These included a wood engraving of bullocks feeding which was the only known example in circulation. The 6¾ x 7¾in (17 x 20cm) impression from 1935 was, in fact, created for an advert for Bibby’s Rapid Fattening Cakettes and Cakelettes – a form of agricultural feed.
According to R Meyrick and H Heuser’s 2017 catalogue raisonné of Tunnicliffe’s prints, this copy was the only known one of its kind recorded.
Estimated at £600-800, it sold to the Welsh trade at £1000.
With a number of other rare prints by the artist also bringing good demand, this sum was topped by another wood engraving at Halls. Depicting Chinese geese, the 5½ x 16in (14 x 41cm) signed print from an edition of 50 had a fluid composition and was used as the image on the front cover of the catalogue.
Although it had a few faint spots of discolouration to the lower margin, it went above a £400-600 pitch and took £1350. Only a handful of individual prints by Tunnicliffe have ever sold for more at auction.
Another print from the same collection but by a different artist and sold earlier at Halls’ September 1 auction was a linocut by Robert Gillmor (b.1936).
Oystercatchers, a 11¾x 16in (30 x 41cm) signed impression from an edition of 21, flew past an estimate of £150-250 and made £1000 via thesaleroom.com. According to Halls’ specialist Abigail Molenaar, it was a price the vendor was “absolutely stunned by”.
The sum followed a good run of prices for Gillmor over the course of 2021.
Other than the £1700 for Avocets at Minsmere that sold at Christie’s back in July 1995, the highest prices for Gillmor at auction have all come for linocuts sold this year: one of an Avocet that made £1500 at Lacy Scott & Knight in March, another of Lapwings that took £1000 at Mallams in August and now the current work.