Offered at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, saleroom British Bespoke Auctions (22% buyer’s premium) on October 27, they were formerly part of the collection at Glympton Park in Woodstock and came to auction along with a number of pieces of furniture from the same source.
These included a George III mahogany and gilt bronze library desk that made £36,000 (pictured in Bid Barometer, ATG No 2567).
With the estimates set at what looked like ‘there-to-be-sold’ levels, all five de Wints got away for a combined £9080.
The highest price by some distance came for a 15¾in x 2ft 5in (40 x 73cm) watercolour titled The Holker Sands of Lancashire.
Crucially it had labels on the back for an 1870 Art Treasure and Industrial Exhibition in Bradford as well as another for a dedicated de Wint show at London dealer Agnews in 1966.
A fragment of another label suggested it may have once belonged to an H. Egerton, suggesting a possible connection to the Dukes of Sutherland. This piqued the interest of a number of bidders.
A reliable provenance is important in the de Wint market as many works have been somewhat doubtfully attributed to the artist over the years.
The fact that he had many patrons and a prodigious output means that similar works by other hands or even copies have been at times been confused with the originals. This example, however, had a lot going for it in any case.
It was an atmospheric composition that showed the influence that JMW Turner and Thomas Girtin had on de Wint. In good condition despite some slight discolouration to the upper left, it was estimated at £400-500 and drew bidding from the US as well as from a number of parties in the UK.
With bidding on the phone as well as online, it was knocked down at £6000 to a private collector from London. While de Wint watercolours can certainly make more (the highest on record is over £28,000), the price was among the higher sums for the artist at auction outside London in the last five years.
Two more buys
An established buyer in this market, the same collector bought two of the other de Wints in the group.
One was a view of Scarborough, an 11¾ x 19¾in (30 x 50cm) watercolour over pencil which also had an Agnews label. It overshot a £250-350 estimate and was knocked down at £1000.
The other was a landscape with a church tower, this time with a Fine Art Society label, that took £380 (guide £200-300).
Selling to a different buyer, a watercolour of Rye House in Hertfordshire also drew bidding against a £200-300 estimate. Measuring 12½ x 19¾in (32 x 50cm) and again with an Agnews label on the back, it sold online at £1000.
The final de Wint watercolour depicted Westminster Abbey from Carlton House Terrace. It made an above-estimate £700, selling to another London buyer.