The October 11 auction included a pair of wooded landscapes in oils attributed to John White Abbott (1763-1851) and four mountain views by Alfred Heaton Cooper (1864-1929) with both lots selling for multi-estimate sums.
Abbott, a local surgeon and apothecary who became a keen amateur painter primarily known for his watercolours, is believed to have painted the wooded landscapes at the Devon estate Fordlands, which he inherited in 1825.
The pair came from a private house and had previously sold at Sotheby’s in 1958 catalogued as by the artist. Estimated at £400-600, they were knocked down to an online bidder from London at £2400.
BH&L picture specialist Charlotte Russell described the oils as “very finely handled and quite special up close” and “the sort of paintings you continue to return to for another look, with real atmosphere about them”.
She added: “Even though they are oils, they are still quite characteristic of White Abbott’s oeuvre which includes many similarly well-observed, fairly moody studies of these sorts of ‘looming’ trees, which seem to have been a subject he returned to often. A similar study, also in oil, is in the Tate collection.”
The four mountain views by Heaton Cooper, including a 19 x 13in (49 x 34cm) watercolour of an upland wooded river scene, were offered in a single lot estimated at just £120- 160. Consigned from a deceased estate and with competitive bidding across all platforms, they sold online for £2900 to a buyer in the Lake District.
“The watercolours were also well preserved, with very striking colouring, which really does add to the appeal of watercolours as they sometimes lose some of that initial vibrancy,” said Russell.
Heaton Cooper, who studied under George Clausen, travelled widely in Europe, living for a short stint in Norway before settling in the Lake District where he sold his Cumbrian landscapes to tourists. Although the scenes at BH&L were unidentified, the location of the buyer suggests a particular connection.
After the sale, Russell said: “It was very encouraging to see that the market for good-quality traditional landscapes is still so buoyant.”