With the council selling 428 paintings from its 1828-strong art collection (60% of the works offered were being kept in storage), the roster of top Mod Brit names in the consignment includes John Tunnard, Edward Wadsworth, Carel Weight, Julian Trevelyan, Michael Ayrton, Keith Vaughan and John Minton.
The group on offer also features no shortage of key lots by female artists, including a sketch by Barbara Hepworth, a pastel by Joan Eardley which has an estimate of £12,000-18,000 and a work by fellow Scottish artist Anne Redpath titled Blue Plate which is estimated at £10,000- 15,000.
The council began buying such works in 1949 as part of the School Loan Collection, a post-war initiative founded by Sir John Newsom, Hertfordshire’s chief education officer, to teach pupils across the county about art. The scheme was suspended in 2012 and permanently discontinued in 2017.
Hertfordshire County Council will retain its most valuable works, however – four statues insured for £21.85m, including a Henry Moore and two Hepworths.