Over 300 lots of pictures of international appeal came under the hammer at Lawrences in Crewkerne recently and prices were buoyant in a market that is quickly regaining general broadbased strength after a few years of relatively selective buying. Four prints of Indian interest, including a badly worn copy of Johann Zoffany’s famous image of Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match got the ball rolling at £1670 and three lots of remarkable life drawings and studies after the Antique by the little-known John Bathe (1849-1874) soared to £8380. An atmospheric watercolour view of Ilfracombe by John Martin dated from 1847 and was bought for £9560, while a fine group of Kentish scenes by Rowland Hilder sold well against keen competition to make £12000. Depicting more distant shores, two restful views of Corfu by Spyridon Scarvelli made £3220. By complete contrast, a ghoulish pencil study of a skull by the celebrated contemporary artist Damien Hirst, given to the vendor by the artist, made £4180.
In the selection of oil paintings, a beautiful study of the Virgin and Child by Netherlandish master Otto van Veen (derived from a work by Raphael, probably seen by van Veen in Rome in the 1570’s) was bought by a private collector for £17920 and a fascinating oil of yachts off Cowes, painted in about 1845, exceeded its £1500 estimate to sail away at £4780. A Royal Academy exhibit by John William Bottomley from 1856, depicting young hunters on a foggy Scottish upland, was appearing outside the vendor’s family for the first time in 160 years and made £2390. A serene moonlit beach scene in Cornwall by Julius Olsson created waves at £3580 whilst Giorgio Lucchesi’s minutely detailed oil of grapes proved to be the pick of the bunch at £9080. The sale ended on a high note as ten lots from the Smith-Barry family (by descent in the Earls of Barrymore of Fota Island in County Cork) all found buyers, with a portrait of the 4th Earl (1667-1747) making £7400 and a wistful Victorian study of the Hon. Geraldine Smith-Barry by George Elgar Hicks leaving for a new home at £5970.
Lawrences, The Linen Yard, South Street, Crewkerne TA18 8AB.
Tel 01460 73041