From up-and-coming contemporary artists to stars of Scottish painting, our February Paintings & Works on Paper auction offers the perfect opportunity to begin – or develop – your collecting journey.
Members of the Lyon & Turnbull team have selected their favourite pictures to share from our 09 February auction. Read on to learn more about the pieces they would love to hang on their wall…
LOT 143 | LEENDERT DE KONINGH | THE YOUNGER, GIRL SEATED BY THE FIRE
The charm of this domestic scene is all in the details. We find our subject preparing vegetables in the kitchen: the freshly-scrubbed potatoes (indicated by the blue jug, brass bowl and cloth in the window) are now being peeled and dropped into the waiting cauldron at her feet. The subject is dressed neatly, despite the holes in her shoes, and she presents the humble interior with equal pride: the chipped plate above the fireplace still gleams, as though freshly polished. Leendert de Koningh worked in England, Germany, and Paris (under the tutelage of none other than Jacques-Louis David), but this painting reads like an ode to the visual tradition of his native Holland.
- Chantal de Prez, Junior Paintings Specialist
We often think of Bet Low as being inspired by landscape, her sparse and almost abstract watercolours of the Scottish sea and undulating hills conveying the liminality of these spaces. Here, she has decided to use pencil to convey a richly simple still-life. The striking monochromatic effect of graphite on white paper allows her to embrace the subtleties in texture – the sheen of the tomato skins and lush density of the parsley leaves contrasted with the patterned jug and shadows cast across the table. There is no colour here, yet the vibrancy of the fresh summer produce sings out from the page.
- Carly Shearer, Head of Prints & Multiples
Without doubt the piece that I would happily have on my wall is Sheila McInnes’ ‘The Wise Dog’. McInnes is known for her proto-naïve style, and here we see it demonstrated in all its considered simplicity. While on first glance the painting looks quite spare and unassuming, the composition is, in fact, deceptively balanced and complex. The seated white dog, who looks out knowingly from the centre of the panel, creates a triangular shape that is repeated in the small toy boat in the corner of the composition, while the shape of its head and ears are likewise repeated by the potted cactus on the table above. The table itself acts like a frame-within-a-frame, its legs providing a pronounced verticality enclosing the dog, and the white horizontal of the skirting board is echoed in the white cloth hanging over the table’s edge. The colour palette is cool and muted, with the exception of the dark brown table, while the strategically placed red/orange of the terracotta pot and red flag on the boat introduce a spark of vibrancy. McInnes’ technique involves building up layers of paint then scraping back the surface, to reveal scenes that are intimate and personal, evocative and quietly emotive.
James Harrigan hails from the bonny town of Ayr, like myself, and is known for his cheerful landscapes which often feature people engaging in day-to-day activities, as in this example. I personally enjoy the verticality of his compositions - flowers and fronds curve gracefully down, overhanging and shielding the viewer - creating a scene that is simultaneously bright and open while also feeling sheltered and 'secret'. I see this work hanging in my home office as a daily reminder that tranquillity (if not sunshine and flowers!) is only a bike-ride away.
- Matt McKenzie, Lead Designer
My favourite painting in this sale would have to be lot 57. I love the bold colours and especially the brightness of the blues. It immediately transports me to the Mediterranean, which is very welcome in the middle of winter in Scotland!
- Juliette Behr, Client Services & Sales Coordinator
LOT 83 | SIR WILLIAM GEORGE GILLIES | ACROSS THE FIELDS, EAST LOTHIAN
It has been a challenge to choose between the three lovely drawings by William Gillies in the sale, but in the end Across the Fields, East Lothian has emerged as my favourite. It is a carefully realised yet still free depiction of a panoramic view over the area in Scotland where Gillies was born in 1898 and where his family remained until 1928. Loose suggestions of ploughed furrows and trees mingle with more precise depictions of houses scattered over the countryside and into the distance. This work and its two companions all come from the collection of the late Dr Angus Gibson, which is being sold to support the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.
- Alice Strang, Associate Director and Senior Specialist, Modern & Contemporary Art