Vieilles by Nancy Delouis, £3500 at Olympia Auctions.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Her father came from a long line of artists and artisans dating back many centuries and her mother was an art teacher. Her grandfather was Auguste Rodin’s cousin.

Her own paintings were influenced by Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) in particular, something that can be seen in the range of interior scenes, landscapes and depictions of women that she produced.

Something of a combination of all three emerged at Olympia Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) in west London on March 22.

Titled Vieilles, the 2ft 4in x 2ft 11in (71 x 89cm) oil on canvas was a colourful depiction of two old ladies seated in a garden. It had previously appeared in an exhibition held by dealer Messum’s in 2012.

Estimated at £500-700, it was knocked down at £3500 to a UK private collector – the secondhighest sum at auction for the artist according to Artprice, only behind the £12,000 for the larger painting En Fin de Journée that sold at Dreweatts in March 2021.

The auction was the first Paintings and Works on Paper Auction at Olympia run by newly appointed head of department Adrian Biddell.

Offering 125 lots, a total of 102 sold with the selling rate at 81.6%. Biddell said: “I am delighted with the high level of engagement in our picture sales as well as the level of consignments we are attracting. With our picture sales doubling in number this year we are building on market momentum.”

Shift to traditional style

The Asian and Islamic Works of Art sale at Olympia on April 26 included two trademark paintings by Bengali artist Jamini Roy (1887-1972).

Having trained from the age of 16 at the Government College of Art in Kolkata, Roy turned away from his Western-style academic training and became noted for the way he adapted traditional Indian styles and folk painting. He received the Padma Bhushan award in 1954, the third-highest civilian honour in India.


Untitled (A Maiden), gouache on paper by Jamini Roy, £9500 at Olympia Auctions.

The works at Olympia came from the estate of Louisa Service (1931-2021), the joint chairman of the publisher and event organiser Hemming Group who was also a law reform campaigner, serving as a justice of the peace and president of The Commonwealth Countries League for 40 years.

First up at the west London saleroom was the 1950s gouache on paper Untitled (A Maiden). Measuring 2ft 3in x 13in (68 x 32cm) and signed in Bengali to the lower right, it was estimated at £2500-3500 and sold for £9500.

The following lot was a depiction of a woman and bull titled Balakrishna. It sold above estimate at £5500.

While Roy’s more elaborate works have made strong five-figure and even six-figure sums on occasion at auction, these were decent mid-range sums for Roy.