By his death in 1969, Sir William Russell Flint was a world famous artist, and originals and reproductions of his work hang in collections and galleries all over the UK and abroad. Known for his remarkable technical watercolour skill, he also painted in oil and tempera and produced fine drawings, etchings and book illustrations. Many will be familiar with the wide variety of his subject matter, which spanned picturesque gypsies and sensuous nudes, to luminous landscapes and seascapes of Scotland, France, Italy and Switzerland. We are delighted to present to market a group of exceedingly fine examples of this popular artist’s work.
Charles Wheeler, President of the Royal Academy at the time of Flint’s retrospective in 1962, described his artistic touch - simultaneously delicate and precise - as a “baffling skill”. This unerring precision was likely learned during the early years of his life, training as an apprentice lithographic draughtsman with Banks & Co. Printers in his home city of Edinburgh.
Flint soon moved to London and, after the interlude of the First World War during which he served as a Lieutenant in the RNVR and later as a captain in the RAF, the artist soon found his career taking off. Very soon, he was able to earn a living solely from his watercolours. His success afforded him the opportunity to frequently travel abroad on painting excursions to Europe. He was fascinated by the distinctive climates, architecture, costumes and customs of foreign countries, and this degree of engagement with his subject can be seen reflected in his romanticised interpretations of local life. The pure escapism of his imagery appealed greatly to his audience of collectors. Idealised female figures on pristine beaches or reclining on elegant furniture seemed to at once embody and amplify all that was joyous of the roaring 1920s, whilst simultaneously harking back to a rose-tinted idyll of a past era.
In 1962, almost at the end of his career, his genius was internationally acclaimed by a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art, of which Flint had been a member since 1933. His widely recognisable work is still sought out and well-collected to this day, and examples can be viewed in major institutions including the British Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
It is no surprise then, that the works we look forward to welcoming onto the market shown here, represent the dedicated and passionate collecting of a single private owner who has carefully accrued some of the finest examples to be offered at auction for some time.
Sir William Russell Flint: A Private Collection
Lots 1 to 24 at 2pm
Scottish Paintings & Sculpture
Lots 25 to 118 at 3pm | Lots 119 to 223 at 6pm
Viewing by appointment in Edinburgh from 28th November to 4th December