A beautiful painting by the Victorian watercolourist Helen Allingham entitled By the cottage gate, Mayfield, East Sussex is estimated to sell for £7,000-10,000 in Bonhams
19th Century Pictures auction on 27th January 2011.
East Sussex was a county well known to Helen Allingham. Watercolours dating from the late 1870s show her children playing on the beach at Eastbourne or Beachy Head during the family's summer holidays. She painted the church at Etchingham, sketched in Robertsbridge and painted the countryside around Mayfield. This house, which she painted in the late 1890s, still stands today and has changed little over time.
In 1867 Allingham entered the Royal Academy schools, and she provided the illustrations for Thomas Hardys Far From the Madding Crowd as well as other books. In 1874 she married the renowned Irish poet and editor of Frasers Magazine, William Allingham. The family moved to Surrey in 1881 and she began to paint the beautiful landscapes of the surrounding countryside in Surrey and Sussex. She was a prolific artist and is well known for scenes such as this which focus on picturesque cottages in rural landscapes. She was the first woman to be admitted as a full member of the Royal Watercolour Society.
Charles OBrien, Head of 19th Century Pictures at Bonhams, comments, Although works by Allingham appear quite regularly at auction, this is a particularly nice example. The colours are strong and although the picture is small, it captures all the elements of the artists evocation of a bygone English village idyll.