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Bill Simpson's
Antiques Review

Welcome to the WMN's new antiques review page.

Antiques and Fine Arts Editor Bill Simpson will provide a review of the most recent sales across the Westcountry, providing antiques enthusiasts with a chance to see what sold for what and where.

Don't forget to collect your copy of the Western Morning News on Wednesdays and Saturdays to learn all about the up coming sales in your area.



Welcome WMN Readers
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Plymouth Auction Rooms

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A capacity crowd greeted auctioneer Paul Keen as he took to the rostrum in their most recent evening sale of pictures at Plymouth Auction Rooms. Commission bids had been received from as far away as Switzerland, Spain and Ireland and these, together with many private collectors in the room, augured well for the event.

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A coloured engraved print by Robert Dighton titled ‘Geography Bewitched’ was the first picture to cause a stir that carried an estimate of £80-£120. Two telephone lines were booked and commission bids brought the opening bid out at £150, which climbed steadily to £500 until just the two telephone bidders were left. It eventually went to a map specialist from the Home Counties with a bid of £800.

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There was similar excitement over four works by Albert Moulton Foweraker, featuring the artist’s trademark moonlit scenes of Cornish farmhouses. Once again a telephone bidder won three of the four, at paying £650 and £800 each for two but a Cornish buyer in the room refused to be put off and his bold £900 was enough to dissuade all opposition, including the telephone.

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Another Cornish collector also returned with all three paintings by Lee Woods, an artist originally from Plymouth. Despite opposition in the room he was able to take home three that cost from £900 to £520 depicting the artist’s most popular animal caricature – cats but paid most for “The Gamekeeper”, a portrait of the man with his brown and white gun dog at his side, holding a gun in one hand and an ear of his dog in the other.

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It made an interesting composition by this popular artist, who retains a sound following in his old, home town who creates with ingenious interpretations of life for lovers of contemporary art. Also eagerly collected is work by Plymouth doctor and artist, Brian Pollard, one of the country’s most popular painters of naïve art. Anything new to the market from his studio is always eagerly awaited and collectors were not disappointed when a study of owls sold on target for £700 and “Tiger” fetched £430, which were both bought by the same collector in the room.

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Dartmoor views by F J Widgery are not as popular, however, and his seascapes even less so the £410 for a coastal view was on expectations, as was the £430 achieved by “Low Tide Godreavy Lighthouse” by Gill Watkiss. There was no disputing the interest in “Sunrise Newlyn” by Kurt Jackson, however, as pre-sale interest and commission bids was so strong. Even so, there was still mild surprise when the bidding rose rapidly to an impressive £2,700 before this also returned to Cornwall.

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A collector from London spotted on the internet a David Roberts drawing in the sale that was similar to a Venetian view he owned. So keen was he to acquire it he remained firmly on the telephone until his offer of £2,000 proved successful.

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The sale included a forty lot section of works by Robert Lenkiewicz, the Plymouth artist who died in 2002. As the time neared when this group came under the hammer, auctioneer Paul Keen sensed an increase in excitement as more people crammed in. With an estimate of £10,000 the small “Self Profile Portrait” in oil on board was quickly bid up to £15,500 before being secured by a local buyer for £16,000, and a collection of some 30 prints offered as one lot sold on estimate at £14,000.

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Pictures continued to sell well with “Nightwatch” making £7,500, “Ali in Blue” £4,500 and “Anna with Tulip” realising £2,100.

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Local resident Lorraine Stead had met Lenkiewicz in the 1970s and sat for him. She had been encouraged to offer it now with this collection, and was thrilled to see it go for £1,900. In all, it was a very successful event that made almost £90,000 for this dedicated evening auction.