'The Well at Taungdwingyi, Burma' by Gerald Kelly – £4700 at Sworders.

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It more than doubled its estimate to sell to a south-east Asian buyer at £4700.

The Well at Taungdwingyi, Burma, was inspired by the artist’s first trip to modern-day Myanmar in c.1908, a visit that also triggered his paintings of Burmese classical dancers – his priciest pictures on the secondary market.

Kelly painted a number of landscapes of Taungdwingyi, a town located in the Magway Region. A landscape of the same name and date, but smaller in size, sold at Christie’s London in 1994 for £550, while another, executed in a freer style, sold at the auction house a decade later for £4182 (with premium).

Weight picks up

After a few years of lethargy, prices appear to be picking up for the prolific Carel Weight (1908- 97). Bid to a multi-estimate £2500 was a twice signed 19½in x 2ft (50 x 61cm) oil on canvas titled In the Orchard. The same picture had failed to sell at Bonhams Knightsbridge in 2012 against a £2000-3000 guide.

The orchard subject was one Weight returned to on a number of occasions. In 2010, Gloucestershire saleroom Chorley’s sold a smaller work depicting an orchard at Dissington in northern England for £1200.

A drawing by the Taiwan-born minimalist Richard Lin (1933-2011) took £7800 against an attractive £2000-3000 guide. The 22 x 18in (56 x 46cm) charcoal work was signed and numbered 60/37. His drawings point back to Chinese, Taiwanese ink drawings and tend to be more painterly than his large-scale wall pieces.

Prices for the artist have picked up considerably over the last decade with interest from both British and Asian collectors. Today, his large-scale wall pieces, often made with plastic and metal, command sums in the hundreds of thousands at auctions in London and Hong Kong.

Good but mystery hand

A large canvas of The Good Samaritan was the surprise result of the sale. Consigned by a member of the trade and catalogued simply as ‘British School, c.1920’, the 2ft 9in x 5ft 9in (86cm x 1.01m) oil on canvas outstripped its £1000-1500 guide to sell to the trade at £11,000.

“It was a stunning image clearly done by a good hand, and we spent a fair bit of time researching it,” said Amy Scanlon, head of the picture department at Sworders. “We thought it might be Irish but, in the end, we could not pin down the artist. If you don’t have a confident attribution it can sometimes help the result to be vague – it encourages people to bid.”


'The Good Samaritan', catalogued as ‘British School, c.1920’ – £11,000 at Sworders.

A notable unsold on the day was a railway painting by the prolific Terence Cuneo (1907-96), not seen in public since an exhibition in London in 1979. The Queue for the Sheds – French Locomotives Waiting at Boulogne Depot failed to get away against a £15,000-20,000 estimate, although it was bought after the sale. Another Cuneo from the same consignment depicting a South African GMA Garrett 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 scraped away below bottom estimate at £9400.

Cuneo’s love of steam railways has endeared him to train enthusiasts, who are avid buyers of his work. Although compositionally sound, the locomotives depicted in these pictures may not have been sufficiently interesting to collectors, said Scanlon.

While Cuneo’s dramatic depictions of the railways tend to carry a premium on the secondary market, his motor car scenes are also popular.

An oil painting that fell into the latter category was offered two days before at Hythe saleroom Westenhanger Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in Kent.

The 2ft x 2ft 4in (61 x 71cm) work of a baby blue Armstrong Siddeley car came from the contents of a Georgian country house in the seaside town of Deal and tipped over top estimate to sell for £6200 (pictured in Previews, ATG No 2380).