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British Art on Paper including a Collection of Drawings by Augustus John at Christie's
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (1775-1851), The Mew Stone off Plymouth Harbour - a Study, watercolour heightened with touches of white 7 x 10¼ in. (17.8 x 26 cm.) Estimate: £250,000 - 350,000. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD.2008

LONDON.- A breathtaking array of beautiful British Art on Paper kick starts Christie’s exciting British Art Week on Wednesday, 4 June. Featuring over 90 works, which span three centuries, the sale is led by Joseph Mallord William Turner’s atmospheric watercolour The Mew Stone, off Plymouth Harbour (estimate: £250,000-350,000), which comes with extraordinary provenance; having originally been acquired by John Ruskin, the influential art historian, critic and artist, at Christie’s in 1869 and now offered for sale from the Collection of Denys Sutton, the long-reigning editor of Apollo Magazine. With estimates ranging from £800 to £350,000, the sale as a whole is expected to realise in excess of £2 million.

Opportunities to acquire rare works with exceptional provenance are also found in Sir Thomas Lawrence’s double portrait of his two nephews Rowland R Bloxam and Andrew Bloxam, 1823, which is fresh to the market, having been passed by decent through the family of the artist and sitters to the present owner (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and also the 30 works by Augustus John which are from a private collection previously hung in the artist’s Chelsea studio, led by Study of Dorelia Standing, circa 1907-8 (estimate: £70,000-100,000). Further important, captivating works by leading names range from Nine Studies (estimate: 50,000-80,000) by Sir William Russell Flint, a captivating Study for a head of a mermaid, 1886, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (estimate: £50,000 80,000), Lingering Hope, 1882, by Walter Langley (estimate £50,000-70,000) and Santa Maria della Salute from the Lagoon, sunset, 1865, by Edward Lear (estimate: £25,000-35,000) to Cornfield with Tring Station in the distance, 1847, by Peter de Wint (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

J.M.W. Turner R.A. (1775-1851), is the universally acknowledged master of watercolour and the ‘precursor of Impressionism’. It is very rare for works as freely drawn as The Mew Stone, off Plymouth Harbour (estimate: £250,000-350,000) and Study of clouds and sea (estimate: £150,000-150,000), to
appear on the market, as the majority remain in the Turner Bequest, Tate Britain. The dynamic fluidity of brushstroke exemplified in both works reflect Turner’s joyous celebration of the vigorous natural world around him. Smaller, earlier works featured in the sale include The Bishop’s Palace at Brescia, Northern Italy (estimate: £6,000-8,000) which is offered at auction for the first time in over 50 years and also The Falls of Tivoli with the Temple of the Sibyl (estimate: £5,000-8,000).

The collection of 30 drawings by Augustus John, O.M., R.A (1878-1961) offered from a private collection previously hung in the artist’s studio, Mallord Street, Chelsea, provide a wonderful insight into the cross spectrum of John’s oeuvre. They range from endearing works in pen and ink such as Pub interior with a group of men and two women, circa 1900 (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and Pregnant girl standing (estimate: £1,200-1,800), to nudes in pencil including Female nude, seen from behind (estimate: £6,000-10,000) and portraits such as Portrait of a bearded man, wearing a hat, traditionally identified as the artist (estimate: £6,000-8,000) and Self-portrait, 1941 (estimate: £15,000-25,000).

The collection also includes a variety of portrayals of Dorelia, the artist’s second wife, these are led by one of his strongest and most striking depictions Study of Dorelia Standing, circa 1907-8 (estimate: £70,000-100,000), as well as featuring Portrait of Dorelia seated, in a sun hat (estimate: £40,000-60,000), Dorelia standing, her left arm raised above her head, 1908 (estimate: £50,000-80,000), and a work in pencil and oil on canvas, Dorelia in a red hat, in front of a prickly pear (estimate: £20,000-30,000). The quality and wide array of works within this collection, combined with their superb provenance, making them such personal works to the artist, is sure to create great interest amongst institutions, collectors and admirers of Augustus John.

Amongst the fascinating works offered which explore the human condition, are two watercolours by Walter Langley (1852-1922) Lingering Hope, 1882 (estimate: £50,000-70,000), which is offered for the first time at auction, and Waiting for the Boats (estimate:£30,000-50,000). They employ a highly emotive style to evocatively capture the heartfelt anxieties experienced by the families and communities depicted.

Landscapes , which celebrate the beauty of both famous and lesser known views in Britain and beyond are led by View of Hayling Island, Hampshire, from the South Downs , with the spire of Chichester Cathedral in the far distance (estimate: £25,000-35,000), one of several works by William Turner of Oxford (1812-1888), Santa Maria della Salute from the Lagoon, sunset, 1865 (estimate: £25,000-35,000), and View of the Acropolis and the temple of Hephaistos, Athens (estimate: £15,000-20,000) both by Edward Lear (1812-1888) and Bridge Street, Chester, with St. Peter’s Church and Chester Town Hall in the background (estimate: £20,000-30,000) by Louise Rayner (1831-1924). Cornfield with Tring Station in the distance, 1847 (estimate: £20,000-30,000) by Peter de Wint (1784-1849), depicts an important part of social history – construction of the railway line which connected Tring with London in one hour. This watercolour shows the ‘Tring Cutting’, the excavation of which was an enormous undertaking for the men and horses involved and resulted in profound socio-economic change for the region.





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June 4, 2008

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