Sale Dedicated To The Artists Of Newlyn And St Ives

. October 16, 2008

The sale, Under a Western Sky: the Art of Newlyn and St. Ives, is the first of its kind and recognises the importance of the artists who were drawn to Cornwall by its quiet beauty, simplicity of life and quality of light. The sale includes 19th and 20th Century paintings, sculpture, ceramics and prints.

newlyn-school.jpgOne of the highlights of the sale is an important oil painting by Walter Langley (1852-1922), one of the pioneers of the Newlyn School in Cornwall. The work, entitled Alone was recently discovered in South Florida and has never been seen at auction before. It is expected to fetch £70,000-100,000.

Among other lots already consigned are a number of other paintings by Langley, as well as works by Edwin Harris, Henry Scott Tuke, Sir Terry Frost, Paul, Feiler, Dame Barbara Hepworth, prints by Ben Nicholson and ceramics by Bernard Leach, Hamada Shoji and Janet Leach.

Peter Rees, Director of 19th Century paintings, who is heading the sale, says: “This is the first auction dedicated to the artists and craftsman of these two small communities. This small area of West Cornwall has inspired some of the most talented British artists of the past two centuries, and we aim in this sale to recognise these artists’ contributions and to celebrate their work. From the naturalistic paintings of the Newlyn artists, who emulated the en plein air approach of their continental counterparts, to the abstract works of St Ives avant-garde artists, this sale charts the history of an exceptional chapter in British art”

Towards the end of the late 19th Century, spurred on by the arrival of the Great Western Railway, artists started to migrate down to Cornwall, inspired by the magnificent land and seascapes. Newlyn became an important artistic centre, with many painters inspired by the activities of this small fishing village. Early settlers included Walter Langley, Edwin Harris, Stanhope Forbes and Frank Bramley. As the century continued, many renowned artists visited the community, with luminaries such as Harold and Laura Knight, Harold Harvey and A.J. Munnings all producing work there.

Unlike many artistic communities however, which normally dissipate within a few years, the story did not end with Newlyn. In the late 1920s Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood visited another fishing community, St Ives, and discovered, quite by chance, the naïve artist Alfred Wallis. This encounter resulted in artists’ attention focusing suddenly on St Ives. When war broke out in 1939 Nicholson and his new wife Barbara Hepworth – already by then fully-fledged abstract artists – moved to the relative safety of St Ives. They decided to remain there after the war, sealing the town’s reputation as the centre of modern and abstract art. The immediate post war period saw the arrival of a number of younger artists including Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Sandra Blow and Paul Feiler, who at the age of 90 continues to live and work in Cornwall. This period is widely considered to be the golden era of art in St Ives and many fine examples of these artists work can be found in Bonhams sale.

The sale also includes ceramics by the pioneering potters who are inextricably linked with Cornwall. Chief among them is Bernard Leach, who settled in St Ives in the 1920s, establishing the world famous Leach Pottery. Accredited as the father of studio pottery in Britain, Bernard Leach has exerted a profound influence on the field of contemporary ceramics. Other seminal potters whose history is closely associated with that of the Leach Pottery include Hamada Shoji, Michael Cardew and Katherine Pleydell.

Highlights include:
Paul Feiler (British, born 1918), Cornish Harbour, oil on canvas, estimate £50,000-70,000
Henry Scott Tuke (British, 1858-1929), Keeping her off, oil on canvas, estimate £40,000-60,000
Patrick Heron (British, 1920-1999), Violet with dull Green, Manganese and Yellow, oil on canvas, estimate £40,000-60,000
Walter Langley, RI (British, 1852-1922), Cornish fisherfolk, oil on canvas, estimate £40,000-60,000
Sir Terry Frost R.A, (British, 1915-2003), Linen, White and Red, oil and linen on canvas, estimate £30,000-50,000
Ben Nicholson O.M. (British, 1894-1982), Off Brown Vertical, pencil, wash, crayon and collage, estimate £30,000-50,000

Under a Western Sky: the work of Newlyn and St Ives will be held on Wednesday 19th November 2008 at 101 New Bond Street, London. You can find out more about the sale by visiting the website at

Viewings: Sunday 16 November 11am-3pm
Monday 17 November 9am-7.30pm
Tuesday 18 November 9am-4.30pm

Category: Auction News

Comments are closed.