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Bloomsbury Memento Up In The High Wire...

22nd January 2019

Treasures from exotic shores made remarkable prices in Lawrences’ auction of pictures on January 18th but the day’s top prices were paid for two very British lots.

A folio of 19th-Century Indian and Company School drawings and watercolours attracted many bids before making £3170; a discoloured view of Kandy in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by Andrew Nicholl (c.1850) nonetheless made £9270; and a large, dramatic watercolour of Berber horsemen by the recently-deceased Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui (1924-2018) raced to £20,700.

Items of interest closer to home included a group of six watercolours by Whitby artist George Weatherill (1810-1890) that made £12000 against hopes of £9500; seven watercolours and oils by Arthur Henry Knighton Hammond from a discerning collection of his work that made £5630; and an endearing oil of a West Highland White Terrier by Samuel Fulton that ran to just over £9000.  A poetically atmospheric seascape by moonlight by Julius Olsson, shown at the Royal Academy in 1916, made £8290 and a newly-attributed 17th Century oil of Dutch men gaming at a table in an interior by Willem Cornelisz Duyster made £4750.

A charmingly unsophisticated oil of a French fishing boat by celebrated Cornish artist Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) had good provenance and just the right blend of naivete and subtle skill to appeal to a collector within its estimate at just over £20,000. The day’s top price was paid for a delightfully whimsical picture by Dora Carrington (1893-1932). `Circus Performers` was made using a curious mixture of oil, ink and silver foil on glass. It had been a wedding present in 1927 from Gerald Brenan who had close companionship with the Bloomsbury Group and with Carrington. The combination of good subject, good size (38 x 29cm), good subject and rarity lifted it beyond its estimate to take £57,300.

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