'Barra' by Samuel Peploe – £23,000 at Sworders.

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The auction on October 5 was led by a view of the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides by the Scottish Colourist Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935).

The freely handled oil on board measured just 6½ x 9½in (17 x 24cm) and was fairly typical of the small scale studies he made while working en plein air during his trips to the island between 1894-1903, where he would stay in the studio of his friend Robert Cowan Robertson.

As a group, the works form an interesting part of Peploe’s oeuvre, produced in a formative period before he embarked on his trademark tightly executed still-lifes that today are his most commercial works.

The catalogue stated: “Works such as this provide a fascinating and exciting insight into Peploe’s artistic development.”

Examples have emerged on the market over the years, although they are scarcer than other types of Peploe paintings. One depicting houses on a hill in Barra made £38,000 at Lyon & Turnbull in June 2017.

The current picture had previously sold at Sotheby’s Gleneagles in August 2000 for £6000. This time round it was estimated at £6000-8000 but, after it drew bidding from a number of parties, it was knocked down at £23,000 to a private buyer based in Hong Kong who was participating online.

The growth in price over the 21 years since it last sold at auction partly reflects the increasing values for the Scottish Colourist. However, supporters of this market will be encouraged to see a less high-end work such as this making a decent return.

Redpath pair

Two works by Anne Redpath (1895-1965), an artist who worked very much in the tradition of the Colourists, also drew demand at Sworders. Examples of her two most common subjects, landscapes and still-lifes, they had both been purchased from London dealer Duncan Miller some years ago.

First up was Hillside Village, an 18¾ x 22½in (48 x 58cm) signed oil on board which was probably painted during a stay in the Canary Islands between 1958-60.

A relatively late work, it had a hint of Expressionism which can be found in other works she produced at around this time.

Estimated at £6000-8000, it was knocked down at £9000 to a London dealer bidding online.

The following lot, a still-life titled Daisies which had featured in a dedicated Duncan Miller exhibition of Redpath’s works in 1992, fetched the same sum against a £8000-12,000 estimate.

This 20 x 2ft (51 x 61cm) signed oil on board was secured by the same buyer.