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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He went on to inspire the Shire

27 July 2005

Long before J.R.R. Tolkien settled down to write The Hobbit, he had acquired a postcard reproduction of the ink, watercolour and gouache painting Der Berggeist (The Mountain Spirit).

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The watercolour effect

31 May 2005

The rainbow plate seen above right comes from an 1814 first issue* of David Cox’s Treatise on landscape Painting and Effect in Watercolours, an oblong folio work that incorporates a hand-coloured aquatint frontispiece and 31 plates (15 coloured, 15 in sepia) as well as 24 soft ground etchings.

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The re-emergence of the lost royals…

19 April 2005

In November 1933, the Queen Mother (then Duchess of York) wrote to Charles Edmund Brock (1870-1938), a noted illustrator and society painter, commissioning a family portrait.

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Legacy casts new light on an Orientalist

08 March 2005

INCLUDED in Potburys’ (12.5% buyer’s premium) sale in Sidmouth, Devon on February 8 and 9 was a 75-lot collection of pictures by the Orientalist painter Charles Robertson (1844-91) consigned from his granddaughter’s estate. They appear to have been the works that remained in the family after the artist’s Godalming studio was sold off following his death from a heart attack aged 47.

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Rabbit returns

04 January 2005

Executed in the 1890s, when Beatrix Potter was working for the greetings card firm Hildesheimer, this little ink and watercolour drawing was last seen at auction in London about ten year ago, but on December 1 it came back to Christie’s South Kensington and sold for £25,000.

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CHRISTIE’S - Le Pavillon de Chougny

23 December 2004

Christie’s King Street (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) were pulling out all the stops for their first full week of the month.

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...and, illustrating the point

22 December 2004

“Business has been good, but to achieve this I have had to work extremely hard.” This is how Chris Beetles summed up 2004 and, having already taken over £500,000 in sales from his renowned annual exhibition of British illustrators, he is ending the year on a bullish note.

RA fairs news at the double

20 October 2004

NEXT year’s Watercolour and Drawings Fair will move to a new venue, the Royal Academy rooms at 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1, where it will run from February 3 to 6 with an opening evening preview on February 2.

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Kupka’s factory job

14 October 2004

THE Mira Jacob Collection sale at Bailly-Pommery-Voutier & Sotheby's (23.92 - 14.35% buyer's premium) included a smattering of drawings and watercolours by artists outside the dealer’s sphere of influence – from a small Picasso ink sketch of a Glass and Jar, bought in at €44,000, to a Degas pencil portrait of Thérèse Degas, 11 x 8 1/2in (28 x 22cm), which sold at a quadruple-estimate €77,000 (£52,400).

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Local knowledge reveals the miniature secrets

29 September 2004

SOME canny detective work by both the auctioneer and the buyer seems to have come up with answers to most of the questions surrounding this intriguing unsigned mid-19th century miniature on ivory, right, offered by Neales (15% buyer’s premium) of Notttingham on September 9. The 4 x 3in (10 x 7.5cm) miniature, presented in its original Victorian frame in a glazed easel display case, had been entered by a private vendor who had no idea of either sitter or artist.

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Nelson twice remembered in miniature and pottery

22 September 2004

JAMES Sillett was a jobbing artist from the Norwich School of painters, who worked on a broad spectrum of projects including heraldic painting and stage scene decoration, but he is best known as a competent miniaturist.

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Newbury's work at Bourne Gallery

16 September 2004

THIS year marks the 200th birthday of the Royal Watercolour Society and many past members, such as William Callow (1812-1908), have been masters in portraying the detail and differing surface textures of building.

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Seeing cats and getting kicks

01 September 2004

BACK in London, Chris Beetles of Ryder Street in St James’s has just opened his amusing annual show of cat pictures, which, as always, features an important group of works by the world’s most famous exponent of the genre, Louis Wain (1860-1939).

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Will Pitcher be revealed to more marine fans now?

01 September 2004

DESPITE having success in his day, it seems a major oversight that marine artist Neville Sotheby Pitcher (1889-1959) does not make it into the specialist reference books such as E.H.H. Archibald’s The Dictionary of Sea Painters.

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Parrot and poet support the Arvon Foundation

19 August 2004

The Parrot Pen-man, an ink and watercolour drawing by Quentin Blake that sold for £1200, was among 40 lots offered at Sotheby’s on July 8 on behalf of the Arvon Foundation, a literary charity that provides residential creative writing courses.

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Kate’s portrait of her famous father

10 August 2004

KATE Dickens adored her father but found the situation at home after her parents’ separation to be intolerable and in 1860, desperate to get away, she entered into what was to prove a less than happy marriage to Wilkie Collins’ younger brother Charles.

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Pissarro drawings of Venezuela

21 July 2004

A 56-sheet sketch book by Camille Pissarro, 8 x 11in (21 x 28cm), dating from his stay in Venezuela between April and August 1854, sold for €150,000 (£100,000) at Piasa (20.33/13.16% buyer's premium) on June 18.

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The Cat, the Grinch & Horton

21 July 2004

A Christie’s New York sale of June 9 included a collection of Dr Seuss books, illustrated letters and other ephemera formed by Jed Mattes, who in 1977, following the death of Theodor Geisel’s long-term agent Phyllis Jackson, took over as his representative.

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…and the appeal of Rowlandson now lies at the affordable level

13 July 2004

THOMAS Rowlandson’s (1756-1827) watercolour Place des Victoires, Paris (estimated £60,000-80,000) failed to find a buyer when offered at Sotheby’s (20/12% buyer’s premium) on July 1.

When two low points of the market combine, who is going to shell out £500?

13 July 2004

THE problem with over-ambitious estimates does not just apply to the sort of significant paintings which consignors may be led to believe are worth sums in the £100,000-£1m range.

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