Triumph for Sir Kyffin Williams' Welsh art at Bonhams

The Bonhams Pictures Sale in Chester on March 6 was a triumph for Welsh paintings

Fine Art & Interiors, including Welsh Pictures
5 - 7 Mar 2013

The Bonhams Pictures Sale in Chester on March 6 was a triumph for Welsh paintings

The sale delivered results which surpassed expectation, with eight of the top ten paintings sold coming from Welsh artists. The buyers bid strongly for Sir Kyffin Williams' beautiful paintings of unkempt, sombre scenery, celebrating the natural beauty of the Welsh landscape.

The top selling lot, considerably exceeding the proposed estimate, was Williams' Welsh landscape with rocks, cottages and hillsides. The work, fetching £32,450 (estimated to sell for £18,000 – 22,000), is a beguiling oil painting depicting a small house enclosed amidst a rugged, crumbling cliffside painted in a dark and subdued palette recalling the serene and austere landscape of the Welsh countryside.

Jeff Muse, Regional Director, comments: "We are delighted by the resurgence of popularity of Sir Kyffin Williams' work following his death in 2006. The market has been holding its breath to see the outcome of the auction. We are especially pleased by the notable result of the Williams' painting of the church of Kyffin Williams' grandfather. The painting was predicted to attract considerable interest due to its eye-catching, stark palette".

Interestingly, the paintings which generated most interest during the sale were Kyffins' bolder oil works of rugged mountainsides painted in subdued colours. Buyers seemed to be affected by the more solid paintings with greater visual impact, in contrast to Kyffin's pictures of a paler, livelier palette such as his 'Farm Penmynydd' or 'Mynydd Bodaffon'.

Overall, the sale saw Welsh painters doing consistently well across the board, John Piper's playfully abstract work of wild scenery achieving £6,875, meeting the predicted estimate. Similarly, Mr Muse was also pleased by the good results of another rising Welsh painter, Will Roberts and the success of his figurative work 'Planter', which fetched above the estimated price. He said it was good to see this painter 'really start to get a solid foothold' in the market.

Jeff Muse added that most of the Kyffin Williams' pictures went to great enthusiasts of his work, both in Wales and in the rest of the country.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

  1. Jeff Muse
    Queen Square House
    Bath, United Kingdom BA1 2LL
    Work +44 1225 788 980
    FaxFax: +44 1225 446 675

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