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Maritime and Sporting

Sporting Pictures

Throughout the 17th and 18th century, portraits of famous horses, prize-winning cattle, pigs and dogs were produced as a record of their magnificence. The tradition continued in the 19th century, so there is a wide selection of animal portraits available at auction. There are many well known equestrian artists, such as James Ward, Henry Thomas Alken, John Fredrick Herring Sr and Alfred Munnings are, perhaps, among the greatest English artists.

Equestrian pictures vary on their subject from portraits to horse racing and, perhaps, the most popular area is hunting scenes. Images reminiscent of a bygone era, hunting scenes continue to attract buyers at auction. In particular, scenes by Lionel Edwards and Charles 'Snaffles' Johnson Payne (1884-1967) continue to hold their ground in the mid-market price range.

Four light Brahmas painted by the renowned 19th century artist, JW Ludlow.

Four light Brahmas painted by the renowned 19th century artist, JW Ludlow.

As West Country auctioneers, we deal with clients and estates with strong rural links. One such example was the sale of original artwork by the Victorian ornithological artist JW Ludlow. Perhaps the most famous poultry artist of the 19th century, Ludlow produced the illustrations for Lewis Wright's 1873 Wright's Book of Poultry. Whilst many prints are available of Ludlow's detailed illustrations, original pieces are not often found at auction. Found in an attic of a descendant, a number of original oil on canvas paintings attracted great interest from breeders and private clients.

A pheasant cock and hen by Archibald Thorburn fetched £26,000 in a Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood sale.

A pheasant cock and hen by Archibald Thorburn fetched £26,000 in a Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood sale.

Another master bird-illustrator of the early 20th century was Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935), who spent much of his time in Scotland sketching birds in the wild. The quality of his work represented a stylistic change in wildlife art that has created a great demand for his work. Prices range from £26,000 for the pheasant and cock hen seen above down to £1,300 for the woodcock painted en grisaille seen below.

A woodcock painted en-grisaille by Archibald Thorburn fetched £1,300 in the pictures section of a Sporting auction.

A woodcock painted en-grisaille by Archibald Thorburn fetched £1,300 in the pictures section of a Sporting auction.

Though the majority of sporting pictures are of a rural theme, modern sporting pictures of motor racing are also found. Replacing the equine portrait in the 20th century, the modern motor racing portrait has become desirable to collectors and private buyers alike. Dion Pears and Roy Nockolds are, perhaps, the best known of these artists, covering the 1950s and 1960s period.

Specialists

Brian Goodison-BlanksBrian Goodison-Blanks
Department Head

Associated Department

Pictures