Caribbean colour and a new world record

A much needed touch of Caribbean heat and sunshine was injected into Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 24th February, with a group of works by Llewellyn Xavier – one of the Caribbean’s best known contemporary artists. Llewellyn Xavier (b.1945) is St Lucia’s pre-eminent artist, known for his brilliant colours and for capturing the light and life of the Caribbean, giving voice to local cultures and championing environmental causes. Prized by international collectors, his vibrant ‘Head Study of a Monkey’ sold for £2,400 against an estimate of £400-600 and ‘Environmental Study’ sold for £2,200.

From a little closer to home, was the inclusion in the sale of part of the Estate of Ilkley artist Marie Walker Last (1917-2017), including both works by her own hand and works from her collection. The top lot of the collection was a late work by Walker Last, ‘Winter Quarry’ painted in 1992 towards the end of her career, which sold for £2,000 against an estimate of £250-450 – which is thought to be a new world record for the artist at auction. Also selling well were works by northern printmaker and engraver Norman Ackroyd and Harry Lord.

The top lot of the sale, however, was ‘A Good Child’ by John Kirby (b.1947), which sold for £6,800 – ten times the low estimate. Often compared with Rene Magritte and Edward Hopper, Liverpool-born Kirby is known for his haunting figure paintings exploring issues of gender, religion, sexuality and race. Often featuring doll-like or child/adult hybrid figures that reflect how we come to terms with a confusing, frightening world through our childhood, his works can be found in Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The sale resulted in a total Hammer Price of £83,460, with 89% of the 206 lots sold.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Modern & Contemporary Art on 2nd June 2018, please contact them on 01969 623780 or for details.

(top left) Llewellyn Xavier ‘Head Study of a Monkey’ – Sold for £2,400

John Kirby ‘A Good Child’ – Sold for £6,800

Marie Walker Last ‘Winter Quarry’ – Sold for £2,000