Previous News - Modern British art wins top marks at The Canterbury Auction Galleries


Paintings by Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan, all purchased from the same London gallery, swept the board in at The Canterbury Auction Galleries with private and trade buyers ignoring estimates to secure the four works on offer. All consigned by the executors of a local deceased estate, the four works realised a total of £34,800, with Mary Fedden (1915-2012) commanding the highest prices.

Most wanted was a “Still Life on the Shore” with a ginger beer bottle and a mug set against a background of fishermen’s cottages, an oil on canvas, 24ins x 30ins, signed in black “Fedden” and dated 1974.  Like the other three works, it had been purchased originally from the New Grafton Gallery, this one in 1975. The top lot in the three-day sale, it sold to a private buyer from the South West of England for £14,500 against an estimate of £8,000-12,000.

Nearest contender for top honours was the artist’s view of a harbour with a figure seated front left and titled “Julian on the Wharf”. The oil on canvas, 24ins x 20ins, was signed in blue “Fedden” and dated 1975, the same year it was purchased. It sold for £7,200 to the same South West collector against an estimate of £3,500-5,000.

Close behind at £6,900 was “County Cork 1978”, a view of cottages on a quay with two figures and three dogs to the foreground. The oil on board, 20ins x 30ins, was signed in green “Fedden” and dated 1978. It was purchased by the Channel Islands trade.

Completing the group was an oil by Julian Trevelyan (1910-1988) titled - “Singing Nuns - 63” showing groups of four and three sisters and a further figure in black walking by a monument. The canvas measured 20ins x 24ins, and was signed “Trevelyan” and dated ’63. It sold to a private buyer from Malta for £6,200 against an estimate of £3,500-5,000.

Paintings and drawings by Jehan Daly, a leading light of the East Kent School of artists, sold in 43 lots on behalf of the family of Daly’s patron, woollen mill owner Colin George, realised a total of £5,290.

Contemporary paintings were wanted generally. A gouache of two leaping deer with a Bengali Alpana style sun in the top right hand corner was by Jamini Roy (1887-1972) a major contributor to Indian modern art. Among the best performers in the sale, it went to the London trade for an above top estimate £5,100. By the same hand was a shoulder length portrait of an Indian woman with elongated neck, painted on 20mm strips of woven brown paper, measuring 13ins x 10ins overall, and signed as before in red in Bengali to lower right. It sold to the same buyer for £5,100, double the presale high estimate. Both had been sent for sale by the local family of Robert and Joan Godwin, former chairman and managing director respectively of British Paints (India) who had purchased them from a Calcutta gallery when they were based there in the 1960s.

Ink and wash drawings by the Maltese artist Emvin Cremona (1919-1987) sent for sale by a private London vendor will be returning to their county of origin having been secured by a collector living there prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege. Dearer of two lots comprised a view of an historic Maltese building and steps leading to statue, signed and dated ‘73, and an unfinished abstract view of a black block and wheel with the city walls, signed and dated ’74. They sold for £4,300. The second lot: sketches of a seated bishop holding a book, signed and dated ‘73, and another of a standing figure of a knight with a castle in the background, signed and dated ’72, sold for £4,000. Both prices were multiples of the estimates.

Four paintings in the Asian section of the sale also drew strong bids, the London trade staking £14,000, another multiple of the estimate, on a group of four Chinese School export oil paintings of harbour scenes with tall ships and junks at anchor. Appropriately, it was a Chinese Internet bidder who secured the top lot in the section: a late 18th or early 19th century, 6.5ins (165mm) high bronze incense burner decorated with inlaid silver wire in an archaistic design, the base of which was also signed using the wire. It sold for £6,200, more than double its top estimate.

A Chinese Wucai enamel (five colours) porcelain baluster-shaped vase and cover was a recent find during one of the saleroom’s free Friday morning valuation sessions. Decorated with four different and stylised leaf and floral ornament and dating from the late Ming period 1368-1642, it sold to a Hong Kong dealer for an above top estimate £5,100, while from sale from the same valuation morning were two Chinese “Famille Verte” saucer shaped dishes, each enamelled in colours with an attendant offering a peach to a lady on a terrace with flowering trees to background, sold to a London dealer for £4,100.

A Japanese Meiji period silver-mounted ivory and Shibayama two-handled vase and cover with dragon handles, the cover with cranes, the lobed ivory body inlaid with various coloured mother-of-pearl and hardstone birds on flowering branches, sold for £3,600, despite damage. From a local deceased estate, it was purchased by a local private buyer. A private, single-owner collection of Japanese edged weapons comprising 19 lots realised a total of £11,180.

It was a Hong Kong Internet bidder who secured the most valuable piece of jewellery in the sale: an early 19th century Swiss gold and enamel carnet de bal case, which sold on estimate for £6,000. On one side was a half length portrait miniature of a young woman in a blue dress, and on the other an oval portrait miniature of a young woman with a dove, each below oblong panels decorated with classical scenes. The case measured just 88mm x 53mm x 8mm overall and contained three sheet ivory dance cards and a pencil, all contained in red leather gilt tooled fitted case retailed by John Jaffa Antiques, London.

A modern but no less charming 18ct gold diamond and pearl-set brooch/pendant in the Art Nouveau manner by the pre-eminent Barcelona jeweller Masriera, sold to a local private buyer for £4,600. The brooch was modelled with a fairy holding a pearl, seated in a bower created by 44 brilliant-cut diamonds. A second pearl was suspended from her long pleated gown formed from pale green enamel and she had blue and green plique à jour wings. A heavy 18ct gold chain permitted the brooch to be worn as a pendant and the whole was contained in a burgundy silk box with numbered certificate.

In European ceramics, a Victorian majolica pottery garden seat, modelled with a seated monkey balancing a cushion on his head, probably by Minton but unmarked, was damaged extensively and repaired but sold to a private buyer in the North West for £3,000.

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