Glasgow International Exhibition by William Kennedy – £9000 at McTear’s.

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The saleroom’s picture specialist Jenny Macleod said the canvas, which was valued at £2000-4000, was “a very small example of the artist’s work and at the low estimate some may have considered it to be optimistically valued for a typical William Kennedy of this size”.

Dictating this strong estimate was the picture’s quality and subject matter, she said. Painting in a style that drew upon the influences of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and French and Scottish painting, Kennedy depicts a bustling day at the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park, the second of four international exhibitions held in the Scottish city during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The building depicted was the exhibition’s Industrial Hall, a vast structure designed by architect James Miller in an oriental style and referred to as the ‘Eastern Palace’. It comprised an exhibition space of 252,000 sq ft, filled with stands and pavilions from across the British Empire and beyond.

The saleroom had high hopes the picture would do well on the auction block: “We used the image to promote the auction on, the first time we’ve ever used a £2000 low-estimate painting to promote a sale with several much higher estimated lots,” said Macleod.

The effort brought just rewards. Bidding on the day sailed to £9000 and was hammered down to a private Scottish buyer in the room. The price is the second highest auction price for a painting by Kennedy and is a considerable record “per square inch”, Macleod said.