Discover some of the highlights in our Cornish Art & Fine Art Sale, taking place at our Penzance saleroom on March 30th & 31st.
Art lovers who also live in Cornwall are blessed with a sense of continuity, the history of Art in Cornwall is all around us, in galleries and museums and living in the artists themselves and the descendants of the artists of yesteryear. As time marches on though, the descendants with direct connections, who can remember being painted by a Newlyn or Lamorna artist or lived amongst them, grow less and less.
With their sad passing, as inheritances change hands, we are sometimes given the opportunity to see what treasures hung on their walls.
So it is with our next Cornish Art & Fine Art Sale, in which there are a number of works
that have come from the estate of Charles & Ella Naper who lived in Lamorna
from 1911 till their deaths in 1968 and 1972.
Charles Naper, Laura Knight, Cecily & Alfred Sidgwick and Harold Knight,
picnicking on Bodmin Moor 1914.
The works are by their friends and fellow artists Harold Harvey and Harold and Laura Knight. The Harvey, lot 79, a jewel-like oil depicting a glorious summers day at Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor, is a wonderful snapshot in time as it was painted in August 1914 during a holiday with the Napers, the Knights and the Sidgwicks, that is fondly remembered in Laura Knight's autobiography. It also beautifully illustrates that last
idyllic summer before Europe descended into war.
From the same source is lot 78, a wonderfully executed pencil portrait of Ella by Harold Knight, it manages to be beautiful and sensitive, yet the details of her features are meticulously, almost clinically, observed. Was Harold in love with Ella as Janet Dunbar suggests in her 1975 biography of Laura? We'll probably never know, but this enchanting portrait does make you wonder.
The third work in this group, a small ballerina drawing by Laura Knight (lot 77) is charming but not unusual - Knight adored the ballet, particularly the dancer Pavlova, and she drew many studies. This work is interesting because Ella and Laura collaborated on a small number of enamelled jewels, now rare and highly prized. Ballet was the theme of these beautiful pieces of jewellery and it seems quite likely that this could be a preparatory sketch for one of these enamels. Ella owned a particularly fine pendant, which has now been bequeathed to Penlee House, the central jewel of which was one of Naper and Knight's enamels depicting a ballerina in a similar pose.
Enamels by Ella Naper & Laura Knight. Images courtesy of Penlee House & Bonhams
Born in Sidmouth, Devon in 1903, Clare White, renowned artist and seasoned traveller made her way to Cornwall in 1949 with father and fellow artist, Arthur White (1865-1953) where they took up residence in the already bustling art colony of St. Ives.
Often found capturing the everyday life of local people, White refrequently worked ‘en plein air’ not only on the cobbled streets of lively towns like St. Ives, but on beaches, deserts and hillsides across Europe and the Caribbean.
In 1954 White became the first female president of the St Ives Arts Club, alongside her well-known contemporaries such as Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon and friend Barbara Hepworth. Clare's illustrative style lent well to designing posters, and her experience of travel informed her many talks and language lessons housed at the Club. During this time, White exhibited with the St Ives Society of Artists and wrote as an art critic for the St Ives Times and Echo.
Our March Cornish & Fine Art Sale hosts the collection of art historian Andrew Pollard, who has studied and exhibited White’s works extensively. Andrew knew Clare and has been a passionate advocate for restoring the artist to her rightful place in Cornish art history. The works were purchased directly from the artist’s god daughter.
With ninety-two lots in the collection, and locations including Italy, Switzerland, France, Barbados and St. Ives, the works are a true celebration of a keen traveller and skilful artist whose watercolours consistently exude a characterful representation of time and place.
All works can be viewed at our Penzance saleroom on
Saturday 25th March, 9am to 1pm.
Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th March, 9am to 5pm.
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