Bonhams to sell Best of British collection that charts journey of Camberwell School

The Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts has produced some of the leading stars of British contemporary art, with artists such as Sir Terrence Frost and Euan Uglow having studied there. On 26 September 2007 Bonhams in Knightsbridge will sell a collection of paintings, works of art and sculpture by numerous artists associated with the celebrated Camberwell School.

The sale, entitled “Camberwell and Beyond”, is a single owner collection and includes work by artists who were either students or teachers at Camberwell or were influenced by the style of work emerging from the School during the 1940s and 1950s. William Coldstream, Victor Pasmore, John Minton, Francis Hoyland, Thomas Baylis Huxley- Jones, E Maurice Feild, Dame Elizabeth Frink and Ruskin Spear are just some of the artists whose work is included in the sale.

The work produced by those at Camberwell carries with it a unified style, independent of passing fashions and has a distinctly British feeling. Examples of this style abound in the collection to be sold. Of particular interest is a seated female figure attributed to Thomas Baylis Huxley-Jones (British, 1908- 1969) which is estimated at £2,000-3,000; Man on Horse II by Elizabeth Frink (British 1930-1993), estimated at £4,000- 6,000; and a vibrant painting by Robert Saunders (British, 20th Century), entitled The Tram Ride, £3,000-5,000.

The Camberwell School during the 1930s was unique and revolutionary, employing teachers who were practising and distinguished artists themselves. By the early 1940s, artists of the calibre of William Coldstream, Victor Pasmore and John Minton had all joined the teaching staff. They brought with them their own “Euston Road” style and advocated realism and restraint as opposed to abstract art.

Life at Camberwell was not easy at that time. The Second World War raged, students travelled through the worst air raids to get to evening classes and one artist remembers watching John Minton clear up the debris left by the blitz in the classroom.

The charisma of Camberwell’s teachers however, created an ethos that eclipsed these factors and stirred the minds of a future generation of British artists. One student recalled that “to be taken seriously by artists of the stature of Victor Pasmore was such a creative stimulus that the kick lasted all ones life”.