With a typical subject of children playing by the water, it was one of the large number of works depicting views of the Cornish coast painted with fluid broad brushstrokes and bright tones.
The 15 x 18in (38 x 46cm) signed oil on canvas was smaller than many that appear but, even still, the £12,000-16,000 estimate was deemed attractive and certainly did little to deter potential bidders.
After a good competition at the October 7 auction in Farnham, Surrey, it was knocked down at £24,000 – a decent sum for a work of this size. It sold to a London dealer who, according to the saleroom, deemed it a fine example of her work and proffered that women artists are “all the rage at the moment”.
Blackadder flower power
A few days later in North Yorkshire another typical work, a floral watercolour by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder (1931-2021), was on offer at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium).
The 19 x 22¾in (48 x 58cm) signed pencil and watercolour was one of the numerous still-lifes by the artist that often appear at auction. However, this one was a fairly well-known work with the image having appeared on a Christmas card used in 2012 by Alex Salmond (then the Scottish First Minister) to mark the Year of Natural Scotland.
It had previously sold at Bonhams Edinburgh in September 2013 for £12,000 and came to auction in Leyburn from a vendor in the north of England.
This time expectations were higher; almost a little too high. With the auction taking place on October 9, around six weeks after Blackadder’s death aged 89, it was estimated at £18,000-25,000 and sold on low estimate to a private buyer. The sum was nevertheless the fifth highest for the artist at auction (source: Artprice by Artmarket) and the highest of 2021.
You might think that, with the supply of her works so plentiful, her death would be unlikely to cause a noticeable uplift in prices.
However, this was also thought true of another prolific artist, Sir Kyffin Williams (1918-2006). As it turned out, Sir Kyffin’s death is generally believed to have led to some higher bidding and prices are higher now compared to when he died.
Among the recent lots demonstrating this, a pencil and watercolour titled Horses in the Snow posted an auction record for a work on paper by the artist at Rogers Jones’ (22% buyer’s premium) latest Welsh Sale in Cardiff.
The 13½ x 19¼in (34 x 49cm) picture was purchased in 1998 from the Thackeray Gallery in London where Sir Kyffin exhibited for over 40 years.
The subject of horses is relatively rare in the artist’s oeuvre and so the watercolour was a slightly unknown quantity commercially. The auction house went for a £5000-8000 estimate but it was knocked down at £18,000 to a private buyer in Wales who is a regular client.
This sale on November 6 also posted a record for a print by Sir Kyffin when a limited edition copy of Ynys Mon Farm, a trademark image of a cottage in an Anglesey landscape, surpassed a £1000-1500 estimate and sold online at £2800.
Ben Rogers Jones was keen to point out that the firm now holds the record for a print, a work on paper and an oil painting by Sir Kyffin after Ynys Mon had made £62,000 in July (see ATG No 2504).
Overall, the latest Welsh sale offered no fewer than 41 works by the artist which generated a combined £243,000, with only one watercolour and one print failing to sell.
This helped register the firm’s highest-ever total for a Welsh Sale total with £493,140 raised and putting the firm on course for a record year in terms of turnover from its Welsh-themed sales, which have been running for over 20 years.