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'Dedham High Street' by Leonard Squirrell – £3200 at Reeman Dansie.

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However, it was a group of three watercolours of Cambridge and a view of a village in Essex that caught the eye at auction most recently. Indeed, between them these sales posted two of the top six auction prices for Squirrell, an indication that the market for the artist is holding up rather well.

Early in July, a 13 x 20½in (33 x 52cm) watercolour and pencil of Dedham – the picturesque village in Essex famously painted a century earlier by John Constable – appeared at Colchester saleroom Reeman Dansie (20% buyer’s premium) with a £2000-3000 estimate.

Depicting the high street on a sunny day, it sold at £3200 – a sum that was the fifth highest for Squirrell in the saleroom and the highest of 2020 so far.

Part of the reason for the demand generated was that it appealed both to dedicated followers of the artist and also collectors with a connection to the location depicted.

Cambridge in view

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'King’s College Chapel, Cambridge', a watercolour by Leonard Squirrell – £3000 at Cheffins.

The same was the case three weeks later when three smaller watercolours of Cambridge were offered at Cheffins on July 29. They came to auction from a private east of England vendor who brought them along to a Cheffins valuation day in March shortly before the lockdown.

Estimated at £700-1000, a signed 7 x 9¾in (18 x 25cm) watercolour and pencil of King’s College Chapel drew the strongest interest – partly on account its subject matter with figures punting in the foreground and the city’s most famous landmark in the background, as well as its fine condition. It sold to the trade at £3000.

The same buyer also purchased signed watercolours of The Great Court at Trinity College for £1900 (est: £600- 800) and St John’s Gateway at £2200 (est: £600-800).