Modern & Contemporary British Art Auction Highlights

31/01/2019     Modern & Contemporary British Art, News Stories & Press Release

LONDON: 2D and 3D works by a cornucopia of Modern and Contemporary British artists will go under the hammer in a dedicated sale at Roseberys London on February 12.

George Clausen Dame Laura Knight Geoffrey Clarke Sandra Blow

Leading the sale - and never offered at auction before - is David Kim Whittaker’s (b.1964) London Bouncer (2004) (lot 241). With demand for the British contemporary artist growing exponentially over the last few years, this painting is sure to set pulses racing. Whittaker is a self-taught Newquay painter with gender dysphoria who creates metaphysical portraits of the human condition, combining bucolic landscapes with swirling, distorted shapes and colours - aptly described as a ‘mash-up of John Constable and Francis Bacon’. Whittaker won the Towry Award at the 2011 National Open Art Competition and has exhibited widely since, both nationally and internationally. Echoes of an 18th century English landscape painting materialises in the head depicted in London Bouncer. The oil on canvas was purchased directly from the artist in 2004 and carries hopes of £20,000-30,000.

A trademark crucifixion scene by Craigie Aitchison (1926-2009), dated to the early 1970s, is another frontrunner in the sale and is estimated at £15,000-20,000 (lot 208). The work demonstrates Aitchison’s unusual technique of painting in thin glazes of oil which almost sink into the canvas, pushing the paint across the surface with small brushes. The artist’s fascination with the Crucifixion subject started when he was studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. While copying a crucifixion by the French painter Rouault, William Townsend (a tutor whom Aitchison disliked) remarked that it was ‘too serious a subject’ for him to even attempt. This comment provoked the artist and likely triggered his compulsion to paint the Crucifixion over and over; it would become one of his favourite and most popular subjects. Although not religious himself (“it is the art that is religious, not me” he once said), Aitchison had always been drawn to the ‘bells and smells’ of Catholic churches, and a trip to Italy provided a lasting influence over his painting.

Richard Eurich Craigie AitchisonDavid Kim Whittaker Carel Weight


A Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) picture won in a charity raffle and presented by the artist to the winner (lot 1), is estimated at £5,000-7,000. Dita Boa at the London Palladium is a 1930s watercolour charcoal and coloured chalk study for the large oil painting The London Palladium, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1937. The oil painting depicts the audience and the stage complete with comedians, as well as the box in which a woman called Dita Boa (with evening dress and fur coat) is sitting. 
The study comes from a UK private collection and was exhibited in 2016 at The Fine Art Society in London. It is estimated at £5,000-7,000.

Another trailblazing female painter represented is Sandra Blow (British 1925-2006) - a pioneer of post-war abstraction in Britain, best known for her large-scale canvasses. From the 1950s onwards, she experimented extensively with materials and methods. The present work, made at the very end of her life, exemplifies her experimental collage technique: here she has stapled paper, hessian and pieces of canvas to the support to create a work that is dynamic and tactile. Untitled (2006) is estimated at £2,000-3,000 (lot 100).

The seaside town of Whitby in North Yorkshire was a favourite spot for Richard Eurich (1903-1992) and appeared more than once in his works. In Whitby Harbour (lot 141), the artist has taken an unusual high vantage point over the town and harbour and flattened the picture plane in a similar way to his earlier painting Gay Lane. The work is a study for Eurich’s first mural commission for the teaching hospital at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. Although highly finished, this study bears notations, squaring, and a few stray pencil marks. His daughter, Caroline, who was an art student at the time, remembers assisting her father in squaring this work for transfer.The oil on board is estimated at £6,000-8,000 and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist.

Sir George Clausen (1852-1944) – the renowned painter of rural English life – began painting still-lifes around the turn of the century. His first oil paintings of flowers were exhibited in the solo exhibitions of his work at the Goupil Gallery in 1902 and 1904. Increasingly popular with his patrons and new collectors, these works draw on the influence of French artists, such as Henri Fantin-Latour, and allowed Clausen to experiment with colour harmonies. He continued to paint small flower pictures during his final years, and the sale includes one such oil. Primulas in a glass vase carries a 4,000-6,000 guide (lot 6).

 Estimated at £2,000-3,000 is a typical later post-war work by the London-born painter Carel Weight (1908-1997) with alienated figures wandering in and out of the picture, contrary to the normal compositional rules of landscape painting. The signed oil on board, Two figures in a rural landscape, comes from a private vendor who was a friend of the artist (lot 209)

Geoffrey Clarke (1924-2014) - sculptor of ecclesiastical art and maker of stained glass – was a pioneer in a golden age of British sculpture. His fearless experimentation with new materials and processes has endeared him to a strong following and his works have come to epitomise the vi 69brancy of the post-war British art scene. A unique maquette for a full-size cross for Clarke’s village church in Hartest, Suffolk (which was never realised) is estimated at £2,000-3,000. The piece is made from aluminium and dates to c. 1964/65 (lot 87).




You can view the full online catalogue here:


Modern & Contemporary British Art: Catalogue Now Live

Tuesday 12  February, starting at 12.00 pm.

Viewing Times at Roseberys:

Friday 8 February: 1pm-5pm

Sunday 10 February: 10am-2pm

Monday 11 February: 9.30am-5.30pm

Tuesday 12 February: 9.30am-11.30am


For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop +44 (0) 20 8761 2522






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