Among the highlights of Bellmans’ recent Modern British & 20th Century Art auction in West Sussex were some of the big names and women artists did particularly well again.
Mary Fedden’s Picnic on the Beach (2005) sold for almost double its high estimate for £4,800 and Ermione (1995) for £3,500 against an estimate of £1,500 to £2,500.
Barbara Jones, who was associated with the ‘Recording Britain’ project, a scheme initiated by Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery, and launched in 1940, had been taught by Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. The Jolly Farmer, Farnham from 1944 by her, was estimated at £200 to £300, but achieved £5,500. Eileen Agar’s mixed media Ecclesiastical Overtones, 1954 made £2,000 against an estimate of £800 to £1,200.
Irises, a coloured etching by Elizabeth Blackadder sold for £950, estimated at £300 to £500). Norah Glover’s San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice sold for five times its low estimate at £1,000.
Several Cecil Beaton lots were included in the auction with five designs for red dresses, dated from 1927 to 1967, selling for £4,000 against an estimate of £1,000 to £2,000. His costume design for the character Violet in ‘The Return of the Prodigal‘ by St.John Hankin, The Globe Theatre, 1948, made £1,100, against an estimated £300 to £500). Max Beerbohm was fascinated by Lytton Strachey and this portrait of him from 1931 had been expected to fetch £800 to £1,200, but saw a fierce bidding war on the phone and internet until the hammer finally came down at £4,200.
A watercolour of a boy sat in a bowl by Mervyn Peake sold for eight times its low estimate at £2,400, while one by Augustus John sold for £1,400 against an estimate of £150 to £250 and a Sir Stanley Spencer print reached £1,100, estimated at £600 to £800. Vanessa and Clive Bell’s son Quentin painted a Study for Winter Landscape, Charleston and it sold for five times its high estimate at £1,500.
Several coloured lithographs by LS Lowry sold well with the top lot, On the Sands, reaching £1,900 against an estimate of £800 to £1,200. A Shelter Sketchbook (Cramer 80) by Henry Moore, numbered 131/180, fetched £1,500, against an estimate of £600 to £800); and Victor Pasmore’s Magic Eye was estimated at £500 to £700, but sold for £1,300. A lithograph by David Hockney for the Metropolitan Opera 1981/82 and signed by the artist, carried an estimate of £300 to £500 and made £1,700.
A self-portrait by Conrad Felixmueller showing him painting his wife sold within estimate for £14,000, as did the painting Carriole sur la route bordee d’arbres by Pierre-Eugene Montezin, which sold for £5,000.