Cornish, Bráaq &Arnup – a strong selection of Northern Art up for auction

A strong representation of 20th century Northern Art is up for auction in the Autumn Fine Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 18th November. There is an ever increasing demand for Northern Art at Auction, and some of the most sought-after names are included in Tennants’ sale, such as Brian Shields ‘Bráaq’, Norman Cornish, Tom McGuinness, L S Lowry, Peter Brooks, Arthur Delaney and Joe Scarborough.

Lots of particular note include ‘Spennymoor Street in 1950’ by Norman Stansfield Cornish (1919-2014), a rare and unusually large oil on board that was previously exhibited at the University of Northumbria. Cornish is one of the North East’s favourite artists – an artist with a singular vision of capturing the mining community of his home town of Spennymoor, and recording a way of life that has faded away. The painting is to be offered with an estimate of £20,000-30,000 (plus 24% buyers’ premium), and a further smaller work by Cornish depicting a mother and child in the snow before St Andrews’ Church will be offered.

Representing the North West in the sale are a number of works by Brian Shields ‘Bráaq’ (1951-1997), the Liverpool-born painter best known for his depictions of industrial scenes in Northern England. The most striking work is an oil on canvas beach scene ‘I’ve just seen my first pair of “tits”’, which is entered with an estimate of £15,000-25,000 plus BP.

Also of note are a tranche of works from the studio of Pennine painter Peter Brook (1927-2009). Brook’s little representations of the people and places of the Yorkshire Pennines capture the rugged landscape and a vanishing way of life. Highlights include his ‘Drawing very Carefully in a Danger Area’ which is estimated at £3,000-5,000 plus BP.

An imposing bronze by one of Yorkshire’s most renowned animal sculptors, Sally Arnup (1930-2015) is one of the sculptural highlights of the sale. The bronze is a powerful and naturalistic depiction of the head of ‘Morris’, a champion Swaledale ram. Arnup is known for her life-like and tactile bronzes that capture the spirit of her subject, and her work is becoming increasingly recognised. It is being offered with an estimate of £2,000-3,000 plus BP.

Elsewhere in the sale, the perennial Yorkshire favourite – Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson – is well represented, with nearly 100 lots of furniture and furnishings. Avid collectors always like to seek out early and unusual items, so a pair of 18ft refectory tables from the 1930s/40s are sure to attract attention. These impressively dimensioned tables are being offered with an estimate of £4,000-6,000 plus BP. Also up for sale is a small collection of Mouseman furniture from the 1940s, for which we have their original sales receipt. Purchased by Mr and Mrs G Thompson from Coxwold, North Yorkshire, the collection comprises a 5ft oak refectory table (£1,000-1,500 plus BP), a set of four dining chairs (£1,200-1,800 plus BP), and a 4ft 9in panelled sideboard (£3,000-5,000 plus BP).

A full illustrated catalogue will be available online leading up to the sale at Alternatively, please contact the auction house on 01969 623780 or


Norman Cornish ‘ Spennymoor Street in 1950’ – Estimate: £20,000-30,000
A pair of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson 18ft refectory tables – Estimate: £4,000-6,000
(top left) Sally Arnup ‘Morris – A Swaledale Tup’ – Estimate: £2,000-3,000