A group of eight such works appeared at Roseberys’ (25% buyer’s premium) dedicated sale of works from the descendants of the family that ran the eminent gallery Arthur Tooth & Sons.
Tooth was Nash’s last dealer but these pictures had been part of Dudley Tooth’s personal collection rather than the gallery’s stock and were being offered on the market for the first time.
“Most of these watercolours have only been shown in museum exhibitions never selling exhibitions,” said Tess O’Brien, Roseberys’ head of sale. “We would suggest this as a testament to relationship the two shared.”
Keenly pitched at attractive levels, they all sold above estimate for a £127,500 combined total. The auction house reported seven phone lines were booked for the lots with trade, private collectors and institutions all buying.
Among the works was a hilly landscape which was produced by Nash as a Christmas card to Dudley. It sold for £6000.
The highest price among the group came for Moonrise Over Stow-on-the Wold, a 15¼ x 22½in (39 x 57cm) watercolour from 1945. It had featured in the Nash memorial exhibition in 1948 and was offered with a £6000- 8000 estimate at the auction in West Norwood on February 21. After strong competition, it was knocked down at £27,000. Following close behind at £25,000 was another 1945 watercolour titled Sun Descending – Study 7, which had been offered with the same pitch.
One specialist dealer in British works on paper who viewed the sale told ATG that the group represented great examples of Nash’s late work which may have become “slightly underrated in recent years”. He described the two top works as “truly museum quality” and the prices as “remarkably strong”.
The Arthur Tooth sale was topped by a ‘Resurrection’ scene by Stanley Spencer that made £320,000 (see News, ATG No 2532).
Over to John...
Meanwhile, a landscape by Paul’s brother, John Nash (1893-1977), drew interest at Cheffins' (24.5% buyer’s premium) recent Art & Design sale. The Stubble Field, Suffolk was a 15¼ x 20¾in (39 x 53cm) signed watercolour and pencil which was attractively conceived with its strong colours well retained.
It came from a vendor who acquired it back in 1974 and, despite some slight fading to the sky and some isolated foxing spots, it was described in the catalogue as in “overall good, clean condition”.
Estimated at £3000-5000, it took £8500 from a private buyer in London.
While watercolours by John Nash can sell for more, this example did pretty well and showed how his prices have been on the rise in recent years. The sum exceeded the £5500 for another Suffolk landscape from c.1948- 50 sold at Sotheby’s in June 2018.