Lochside view by George Houston, £8000 at McTear’s.

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Measuring a hefty 3ft 4in x 4ft 11in (1.02 x 1.5m), the lochside view was one of the artist’s largest paintings. Houston tended to favour standard-sized canvases with most of his bigger works being around two-thirds the size of this example.

Although undated, this attractive and signed picture was seemingly a relatively early creation, certainly dating from before 1920 (the artist started painting professionally only in his late 30s). It most likely depicted a scene in either his native Ayrshire, Argyll or Iona - the artist’s life-long passion for fishing often influenced his choice of location.

An Impressionistic landscape with sheep, water, distant hills and long shadows, it was described in the McTear’s catalogue as ‘George Houston at his best’. Estimated at £5000-8000 at the Glasgow auction on August 29, it was knocked down on top estimate to a north Lincolnshire buyer who left a commission bid.

The price was the highest for Houston since a smaller view of Iona made £8500 at Bonhams Edinburgh in 2017, but it was perhaps slightly underwhelming given that works in these proportions and of this quality rarely appear at auction.

While this might be the result of a softening market with fewer collectors than 20 years ago, the fact that seven of the nine works by Houston that sold at the Glasgow sale to seven different buyers suggested that some depth remains.

Widespread bidding

The auction house reported that buyers came from Ayrshire, Kelso, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as might be expected, but also from further afield with bidding from Toronto in Canada for example.


From the artist’s garden towards Lynn Glen, Dalry by George Houston £1700 at McTear’s.

A smaller view from the artist’s garden in Dalry, north Ayrshire, sold to a buyer from the area who was bidding online. The 15¾ x 22½in (40 x 57cm) signed oil on board demonstrated the artist’s ability to capture the natural environment and record the climatic conditions of the different seasons.

It sold within estimate at £1700.