His large-scale A Dorset Landscape made a record £225,000 at Duke’s in Dorchester on May 13, just days after Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury had sold ‘Regent’s Canal, Paddington’ for £75,000 (both reported in ATG No 2493).
Another work had appeared in North Yorkshire a few weeks before.
Offered at Scarborough saleroom David Duggleby (20% buyer’s premium) on April 16 was A View of Godmersham Park, Kent on a Cloudy Day.
Godmersham Park is famous for its Jane Austen connection. The property was inherited in 1794 by her brother Edward and her novel Mansfield Park is said to be based on Godmersham. A drawing of the house now appears in the background of the Austen portrait on the £10 note.
Newton was commissioned to paint the estate in October 1942 by a later owner, Robert Tritton, who paid the artist £262-10-0 for his services. At the time, painting country estates was an important a part of Newton’s trade. He was commissioned by the Marchioness of Normanby to paint Mulgrave Castle near Whitby in the same year.
The 2ft 5in 3ft 10in (74cm x 1.17m) signed oil on canvas had remained at Godmersham until it was sold at Christie’s sale of the house’s contents in June 1983. The buyer back then was the late John Archibald Dunning (1928-2019), a celebrated architect who emigrated to New York and completed numerous projects on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue. He was also an expert on English country houses and their furniture.
Having descended through Dunning’s family to the vendor here, the auction house contacted the artist’s great-grandson Sir Mark Jones for assistance with the cataloguing. The painting will now be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Newton’s work.
Estimated at £3000-5000, the picture attracted interest from multiple parties and eventually sold at £20,000 to the London trade – a buy that looks good value in light of the prices fetched elsewhere but perhaps indicating that country houses fall some way behind urban subjects in the Newton commercial pecking order.
Loch and harbour serenity
Elsewhere at the Duggleby sale, four oil paintings by Alfred de Bréanski Snr (1852-1928) were offered separately and all sold well above their attractive
estimates, raising a combined £39,400. The top price among them came for a trademark evening loch scene, a 19¼in x 2ft 5in (49 x 74cm) signed oil on canvas titled A September Sunset.
Even if the market for Bréanski’s highly detailed and atmospheric scenes is not what it once was, the £2000-3000 pitch always looked somewhat undercooked and it sold for £13,500 to a private buyer.
'Turner of the North'
Another artist well represented at the sale was George Weatherill (1810-90). On offer was a selection of 18 coastal watercolours plus a couple of pencil sketches. The works by the Staithes artist whose impressionistic style earned him the nickname ‘The Turner of the North’ met with a good response and all 20 lots sold for a combined £31,420.
The most desirable picture on account of its large size, composed handling and composition and its subject matter, which appealed especially to local collectors, was The Lower Harbour Whitby. The 15½ x 22¾in (39 x 58cm) watercolour, signed and dated 1877, carried a label on the back for the Walker Galleries of Harrogate.
Bringing a decent competition on the day against a £3000-5000 pitch, it was knocked down at £7300 to a Harrogate buyer. The price was toward the upper range of Weatherill’s prices and it joined six other views of Whitby in the top 10 auction results for the artist.