Important painting by Welsh artist Sir John Kyffin Williams to be offered at Parker Fine Art Auctions
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Important painting by Welsh artist Sir John Kyffin Williams to be offered at Parker Fine Art Auctions
Sir John Kyffin Williams (1918-2006), Capel Soar in Gwynedd.

FARNHAM.- A large painting of Capel Soar in Gwynedd - believed to be the most remote chapel in Wales - by Iconic Welsh artist Sir John Kyffin Williams (1918-2006) is expected to fetch £20,000-30,000 when it is offered for sale at Parker Fine Art Auctions on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 11am in Farnham, Surrey. The painting will be sold with a delightfully illustrated letter from the artist who is giving thanks for some “sweet-meats” and bemoans the fact that having eaten them he will be unfit to play in the Welsh rugby team!

The “sweet-meats” were actually home made peppermint creams, and the charming letter is from the artist to the family who bought and are now selling the painting. With the address Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Gwynedd LL61 6PD, it is dated 10.12.80 and reads: ‘Dear Ann, Your present of the most delectable sweet-meats was vastly appreciated by the greedy recipient. But alas it has its dis-advantages since after consuming them I will certainly be unfit for selection to the Welsh team to play England at the National Stadium in January. My natural sylph-like figure will be in some disarray and I fear I shall be dropped. But by God it will be worth it. Many thanks. Very best wishes to all Kyffin.’ The oil on canvas, which measures 50.8 x 111.7cm, is signed with initials and inscribed on the reverse, was exhibited at the National Museum of Wales in 1987 in a Kyffin Williams Retrospective Exhibition.

As Henny Smith, Director of Parker Fine Art Auctions comments: “This is not just a superb example of Kyffin Williams’ work in typical limited palette and thick impasto, but the lot also includes a charming illustrated letter from him. The illustrations show him ‘Before’ [before eating the sweet-meats] as a fit, sporty rugby player standing to attention with the ball tucked under his arm and ‘After’ as a bedraggled pot-bellied player who has dropped the ball.”

The work by Williams is part of a larger collection of paintings and prints by leading 20th century artists from a private consignor - all bought or commissioned direct from the artists, who were family friends. Other works are by artists such as Lowry, John Piper, Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, Donald McIntyre and George Little.

The auction contains over 200 lots of frames from various periods, the largest standing at more than 10 feet high. Dating from the 18th century and made of carved giltwood in a ‘Carlo Maratta’ design, this comes from the collection of a noble family and has an estimate of £400-£600.

Following Parker Fine Art Auctions’ success in selling a collection of early French works for record prices in March in a ‘white glove’ (sell-out) sale, this auction also includes a landscape painting by the French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Typical of his later work, with soft colours and more atmosphere than realistic detail, this study is for a work which he kept in his own collection. Corot is most famous for his landscapes and for his influence on the Impressionists and it is expected to fetch between £6,000 and £8,000.

Other notable lots include a stunning portrait by Harold Knight, husband of the artist Dame Laura Knight (estimate £2,000 - £4,000) and a set of 19 hand coloured engravings of birds by the 18th century French artist Francois Nicholas Martinet (estimate £1,500 - £2,500).

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