Major Scottish art works go up for sale as council sells collection

A pastel by Joan Eardley and a still life by Robert MacBryde are among the works coming up for auction. PIC: Contributed.
A pastel by Joan Eardley and a still life by Robert MacBryde are among the works coming up for auction. PIC: Contributed.
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A number of major works by 20th Century Scottish artists have gone up for auction as a local council sells off part of its large art collection.

Pieces by Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath and Robert MacBryde are among those being sold next month.

'Blue Plate' by Edinburgh School artist Anne Redpath is expected to raise up to �15,000 at auction.  PIC: Contributed.

'Blue Plate' by Edinburgh School artist Anne Redpath is expected to raise up to �15,000 at auction. PIC: Contributed.

Hertfordshire County Council is selling more than 400 paintings from its collection of more than 1,828 pieces with the works acquired over 60 years.

READ MORE: 2019: The year ahead in Scottish art

The highlight of the collection is a pastel work by artist Joan Eardley, with the depiction of a boy reading expected to raise between £12,000 and £18,000 at auction.

Also included in the sale is ‘Blue Plate’ by Edinburgh School artist, Anne Redpath, which has an estimate sale price of between £10,000 and £15,000.

Meanwhille, a still life by Ayrshire-born painter Robert MacBryde is due to sell for between £7,000 and £10,000.

READ MORE: Woman painted by artist Joan Eardley in 1955 sees painting for first time

Brett Tryner, associate at auction house Cheffins in Cambridge, said: “This important collection is representative of the post-war artistic period and we are honoured to be able to offer these works for sale on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council.

“Many of the artists featured have seen a new-found appreciation over the past decade, with many of these post-war painters now achieving stellar prices at auction. Although many of the artists had a strong reputation at the time of the council’s purchase, the vast proportion were often overlooked in place of bigger names from Europe or further afield.

“New-found appreciation, retrospectives and recent academic publications have helped to grow a burgeoning market for these artists amongst mainly UK-based collectors, galleries and institutions.”

The county council’s collection was started in 1949 as part of the School Loan Collection, a post-war project by Sir John Newsom, the Hertfordshire Chief Education Officer at the time.

He bought artworks from contemporary British artists so that schools could borrow them for the benefit of pupils’ art education.

Many of the pieces were purchased from reputable dealers, artists and the ‘Pictures for Schools’ exhibitions which took place from the 1950s and 1960s.

The service has become less relevant to the evolving curriculum as students have had the opportunity to experience art in new ways, such as gallery visits or through modern technology. It was suspended in 2012 and permanently discontinued in 2017.

Councillor Terry Douris, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Libraries and Localism, said putting the pictures up for sale was the “sensible thing to do.”

He added: “With 60 per cent of the art collection in storage and not available to the public, the county council believes that the approach it is taking to the art collection balances its fiduciary duty to its council tax payers to use the full resources available to it to best advantage, while aiming to achieve much improved access and display of the retained collection for the public.”