From the avocet design he came up with as the logo of the RSPB to designs for over 70 dust jackets for the well-known New Naturalist series of books, the artwork of the late Robert Gillmor (1936-2022) will be familiar to lots of readers, even if many of them never knew his name.
The cover of the sale catalogue that Dominic Winter (20/24% buyer’s premium) produced for a March 1 auction in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, featured the artwork for one of those dust jackets, a coloured linocut of White-fronted Geese used as the cover of a 1999 issue of Wildfowl & Wetlands magazine.
It sold for £1050, but it was ornithological works by others that brought higher bids.
At Low Tide, a pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper study by Charles Tunnicliffe of oystercatchers, redshanks, knots and other birds associated with Britain’s seashores was the most expensive of them, at £10,400.
Among several works by wildlife artist and author Eric Ennion (1900-81) for which the bidding reached higher than expected levels, an undated pencil, watercolour and gouache study of curlews flying was sold for £2000, while the long-tailed tits seen in one of the accompanying illustrations realised £1600 online.
Voyage of Discovery
Two pen and ink studies made during Scott’s 1901-04 Discovery expedition to the Antarctic, the work of Edward Wilson, the ship’s assistant surgeon, both sold well.
An ink drawing captioned ‘Young Emperor Penguin Chick, kept alive 3 months on the ship’, sold at £2000, while another of an ‘Adelie Penguin and Chick’ made £1600.
An album of bookplates sold for £1000. It comprised 57 of them dating from the 18th-20th centuries.
They were mostly British and among their number was one in a distinctive style that many readers could already have identified as the work of Aubrey Beardsley before spotting the tiny initials at lower left of the accompanying illustration.
Originally designed for his own use and published as such in his book Fifty Drawings, this particular work had actually been sold in advance by Beardsley to a “sympathique and amusing collector”, his friend Herbert Charles Pollitt.
A great many lots in the sale offered maps, one of which is featured here.
Hark! Hark! The Dogs do Bark! was billed as a serio-cartographic exercise of 1914 that depicts the protagonists at the outbreak of the First World War as the dogs that best represent their national stereotypes.
The British bulldog bites the nose of the German Dachshund while an Austrian mongrel is having its tail squashed by a Russian steamroller. Above them all a British sailor holds the strings of a British Fleet.
It sold at £1100 to an online bidder.