Three pictures of London Zoo, produced within a few years of its opening to the public, were sold by Lawrences of Crewkerne on July 6.
The oldest scientific zoo in the world, the site in Regent's
Park was established in 1828 as resource for study, but it wasn't
until 1847 that it opened its gates to the wider public. By doing
so it became an instant attraction which quickly began to draw
hundreds of visitors, but it also provided a fertile subject for a
number of artists.
One of them was Thomas Mann Baynes (1794-1854), a painter of
landscapes and famous buildings who also specialised in scenes of
outdoor events. While a few lithographs of London scenes and
coastal views have emerged at auction before, at Lawrences was
something altogether rarer: a set of three watercolours depicting
London Zoo's beaver pool, bear pit and pelican enclosure.
Heightened with white and all measuring roughly 4¼ x 8in (11x
20cm), they dated from around 1850 and had a label for Thos. Agnew
& Sons. They were also in good condition, needing only a light
Although the artist does not have a huge track record in the
saleroom, these interesting topographical scenes were well executed
studies as well as something of a novelty in terms of their
Offered together and estimated at £1000-1500, they were taken to
£3500 and sold to a London trade buyer.
The buyer's premium 19.5%.