22 July 2024

Hereford seller’s watercolours and jewellery collection makes £50,000 at auction

Watercolour paintings, jewellery and watches from a Herefordshire seller grabbed the headlines when selling for £50,000 at a leading Shropshire fine art auction house yesterday (Wednesday).

The 19th century watercolours did particularly well in Halls Fine Art’s £200,000 auction of fine art, antiques and jewellery in Shrewsbury.

The paintings were mostly of Southern Snowdonia, particularly Cadair Idris, Dolgellau, Barmouth and Harlech and were purchased from prominent London galleries. The artists included John Varley (1778-1842), David Cox (1783-1859), James Holland (1799-1870), Alfred William Hunt (1830-’96).

The top selling watercolour was ‘Travellers in a Welsh valley’ by Cox which sold for £4,400. A panoramic view from the top of Cadair Idris by Varley sold for £4,200 and three further works by the artist – ‘A view of Barmouth near Dolgellau, Merionethshire’, ‘A Welsh Estuary’ and ‘Llanelltyd with Cader Idris Beyond’ – sold for £3,200, £1,600 and £1,500, respectively.

Other leading prices from the collection were £3,700, £3,400 and £1,900, respectively, for hand coloured aquatints by Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) of the ‘Gate of the Tomb of the Emperor Akbar at Secumdra, near Agra, ‘The Western Entrance of Shere Shah’s Fort, Delhi’ and ‘Dehr Warra’.

“The vendor and her late husband chose really lovely and significant watercolours from prominent London galleries and they were primarily of North Wales scenes, locations that mean so much to the family,” said Abigail Molenaar, Halls Fine Art’s paintings and prints specialist.

“My personal favourite was a watercolour by John Varley painted from the top of Cadair Idris. The paintings were from the golden age of British watercolours and the family had picked really good examples. They had been in the family for a long time and the provenance was really good.

“Condition is essential with watercolours and this collection had been well looked after to preserve the colours. The art market is very selective which means that buyers will not buy anything that has any condition issues and they want to know who the artist is. That’s why detailed research and cataloguing is so important.

“Recent single owner collections of paintings, particularly watercolours, have sold well at Halls Fine Art because they tend to attract the buyers. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who is thinking of selling their collection and is looking for an auction house with a personal touch.”

Pick of the jewellery consigned by the same vendor was an 18 carat gold and green tourmaline bracelet by Tom Scott which sold for £3,600.

“I am delighted with the price achieved for this bracelet, which I expected to do well in the auction,” said Halls Fine Art’s silver, jewellery and bijouterie specialist Maryanne Lineker-Mobberley.

“Born in 1946, Tom Scott graduated from Hornsey College of Art where he studied silversmithing and jewellery design. He set up his own workshop in London in the 1960s and his name has become synonymous with the iconic styles of this era alongside contemporaries such as John Donald and Andrew Grima.”

Other watercolours that sold well in the auction included two lots by Indian artist Sardar Ganda Thakar Singh (1899-1976) which were discovered by Abigail amongst a general consignment. ‘Three Botanical Watercolours’ sold for £3,000 and ‘Mexican Blue Morning Glory’ made £1,650. The watercolours sold to buyers from India.

“These watercolours were bought by the vendor’s grandfather who served in a British Indian Cavalry regiment stationed in India between 1926-1945,” explained Abigail.