Aerial view (from a Paris Plane), a signed 17 x 20in (43 x 51cm) lithograph from an edition of 25, shows swathes of land seen through the struts of an aircraft’s wing. The view stems from an oil by Nevinson, which in turn was inspired by a set of photographs printed in The War Illustrated in August 1915, which were taken from the air of a Turkish town on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The title derived from Archibald Paris (1891-1937), the Royal Naval Division’s general officer who was commanding the Dardanelles campaign. His ‘Paris Planes’ were flown by a select group of allied pilots above the peninsula.
“The print was consigned from an old family estate where it had been for many years. It is a rare print but perhaps not in the best condition,” said Clifford Lansberry of Gorringe’s, in Lewes, East Sussex.
It had been partially laid down with a mount stuck over some of the margins and with little nicks in the print. Given a conservative guide of £800-1200, it sold to a London buyer at £9000.
War aerial views by the artist have become increasingly popular, with the more stylish and dynamic fetching greater sums. In March 2012, Sotheby’s sold Banking at 4000 Feet, a lithograph from the 1917 series Building Aircraft, which set a £95,000 record for a Nevinson print at the time.
The Gorringe’s sale top-earner was a solid bronze statue Sisters, one of six made by David Wynne (1926-2014), the popular sculptor behind London’s Boy with Dolphin near Albert Bridge.
Sisters had been bought new and placed in a garden in Hampstead, where it remained until consigned to the Lewes saleroom. The 3ft 8in (1.11m) high piece attracted strong competition and soared above its £2000-3000 estimate to sell for £24,500 to the trade.
“Prices do seem to jump about; when pieces are near life size he can make a lot of money, but given the size of this one, we were not under great pressure to put a high estimate and ultimately we let it find its level,” said Lansberry.
Elsewhere, there was bullish bidding on an unframed oil by Harold Steggles (1911-71) that had been cut into four sections depicting the London gentleman’s clubs of Boodles, Brooks, St James’s and White’s. Painted on wooden panels, the largest measured 8 x 5in (20 x 13cm).
Steggles was part of the East London Group of working-class artists who painted the capital’s buildings and streets between 1928-36. Although just 27 results by the artist appear on the price database website Art Sales Index, “the artist has established a bit of a following”, said Lansberry.
Consigned from a property in Essex, the group sold for £4200 against a £600-800 guide. The price is among the highest for the artist at auction.