An untitled work from 1980 by William Tillyer – £11,000 at Roseberys.

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Among the lots drawing interest at Roseberys’ (25% buyer’s premium) sale of Modern & Contemporary British art on August 11 was a work formed with acrylic and cardboard on a welded wire mesh.

The untitled piece from 1980 was by William Tillyer (b.1938), a painter and watercolourist originally from Middlesbrough whose experimental works have garnered attention at exhibitions in New York, London and Melbourne. A number of his works are now in the Tate.

Measuring 2ft 8in x 2ft 5in (82 x 73cm), this was an example of the works that he began producing after moving to Wiltshire in 1978 and started painting on wire mesh. It came to auction from a vendor whose father had bought it from Bernard Jacobson gallery in London in 1980s.

Estimated at £5000-8000, it was knocked down at £11,000.

Roseberys’ sale had a stronger focus than usual on works from the second half of the 20th century. The West Norwood saleroom reported “spirited bidding throughout” with a selling rate of 80% for the 294 lots and 95% of bidding taking place online.


'Ecstasy: St Agatha' by Stephen Cox – £12,000 at Roseberys.

Also bringing strong competition was a sculpture by Stephen Cox (b.1946) that had once been on display at Tate Modern. Ecstasy: St Agatha from 1983 was one of a series of carvings made by the artist from Verona Red marble – a material used during the Italian Renaissance where it was noted for its softer texture and russet hues.

The three pieces, which are meant to be hung together in diagonal alignment, each measured between 1m and 2m high. Few, if any, works of this scale by the artist have emerged on the secondary market before.

Estimated at £3000-5000, it drew interest both on the phone and internet and was eventually knocked down at £12,000 to a UK bidder, the highest price for the artist at auction (source: Artprice by Artmarket).