Painting by one of Scotland’s leading 20th century artists, Joan Eardley, to go under the hammer at

‘Girl with a Poke of Chips’, a striking mixed media painting by one of Scotland’s most popular 20th century artists, Joan Kathleen Eardley (1921-1963) - will be offered in Tennants Auctioneers’ Spring Fine Art Sale on 17th March.

Eardley is known for her powerful, expressive paintings of the gritty, the elemental, and the dilapidated in post-war Scotland.  Capturing contrasting sides of life, Eardley had two overriding areas of interest which produced her greatest works – the ragged children in Glasgow’s poverty stricken tenements, and the vast skies and roiling seas around the declining fishing village of Catterline, south of Aberdeen. Eardley was one of a generation of artists to whom urban childhood was a source of fascination – but the naturalistic poses of her sitters, their confident and direct gazes and the warmth of portrayal, point to the comfortable relationship she had with these children. In ‘Girl with a Poke of Chips’, against a grey, graffiti-strewn background, our sitter wears a vivid Giottesque blue contrasted with red; momentarily her attention has been drawn from her chips to look at us. The painting was included in the 1975 Scottish Arts Council Exhibition, before being exhibited with Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, where it was purchased in 1963. The painting was exhibited in Tennants’ loan exhibition 350 Years of British Art last November, and is being offered with an estimate of £20,000-30,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium).

Further 20th century paintings offered in the sale include a light-filled still life by Dorothea Sharp (1874-1955), ‘Still Life of Calla Lilies Before a View of the Sea’ (estimate: £8,000-12,000 plus 24% buyer’s premium). Deeply inspired by the Impressionists on a youthful trip to Paris, Sharp adopted a spontaneous and impressionistic style that would remain with her throughout her career. A further tranche of prints by Grosvenor School artists from the Estate of Edith Lawrence will be included in the sale – one of the highlights being ‘Corner of the Garden’ by Dorrit Black (1891-1951) (estimate: £3,000-5,000 plus 24% buyer’s premium). Paintings from the Estate of Peter Brook (1927-2009), the much-loved Pennine artist, include ‘Sheep Sensing the Approaching Storm’ (estimate: £2,500-4,000 plus 24% buyer’s premium).

Elsewhere in the sale is a small collection of 15 rare ornithological paintings by Sir William Strickland, 6th Bt. (1753-1834) and his brother George Strickland (1760-1832). The brothers grew up in Boynton Hall, East Yorkshire, son of Sir George Strickland, 5th Bt. who was a patron of both Arthur Devis and John Carr of York. The Strickland family had a distinct interest in natural history, a discipline that emerged and flourished in the 18th century, and the brothers were particularly fascinated by birds. These accomplished and naturalistic watercolour depictions have remained in the family since inception, and are being offered in group lots with estimates starting at £700-1,000 plus 24% buyer’s premium. However, perhaps the most intriguing painting in the collection is a depiction of a Female Bustard; reputedly the last Great Bustard in the UK was shot at Boynton in 1832, after which guests were invited to dine at the house to eat Great Bustard – “the last of its race”.

A fully illustrated catalogue available here.

Entries are now invited for the Summer Fine Art Sale, and to enquire about entering items for sale please contact the salerooms on 01969 623780.

Sir William Strickland ‘Female Great Bustard’ – Part of a lot estimated at £1,200-1,800
(top left) Joan Eardley ‘Girl with a Poke of Chips’ – Estimate: £20,000-30,000