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Preview: Modern & Contemporary Art Sale

22nd May 2024.

“Woman with a Sewing Machine”, a rare early lithograph made by a 17-year-old David Hockney, is to be sold in the Modern and Contemporary Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 15th June with an estimate of £10,000-15,000 (plus buyer’s premium). The lithograph, which is one of approximately five proof versions of this unpublished print, is being sold by the descendants of Hockney’s school friend and fellow artist David George Fawcett (1935-1973). One of the other proof copies is held in the collection of the Tate. The image reflects the exuberance of the artist aged just 17, filled with possibilities and the joy of being allowed to spend his days at college exploring the world of art, and was modelled on his mother, Laura.

Amongst the sculpture in the sale is “Girl on a Swing” by Sydney Harpley (estimate: £10,000-15,000). The life-size bronze is number one of a signed edition of six and was made in 1978. Born in London in 1927, Sydney Harpley was a British sculptor known for his depictions of the solitary female form. After his studies at the Royal College of Art under sculptor John Skeaping he went on to have a long and illustrious career exhibiting nationally and internationally before being made a Royal Academician in 1981. Since his early days at art college, it was the female form which intrigued Harpley the most as a sculptor, heavily influenced by Edgar Degas. He returned again and again to the solitary female, be it in the guise of a dancer, an acrobat, or a girl on a swing. His bronzes can be found in many collections worldwide.

Several good private collections in the sale include a family collection of works by Harold Riley. The vendor’s parents were friends with Riley, and in 1971 he went to visit them whilst they were living in Istanbul; at the end of the trip, he gave them a sketchbook he had filled with studies of Istanbul and its inhabitants he had executed during his stay (estimate: £10,000-15,000). Later, in 1973, after the death of his wife Hannalore, Riley went to Florida to stay with the same friends, where he found comfort and support. Again, at the end of his stay, he presented them with a sketchbook, this time containing thirteen studies of Florida (estimate: £5,000-7,000).  A small collection of works by mining artist Tom McGuinness, which belonged to his lifelong friend Sidney Lockey, is lead by “Pipe Men”, executed in 1965, on offer with an estimate of £2,500-4,000.

The first instalment of works from the Estate of Pat Maclaurin will also be sold. Maclaurin was born in New Zealand where she first studied painting, before moving to London in the early 1970s. Her artistic skills continued to develop during a spell studying at Richmond Adult College, under the tutelage and friendship of Cecil H Birtwhistle, and went on to exhibit regularly with the Pastel Society and Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the New English Art Club and the Society of Women Artists. The participation in these exhibitions led to Pat’s friendships with artists including Diana Armfield, Bernard Dunstan, Mary Jackson, and her husband Tom Coates, who became a particular friend and mentor. On offer in the sale are a selection of works by Maclaurin and several of her artist friends, with highlights including “Waters Over the Molo” by Tom Coates (estimate: £300-500) and “Sailboats in a Harbour” by Ken Howard (estimate: £1,500-2,500), "Bathers, Arachon III" by Fred Cuming (estimate: £1,000-1,500), and Maclaurin’s own “The Guilder’s Workshop” (estimate: £120-180).

A Fine Art Trade Guild signed colour reproduction of Laurence Stephen Lowry’s “Going to the Match” is offered with an estimate of £25,000-35,000. Other highlights include “Wensleydale from near Spennithorne” by Anne Isabella Brooke (estimate: £2,000-3,000), and two works by Simon Palmer, “Sandy Flat Plantations” and “From Cocked Hat Farm”, both offered with estimates of £3,000-5,000.

Further notable artists represented in the sale include Joash Woodrow, Marcel Dyf, Alexander Mackenzie, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, and Henry Moore, and amongst a good range of contemporary prints are those by Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Banksy, Dolk, The Connor Brothers and Sir Michael Craig-Martin.


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