The consignment of 52 pictures, which includes works on paper by Stanley Spencer and Paul Nash plus a further 75 lots of catalogues and ephemera, will be offered in a dedicated sale on February 21 at Roseberys.
Many pictures have only ever been shown in museum exhibitions, never selling shows, and the collection has an overall low estimate of £230,000.
The dealership was founded in 1842 by carver and framer Charles Tooth who established the firm in order to set up his son Arthur in business.
Located at 5 & 6 Haymarket in London, Arthur Tooth & Sons developed rapidly, becoming one of the preeminent suppliers of British and Continental paintings to Victorian collectors. While remaining a leading dealer in the likes of JMW Turner and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the gallery broadened out in the 1880s and added Old Masters to its specialities, in particular Venetian paintings by Canaletto and Guardi. American industrialist Henry Clay Frick was among its clients.
The business opened a New York branch in 1900 and, at the same time as introducing French Impressionism to the British market in early 20th century, also opened a gallery in Paris. In the mid-1920s, Dudley Tooth (1896-1972) – Charles’ great-grandson – took up leadership of the gallery, expanding its pool of contemporary artists and introducing a lucrative sideline publishing prints of the artists they promoted.
The London gallery eventually closed in the 1970s after Dudley died and the items at Roseberys have come directly from his family. Works such as the seven Paul Nash watercolours were part of Dudley’s personal collection, rather than the gallery’s stock, including one which was produced as a Christmas card which the artist dedicated to the dealer.
Indeed works throughout the sale feature inscriptions from artists to the members of the Tooth family, while many of the catalogues on offer too, mostly from the gallery’s exhibitions, feature notes and comments from Arthur, Dudley and others.
The sale even includes Arthur’s original trunk, estimated at £200-300, and old photographs of the gallery in Haymarket – including some showing the damage caused by bombs during the Blitz – pitched at £50-80.