Munnings romps home in Somerset sale

A varied selection of pictures, comprising five centuries of art, provided plenty of choice for collectors in a recent Somerset sale, with works by the likes of Walter Sickert and Sir Alfred Munnings proving popular.

Norman Lindsay, `Fanfrolico`
Norman Lindsay, ‘Fanfrolico’

Among the watercolours and drawings in Lawrences’ autumn auction were a newly re-discovered drawing by Walter Sickert, depicting a nude by a bed in Mornington Crescent, c.1909, which made £6,875; a light-hearted caricature by Louis Wain of a cat with a cigar, entitled Quick Puff, more than doubled hopes of £1,500 to make £3,750; a small watercolour portrait of Dodda Vira Raja, Ruler of Coorg (1780-1809), attributed to John Smart, made £10,000; and a fine watercolour by the Australian artist Norman Lindsay, entitled `Fanfrolico` and fully endorsed by the artist’s granddaughter, tripled its estimate to make £17,500. It had been bought at a small auction in Yorkshire in the 1960s for only a modest bid.

Walter Sickert, depicting a nude by a bed in Mornington Crescent, c.1909
Walter Sickert, depicting a nude by a bed in Mornington Crescent, c.1909

Great demand for oil paintings of every type was in evidence when a Royal Academy exhibit by Nicholas Condy, entitled Interior of an Irish cottage at Ballyboyleboo, Antrim, 1843, made £5,000.

Nicholas Condy, ‘Interior of an Irish cottage at Ballyboyleboo’, Antrim, 1843

A lively Provincial hare coursing scene from the 18thCentury was chased to £8,750; a 1936 Sussex landscape by leading Bloomsbury artist Vanessa Bell made £8,125; and £55,000 was paid for a newly researched and authenticated landscape scene by Paul Bril (1554-1626)

A Sussex landscape by Vanessa Bell
A Sussex landscape by Vanessa Bell

Among the 20th-century British pictures, £10,625 was paid for a signed Lowry print of Berwick on Tweed (1973).

LS Lowry print of Berwick on Tweed 

Elsewhere, £40,000 was paid for a collection of modern pictures and prints from a private vendor, led by a suite of four oils by Tom Phillips, 1972, that made £8,750; and the day’s top price, a restful oil on canvas, c.1912, by Sir Alfred Munnings, depicting a grey pony watering at a country pool in dappled light, that more than doubled its upper estimate of £30,000 to make £62,500.

Sir Alfred Munnings painting depicting a grey pony

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