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.


“One of the world’s greatest portrait miniature collections”

18 February 2004

What Bonhams are billing as “one of the world’s greatest portrait miniature collections” will go on sale in their Bond Street rooms on April 22. The 175 English and Continental miniatures, which have been on loan to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for the past three years, date from the 16th to the 19th century and are estimated to fetch in excess of £1m.

Scot tops the international scene at Sussex sale

13 February 2004

Scottish, Greek and Australian subjects gave a welcome international feel to the main highlights among the pictures offered on the third day of Gorringes’ (15% buyer’s premium) January 27-29 sale in Lewes.

At £700,000, it’s nothing to sniff at…

16 December 2003

While Sotheby’s incorporated their best objects of vertu into their silver sale on November 20, Christie’s offered theirs in tandem with portrait miniatures in a 264-lot sale the following month on December 9. The vertu side of the sale performed particularly well, with hardly any failures, most of the 55 unsold lots coming from the miniatures.

Withdrawn Canadian views go home

11 November 2003

WITHDRAWN from sale at the eleventh hour, a recently-discovered portfolio of late 18th century topographical watercolours of Canada have been sold by private treaty to Library and Archives Canada and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Promised Land fulfils its promise at £13,800

16 October 2003

Exceptional subjects still have the capacity to fetch exceptional prices, as the Bury St Edmunds auctioneers Lacy Scott & Knight (10% buyer’s premium) discovered when this unsigned and unattributed 19th century watercolour came under the hammer on September 20 with an estimate of £250-400.

£4200 picture of contentment

26 August 2003

The strong collecting base for miniatures has cushioned this market from the wider economic vagaries that have affected other more trade-dependent fields such as furniture and silver. Bonhams Bond Street (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) specialist Emma Rutherford reckoned around 80 per cent of entries sold privately in their 193-lot routine miniature and silhouettes sale back on July 1. “Our buyers tend to be retired and tend to have their money readily accessible,” she said.

Pooh, Piglet and Toad the washerwoman

30 June 2003

A watercolour and drawings sale held by Bonhams on June 10 included a small group of E.H. Shepard illustrations from the estate of the late Jean Ames, who as Jean Gourlay had befriended the artist during the late 1930s and early 1940s, prior to his second marriage, and though the saleroom was non-committal on the matter, it is possible that these versions were specially made by Shepard for Miss Ames.

Hoskins sells at £17,500

08 May 2003

Not such a pretty face, perhaps, but the artist was certainly worth a thousand dollars or more.

HBP’s bunnies in the snow raise £32,000

17 April 2003

Two early watercolour drawings of rabbits in snowy settings were offered as part of a Bonhams sale of April 1. That seen right shows one rabbit making a snowball while another leans on a fence, while in the illustration reproduced below right, the two rabbits are building a snowman.

Multi-million pound deal struck in row over Blake watercolours folio

14 February 2003

A secondhand bookshop in Glasgow and two Yorkshire dealers are celebrating a windfall of several million pounds after settling their dispute over the ownership of a lost cache of William Blake watercolours. The folio of 19 illustrations for Robert Blair’s poem, The Grave, one of the most exciting “finds” in art market history, have been sold through London art dealer Libby Howie, acting on behalf of an anonymous collector, for an estimated £4.9m.

Lears saved

10 February 2003

CHRISTIE’S have negotiated the sale of a major collection of watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear to the nation in lieu of tax. The 32 pictures come from the estate of the late Sir Steven Runciman and are expected to go the National Galleries of Scotland.

Dispute keeps lost Blakes under cover

09 September 2002

A second hand bookshop in Glasgow and two dealers are locked in a legal dispute over the ownership of a lost cache of William Blake watercolours, valued at over £1m.

Value leap is par for the course

27 August 2002

Golf has always been a subject that can have a dramatic effect on the price levels of artists who normally make little impact in the salerooms. Take the case of Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953), a Berwick-on-Tweed watercolourist who specialised in landscapes and marines, the best examples of which fetch around £1500 at auction.

Sir Henry’s timely bow

14 August 2002

WITH the Proms season now upon us it seems fitting that a portrait of the founder of the famous concerts, Sir Henry Wood, topped the pictures on offer at Bonhams Oxford (17.5% buyer’s premium) on June 25.

A peace mission in watercolour

07 August 2002

FRANCE: Millon & Associés (17.5/ 13.5% buyer’s premium) June 26 sale included two watercolours taken from an album of drawings by Eugene Delacroix, which the artist presented to Count Charles de Mornay on their return from Morocco in 1832.

£12,500 Nelson outranks artist

17 July 2002

In the portrait miniature market the sitter is considered less important than the painter – but sometimes even a famous artist like Henry Bone, enamellist to the Prince Regent and the author of this miniature, right, can be superseded by their subject.

The indomitable Herr Kerner and his 144 bunches of grapes…

05 July 2002

It is believed that only two copies of Johann Simon Kerner’s Le Raisin, ses espèces et variétées… were completed, but then this German botanist did make it hard work for himself in choosing to illustrate it with original watercolours.

Prince Charles watercolours unmasked as forgeries after sale

24 June 2002

FELLOWS and Sons, the Birmingham auctioneers, have refunded the buyers of three watercolours sold as the work of Prince Charles last week after the pictures were revealed as forgeries.

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).

Categories

News