Although he developed a moderate reputation for himself in Yorkshire (and was represented by the Goupil Gallery in London for two shows), Wainwright is perhaps best known today as a school friend of Henry Moore. The two men exchanged many illustrated letters during service in the First World War.
Wainwright and Moore had attended Saturday morning pottery painting sessions together at the local grammar school given by art teacher Miss Alice Gostick. Seven of these ‘Castleford Peasant Pottery’ pieces decorated by Wainwright in the immediate post-war years were offered for sale in Stourbridge.
They ranged in price from £70 for a tea plate painted with a seated Indian figure to £220 for a beaker with a repeat abstract banded design. All bear the monogram BW for Bertie Wainwright.
When Wainwright died suddenly in 1943 with meningitis, he left a prolific body of work including thousands of watercolours, drawings, costume and theatre designs and book illustrations.
Leading this offering was the 14 x 12in (36 x 29cm) finished watercolour titled Salome, a vibrant composition betraying the artist’s interest in the work of Aubrey Beardsley and the Viennese Secessionist group.
It sold at £1350 – among the top prices for the artist whose auction high appears to be The Picnic, a larger watercolour on depicting various figures in a landscape, sold by Fieldings for £1850 in March 2018.