A collection of works from the personal collection of Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-93) and her son Lin Jammet were offered at the Modern British and 20th Century Art auction on August 26.
The group comprised 130 lots of sculpture, paintings and studio ceramics, all of which had been on display alongside Frink’s own works at her house, garden and studio in Dorset (although they had since been consigned to a barn).
Collectively the works more than doubled their conservative expectations to reach just under £270,000 (with premium) with just one lot unsold. Such was the interest, the lots took almost four hours to sell.
“Buyers immediately grasped that this was a one-off opportunity to purchase a piece of remarkable Frink history and celebrate one of the most important British female artists of the 20th century,” said W&W picture specialist Victor Fauvelle.
While Frink’s Royal Academy diploma was withdrawn before the auction (after being donated to the Frink Archive at Dorset History Centre), it included other items with strong personal appeal. A number of Frink’s friends who came to view the sale ended up acquiring items such as a carved wood decoy stick in the shape of a duck which was allegedly kept under the bed in case of intruders. It sold for £200.
The collection was led by Dog Below Crucifix, a painting by Scottish artist Craigie Aitchison (1926-2009) that took £25,000 against a £6000-10,000 estimate. Also bringing good competition was Cat, a small Mary Fedden (1915-2012) painting inscribed to Frink’s son Lin. The 7¼ x 9½in (19 x 25cm) watercolour and bodycolour from 1981 was estimated at £4000-6000 but was knocked down at £10,000.
While many of the prints by Frink herself far exceeded their estimates, the auction also set a record for works by Lin Jammet himself as two of his screenprints sold for £1000 each.
One of the them, pictured here, was Two horses, a signed 3ft 11 x 2ft 9in (1.2m x 84cm) screenprint from 1997, part of an edition of 50. It drew strong interest against its £120-180 estimate.