sculptors.

Local artist Sheila Fell (1931- 1979) had been a close friend (nine works by Fell were included in the sale), while there 21 works each by Olwyn Bowey (b.1936) and Carel Weight (1908-97).

Two typical large-scale Bowey ‘greenhouse’ oils set new auction benchmarks: Myrtle’s Hanging Baskets (1989) sold to a London private buyer at £7400 and Standard Marguerite (2007) to a Cheshire private buyer at £6200.

It was through Weight and Bowey that Holliday bought works by other Royal Academicians – among them Mary Fedden, whose 1988 oil Garden Bunch led proceedings at £31,000.

A further report of the sale of the Holliday collection will appear in next week's Art Market section of ATG.