Records Tumble at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale

• NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORDS FOR PAINTINGS BY WOOD AND HEPWORTH

London – Bonhams Modern and British and Irish Art sale in London yesterday (Thursday 22 June) saw new world auctions set for paintings by Christopher Wood (1901-1930) and Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975). Wood's Drying Sails, Mousehole, Cornwall sold for £479,100 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and Hepworth's Stringed Figure made £516,900 (estimate: £120,000-180,00). The 65-lot sale made an overall total of £3,478,740.

Penny Day, Bonhams Head of UK and Ireland for Modern British and Irish Art, said: "In a strong sale, these two wonderful record-setting results stood out. Drying Sails, Mousehole, Cornwall belongs to a group of works painted during the busy and fruitful years just before Wood's untimely death in 1930 and shows the progression of the artist's naïve, figurative style which is entirely unique. Stringed Figure also has its roots firmly in Cornwall. Like many of Hepworth's paintings and drawings from 1960 onwards it was executed in her Barnaloft studio flat, which had a view of Porthmeor Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The work has a palette which directly references the landscape by which she was surrounded."

Other sale highlights included:

• A touching portrait by Stanley Spencer, Mrs Linda Few Brown, which sold for £315,300 against an estimate of £250,000-350,000. Painted in 1958, the portrait was commissioned by the sitter's mother. On her marriage in 1955, Linda had moved to Cookham Dean and so she and her husband Peter were near neighbours of the artist. The work took a month of sittings to complete. Mrs Linda Few Brown was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1959 since when it had not been seen in public.

Bull fight by Sir John Lavery (1856-1941) sold for £60,780 having been estimated at £10,000-15,000. Lavery found the idea of bull-fighting cruel, but as an artist he was attracted by the colour and the sense of spectacle of the corrida. Painted in 1892 when he was travelling home through Spain from a visit to Tangiers, the work demonstrates Lavery's mastery of brushstrokes.

Mount's Bay with St Michael's Mount by Alfred Wallis. Sold for £120,000 (estimate: £30,000-50,000).

Selsey Bill by Tristram Hillier. Sold for £57,000 (estimate: £6,000-8,000).

23 June 2022

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