The Under the Hammer column with Tennants

How does the old adage go? '˜You wait ages for a bus then two come along at once', well that is certainly how I'm feeling about works by Dorothea Sharp (1874-1955), though with no complaints!

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 8:55 am
Dorothea Sharps work Gathering Daisies, oil on canvas, (48.5cm by 60cm) sold for £34,000 at the Autumn Fine Art Sale.

The star contribution from the Harrogate Office to the 2017 Autumn Fine Art Sale was a divine figural painting by Sharp, depicting children gathering daisies on a sun drenched cliff top. This achieved a staggering £34,000 against an estimate of £10,000-15,000.

I am delighted to say that sourced again in Harrogate is another painting by this renowned British artist entitled ‘Still life of Calla lilies in a jug before a view of the sea’, that is equally vibrant and full of life and expected to attract much attention in the 2018 Spring Fine Art Sale.

Dorothea Sharps Still life of Calla lilies in a jug before a view of the sea. Estimated at £8,000-12,000 in the Spring Fine Art Sale on 17 March.

Dorothea Sharp was born in Dartford, Kent, in 1874, which also happened to be the year of the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris, an earth-shattering moment in art history and one that would have a great impact on Sharp’s work.

Despite protestations from her family, she chose her own path as an artist and aged 21 enrolled first at Richmond Art School then Regent Street Polytechnic, where her work was positively appraised by the highly influential Sir George Clausen(1852-1944).

She then travelled to the centre of the late 19th century art world, Paris, where she discovered the greatest influence on her style, Claude Monet (1840-1926).

Her painting would never be the same again, with the Impressionist philosophy of ‘expressing one’s perceptions before nature’ highly evident in all of her landscapes and still life studies.

Dorothea Sharps Still life of Calla lilies in a jug before a view of the sea. Estimated at £8,000-12,000 in the Spring Fine Art Sale on 17 March.

Back in Britain she was quickly recognised for her talent and achievements, becoming a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1907, the Society of Women Artists in 1908 then Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1922.

Though initially London based, like many contemporary artists she was drawn to Cornwall, particularly St Ives, where in 1920 she met the equally successful Marcella Smith (1887-1963) and began a life-long friendship, as well as becoming heavily involved in the St Ives Society of Artists, Sharp exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and in 1933 held her first one woman show at the Connell Gallery, London, which led to her being heralded as ‘one of England’s greatest living woman painters’ by the editor of the periodical ‘The Artist’.

Though she received fame and plaudits during her lifetime, her work has been increasingly recognised, praised and collected since her death in 1955.

Auction results have shown that there is now global interest in her charming, highly impressionistic landscapes, together with her distinctive still life studies of flowers, a fine example of which will be offered for sale on 17 March with an estimate of £8,000-12,000.

In other news we are pleased to announce a new addition to the calendar of valuation dates.

Together with the Talbot Hotel in Malton, the Bar Convent in York and the Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey, we will now be holding regular events at Lytham Hall in Lytham, the first of which will be taking place on Thursday 12 April.

For further details on this, or any of the mentioned events, please contact the Harrogate Office on 01423 531661.