As with many professions, artists often choose to specialise in a particular area within their vocation.
For Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-77), it was painting horse-drawn coaches.
A good example of his work appeared at Cheffins (25% buyer’s premium) of Cambridge.
The 16½ x 2ft 2in (42 x 66cm) oil on canvas depicted a mail coach on a muddy roadway in a wooded landscape. The work was signed with the artist’s monogram on the luggage peaking out under the cover.
It came to auction on December 9 from a Suffolk private collection and had provenance to London dealer Richard Green.
Works by Cooper Henderson can be found in public collections including The Courtauld and The Postal Museum in London as well as The Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art in Newmarket, Suffolk.
Judging by previous auction results, the most commercial works appear to be the largest and busiest scenes featuring known locations –such as a pair of works showing carriages arriving and returning to the Ascot races that together made £35,000 at Christie’s in May 2008.
The picture in Cambridge had similarities to a larger work titled The Hull to London Royal Mail that sold, together with its pendant, also for £35,000 at Christie’s back in November 1988.
Overall it was in good condition despite the presence of a layer of surface dirt and some insect droppings. At the Cheffins sale, it drew good interest against an appealing £2000-3000 estimate and was knocked down at £6500 to a collector in Germany.
Under starter's orders
Also drawing attention among a good number of sporting and racing pictures at the sale was a Peter Biegel (1913-88) painting of the start of a race at Cheltenham.
An attractive subject that was deemed a well-conceived example of the Hertfordshire-born artist’s work, the 15¾ x 19¾in (40 x 50cm) signed oil on canvas came from a local source and drew solid competition against a £2000-3000 pitch, selling at £6000 to a private UK buyer.
Lady Mary portrayed
Among the Old Master portraits at the sale, a portrait of Lady Mary FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk which was catalogued as ‘Circle of Hans Eworth (1540-74)’ drew bids from a number of parties.
It had previously sold as an ‘English School, 16th Century’ portrait of an unknown lady’ for £20 at Sotheby’s back in 1961 where it had been acquired by a member of the vendor’s family.
Estimated at £5000-8000, it took £13,000 from a private UK buyer.