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With Pitcher's 14in x 20in (35 x 51cm) gouache Close hauled, shown right, being offered in the September 14 marine sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street (19.5/10% buyer's premium), now would seem an opportune time to uncover a little information on this little known but talented artist.

Bonhams, who use part of Pitcher's dramatic yacht racing scene on their catalogue cover, make an attempt to give brief biographical details on the artist, although this includes an incorrect date of birth, which is given as 1892.

Pitcher was, in fact, born in London October 16, 1889 and, after an early career in the Merchant Navy, studied painting under Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956). Initially he was engaged in
illustration working for the likes of The Illustrated London News and the Bonhams picture, which is dated 1910, has a certain air about it that could indicate it was, indeed, reproduced in some publication.

Working in watercolours and oils, Pitcher became a founder member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists in 1939 and, as the Society did not hold their inaugural exhibition until 1946, he and other members showed during the early 1940s at the United Artists exhibitions.

From 1912 to 1942 he exhibited 13 pictures at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and also had work featured in the annual shows of the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.

His wife, Florence Mary Sotheby Pitcher (1896-1982), was a painter and printmaker and exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of Women Artists and elsewhere.

The picture's title, Close hauled, refers to a hazardous manoeuvre used in competitive yacht racing and Pitcher's brilliant evocation of the danger involved as two yachts jockey for position, is so good that Bonhams have given the picture an estimate of £5000-8000.

As Pitcher's works normally sell at auction for under £2000, this figure appears quite bullish.

However, this is undoubtedly one of the artist's humdingers. With that in mind, will an auction record for the artist be set on September 14?