One of the highlights of the sale at Bellmans are two corresponding paintings by local painter James Clarke Hook (British, 1819-1907), who lived near Godalming for the final 50 years of his life. He is best known for his genre painting and in particular his fascination with the sea and coastal scenes, which led to his paintings often being dubbed ‘Hookscapes’.
This auction includes two of his early paintings: The Ship Boys Letter from 1863, which has been well documented and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1857 and shows a young boy writing a letter to his mother while at sea, estimated at £2,000-£4,000, and Reading the Ship Boys Letter, which depicts his mother reading the letter out to the rest of the family at home in the countryside. The painting is estimated at £4,000-£6,000. Interestingly, the latter was actually painted before the one of the boy writing the letter.
Another well-known marine painter, John James Wilson (British, 1818-1875), is also included with an 1869 work, Boats entering harbour in a swell, which is estimated at £1,000-£1,500. Two watercolours by Albert Goodwin (British, 1845-1932) are also in the auction, another marine themed work, Her Last Voyage, from 1909 carries an estimate of £700-£1,000, and one depicting Durham Cathedral is expected to fetch £500 – £700.
An oil on canvas winter scene by Belgian artists Hendrik Adolf Schaep (1826-1870) and Eugene Joseph Henri Smits (1826-1912) from 1889, was started by the former and finished by the latter. Skaters on a frozen river, carries an estimate of £1,000-£1,500.
The auction also includes a Scottish painting by Otto Leyde (1835-1897), who was born in East Prussia in 1835, but moved and settled in Edinburgh in 1854 and devoted himself to painting, exhibiting in the Royal Scottish Academy for the first time in 1858. He is known for his portraits of Scottish society families, but also his subject pictures, often with a strong Scottish theme. This charming portrait of four children and their red setter also has strong Scottish links, but the sitters are currently unknown – with the boys dressed in kilts (?) and the girls in blue and white dresses. To keep with the Scottish theme, one of the boys holding a golf club. The oil on canvas is signed and dated 1862 and estimated to sell for £1,000-£1,500.