Belle Vue Street 1941 was painted by Will Evans (1888-1957) and had resided in the same family since it was shown at a memorial exhibition of the artist’s work in 1958.
The signed 14 x 21in (37 x 53cm) oil on panel captures a well-heeled Swansea street on a sunny day before the destruction of large parts of the city by German bombs in February 1941. The street looks up to Trinity Place, which also suffered extensive damage. Although dated to 1941, it is believed the painting was started in 1940.
This work found a buyer at £7600 in The Welsh Sale, a long-running specialist auction at Rogers Jones (24% buyer’s premium) in Cardiff containing Cymru-themed pictures, porcelain and antiques.
Of the 346 lots offered on October 19, 310 sold (90%) for a combined £245,255. Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones described trade on the day as “buoyant” even after the withdrawal of the front cover lot, Salem, which was sold for an undisclosed amount ahead of the auction to The National Library of Wales.
The painting – a second version by Sydney Curnow Vosper (1866- 1942) of one of the best-known images in Welsh art – was due to be offered with an estimate of £40,000-60,000 (see ATG No 2413).
A market-fresh John Piper (1903-92) watercolour and gouache of St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, which improved on a £10,000-15,000 estimate to sell for £19,000, was among the top-sellers instead. The 14 x 22in (36 x 57cm) work had been a gift from the artist to the vendor’s late husband in 1980, the year it was dated.
Piper was not strictly a Welsh artist, but he made regularly trips to Wales, painting, photographing and sketching many buildings and views across the country. He also married the Welsh art critic and opera librettist Myfanwy Evans (1911-97).
Top honours at Rogers Jones went to Anglesey-born painter Kyffin Williams (1918-2006) whose 20th century works capturing the rugged Welsh landscapes in often-turbulent weather are among the most commercial in the field. Three out of the four oils found buyers to the tune of £53,750.
The most expensive was a 12in x 2ft (49 x 60cm) sunset of the artist’s native Anglesey, exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1991, which tipped over top estimate to sell for £25,500.
Competitive bidding also emerged on October 12 at North Yorkshire saleroom Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) for a rugged view of stone buildings on Anglesey, executed in the trademark thick impasto paint that the artist applied with a palette knife in blocks of greyish green tones.
The 23in x 2ft 7in (59 x 79cm) oil on canvas had provenance to the Thackery Gallery in London and sold on thesaleroom.com above an £8000-12,000 guide for £18,000.