Published 6th November 2013
An upright composition, it depicted a procession lead by a priest in a ceremonial chair along cobbled streets into sunlight at the centre of the town. Numerous figures line the way with those nearest kneeling and general commotion and activity among those in anticipation further along the street.
With the other top three lots all selling in excess of £20,000, and very few pictures unsold, the sale was a great success and showed encouraging signs for picture market.
From the same collection as the Unterberger came a 19th century oil painting of Venice by William Wyld (FS20/394), which was also keenly contested on the day and sold at £21,000 against an estimate of £8,000-£12,000. This led the way amoung the Venetian views, but the Emma Ciardi (1879-1933) painting of a Venetian backwater (FS20/397) also attracted plenty of pre-sale interest. Ciardi is a nice artist with a bold and imaginative use of colour and this small oil made £3,400.
Against an estimate of £12,000-£18,000, the Heywood Hardy painting titled Riders on the Shore (FS20/408) made £22,000. The subject of a young couple exercising fine horses on a fresh sunny day was most appealing and the excellent condition made it an attractive proposition for several private buyers.
Of the more 20th Century pictures the Winifred Nicholson still life (FS20/520) attracted a private buyer too. This was a calm and understated work that had a certain slow-burning moody presence and fetched £20,000.
A number of excellent watercolours made strong prices. The Charles Dixon panorama of The Pool of London (FS20/486), which was a little down in colour, had an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 and made £3,900 and on the same maritime theme, a beautifully painted view of Plymouth Sound (FS20/467) at sunset with a tug boat and hulk in the foreground by Samuel Phillips Jackson made £1,750.
The Miles Birkett Foster watercolour seascape of the coast at St Andrews (FS20/438) is not the sort of work the artist is primarily known for, but the quality was unmistakable and though this too was a little faded, it was bought at £4,800 against the estimate of £3,000-£5,000.
There was also a collection of eight lots by John White Abbot (1763-1851) who was born in Exeter and rarely left the Westcountry (FS20/446-453). The style employed by John White Abbot was influenced by and very close to that of his master Francis Towne, with neat pen outlines and clear colour washes. This academic group was highly admired and each of the ten lots sold for between £300 and £900 with one exception, a tree study (FS20/448), which made significantly more at £3,400! This appears to be an earlier period drawing and is a more detailed, refined and worked-up example and for these reasons stood out on the day.
There was a strong section of portraits study of Helen Elizabeth Hutchison as a teenager (FS20/391) painted by her father William Oliphant Hutchison. This was a highly decorative and attractive period portrait and the £1,000-£1,500 estimate was perhaps rather cautious. The portrait had been exhibited with the Society of Scottish Artist and also had a Paris Salon label for 1962. These factors and the high quality carved wood frame help the picture reach £7,000.
Our next major picture sale is on 21st/22nd January 2014 and the catalogue will be online before Christmas. Please contact Dan Goddard or Martin Scadgell in our picture department to discuss consigning a single picture or collection. In the meantime, we have a 100 lot picture sale on 19th November 2013.