The painting tilted Ynys Mon depicted the village of Rhoscolyn in Anglesey with a farmer and dog walking on a lane. It was offered at The Welsh Sale at Rogers Jones in Cardiff on July 24 (the buyer’s premium was 22%).
It came to auction from a Welsh vendor whose parents bought it in c.1982 from Tegfryn Gallery in Anglesey (they acquired it the day after the artist had delivered it to the dealership). The 19.75 x 3ft 7in (50cm x 1.1m) oil on canvas shows the village chapel to the centre and it is a rare example of a landscape by the artist featuring buildings so prominently.
Prior to the sale the auction house had described it as “one of the best Kyffin Williams oils we have offered”.
Estimated at £50,000-70,000, it drew a strong commission bid in advance as well as interest on the day from two clients from London, one a dealer and the other a collector. As the price rose, a Welsh collector bidding online via thesaleroom.com entered the fray but they ended up as the underbidder as the gavel eventually fell at £62,000 to the commission bidder. The buyer was an existing client of Rogers Jones based in the south of England but with fond childhood memories of the village of Rhoscolyn – he was even christened in the chapel featured in the painting.
The price eclipsed the £60,000 hammer price that the auction house achieved for Fox Shoot in 2016.
WORLD RECORD AT CARDIFF AUCTION HOUSE— Rogers Jones & Co (@RogersJonesCo1) July 25, 2021
Yesterday this Kyffin Williams sold for a new world record price of £62K
It was initially destined for a London auction house
Don’t let anyone tell you Welsh businesses cannot compete on the international stage
@ATG_Editorial 🏴 pic.twitter.com/bziZ6Qzehz
Partner and auctioneer at the saleroom Ben Rogers Jones told ATG: “The painting was on its way to one of the large London auction houses but fortunately the vendor saw one of our social media posts about Sir Kyffin after very successful results for the artist in The Welsh Sale in April this year.
“The owner saw the sense of offering the picture in Wales instead, and was impressed by our recent prices, coupled with our specialist knowledge and vast experience with the artist. She also commented that supporting local Welsh business was important to her.”
Rogers Jones felt that the “maximum exposure” provided by pitching the consignment to specialist Welsh collectors and buyers with connections to Wales proved decisive. “Many such collectors are not on the radar of London-based auction houses,” he added.
Sir Kyffin Williams is arguably the most important name in the modern Welsh art market and works appear with great regularity at auction.
His paintings are highly familiar in terms of style, technique, subject and composition but the wide format, bright colouring, and presence of figures in the foreground and identifiable landmarks in the background here made it somewhat different from the normally muted green and brown tonal pictures that commonly appear.
The provenance and market freshness were also factors in its favour commercially.