Yorkshire estate collection of paintings leads sale

A private collection of paintings from a Yorkshire Estate led the recent British, European and Sporting Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire, realising a combined hammer price of £176,550 for the 23 lots. The collection came from Denton Hall, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and received enthusiastic attention from buyers.

Topping the paintings from Denton was Cowslips by George Dunlop Leslie (1835-1921), which sold for a hammer of £91,000. The picture, depicting a trio of young girls collecting cowslips, was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1877 and was in the collection of The Rt. Hon. William George Armstrong of Cragside, Rothbury between 1900 and 1910.

George Dunlop Leslie was a member of the St John’s Wood Clique, an influential circle of artists who acquired large fortunes and high social status. His early work was markedly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, but as his career progressed, he began to paint in a more academic manner, portraying gentle and pleasing scenes of everyday life. The critic John Ruskin praised his depictions of the “sweet quality of English girlhood”.

Further notable result from the collection included a painting by fellow St John’s Wood Clique artist William F Yeames (1835-1918). Yeames had a fascination with British history, particularly the Civil War, reflected in the present painting which depicts Dr Harvey and the children of Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill, which sold for £8,500. A top price for French artist Charles Euphraisie Kuwasseg (1838-1904) was also achieved when Bruges sold for £7,000 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000, and two flower still lifes by Cecil Kennedy (1905-1997) were well received selling for £9,500 apiece. Good marine paintings included Fair Winds by Henry Scott (1911-2005), which sold for £4,200.

Highlights from other vendors in the sale included two further outstanding marine paintings by Yorkshire artist John Steven Dews (b. 1949). Dews was born in Beverley and is one of the most successful living maritime artists. As an avid sailor, he imbues his works with meticulous detail and realism gained from his close affinity with the sea and sailing. Shamrock Racing, Velsheda & Britannia Thames Estuary, c.1930 sold for £20,000, and White Heather II battling it out with Britannia off Fishburn, Cowes sold for £11,000.

Strong prices were also seen for good landscapes in the sale, led by Innaglush, Cushendun, Co. Antrim by Irish artist James Humbert Craig (1877-1944), which sold for £6,800 – a good price for the artist according to the auction house.

The Rustic Footbath by Thomas Sidney Cooper, which was exhibited in the Royal Academy, sold for £5,500, and a pair of fine examples of landscape painting by the Yorkshire artist William Mellor sold well at £6,000. Also of note was a group of landscapes by Owen Bowen, and a William Luker Snr (1828-1905) of sheep and a shepherd at rest that sold for £2,200.