Rare works by Alfred Munnings and his sketching partner, John Millar Watt, feature in Bonhams East Anglian Art Auction

Artist admired by Churchill and George VI appears at Bonhams

19 Nov 2013, Modern British, Irish and East Anglian Art

Rare works by Alfred Munnings and his sketching partner, John Millar Watt, feature in Bonhams East Anglian Art Auction

Artist admired by Churchill and George VI appears at Bonhams

19 Nov 2013, Modern British, Irish and East Anglian Art

Rarely seen works by John Millar Watt, depicting views from the village of Dedham where he and his sketching partner Alfred Munnings lived, feature in Bonhams sale of paintings by East Anglian artists on November 19 in Knightsbridge, London.

In 1923, when Millar Watt moved to Dedham with wife and fellow artist Amy Watt, he was already well known as a cartoon strip artist. He created his Daily Sketch strip 'Pop' in 1921 and it ran daily for the following three decades. The strip became such a regular feature that when he wished to terminate it in the late 30s, he was persuaded that it ought to continue to boost the war effort and 'morale'. King George and Churchill were both identified as fans.

Dedham was where Millar Watt and Munnings became friends. The pair would often drive out on sketching trips into the East Anglian countryside, and the Munnings were frequent guests at the Watts' table, not least because Amy was an excellent cook. In 1946, when the Daily Sketch published its anniversary edition to commemorate 25 years of the 'Pop' cartoon, Sir Alfred Munnings, one of the many artists to contribute, wrote:

"I have the greatest admiration for Millar Watt both as an artist and a man. I have known him for years. Some of my happiest days have been out sketching with him in Suffolk. "

The commercial success of Millar Watt as cartoonist, illustrator and creator of popular advertising images, meant that his painterly output was relatively slight. The works on offer in Bonhams' November East Anglian pictures sale are the first significant works of his to come to auction for some time.

The November sale includes three large oils of Stour Valley views, and the exquisite 'Woodcutter' estimated at £1,500-2,000. Millar Watt's works will hang alongside a number of works by his great friend Alfred Munnings, including a watercolor of horses, titled 'Off into the fields' and estimated at £8,000-12,000, that he painted when he just 21 years old.

To view the catalog online, please visit bonhams.com/eastanglianpictures.

For more press information please contact Julian Roup on 0207 468 8259 or julian.roup@bonhams.com or press@bonhams.com


NOTES FOR EDITORS

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 www.bonhams.com

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