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Lenkiewicz's Alchemist Turns His Art into Big Prices...

25th July 2020

A selection of pictures spanning no fewer than six centuries featured first on the last day of Lawrences’ Summer Fine Art sales in Crewkerne.

Amongst the watercolours and drawings, a small pencil drawing by John Smart, the celebrated miniaturist, of General Sir John William Floyd, Bt. (1748-1818) drew a number of keen bidders before being secured for £3000. A watercolour view of Ludlow by Louis Rayner, bustling with activity and with typically neat architectural details, made £5500, more than double the low estimate.

An impressively decorative oil painting of an urn of flowers, attributed to Franz Werner von Tamm (1658-1724) more than doubled its high estimate to make £6250; and a dashing Regency portrait of a young gentleman, possibly a member of the Gough-Calthorpe family and ascribed to Sir Francis Grant  (1803-1878) exceeded hopes of £1200 to soar to £4000. The obvious quality and picturesque appeal of a depiction of sheep at Glen Lyon in Perthsire by William Watson made £4000;and a realistic portrait of the bay race horse, `Legal Prince`, by Frances M. Hollams attracted many bids to make £2500. Part of its appeal no doubt lay in the fact that the horse had been owned by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and had been a gift to the vendor’s sister in 1955. A modern oil of a lady with a black fan by Marthe Lebasque (1897-1977)  made £3250, believed to be a record price for the artist’s work and one of only a few of her pictures that has ever made over £500.

The penultimate lot in the sale made the highest price: an inventive but eccentric depiction of `The Alchemist` by Robert Lenkiewicz featured a portrait of the artist himself standing in the centre. The large subject, 91 x 120cm, refers to Lenkiewicz’s love of the history of science and medicine, the pursuit of knowledge down the centuries and the focused determination of a scholar’s passion. Dated to c.1968 by the artist’s son, the picture attracted phone bidders and online activity to make just over £9300.

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