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Works by Three Major Northern Lights to Star in Bonhams Auction
Bonhams are selling one of John Martin's less common classical landscape scenes depicting ‘Diogenes throwing away his cup’.
LONDON.- Works by three major Northern artists are heading south to London to feature in Bonhams 19th Century Paintings auction on 29th September 2010.

John Martin (1789-1854) was born in Haydon Bridge and went on to become one of the most popular artists of his day. His works now hang in the Laing Gallery, Newcastle and the Tate Gallery, London and he is famed for his apocalyptic scenes set in dramatic landscape. Bonhams are selling one of his less common classical landscape scenes depicting ‘Diogenes throwing away his cup’. The philosopher, who aimed to live as frugally as possible, saw a child drinking from his hands and threw away his cup, remarking that ‘a child has beaten me in the plainness of living’. Many of the artist’s works depict biblical or moral tales such as this which greatly appealed to his Victorian audience.

Martin’s paintings rarely appear at auction and this particular example is fresh to the market and in exceptional condition. It is expected to fetch £10,000-15,000. A major exhibition of the artist’s work will be shown at the Laing Gallery in 2011 before moving to Sheffield and then the Tate Gallery, London.

Another Northerner, Myles Birket Foster (1825-1899), was born in North Shields and was referred to in his obituary as “certainly the most popular water-colour artist of our time”. His meticulously detailed and well executed landscape scenes always prove popular with buyers, and Bonhams are offering three of his works in this auction – ‘Country Landscape’ (£20,000-30,000), ‘The Little Shepherds’ (£6,000-8,000) and ‘At the Spring’ (£4,000-6,000).

Ralph Hedley (1848-1913) was born in Yorkshire but grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne and is best known for his paintings portraying scenes of everyday life in Tyneside and the North of England. The Newcastle Daily Chronicle recognised the value of his painting, saying that “what Burns did for the peasantry of Scotland with his pen, Ralph Hedley with his brush and palette had done for the Northumberland miner and labouring man.” This example, entitled ‘Friends’, depicts a more feminine scene of a pretty young girl playing with a kid goat and is estimated to sell for £5,000-6,000.

Charles O’Brien, Department Head, comments, “It is always exciting offering works which generate local interest. The John Martin watercolour in particular is a gem and deserves to make a good price.”


Bonhams | 19th Century Paintings Auction | John Martin | Myles Birket Foster | Ralph Hedley |


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