The Under the Hammer column with Tennants Auctioneers
Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on Saturday, June 22 is set to include a strong offering of modern British art, from the likes of Mary Fedden, Sir Kyffin Williams, Edward Ardizzone, and Edith Lawrence.
One of the top lots of the sale is ‘Gwastadnant’ by Sir Kyffin Williams, R.A. (Estimate: £5,000-£8,000 plus buyer’s premium).
One of several paintings of the hamlet in Caernarfonshire by the Welsh artist, it was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1993.
Williams is celebrated for his depictions of the Welsh landscape, which he captured using bold strokes in a subdued colour palette of black, greys, browns and olive greens.
‘Fruit’ by Mary Fedden, a later work by the artist from 2009, is entered with an estimate of £4,000-£6,000 (plus b.p). Fedden gained considerable recognition for her simple, emblematic still life studies after the death of her husband and fellow artist Julian Trevelyan.
A group of five watercolour and ink drawings by Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) are entered with estimates ranging from £1,000 to £3,000 (plus b.p).
One of the finest illustrators of the 20th Century, Ardizzone is known for his charming paintings, book illustrations and his work as a war artist from 1940-45.
His work is warm, witty and based on observations of the everyday life that surrounded him, indeed his war work was praised for showing a more human side. Ardizzone populated his pictures with instantly recognisable and relatable figures and he had a keen eye for human interactions, which he translated to paper with great humour.
Northern Art has a strong presence in the sale, with an important oil painting by mining artist Norman Cornish. ‘Street Scene with Tanky Engine’ depicts children playing in the snow in Bishops’ Close Street, Spennymoor – the street in which Cornish grew up and started his married life. Estimated at £10,000-£15,000 (plus b.p), the painting comes with provenance from the artist’s family.
A group of Grosvenor School linocuts are also on offer, with provenance from the ‘Estate of Edith Lawrence’. Capturing the vitality and rapid mechanisation of life between the wars, the vibrant and graphic works of the Grosvenor School have become much in demand in recent years.
Of note is ‘Cricket’ by Edith Lawrence, on offer with an estimate of £2,500-£4,000 (plus b.p), and ‘The Quartette’ by the rare and collectable Australian artist Dorrit Black (estimate: £3,000-£5,000 plus b.p).
Also included in the sale are works by Terry Frost, Sydney Harpley, Peter Brook, Sally Arnup, Brian ‘Braaq’ Shields, Geoffrey Key, Edgar Hubert, Michael Craig-Martin, Pamela J Crook and Leon Morocco.
On the same day Tennants will also be offering the complimentary Modern Living: Art & Design Sale. Including the best of the 20th century, one of the many highlights is a stoneware St Ives Pottery ‘Leaping Salmon’ vase by Bernard Leach, who was regarded as the father of British studio pottery.
The tall vase is one of Leach’s most recognisable shapes, and the leaping salmon one of his most iconic designs – the curved fish fitting the form of the tall vase perfectly. An important piece of British studio pottery, it is estimated at £4,000-£6,000 (plus b.p).
European Decorative Arts are represented by a trio of works by Lalique, including an opalescent frosted and blue stained ‘Spirales’ vase, estimated at £500-£800 (plus b.p). Made in the 1920s/30s, and signed René Lalique, it has a strong opalescence, an effect notoriously difficult to produce.
Modern Art Glass is represented by a ‘Pulcino’ Bird, designed by Alessandro Pianon for Vistosi c.1962 on Murano in the Venetian Lagoon.
Redolent of Italian mid-century design, this highly collectable bird is estimated at £2,000-£3,000 (plus b.p).
For collectors of Art Deco is a charming ivory and cold painted bronze statue of a young woman by the Austrian Josef Lorenzl (estimate: £500-£700 plus b.p).
Also included will be a fascinating array of Mouseman and other furniture.
For more details please see the website www.tennants.co.uk or call 01423 531661.