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.


Hubert Robert pipe-clay dish

Hubert Robert's range on show at Old Master sales

19 February 2024

Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s offered notable works by French artist Hubert Robert (1733-1808) at the latest Old Master auction series in New York.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun self portrait

Sotheby's sets record for a work on paper by a female Old Master

14 February 2024

Some of the strongest demand at the latest Old Master auctions in New York came among the works on paper sales.

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West Country painter Michael Morgan's work offered en masse for first time

12 February 2024

Core group of 14 works by the artist on offer could represent significant moment in secondary market

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Cranach ‘copies from 19th century’ carry their own value

05 February 2024

Among the most contested lots at Nadeau’s (23% buyer’s premium) sale on January 1 was a set of miniature watercolour and gouache portraits credited to a follower of the German court painter Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553).

JMW Turner drawing

Pick of the week: The ‘engraving’ that bidders discovered was a JMW Turner drawing

29 January 2024

A somewhat innocuous-looking lot at Hansons (26% buyer’s premium) proved to be anything but as a number of eagle-eyed bidders spotted a significant discovery contained therein.

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Original watercolour for Little Prince makes top price among an array of manuscripts and letters

29 January 2024

An original watercolour of the 'Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fetched nearly 10 times its low estimate, selling for a record £240,000 hammer.

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Royal portrait rescued from a jumble sale is sold for £16,000

08 January 2024

Tiny portrait thought to show a Spanish noblewoman was bought at a local school in the 1970s

‘English School’ plumbago on vellum portrait miniatures

Pick of the week: Scientist made his living as a painter

18 December 2023

The most remarkable result at Cheffins’ Fine Art Sale in Cambridge was provided by a group of four ‘English School’ plumbago on vellum portrait miniatures.

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Reminder of Rennie Mackintosh’s Suffolk sojourn

18 December 2023

A group of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) watercolours and drawings were sold on behalf of the Glasgow Art Club at Lyon & Turnbull’s (26% buyer’s premium) Design since 1860 sale in Edinburgh.

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The web shop window: A portrait miniature of Emperor Joseph II

04 December 2023

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Pick of the week: Album connects ceramics collectors

04 December 2023

An album of watercolour studies of Ottoman ceramics that connects two of the British collectors of the early 20th century raced away from its estimate at Dominic Winter in Gloucestershire.

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The web shop window: Picture of four ‘gossiping’ hats

27 November 2023

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Miniatures shine in Emma Rutherford's show

20 November 2023

Emma Rutherford, the portrait miniature specialist formerly of Philip Mould who went solo earlier this year, is holding her second pop-up exhibition this week.

Portrait miniature

Australian library buys ‘convict artist’ portrait

13 November 2023

A portrait miniature previously bought on eBay has been knocked down at an Australian auction for 30-times more than the original price.

Sunrise On The Rhine watercolour

‘Circle of JMW Turner’ watercolour stars in our pick of five auction highlights

10 November 2023

ATG’s weekly selection of items that caught bidders’ eyes includes a watercolour of steamboats on the Rhine that made over 60 times estimate in Derby.

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Specialists had gone on a Frank Algernon Stewart hunt

23 October 2023

Two watercolours by Frank Algernon Stewart (1877-1945) were among the best performers in a collection of works amassed by two former gallery owners.

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Another high Helen Allingham price in Worcestershire

23 October 2023

Following the record £64,000 for a Helen Allingham (1848-1926) watercolour at Philip Serrell (20% buyer’s premium) back in July, another group of works by the artist was offered at the Malvern saleroom.

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Bauer’s Balinese scene serves to please

23 October 2023

Dutch artist used a technique that was much admired in his homeland as well as Britain

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5 Questions with Megan Corcoran Locke

23 October 2023

Megan Corcoran Locke is gallery director at Stephen Ongpin Fine Art.

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Charles Ginner takes to the London rooftops

23 October 2023

The highest prices at auction for the Camden Town Group artist Charles Ginner (1878-1952) have all come for oil paintings but his precise, lucid style very much leant itself to the medium of watercolour.

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