Published 13th April 2013
Posting the upcoming Fine Sale (which is being held on 24th/25th April 2013) on our web site and the Internet well in advance gives buyers the opportunity and plenty of time to request additional information, images and condition reports about the Ceramics and Glass, Works of Art and Clocks, Jewellery and Watches, Furniture and Paintings they are interested in. The Pictures Department has received hundreds of enquiries with particular interest in the Michael Snow Art Collection (FS18/317-334).
Michael Seward Snow died in 2012 and this collection is the property of his son. After seeing an exhibition of St Ives artists in Liverpool in 1951, Snow moved to Cornwall where he became part of the group of painters which included John Wells, Wilhelmina Barns Graham, Alex Mackenzie and Ben Nicholson.
Snow's own painting among this group continued to change, influence and evolve and it was his personal relationship and involvement with the group that enabled him to form his collection of artworks; many of these being personal gifts or exchanges of work. For example, the Ben Nicolson etching of classical columns (FS18/317) and the Barns Graham wood relief sculpture (FS18/321) were both personal gifts to Snow. Alongside this group, there is a collection of Michael Snow's own work and one particular example has influences of the expressionism of Terry Frost (FS18/311) and can be compared to the acrylic and collage by Terry Frost in the same sale (FS18/415) in terms of bold and confident use of colour and composition.
There are a also number of 20th Century British sculptures in the Snow collection including a bronze by Dennis Mitchell titled Sennen (Sennen Cove is on the Cornish coast one mile from Land's End) (FS18/332). We have just added an amendment to our catalogue description having, for authenticity, left a small label attached to the base of the bronze. Now, having carefully removed the label, it reveals the important initials for Dennis Mitchell, date and number "DAM '77 6" – so much for being too careful...!
The first seven lots in the picture section are paintings by Alan Cotton who has studios in East Devon and whose work we have had success selling over the last couple of years. The paintings are landscapes of Hartland (FS18/301) (FS18/302), Provence (FS18/303) (FS18/306) and East Devon (FS18/305) with estimates from £600 upwards. The group also includes a painting titled Rachel in Summer Meadows (£2,000-£3,000) (FS18/307), which depicts Cotton's daughter picking flowers in a lush bright landscape.
Among the more traditional paintings are two 19th century European oil paintings and two 19th Century British paintings. These types of painting have been less fashionable of late but the pre-sale interest in all of them is encouraging and there is no doubt that they are all decorative and look excellent value... if you desire a good traditional painting. Most appealing perhaps is the William Oliver Young Beauty (FS18/357) which is estimated at £1,000-£1,500. Of a sentimental nature is the narrative painting by Edwin Thomas Roberts titled His Only Pair of Breeches (FS18/356) which shows a grandfather struggling to thread a needle with his grandson looking on, and this is estimated at £1,200-£1,800. The two European paintings are narrative groups; one depicts an engagement party (FS18/354), the other is called Happy Days of Childhood (FS18/355) and was painted by Mengali.
The potential star of the show is an oil painting by Paul Feiler of a Cornish Harbour (FS18/400) and is one of two paintings by Feiler in the sale (the other being FS18/401). The larger work is estimated at £30,000–£50,000 and it creates a nice symmetry with another collection of work in the sale by Peter Thursby who was a student of Feiler at the West of England College of Art in the 1950s.
The Thursby group, which includes drawings and sculpture, is offered by his widow (FS18/410/411/412) and includes a bronze titled Concave Pod (FS18/413) with an estimate of £3,000-£4,000. Thursby's terms 'Pod' and 'Podmen' came about after he watched workmen and builders on scaffolding who appeared like 'peas in a pod' on small platforms and framed in boxes.
The group of paintings by Robert Lenkiewicz includes a strong study titled Cockney Jim waiting for Miss Lesley Miller on the Barbican (FS18/418). This is a Vagrancy Project painting, which is subtitled Love & Romance Theme. Through the medium of this theme, Lenkiewicz explored the falling in love experience in terms of a fanatical addictive obsession. The painting is estimated at £4,000-£6,000.
My favourite painting is a beautiful light and fresh little still life that is rather anonymous and catalogued as E Pillard (19th/20th Century French School). It is titled in French Pivoines, which of course are peonies. The painting was exhibited at the Redfern Gallery in Cork Street in 1954 and sold at Christies in 1977. The estimate this time round is just £150-£250.