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Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) bandwagon shows no sign of slowing down. Last July Phillips set a new record for the artist when £52,000 was paid for Window Still Life with Conch Shell, then six months later in January this record was virtually doubled at Lawrence’s of Crewkerne when the London sculpture dealer Daniel Katz gave a remarkable £100,000 for Winifred’s 1930
portrait of her husband Ben.

An awareness that the hitherto modestly-rated Winifred Nicholson has suddenly become just about the hottest name in the Modern British market was clearly in evidence at the Cambridge rooms of Cheffins (15% buyer’s premium) on March 21 when this 1955 canvas, Majorca Flowers, right, came under the hammer from a local deceased estate. Unsigned, but with an old label on the verso in the artist’s hand indicating it had been included in her one-woman show in Carlisle in 1957, this 201/2in by 2ft 1in (52 x 63cm) canvas was in untouched condition and its Mediterranean subject matter clearly gave it an extra dimension of appeal.

Back in September Cheffins had given it a probate valuation of £10,000 (faithfully reflected in the pre-sale estimate of £8000-10,000), but Winifred Nicholson values have moved into a different league since then and here two private bidders battled it out to a final price of £42,000.

EQUALLY interesting was the reaction to a painting offered in East Anglia. Every so often a provincial picture sale throws up a talented artist who for some reason or another has slipped through the net of the standard reference books. Olive Hockin (1880-1936) is not a name that appears in either Bénézit’s Dictionnaire des Peintures or Huon Mallalieu’s Dictionary of Watercolour Artists. However, judging from the quality of this 1909 watercolour, Circlewise They Sit, above right, which was included in Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) Athenaeum Sale in Bury St. Edmunds on March 5, she was a skilled draughtswoman in a romantic, Pre-Raphaelite-inspired idiom.

Taking its title from Christina Rosetti’s poem, The Blessed Damozel, this impressive, privately entered 20in by 2ft (50 x 61cm) watercolour is recorded as an RA exhibit in 1909 and it duly topped the picture section with a price of £7200 against an estimate of £700-1000.
Two lots earlier a slightly larger Olive Hockin watercolour, The Wind Blows out of the Gates, inspired by W.B. Yeats’ poem, attracted a bid of £7000.

According to The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Olive Hockin was a figure painter based at Mortimer, Berkshire, who exhibited four times at the Royal Academy from 1903-15.