Included in a picture auction on June 10 with an appealing estimate of £2500-3500, the signed 17½in x 2ft 11in (44.5 x 89cm) view of Loch Torridon in the Highlands was pursued by two internet bidders before selling for £10,000 on thesaleroom.com.
The artist, who was named ‘Turner of Oxford’ after the town in which he worked (and to distinguish from his better-known namesake JMW Turner), specialised in picturesque watercolour landscapes and made several paintings trips to Scotland. This watercolour dates to a visit in 1856.
Though considered a relatively minor artist in the English Romantic watercolour tradition, Turner’s best pictures routinely attracted £20,000 or more in the late 1990s before softening as trends changed at the turn of the century.
His largescale exhibition piece, An April shower, View from Binsey Ferry, near Oxford, remains the highest sum achieved at auction for the artist, selling at Sotheby’s in 1999 for £76,000 (source: Artprice by Artmarket). Four years later it sold for £26,000 at Christie’s.
Also attracting competition in the Surrey auction was a recently discovered 1930s oil by Cecil Osborne (1909-96), a prominent member of the inter-war set of artists known as the East London Group.
The Paddling Pool, a signed 14½ x 18½in (37 x 46.5cm) work, showed a group of women and children enjoying a summer’s day out (there were suggestions on the @EastLondonGroup Twitter feed the location was Regent’s Park). It attracted multiple bids against a guide of £300-400 and was knocked down at £1500.
The result reflects the growing interest in the East London Group of artists and their contribution to the visual record of inter-war east London which was largely unacknowledged for much of the 20th century.
The buyer told the auction house it will be loaned for an East London Group exhibition at the Beecroft Gallery in Southend in September.