Animal Portraits and Scottish Old Masters leads pictures sale

2/10/2020     News Stories & Press Release, Old Master & 19th Century Pictures


ROSEBERYS LONDON: Scottish artists reigned supreme in the sale of Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures at Roseberys on 23 September, as well as various portraits of animals.

Marcus Grey, Head of the Pictures Department commented: ‘We are pleased to see that Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Art still stands as a strong and much sought-after area in the art market. Notable results came from 18th and 19th century Scottish artists, including works by George Watson, Robert John Cameron Brough and Alexander Nasmyth, who rallied multiple bidders.. Additionally, the collection of John Abbott, the nephew of Roger Abbott, who with Eric Holder founded the partnership of Abbott & Holder, now Abbott & Holder Ltd., the well-known London gallery, brought in many interested investors resulting in the majority of the collection selling.’


Still Life

Floral still life

Follower of Rachel Ruysch, Dutch 1664-1750- Flowers in an urn on a ledge; oil on canvas

Leading the highlights of the sale was lot 114. The oil on canvas by a follower of Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch, 1664-1750 sold for £6,875, over ten times its top estimate of £600.

The oil painting of flowers in an urn, held in a Victorian gilded composition swept and pierced Louis XV style frame is a beautiful example of a still life with impeccable attention to detail.


Scottish Old Masters


Alexander Nasmyth

Alexander Nasmyth, Scottish 1758-1840- Rear view of John Wilson’s new house, Elleray; oil on canvas

Rear view of John Wilson’s new house, Elleray, by Scottish artist Alexander Nasmyth, 1758-1840 (lot 133) estimated to make £3000 – £4000, sold for £6,875. The oil on canvas that was offered at Roseberys is a wonderful example of the artists exquisite landscape paintings, furthermore this work is very important scholastically because it fills a gap in the research, namely a view of the approach to John Wilson’s new house in Elleray. 

 George Watson

George Watson PPRSA, Scottish 1767-1837- Portrait of Janet (Jessie) Ruskin, seated half-length turned to the left in a white dress with a landscape beyond, c. 1805; oil on canvas

Following straight after this highlight was work by the peer of Alexander Nasmyth, lot 134 by George Watson PPRSA,1767-1837. Portrait of Janet (Jessie) Ruskin, c. 1805 pictured above is thought to depict the leading English art critic John Ruskin's aunt, Janet Ruskin (1783-1828). The present portrait is likely to have been executed around a similar time to Watson's portrait of John James Ruskin; the brother to the sitter and father to John Ruskin, held by The Brantwood Trust, Coniston. The oil on canvas that was estimated to make £4000 – 6000 went on to make £5,000.


Animal Paintings 

 John Frederick

John Frederick Herring, Snr. British 1795-1865- The Ducklings, 1851; oil on panel

A running theme of portraits of animals by British artists selling with high prices carried on throughout the day. An oil on panel of ducklings painted in 1851 (lot 157) by John Frederick Herring, Snr. that was estimated to sell for £4000 – 6000, sold for £5,000. A highly successful and prolific artist, famed for his horse portraits, Herring ranks along with Sir Edwin Landseer as one of the more eminent animal painters of mid-nineteenth century Europe. During his famed career Herring was appointed Animal Painter to the Duchess of Kent, followed by a subsequent commission from the ruling Queen Victoria, who remained a patron for the rest of his life.  

 John Wotton

Circle of John Wootton, British 1682-1764- Greyhound with a grouse in a landscape; oil on canvas


Following shortly after was lot 116, circle of British artist John Wootton, 1682-1764- Greyhound with a grouse in a landscape. John Wootton is best remembered as a pioneer in the painting of sporting subjects including animals and was considered the finest practitioner of the genre in his day. As such, his paintings were very fashionable and were sought after by those among the highest strata of the British society. Examples of his animal paintings can be found in the Tate Gallery, London, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, the Yale Center for British Art, in the Elizabethan Great Hall at Longleat and in The Portland Collection at the Harley Gallery and Foundation. The oil on canvas that was estimated to make £800 – 1200, achieved a price over double its estimate of £3,250.

 Alfred James Munnings


Follower of Sir Alfred James Munnings, KCVO PRA RI, British 1878-1959- White horse in shade; oil on board

Concluding the animal portrait highlights from the sale is lot 71, follower of British artist Sir Alfred James Munnings, KCVO PRA RI, 1878-1959. Sir Alfred James Munnings, was known as one of England's finest painters of horses, and as an outspoken critic of Modernism.  The oil painting of a white horse in shade on board that came from the private collection of John Abbott was estimated to make £300 – 500, ending up to make five times over its top estimate for £2,750.





Walter Frederick Osborne RHA ROI, Irish 1859-1903- Portrait of Annie Jane Osborne, the Artist's Mother, 1892; pastel on paper

The leading portrait highlight within the auction was a pastel on paper ( lot 255) by Irish artist Walter Frederick Osborne RHA ROI, 1859-1903. The work came with outstanding provenance, with Jorgennsen Fine Art, Dublin; Sotheby's, London, 19th November 2019, lot 43 and was exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, ‘Exhibition of the Collected Works by the Late Walter Osborne RHA 1903-1904’. Osbourne was an Irish impressionist and Post-Impressionism landscape and portrait painter, best known for his documentary depictions of late 19th century working class life. Estimated at £4,000 – 6,000, the portrait of Annie Jane Osborne, the Artist's Mother painted in 1892; achieved £5,500.


Jean-Laurent Mosnier, French 1742-1808- Portrait of a lady seated three-quarter length wearing a blue dress and white lace apron; oil on canvas

Estimated at £2,500 - £3,500, the portrait of a lady, Lot 120 by French artist  Jean-Laurent Mosnier, 1742-1808, realised a price of £4,750. Mosnier enjoyed a fruitful and brilliant career as society painter in London, Hamburg and St. Petersburg. The oil on canvas that sold at Roseberys had strong provenance with a long lineage of sales within other auction houses such as Christie's, and Sotheby's, London.


Johann-Philipp Behr, German, fl. 1740-1756- Portrait of Johannes Ziegler (1745-1809), standing three-quarter length wearing a grey coat over a floral embroidered blue waistcoat, a spaniel dog seated on a cushion by his side; oil on canvas

Ending the highlights from the sale is lot 7 by German artist Johann-Philipp Behr, 1740-1756. The portrait of Johannes Ziegler (1745-1809) with a spaniel dog seated on a cushion by his side; estimated to make £2,000 – 3,000, went on to make £3,250. The oil on canvas was from the same UK private collection.


Our next Old Master, 18th & 19th Century auction is going to take place on Tuesday 24 November.

The department are now welcoming consignments for inclusion of this sale.

To submit an item for a complimentary valuation please contact



For any press or marketing related questions please contact Peigi Mackillop 





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