World auction records set with our centenary celebration of Joan Eardley culminating in impressive results for the artist and records made for both Sir William MacTaggart and Ancell Stronach.
In the centenary year of her birth, the dedicated section that featured in our June 2021 auction celebrating the wonderful work of Joan Eardley achieved some extraordinary results, led by Jar of Summer Flowers, 1963, Thistledown Catterline and the small but perfectly formed Sea, Catterline.
Eardley was devoted to Glasgow. She recognised that the sense of community which had thrived within the tenement closes and backcourts was vanishing along with the old buildings and subsequently dedicated herself to capturing what remained in her artworks. Nothing represented this essence for Eardley more than the local children. Girl with Striped Jersey, a wonderful example of her dipictions of the children of Glasgow, achieved £36,250* in our June auction.
Catterline, a tiny row of fishermen’s cottages hunkered on the wild North East Scottish coast, became Eardley's foil to the scenes of urban decay and scrambling clusters of children playing in the streets. She would spend weeks at a time alone here, trudging doggedly out into the elements to paint en plein air. Thistledown Catterline saw £45,000* while Sea, Catterline sold for £41,250*.
By 1961, Joan Eardley's ill health was keeping her indoors in her Catterline cottage for periods and she wasn't always able to paint en plein air in the elements. Consequently, only a very small clutch of still lifes exist, dating exclusively to this short time period between 1961 and her death at the age of 42 in 1963. Dating to this period, Jar of Summer Flowers, 1963 led the results of our celebratory section of Eardley's work at £50,000*.
World auction records were achieved for both Sir William MacTaggart and Ancell Stronach. Highly recognisable, the work of Sir William MacTaggart bears a distinctive aesthetic in his approach to his subject, technique of paint application, and above all his jewel-toned palette. The grandson of William McTaggart, he shared his forebear’s talent for capturing atmospheric light, as well as an interest in landscape painting from an elemental perspective. Full of warm, sun-baked tones, MacTaggart's Palma, Majorca achieved a record for the artist at £42,500*.
Ancell Stronach is generally an unfamiliar name, even to Scottish Art enthusiasts, but in his day he was a significant figure in the Scottish art scene. Where Sinks the Voice of Music Into Silence is bold and decorative, with the vibrant colour and ecclesiastical details that were the signature of his painting at this time. Stronach pulls detail, poetry and inspiration together masterfully in this work, with areas of rich, flat colour interspersed with delicate patterning and design. This richly dramatic and decorative work acheived a new world auction record for Stronach at £57,500*.
Sir Henry Raeburn's enigmatic portrait of Lady Agnes Carnegie is an example of Raeburn at the height of his powers. Lady Agnes Carnegie (1763-1860) was born in Edinburgh in 1763. Her father, Andrew Elliot, was the last Governor of New York under British rule. In this portrait, Lady Carnegie looks towards the viewer with soft, smiling poise, and while her presence feels gentle her fine clothing and jewellery declare her status as a wealthy and influential individual. Raeburn’s mastery for descriptive brushwork is evident throughout this portrait which led our June 2021 flagship sale after achieving £100,000*.
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