Offered without reserve, all 152 lots found willing takers and raised a total of £444,000.
Many of the works – part of the School Loan Collection designed to educate pupils about art – sold well over estimate including Tunnard’s Brandis 44 which was pitched at £10,000-15,000 and knocked down at £37,000 (plus 22.5% buyer’s premium). According to the artist’s record book, the watercolour and gouache was sold for 18 guineas by the Leger Gallery in November 1944.
Works by Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath sold at £31,000 apiece, while a Keith Vaughan seascape from 1950 made £27,000 and Robert MacBryde’s Still life with an oil lamp sold for £22,000.
Associate at Cheffins Brett Tryner who handled the auction said: “The burgeoning popularity and emerging market for these artists has been clearly demonstrated by the solid prices paid for many of the lots on offer and the sheer volume of bids which were received on the day. Buyers included collectors from the UK and overseas, institutions, the trade and also many purchasers from Hertfordshire.”
The sale was seemingly unaffected by an online petition aimed at ‘saving’ the council’s collection from being dispersed.