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Allan Ramsay Self-Portrait Leads Christie's Auction of Scottish Art in October 2008
Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935), The Ginger Jar signed 'Peploe' (lower left) oil on canvas 18 x 21¾ in. (45.8 x 55.2 cm.) Painted circa 1926. Estimate: £300,000-£400,000. © Christie's Images Limited.

EDINBURGH.- Christie’s auction of Scottish Art will take place on 23 October 2008 at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, and is led by one of the most important Scottish portraits offered at auction in recent years. The sale will offer approximately 180 lots representing over 300 years of Scottish art, including an impressive selection of works that have not been offered on the open market for generations. The auction is expected to realise in excess of £3 million and will include the work of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Joan Eardley, Edward Atkinson Hornel, Sir Edwin Landseer, Sir John Lavery, Sir William MacTaggart, Sir Henry Raeburn, Anne Redpath and Sir David Wilkie, as well as paintings by the Colourists; Frances Boileau Cadell, J.D. Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter and Samuel John Peploe.

Laura Lindsay, Director of Scottish Art at Christie’s: “In recent years Christie’s has realised impressive results for Scottish art as the category continues to attract new international collectors who are drawn to the artistic merits offered by these works. This year, our auction in Edinburgh will offer an impressive and broad selection of Scottish art led by Allan Ramsay’s exceptional self-portrait, one of the most important Scottish portraits to be offered at auction in recent years. Following the success of the Hunter Blair Colourist Collection which was sold by Christie’s last year for over £1.16 million, we are excited to present a selection of works by this celebrated school of Scottish art including three exceptional still-lifes by Peploe, all of which are likely to attract the attention of collectors from around the world. Many of the paintings in the sale have been in private collections for generations and we look forward to exhibiting all of these works to the public at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh from 20 to 23 October. ”

Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) is recognized as one of the most talented and prominent portraitists of 18th century Britain. Born in Edinburgh in 1713, he moved to London aged 20 to study the art of painting and in 1736 traveled to Italy where he spent 3 years absorbing the influence of the Italian Old Masters. On his return to Britain, he attracted the admiration of the nobility and was soon under the patronage of The Duke of Bridgewater, the richest noble in Britain. In 1760 he was appointed as Painter-in-Ordinary to King George III, which was said to upset his contemporary rival Sir Joshua Reynolds. A tragic accident dislocated the artists’ shoulder and forced him to retire from painting in 1770, at which point he concentrated on literary pursuits.

The portrait to be offered at Christie’s was painted in 1749 and is a version of the earlier self-portrait now in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), London. The portrait in NPG was painted circa 1737-39 at a pivotal period of the artist’s career, either at the latter stages of his first visit to Italy or shortly after his return to London. Ramsay painted only three self-portraits in oil, and the example in the NPG stayed in the artist’s possession for most of his life, and at least until 1781. The portrait to be offered at Christie’s was commissioned by Dr. John Ward, a patron of the artist, who is likely to have seen the primary version in the artist’s studio while sitting for a portrait himself in 1749. It is believed that he was so drawn to the portrait of the artist that he commissioned an autograph version for himself. The portrait is thought to have passed by family descent until at least 1937. It has been in the ownership of the same family since 1969 and has never before been offered at auction. It is expected to attract the interest of international collectors and institutions at the auction on 23 October 2008, and is estimated to realise £200,000-£300,000.

Further highlights of the auction include three exceptional still-lifes by the Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935). A leading member of the Scottish Colourist school, Peploe traveled to Paris in the 1890s where he was particularly influenced by Manet and the Impressionists. Having returned to Edinburgh, he met J.D. Fergusson and their shared appreciation of modern French painting saw them both return to France in 1910 and further absorb the influences of the post-Impressionist movement. All dating to the 1920s, the works by Peploe to be offered at this auction are Roses, circa 1922 (estimate: £300,000-£400,000); The Ginger Jar, circa 1926 (estimate: £300,000-£400,000); and Three pink roses in a blue vase with fruit (estimate: £280,000-£350,000). The three paintings are from separate private collections, none of them having been offered at auction for at least a generation.

Elsewhere at the auction, highlights include a rare Scottish landscape view of Loch Lomond by John Knox (1778-1845) (estimate: £50,000-£80,000); The Penny Wedding, a sketch by Sir David Wilkie, R.A. (1785-1841), a later study of the artist’s famous painting which was commissioned by the Prince Regent, later King George IV, and is now in The Royal Collection (estimate: £80,000-£120,000); the full length Portrait of Louisa Madeleine Keith-Falconer, née Hawkins, Countess of Kintore by Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A. (1803-1878) (estimate: £20,000-£30,000); Easter Eggs by Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864-1933) (estimate: £80,000-£120,000); The Bishop’s Tea Room at the Glasgow International Exhibition by Sir John Lavery, R.H.A., R.A., R.S.A. (1856-1941) (estimate: £80,000-£120,000); Pink Flowers by Anne Redpath, R.S.A., A.R.A., A.R.W.S. (1895-1965) (estimate: £30,000-£50,000); and Iona Cathedral by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1883-1937) (estimate: £50,000-£80,000).

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