Ewbank’s to offer 1,700 lots of fine art, antiques Sept. 25-27
GUILDFORD, England – A painting by Sir Sidney Nolan, one of the foremost international modern artists and Australia’s best-known and loved, leads a strong sale of contemporary art at Ewbank’s, Surrey’s premier auctioneer of fine art and antiques. The auction also features works by Barbara Hepworth and Scots Alberto Morrocco and Jack Vettriano. The sale is part of the important three-day autumn series of auctions on Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 25-27, in which more than 1,700 lots will be offered.
LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.
Some 45 lots of contemporary art will be sold on Friday. Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) is represented by a striking work in oil and enamels on masonite, titled A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was painted in about 1963. Singed with the initial “N”, it was purchased directly from the artist shortly after it was completed by the vendor who was a friend. It is expected to sell for £10,000-£20,000. Of Irish origin, Nolan was born in Melbourne, and is perhaps best known for his famous series of paintings inspired by the life of the outlaw Ned Kelly. Nolan arrived in London in 1951, but his desire to see the world was insatiable, taking him to Greece, Paris, the U.S. Africa, China and Antartica, painting remarkable series of works inspired by the vast continents. Later he exhibited paintings inspired by composer Benjamin Britten’s works, but his affection for Australia and sense of his Australian nationality was strong, and returned there for a least a few months every year. He was knighted in 1981 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1983. He was also made a Companion of the Order of Australia, elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Many paintings and prints in the sale have been consigned by a major financial services company that is rationalizing its collections. Five limited edition lithographs by Barbara Hepworth are among them. Each estimated at £800-£1,200, they are from her celebrated “Aegean Suite” titled Delos, Sun and Water, Desert Forms, Fragment and Olympus. Sculptor and Modernist Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and was a contemporary of Bernard Moore and Ben Nicholson. She studied at the Royal College of Art in London in the early ’20s and in 1924 she married John Skeaping, a leading British sculptor. However, in 1931 she met Ben Nicholson, who was to become her second husband and their association was the inspiration for the British Modern Movement They divorced in 1951. Hepworth was particularly active among the St. Ives group of artists and she moved to a studio there in 1949, where she remained until her death. Her “Aegean Suite” was conceived there and completed in 1971, reflecting her fascination with ancient Greece and its culture and how her designs might translate into sculpture.
Alberto Morrocco (1917-1998) is represented by a still life, the composition of which includes an ostrich egg under a glass dome, a seagull and a pink eggcup. The oil on canvas is signed and dated 87 and is estimated at £5,000-£10,000. Born in Aberdeen to Italian parents, Morrocco entered Gray’s School of Art there at the age of 14. He subsequently taught art himself, and in 1950, he was appointed head of painting at Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art in Dundee. A superb draftsman, landscape and portrait painter, he was most renowned for his still lifes and figurative paintings, based on Italian life. Clowns, beach boys, peasant women and melon sellers became his signature subjects and celebrate his flamboyant and colorful personality.
Living Scottish artist Jack Vettriano (b. 1951), born Jack Hoggan, was born in Fife and became an apprentice mining engineer and part-time bingo caller. He took up painting when his girlfriend bought him a set of watercolors or his 21st birthday and is today best known for his 1992 Singing Butler painting. It shows a couple dancing in the rain on a beach while the butler and a housemaid hold umbrellas for the couple—prints of which earned him hundreds of thousands in royalties. The sale includes three signed limited edition screenprints, each estimated at £300-£500 and titled Cocktails and Broken Hearts, The Drifter and Winter Light & Lavender, while a group of four signed posters of his paintings: Valentine Rose, An Imperfect Past, Beautiful Losers I and Dancer for Money is estimated at £80-£120.
The contemporary art is just one small section of the three-day sale. It opens on Wed., Sept. 25, with more than 500 lots of jewelry, coins, watches, silver and plate and clocks and continues on the Thursday with almost 550 lots of Asian art, ceramics, glass, books and collectors’ items. In addition to paintings, watercolors and prints, the 600 lots on Friday, Sept. 27, include arts and crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, modern design, costume and textiles and furniture.
Ewbank’s will also sell the more than 200-lot collection of a late Bournemouth businessman and connoisseur. Leading the collection is an oil painting by Francesco Zanin (1843-1890) an artist whose work has been compared to that of Canaletto.The intricately painted scene shows masked carnival figures with gondolas by the Scuola Grande di San Marco and the Campo Santi Giovannie Paolo in Venice. Retaining its fine carved giltwood 18th or early 19th century frame, the painting bears a label showing it was purchased from Riddetts Auctioneers of Bournemouth. It is estimated at £10,000-£15,000. Estimated at £5,000-£10,000 is a charming oil on canvas by Thomas Edward Roberts, who exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1850-1893, titled The Shadow on the Wall. It shows two boys seated in their carpenter father’s workshop, the older boy using his hands to make the shadow of an animal’s head to the amazement of his young companion. The signed oil on canvas bears an original title label signed by the artist another showing it was sold for £200 in 1968 and a third when it was acquired by the present owner, dated 1983.
Art Nouveau glass is a feature of the collection, notably vases by Émile Gallé (1846-1904) the more valuable of the two being an early example dating from circa 1890, painted in enamels with flowers and a landscape and a figure by a lake, signed Émile Gallé Fecit. It is estimated at £800-£1,200, while a signed Cristallerie de Galle cameo vase in purple glass, with a wisteria design on a white ground dates from 1889-1902 and is estimated at £500-£800.
René Lalique, the other French master glass maker and designer is represented by a Naiades clock, decorated with a swirling design of the water nymphs, their free flowing hair encircling the dial. Dating from the 1920s, the clock is estimated at £1,000- £1,500. Gallé was also an accomplished furniture designer and the collection includes a nest of two beechwood occasional tables, each with marquetry tops, the larger one with a design showing coastal cottages, the smaller with fishing boats at sea. Signed Gallé in the marquetry, the pair is estimated at £800-£1,200.
Most imposing among the furniture, however, is a pair of elegant Edwardian floor-standing mahogany and inlaid urns on pedestal cupboards, the doors decorated with oval satinwood inlaid panels above dummy drawers. They are estimated at £800-£1,200. Pick of a collection of good silver is a George III silver swing handled basket, with pierced and embossed foliate decoration by William Plummer, (London, 1773, 20 ounces), which is estimated at £300-£500, as is a George III silver wine funnel by Robert & David Hennell, (London 1796) and a George V silver three-piece tea service comprising teapot, cream jug and sugar bowl by C.S. Harris & Sons Ltd., (London, 1932, gross weight 32 ounces).
Indicating the eclecticism of the collector’s taste, a Chinese Famille Rose dish painted with a dignitary and attendants dates from the Qianlong period of 1736-1795 (estimate £500-£800) but the prize among ceramics is a rare Martin Brothers stoneware ewer with incised decoration of grotesque-style fish, aquatic creatures and plants. Incised “Martin Brothers Southall London” and dated 10-1896, the ewer is estimated at £2,000-£3,000. The lots are marked in the catalog with a reference to this collection.
In a previous role, furniture specialist Tim Duggan was engaged to locate and acquire antique furniture for a family to furnish their detached Georgian home in an exclusive area of Somerset.
Some years later, Duggan is now an appraiser and a member of the specialist staff at Ewbank’s, and has been responsible for securing the valuable collection for sale on their behalf. Thirty-seven lots of period furniture, painting and carpets are included in this sale, following the owner’s decision to downsize.
Dutch floral marquetry furniture remains highly popular and the collection includes three notable pieces: an 18th century inlaid chest of drawers with serpentine-shape top, and from the 19th century, a fine and imposing cabinet on chest which utilizes the traditional bombe-shape of the low countries and a floor-standing corner cabinet with two long glazed doors and brushing slide, each fine enough to grace any home. They are estimated at £1,500-£2,500, £2,000-£4,000 and £1,000-£2,000 respectively.
A George III mahogany chest on chest (£500-£800); a tray-top cupboard with two cupboards above three drawers and a mahogany crossbanded chest (each £200-£400) are of the period, while a pair of wing armchairs (£300-£500) and a gentleman’s single armchair (£700-£900) are in the George III style.
Regency period furniture is another feature of the collection, notably a mahogany dining table with four leaves and telescopic action (estimate £1,000-£1,500) a flame mahogany circular center table (£1,000-£1,500) and a rosewood fold-over card table (£250-£400). A late Regency rosewood serpentine-fronted breakfront credenza with brass inlay is estimated at £800-1,200, while a Regency-style mahogany bow-fronted sideboard with central drawer and deep cupboard to either side is estimated at £200-£400.
Later Victorian furniture includes a good mahogany extending dining table (£1,000-£1,500) with five leaves which would be more than a match for a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale style dining chairs (10 singles and two carvers) each with foliate carved back slat supports on acanthus leaf carved front leg supports and claw and ball feet, which are estimated at £1,000-£1,500.
An imposing partner’s mahogany desk with green leather top, nine pedestal drawers on one side and three top drawers over cupboards on the other is estimated at £1,000-£1,500, while a good and large gilt composition over mantel mirror is estimated at £700-£1,000.
A 19th century walnut, boxwood and ebony strung canterbury with a single drawer on turned legs, which is estimated at £300-£500. For further information, please contact the auctioneer on 01483 223101 or email email@example.com,
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE