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Sir Kyffin Williams Welsh art auctioned at Bonhams

The Bonhams Pictures Sale in Chester on March 6 was a triumph for Welsh paintings
The sale delivered results which surpassed expectation, with eight of the top ten paintings sold coming from Welsh artists. The buyers bid strongly for Sir Kyffin Williams’ beautiful paintings of unkempt, somber scenery, celebrating the natural beauty of the Welsh landscape.

Sir Kyffin WilliamsSir Kyffin Williams R.A. (British, 1918-2006) Welsh landscape with rocks, cottages and hillsides oil on canvas 61 x 76cm (24 x 29 15/16in).

The top selling lot, considerably exceeding the proposed estimate, was Williams’ Welsh landscape with rocks, cottages and hillsides. The work, fetching £32,450 (estimated to sell for £18,000 – 22,000), is a beguiling oil painting depicting a small house enclosed amidst a rugged, crumbling cliffside painted in a dark and subdued palette recalling the serene and austere landscape of the Welsh countryside.

Jeff Muse, Regional Director, comments: “We are delighted by the resurgence of popularity of Sir Kyffin Williams’ work following his death in 2006. The market has been holding its breath to see the outcome of the auction. We are especially pleased by the notable result of the Williams’ painting of the church of Kyffin Williams’ grandfather. The painting was predicted to attract considerable interest due to its eye-catching, stark palette”.

Interestingly, the paintings which generated most interest during the sale were Kyffins’ bolder oil works of rugged mountainsides painted in subdued colors. Buyers seemed to be affected by the more solid paintings with greater visual impact, in contrast to Kyffin’s pictures of a paler, livelier palette such as his ‘Farm Penmynydd’ or ‘Mynydd Bodaffon’.

Overall, the sale saw Welsh painters doing consistently well across the board, John Piper’s playfully abstract work of wild scenery achieving £6,875, meeting the predicted estimate. Similarly, Mr Muse was also pleased by the good results of another rising Welsh painter, Will Roberts and the success of his figurative work ‘Planter’, which fetched above the estimated price. He said it was good to see this painter ‘really start to get a solid foothold’ in the market.