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.


The ladies take the honours

19 June 2002

Back on April 9 and 10 Bonhams (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) Bond Street rooms offered a double helping of portrait miniatures on consecutive days: a 165-lot single owner and a 133-lot mixed-vendor sale, both of which saw around three-quarters of their contents get away.

Portrait miniature makes £200,000

13 June 2002

This portrait miniature of a 30-year-old lady by Nicholas Hilliard, dated 1582, set a new auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s Olympia rooms on June 6 when it sold to a private collector bidding on the phone against the room for £200,000 (plus premium).

Venus puts buyers on 17th century watch

17 April 2002

Two small locally consigned lots provided the best seller and cover lot at the buoyant March 23 sale held by Michael J. Bowman (15% buyer’s premium) at Chudleigh Town Hall.

The coming woman – and one to watch out for

17 April 2002

THE names of two women artists, one very well known, the other undeservedly obscure, provided talking points at two provincial sales in March.

Diary of despair

03 April 2002

The brutality and horror of everyday life in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp can be seen in a collection of pen, ink and watercolour sketches to be offered on April 16 at Bonhams, New Bond Street’s sale of topographical pictures.

Simmering Sibby

03 April 2002

This previously undiscovered miniature on ivory of Lincolnshire dignitary Charles De Laet Waldo-Sibthorp is expected to take up to £2000 when it is offered for sale on April 24 at the Lincoln rooms of Thomas Mawer & Sons.

The charming children factor

22 March 2002

PORTRAIT MINIATURES: A substantial selection of silhouettes and a collection of wax portraits boosted the content of a 311-lot middle ranking sale of portrait miniatures held by Bonhams on March 12.

£1m expected for watercolours that Blake made for a “petty sneaking knave” and The Grave

18 February 2002

In 1805, William Blake was commissioned by Robert Harley Cromek to make a set of 40 drawings to illustrate Robert Blair’s poem The Grave, 20 of which Cromek proposed to have engraved by Blake.

A newer look at watercolours

23 January 2002

LONDON is especially strong on niche events and specialist fairs do not come much more quintessentially English than The Watercolours and Drawings Fair which will be held for the fourth time at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London W1 from January 31 to February 3.

Were these bird books special copies given to Coenraad Temminck?

14 January 2002

The bird with the splendid hairdo pictured right is one of five original watercolours, possibly by Madam Knip herself, found in a special copy of Temminck & Knip’s Histoire naturelle des Pigeons of 1801-11 that sold for £30,000 to a private buyer at Christie’s November 28 sale.

Not quite a Brontë classic

19 December 2001

She lived by her pen, but died by her brush. If Charlotte Brontë had been remotely skilled as a portrait artist she might not have turned to literary characterisations.

£27,000 Rayner is put in her place

28 November 2001

One of the advantages of being an auction house with offices and salerooms spread around the country is that items with regional associations can be sold in the areas with the relevant local interest. This is precisely what happened on November 8 when the signed Louise Rayner (1832-1924) watercolour that had originally been consigned to Phillips Bath came up for sale 120 miles and one corporate take-over away at Bonhams Chester (15/10% buyer’s premium).

Irish reattribution boosts military portrait

16 November 2001

PORTRAIT miniatures are one field that has been performing strongly in recent seasons, an area of the market where the private buyer is very much in evidence.

Elisabeth Frink works mark the end of a era

12 October 2001

IN May 1967 Caroline Lumley and Camilla Cazalet quickly began establishing Lumley Cazalet (33 Davies Street, W1K 4LR. Tel: 020 7491 4767) as leading specialists in late 19th and 20th century prints, with an emphasis on the French School.

Your last chance to see...

12 October 2001

It’s a case of two days only with Ryan Fine Art’s (74 Vanbrugh Park, Blackheath, SE3 7JQ. Tel: 020 8293 5300) exhibition of over 80 Victorian and European oils, watercolours and prints.

Colour sketch for the painting Flaming June by Lord Frederic Leighton

04 July 2001

Illustrated is one of Lord Frederic Leighton’s most famous compositions Flaming June. This 41/2in by 41/4in colour sketch for the painting was understandably one of the sensations of Sotheby’s dispersal of the Leverhulme Collection at Thornton Manor, Merseyside, on June 26-28.

The moral of the story is, original work sells best

17 April 2001

UK: NINETEENTH century genre paintings with strong narrative and moralising elements have not been the strongest performers at auction in recent years.

1925 Golden Cockerel edition of Songs... by Robert Burns

09 April 2001

UK: INSET with a portrait miniature, this 1925 Golden Cockerel edition of Songs... by Robert Burns, illustrated with wood engravings by Mabel Annesley and bound in Cosway style in red morocco gilt by Bayntun Rivière, was sold at Bonhams (Buyer’s premium:15/10 per cent) at £1400 (Pirouages).

Cincinnati Museum project turns up unknown miniatures by Hilliard, Cosway and Cooper

19 March 2001

A MAJOR cataloguing project at the Museum of Cincinnati in Ohio has authenticated up to 15 very important and hitherto unrecorded portrait miniatures by the likes of Nicholas Hilliard.

Sotheby’s expect new record for Turner watercolour

12 March 2001

UK: Sotheby’s are hoping one of the most important watercolours by J.M.W. Turner to come to the rostrum will smash all previous auction records for the artist when it comes under the hammer in London on June 14.

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