One of the pioneers of the Newlyn School, Harris’ images of domestic harmony and well-being were among those at the forefront of the Cornish colony when it became an important centre for modern painting in Britain.
An attractive portrait by Harris went under the hammer at David Lay (18% buyer’s premium) in Penzance on October 25, a fortnight after the BHL sale. The 9½ x 7½in (24 x 19cm) oil on canvas of a young girl surrounded by flowers, Girl in a pinafore, tipped over top estimate to sell to a private buyer at £5200.
The Cornish sale also drew keen bidding for a pair of Parisienne views by prolific French post-impressionist Édouard Leon Cortes (1882-1969). Reportedly bought in a charity shop by the vendor, Cars, Porte-Saint-Denis and Trams, Rue de Madeleine sold above their guides to a London and New York gallery for £8200 and £8000 respectively.
Another noteworthy result was lot 376, a 20 x 13in (51 x 33cm) charcoal portrait by Arthur Comfort (1864-1935) of a young turbanned Arab man.
David Lay researcher Mimi Lay said: “Comfort was an engraver and illustrator of some note but his results at auction are very low, only three pictures sold on record, making just £50-130. Consequently, our estimate was also low.”
Skilfully drawn, it attracted plenty of pre-sale interest, selling on the day to “a top London dealer” for £3400, over 30 times the top guide.