Watercolours

A painting method that employs pigment suspended in a water-based solution, usually applied onto paper.

Though its earliest origins are thought to be prehistoric, its history is usually dated from the Renaissance, when it was used by artists such as Albrecht Durer.

While it may be used as for the creation of preparatory studies, it is also an art form in its own right, and is a technique used for botanical illustration, wildlife illustration and topographical painting as well as traditional genres, particularly landscape.


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Mod Brit dealer puts the spotlight on painter teacher Norman Clark

27 May 2024

Show covers highly rated British artist who was content to keep a low profile

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Top stories this week including news of a British watercolour flying over estimate

19 May 2024

The most viewed stories on this website over the last week included news of a ‘British School’ waterfall scene making 60 times estimate

The Falls of Clyde watercolour

‘British School’ waterfall scene takes 60 times estimate after bidders identify artist

09 May 2024

An early 19th century ‘British School’ watercolour painting of a waterfall raced away from a guide of $200-300 to bring $18,000 (£14,400) at an auction in Massachusetts this week.

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Specialists double up for an exhibition

06 May 2024

In a joint portrait miniature exhibition by Emma Rutherford of The Limner Company and Nick Cox of Period Portraits a depiction of Jane Seymour by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-77) is among the highlights.

Charles Tunnicliffe watercolour

Oystercatchers create a splash at Macclesfield auction

03 May 2024

Somewhat appropriately given the subject matter, a picture of oystercatchers flew away at a recent Adam Partridge sale in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone illustration

Original cover artwork for Harry Potter estimated at record $600,000 comes to auction

02 May 2024

The original cover watercolour for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by Thomas Taylor is coming to auction with the highest pre-sale estimate ever placed on an item of any Harry Potter-related work, according to Sotheby’s.

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Fine copy of Hilliard’s miniature Raleigh portrait comes to light

29 April 2024

The well-known miniature portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh by Nicholas Hilliard (c.1547-1619) in the National Portrait Gallery was painted c.1585, the year after Raleigh was knighted.

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Lowell Libson and Jonny Yarker – a very public partnership

29 April 2024

In 2018, British watercolours and drawings specialist Lowell Libson made the unusual move of adding a name, that of Jonny Yarker, to that of his self-titled business.

Lavinia Fontana portrait

Art dealer rediscovers 16th century portrait miniature by Lavinia Fontana in Texas

15 April 2024

A ‘lost’ late 16th century portrait miniature by Italian painter Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) has been rediscovered by an art dealer.

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Barrett Browning sale bonanza as family collection comes to auction

15 April 2024

Varied group of items related to the poet appeared for sale in Somerset

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Large collection of John Ruskin drawings and watercolours offered at London dealership

10 April 2024

The 45-piece collection includes several with an intriguing provenance

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How Gwen John sought creature comfort

08 April 2024

Watercolour of a sleeping feline – possibly her favourite cat – takes £19,000 in Cambridge saleroom

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Chronicle of a Canadian way of life soon to disappear

01 April 2024

Irish-born William W Armstrong (1822-1914) emigrated to Canada in 1851 and initially found success as a civil engineer on the early railways and pioneering photography for industrial purposes.

Watercolour by JMW Turner

Rediscovered JMW Turner watercolour sells for £37,000 at Cheffins

20 March 2024

An early watercolour by JMW Turner which had been hanging unidentified in the vendor’s dining room for over 30 years overshot a £20,000-30,000 estimate at Cheffins in Cambridge, selling at £37,000.

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Travel tales by Emily Eden told in art and words

18 March 2024

Sketches and journal by Emily Eden relate to her life in the UK then journey to the subcontinent

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Stand-out works on paper underline appeal of rarities from notable names

18 March 2024

If you wanted to sum up the current state of the watercolours and works on paper sector in a single sentence, you might say something like ‘flatter than ever for general works but exceptional lots routinely generating strong interest’.

Sarah Biffin self-portrait

Sarah Biffin self-portrait acquired by Museum of Somerset from dealer Philip Mould

16 March 2024

A self-portrait by Sarah Biffin (c.1784-1850) bought by the Museum of Somerset has recently gone on display.

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Paris drawings week: a taste of the action in salerooms

11 March 2024

The Paris auction houses will also be hosting plenty of sales devoted entirely or in part to works on paper.

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Rich mix in Paris as spotlight shines on drawings

11 March 2024

Drawing Week, the Paris annual spring celebration staged around the Salon du Dessin fair and a raft of works on paper auctions, takes place in the latter part of this month when the French capital traditionally turns the spotlight on drawings

JMW Turner watercolour

JMW Turner watercolour takes £96,000 at Herefordshire auction

06 March 2024

A watercolour by JMW Turner (1775-1851) depicting a famous English country estate has sold for £96,000 at Minster Auctions.

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