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Results: British, European and Sporting Art Sale, 19th March 2022

22nd March 2022.

Amongst a host of outstanding lots in the British, European and Sporting Art Sale on 19th March was ‘The Fortune Teller’ by William Powell Frith, one of the greatest painters of the social scene, which sold for £20,000 (plus buyer’s premium). William Powell Frith was born near Ripon, the son of a Harrogate hotelier; he excelled in capturing a broad cross-section of Victorian society from streetsweepers to the nobility in teaming panoramic scenes filled with beautifully observed detail. 

Vigorous bidding secured excellent prices for a notable offering of portraiture, figurative and genre works in the sale. Selling well above estimate was an enigmatic and ethereal depiction of Cordelia, the youngest of King Lear’s three daughters, by Thomas Frank Dicksee, which sold for £13,000. An atmospheric interior with an elegant standing figure, possibly depicting a lady of Pompeii, by Jean-Baptist (James) Bertrand sold for £9,000, and a charming portrait of a Belle Epoque lady by the Circle of Sir Hubert Von Herkomer sold for £5,000. Interesting early portraits included a c.1630 ‘Portrait of a Shepherdess’ by the Circle of Salomon de Bray (sold for £6,000), and a ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman’ by a Follower of Marcus Gheeraerts (sold for £4,500). A circa 1700 French School depiction of ‘Christ Displaying his Wounds to his Disciples’ also sold well at £8,000.

There was a strong international interest in the sale, with bidders drawn by two artists from the Pre-Raphaelite circle; John Roddam Spencer Stanhope’s ‘Autumn’ sold for top estimate at £8,000, and Thomas Matthew Rookes’ ‘Autumn Leaves’ after J.E. Millais’, sold for £4,500. European bidders helped secure hammer prices well above estimate for ‘Toledo, S.Juan de los Reyes’, Attributed to Genaro Perez Villamil (sold for £12,500), and ‘Fishing Boats Off a Rocky Outcrop’ by Franz Ludwig Catel (sold for £17,000).

Highlights amongst the British paintings in the sale included the charming ‘Bathers, Walberswick’ by the ever-popular William Kay Blacklock, which sold for £15,000, and a dreamy interwar architectural portrait of ‘Pilgrims Hall, Essex’ by Rex Whistler, which sold for £6,500. Consistently high prices were also achieved for all the works by Herbert Royle in the sale, including the top lot ‘In the Evening Light’, which sold for £4,200.

Finally, the Sporting section of the sale was led by equestrian bronzes, with a quarter-size maquette of the legendary Arkle, ridden by Pat Taaffe by Emma MacDermott selling for £5,500, and ‘Galloping’ by Siobhan Bulfin selling for £2,600.

The sale achieved a total hammer price of £274,790 with an 88% sold rate for 141 lots.


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