Tabby by Mary Fedden, £14,500 at Mallams.

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One was a Mary Fedden (1915-2012) painting titled Tabby that appeared in the latest Modern Art & Design sale at Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) of Oxford.

It was consigned from a private collection having been acquired from London’s New Grafton Gallery in 1989.

Feline subjects are a popular part of the Bristol-born artist’s oeuvre and both collectors and dealers are notably active in this area.

This 23½ x 15¾in (60 x 40cm) oil on canvas was regarded as an attractive example and the estimate of £4000-6000 at the May 17-18 sale did not seem excessive to a number of interested parties. It was knocked down at £14,500 to a UK phone bidder.

Artist plays ping-pong


Table Tennis by Louis Wain, £15,000 at Bellmans.

Marginally eclipsing this sum at Bellmans (25% buyer’s premium) in Billingshurst, West Sussex, on May 16-18 was a Louis Wain (1860-1939) sketch of a group of cats engaging in a lively game of table tennis.

The 13½ x 20¼in (35 x 52cm) watercolour and gouache heightened with white came from a private UK vendor having been purchased at Christie’s South Kensington back in 1983.

With a record for the famous feline illustrator set earlier this year when A Highway Robbery made £30,000 at Bonhams (see ATG No 2593), perhaps it was a good time to sell?

Bidders certainly reacted well to the £2000-3000 pitch and it was chased to £15,000, a sum comfortably within the top 10 auction prices for the prolific Wain.