Tram and Figures in Rain, Byres Road by Herbert Whone – a record £18,000 at McTear’s.

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First, in January, a work titled Factories in the Snow sold for £8000 at Glasgow saleroom McTear’s (24% buyer’s premium), the second-highest auction price for the artist at the time.

Then in June a new high came when Glasgow Tram from 1962 made £13,000 in the same rooms. It was consigned from the estate of the actor Johnny Beattie (1926-2020) and was reported in ATG No 2503.

Most recently McTear’s on September 24 raised the bar for the artist once again when a similar but much larger painting titled Tram and Figures in Rain, Byres Road surpassed a £10,000-15,000 estimate to make £18,000.

Almost four times the size of the work sold in June, the 4ft 2in x 2ft 6in (1.28m x 77cm) signed oil on canvas from 1961 was similar in dimensions to Tramcar in Fog, a work now in the collection of The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Whone was born in Bingley, West Yorkshire, and attended the Royal Manchester College of Music. An accomplished violinist, he joined the Royal Opera House Orchestra and later the BBC Symphony Orchestra, before moving to Glasgow in 1955 and becoming deputy leader of the Scottish National Orchestra. Glasgow inspired his paintings with depictions of trams and shipbuilding scenes around the Clyde among his favoured subjects.

Whone on the High Street


Haworth High Street, Yorkshire by Herbert Whone – £4200 at Adam Partridge.

Another work by artist bringing interest south of the border appeared at the Adam Partridge (20% buyer’s premium) sale in Macclesfield on September 15-17.

This time it was a Yorkshire scene which, while perhaps less commercial than his Glasgow pictures, still drew decent demand.

The 3ft 4in x 2ft 8in (1m x 80cm) oil on canvas titled Haworth High Street, Yorkshire was signed and dated ’68. The vendor, who brought it into the auction house on a valuation day, had purchased it from the church at Colne, Lancashire, which both the artist’s daughters attended.

Estimated at £1500-2000, it sold at £4200 to a buyer in the north west, fetching a good sum for a non-Glasgow Whone subject.