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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Why the watercolour world of Lear now looks affordable

15 June 2004

OVER the last couple of years, a number of auctioneers have been complaining that lesser-name Victorian watercolours in the sub-£500 range have become the weakest of all areas at picture sales, sometimes to the point of having no market at all.

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Langley-lover triumphs again

09 June 2004

THE West Midlands auctioneers Fieldings (12.5% buyer’s premium) are making something of a habit of getting impressive prices for market-fresh watercolours by the Newlyn School painter Walter Langley (1852-1922).

Scenes from the Snowfields and the Ice World

19 May 2004

A travel sale held by Christie’s South Kensington on April 29 was a mix of books, prints and pictures and seen here are two items from a section of that sale devoted to the Alpine regions.

Pocket-sized appeal of history on a grand scale

11 May 2004

RUSSIAN interest in their own heritage propelled the prices of two Imperial Russian subjects in the Albion collection, sold at Bonhams' (19.5/10% buyer's premium) New Bond Street rooms on April 22, to very high levels.

Sashes with youthful dash

11 May 2004

STUDIES of children tend to be one of the most popular subjects for miniature collectors, and there was plenty of choice in the Albion collection sold at Bonhams' (19.5/10% buyer's premium) New Bond Street rooms on April 22, enough indeed for the room to demonstrate some distinct preference.

Rival trio at Sudbury set new record for Bawden watercolour

05 May 2004

INTENSE competition between three bidders on the telephone and two in the room pushed the watercolours of Edward Bawden (1903-1989) into new financial territory when this signed and dated, 1956 composition, right, House at Ironbridge, fetched £10,500 at the Sudbury, Suffolk rooms of Olivers (12.5% buyer’s premium) on April 1.

An impossible overall view... but Snowdon is sale high point

05 May 2004

JOHN Varley Senior (1778-1842) was one of the most prolific watercolourists of his generation, exhibiting no fewer than 700 works at the Old Water Colour Society between 1805 and 1842.

Success in miniature

27 April 2004

BONHAMS notched up a clutch of auction records and an impressive £1.28m total for the Albion Collection of portrait miniatures in Bond Street on April 22.

An underrated library chair is a £5000 best seller

15 April 2004

OF the 830 lots offered in Fieldings (12.5% buyer's premium) February 28 sale, a painting provided the highest price but a chair the biggest surprise.

Pre-Raphaelite’s time has come...

15 April 2004

With a dozen works by the artist currently on show at Tate Britain’s Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, Sussex auctioneers John Nicholson (15% buyer’s premium) could hardly have picked a better time to offer a watercolour by George Price Boyce (1826-97) than at their March 17 sale in Fernhurst.

Bidding stays solid in the gossamer world of Annie French

01 April 2004

WITH a style, as one writer has put it, “sweetly intensified to a point where the world is reduced to a world of gossamer”, Annie French (1872-1965) was a Glasgow School artist who took the Art Nouveau idiom of Beardsley and Burne-Jones to new decorative extremes.

Traditional demand lifts bidding in provinces

01 April 2004

WITH a name like the Old Picture Palace, the former cinema in Matlock that is the newly acquired saleroom of the Derby auctioneers Bamfords (15% buyer’s premium) should be the sort of venue where the more traditional end of the art market should feel at home.

Roses’ bloom has faded, but not blown over

23 March 2004

FIFTEEN or so years ago works by the likes of Helen Allingham (1848-1926) and the Stannards of Bedfordshire had the sweet smell of success all over them. However, in more recent times the general consensus is that watercolours of this genre, which I loosely describe as “roses round the cottage door”, have slipped from favour.

The problem of identifying bonafide Boningtons…

23 March 2004

Illustrated in colour on the catalogue cover of Clevedon Salerooms’ March 4 sale was a watercolour described as being by Richard Parkes Bonington (1801-1828).

Sisterly seamstress sentiments help to sell samplers

16 March 2004

IN addition to technical excellence, decorative appeal and early date, sentiment is an important player in the sampler market.

When Newlyn is still a prize catch...

16 March 2004

WITH collectors’ taste in Modern British art shifting in recent years from pre-war to post-war, the once all-conquering Newlyn School has not generated as many headline-stealing results as it did in the late 1980s.

A satisfactory sitting

18 February 2004

PORTRAIT MINIATURES: At just under £92,000 for 287 lots, Bonhams Bond Street’s (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) first portrait miniature sale of the year on February 3 was essentially a middle-ranking offering.

“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.

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