Portreath 2 – Roadmenders depicted a stylised view of the north Cornish fishing village of Portreath, showing the harbour and surrounding landscape. In a typically muted palette, the 11 x 9in (28 x 23cm) oil on board dated from 1949 and had the words Attic Studio, St Ives inscribed on the back.
It was consigned to the autumn sale of Fine & Decorative Arts in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, by a Devon-based private client whose parents in law had purchased it directly from the artist sometime in the 1950s.
Kinghams researched the work and had it authenticated by the Lanyon authority and compiler of the artist’s catalogue raisonné, Toby Treves.
While the vast majority of Lanyon’s abstracts are substantially larger, this picture had a good date and a good subject which conveyed his love of landscape.
Indeed, he would later train as a glider pilot in order to gain a deeper understanding of the native topography but tragically died in a gliding accident at the age of 46.
Estimated at £30,000-50,000, the painting represented a rare opportunity to acquire a Lanyon of this calibre at an auction outside London. It drew considerable competition from both trade and private bidders and sold at £75,000 to a UK dealer. The price was seemingly a record for a small-scale work by Lanyon.
A more affordable option that came to auction from the same source was a Lanyon work on paper titled Rooftops, Italy, (Perugia).
Measuring 15 x 22in (38 x 56cm), the mixed media on paper was also authenticated by Treves. Again, it was relatively small in terms of size with the artist’s watercolours and gouaches tending to be larger scaled and usually more abstract in form.
Here the estimate was £300-5000 but, after decent interest emerged once more in Gloucestershire, it was knocked down at £9500.