Drawing lively demand, that family group sold out for a combined £10,640 with the top price among them coming for a detailed but characterful pen, black ink and coloured wash of a busy bookshop.
Measuring 5¼ x 14¼in (14 x 36cm), the sketch was in good condition, although it had two unobtrusive vertical creases where it had once been folded. It was inscribed DIZ to the lower right – a format that Ardizzone sometimes used for signing his work. It surpassed a £1500-2000 estimate and was knocked down at £4400 to an Oxfordshire dealer, a sum toward the higher end of prices for the abundant works on paper by the artist.
Ardizzone was born in modern-day Vietnam to Italian and Scottish parents but was brought up in Suffolk. After studying at Westminster School of Art, he took up book illustration and became known for his intimate and gently humorous drawing style.
Another trademark work, a 7 x 13½in (18 x 35cm) watercolour with pen and black ink, signed E Ardizzone, also attracted interest. Cyclists at Paddington had featured in an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 2000 to mark the centenary of his birth. Estimated at £800-1200, it sold at £2200 to a private London buyer.
From a separate Dorset source came a set of six original illustrations by Ardizzone for James Reeves’ Titus in Trouble, a book published by Bodley Head in 1959. In good condition other than some handling marks and gum stains to the edges, the sketches were offered together as a single lot with a £5000-6000 estimate. They sold on low estimate to a buyer in Sussex.
Overall, 10 Ardizzone lots in total sold to seven different buyers for £15,920, a sign of a good depth of interest in the artist both from the trade and private collectors.