Red & White Gloxinia with Pepper by Bryan Pearce, £11,500 at Lay’s.

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Normally only the most vibrant will attract high levels of interest and reach the kind of prices paid at auction for views of St Ives or Newlyn, for example.

One such work appeared at Lay’s (21% buyer’s premium) in Penzance, Cornwall, on June 15-16. Red & White Gloxinia with Pepper was a 2ft x 19¾in (61 x 50cm) signed oil on board from 1987 which was purchased at Wills Lane Gallery the year after it was painted.

The auction house described it ‘wonderfully original’ with ‘eye-popping colours’ that certainly made it stand out among the five works by the artist at the auction.

Estimated at £5000-8000, it brought out some of the significant players in the artist’s market, including the ‘serious collector’ who has been buying works by Pearce for many years and ended up securing it at £11,500.

Only a handful of still-lifes by the artist have fetched more at auction.

Crow takes off


Crow II by Breon O’Casey, £21,000 at Lay’s.

The Penzance sale was led by another bronze crow by Breon O’Casey (1928-2011). Lay’s had sold an example from the same edition (of five) for £26,000 in August last year. Prior to that no example had appeared since 2012 when one made €3300 (around £2600) at De Veres in Dublin.

While this time the bronze from 2004 titled Crow II did not quite reach the same level, it performed well against a £18,000-22,000 estimate and was knocked down at £21,000 to a private buyer, a sum that still showed a large rise in price for the artist in the last 10 years