'Black Grouse in a Winter Landscape', a watercolour by Archibald Thorburn – £8300 at Hawleys.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The top picture lot at the May 31 sale was a classic Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) depiction of Black Grouse in a Winter Landscape. The 13½ x 9½in (34.5 x 24cm) watercolour from 1919 benefited from being signed, dated and in good original condition with no marks or foxing.

Grouse is also a popular subject for the artist who specialised in painting game birds and this example displayed a few subtle avian footprints in the snow that were deemed a nice touch.

Its value was probably limited, however, by the size of the work and the fact that the main subjects did not depict the birds in flight. But the £1000-1500 estimate ensured the work attracted strong interest and, on the day, it was knocked down at £8300 to the trade.

Early Macao


Watercolour of Macao – £1800 at Hawleys.

A depiction of the Chinese island of Macao from 1830, executed on rice paper, was estimated at a highly obtainable £40-60.

Although a small study, at 5 x 9¾in (13 x 25cm), bidders were attracted to its topographical qualities, particularly the details to houses, buildings and known landmarks, as well as the good date of the work. It was knocked down at £1800, also going to the trade.