A Private Collection of Paintings from a Yorkshire Estate led the British, European and Sporting Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 18th March, realising a combined hammer price of £176,550 for the 23 lots. The collection came from Denton Hall, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a popular wedding and shoot venue, and received enthusiastic attention from buyers.
Topping the paintings from Denton was “Cowslips” by George Dunlop Leslie (1835-1921), which sold for £91,000 (all results exclude buyer’s premium). The picture, depicting a trio of young girls collecting cowslips, was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1877 and was in the collection of The Rt. Hon. William George Armstrong of Cragside, Rothbury between 1900 and 1910. George Dunlop Leslie was a member of the St John’s Wood Clique, an influential circle of artists who acquired large fortunes and high social status. His early work was markedly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, but as his career progressed, he began to paint in a more academic manner, portraying gentle and pleasing scenes of everyday life. The critic John Ruskin praised his depictions of the “sweet quality of English girlhood”.
Further notable result from the collection included a painting by fellow St John’s Wood Clique artist William F Yeames (1835-1918). Yeames had a fascination with British history, particularly the Civil War, reflected in the present painting which depicts “Dr Harvey and the children of Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill” (sold for: £8,500). A top price for French artist Charles Euphraisie Kuwasseg (1838-1904) was also achieved when “Bruges” sold for £7,000 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000, and two flower still lifes by Cecil Kennedy (1905-1997) were well received selling for £9,500 apiece. Good marine paintings included “Fair Winds” by Henry Scott (1911-2005), which sold for £4,200.
Highlights from other vendors in the sale included two further outstanding marine paintings by Yorkshire artist John Steven Dews (b. 1949). Dews was born in Beverley and is one of the most successful living maritime artists. As an avid sailor, he imbues his works with meticulous detail and realism gained from his close affinity with the sea and sailing. “Shamrock Racing, Velsheda & Britannia Thames Estuary, c.1930” sold for £20,000, and “White Heather II battling it out with Britannia off Fishburn, Cowes” sold for £11,000.
Strong prices were also seen for good landscapes in the sale, led by “Innaglush, Cushendun, Co. Antrim” by Irish artist James Humbert Craig (1877-1944), which sold for £6,800 - a good price for the artist. “The Rustic Footbath” by Thomas Sidney Cooper, which was exhibited in the Royal Academy, sold for £5,500, and a pair of fine examples of landscape painting by the Yorkshire artist William Mellor sold well at £6,000. Also of note was a group of landscapes by Owen Bowen, and a William Luker Snr (1828-1905) of sheep and a shepherd at rest that sold for £2,200.
The sale achieved a total hammer price of £281,100 with an 88% sold rate for 93 lots.