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Rare Pastel Chalks up a Strong Price...

14th April 2022

Lawrences’ Spring auction of pictures offered a varied selection of works spanning five centuries. As usual, there were strong prices throughout – with some surprises too.

Two large watercolours easily exceeded their estimates: a 83 x 58cm view of Combe Sydenham house on the Quantocks by Edward Gurden Dalziel, 1870, possibly a Royal Academy exhibit in 1871, made £3250; and another RA picture by John Henry Henshall, entitled `Resignation` (1918), measured 77 x 56cm and made £3000 after determined bidding. Two large drawings by Dame Elisabeth Frink from 1962, one of a horse’s head and the other of a fallen warrior, showcased Frink’s skill with dramatic themes that portrayed the vulnerability of strength. These made £3500 and £4750.

A 1984 view from the artist’s studio, by the notable Welsh artist Peter Prendergast, just overtopped its estimate to make £4000 and a small but sensitively coloured still life of plums by Scottish artist Stanley Cursiter, appearing for the first time since it was purchased in 1958, made £8125. A more modern oil on board scene at Combe Sydenham house by Felix Kelly (1964) made £5500.

Two unexpectedly strong prices were paid for entirely different pictures. A twilight landscape scene in oils, entitled `Evening`  by the Midlands artist William Kiddier (1859-1934) surged beyond its estimate of £400-600 to make £6875 (almost ten times any other price paid for this artist’s work in any auction). A beautifully refined and rare pastel drawing by Samuel Walters of the celebrated Brunel vessel `SS Great Britain` from 1852 attracted a number of bidders. The artist’s work on paper is almost unknown with only one other pastel recorded. This impressive picture was bid to £11,250, a price more commensurate with a large oil painting by the distinguished Merseyside artist.

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