Turner watercolour sells for £22,000 at Cotswolds antiques auction

27th November 2017

A small watercolour sketch by one of England's most celebrated painters has been sold at a Cotswolds auction for £22,000.

Tancarville, by the Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), is thought to be one of five sketches Turner made at the site of the French castle that informed the larger watercolour Tancarville on the Seine, which was painted in 1839 and is now in the Tate collection – as is another of the five studies.

The finished painting shows the castle with sheep, goats, and reclined figures in the foreground, taking shelter from the sun under a pair of tall trees.

In this 14cm by 16.5cm unsigned sketch – which appears to have been torn from a sketchbook, and is one of five known sketches which informed the final piece – the castle is far less defined and the people have been painted far more figuratively.

The sketch, which was inscribed with Turner's name on the back, came with good provenance, having been authenticated by the eminent art dealer Gerald Agnew, and subsequently by two major London auction rooms.

It exceeded the auctioneer's estimate of £15,000 to £20,000, achieving the highest lot price of the day at Moore Allen & Innocent's selected antique, picture, books and interiors auction in Cirencester on Friday, November 24.

The second highest lot price of the day was also achieved by a painting: Olive Grove with Sunlight in Foreground, an oil on canvas by the Russian landscape painter Ivan Fedorovich Choultsé (1874-1939), who emigrated to France after the revolution and died in Nice.

Known as a master of capturing light, his work is now highly sought-after, especially in Russia – the homeland to which he never returned. His olive grove achieved £12,000, at the top end of its £8,000 to £12,000 estimate.

Elsewhere in the pictures section, a 19th century London street scene monochrome watercolour by the brothers Henry and Walter Greaves, exceeded its £300 to £500 estimate to sell for £2,700, while a 16th century oil painting of a lady in gold-trimmed black dress with high lace collar and pearl necklace, attributed to a follower of the Florentine portrait painter Cristofano Allori, sold for £2,400 against a £1,000 to £1,500 estimate.

The third-highest lot price of the day was achieved by by a Victorian brass cylindrical corkscrew by Robert Jones & Son, which sold for £6,000 against an estimate of £5,000 to £8,000.

The 15cm long No 2 corkscrew with rosewood handle was inscribed Robert Jones S & Son Makers 105 Cheapside Birmingham and carried the Victorian kite mark.

A 52cm tall George III carved oak royal coat of arms in the manner of Dutch-British sculptor Grinling Gibbons, known for his carvings at Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and St Paul's Cathedral, exceeded its estimate of £2,000 to £3,000, achieving £5,500.

And another wood carving – a nativity scene carved from limewood in Bavaria in the late 15th century, and featuring a medieval-looking Mary and Joseph, along with shepherds, angels and onlookers snatching a peek through stable windows, the 30cm tall relief – achieved its bottom estimate of £5,000.

A late Victorian 11.4 oz silver stirrup cup in the form of a fox's head by James Barclay Hennel, London 1878, achieved £3,600, as did a 16.4 oz Edwardian silver stirrup cup in the form of a fox head by Holland Ald Winckle & Slater, London 1901.

And a 24cm tall Lalique Ceylan vase, designed circa 1924 and decorated with budgerigars in relief amongst foliage, achieved a winning bid of £3,200 – comfortably exceeding the £800 to £1,200 estimate.

In the furniture section, an early 18th Century walnut chest on chest with recessed domed parquetry starburst achieved its bottom estimate of £3,000, while an 18th Century yew and mulberrywood chest made £1,750 against an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500.

The next sale at Moore Allen & Innocent is the traditional pre-Christmas vintage toys and wine auction. For a full auction catalogue visit www.mooreallen.co.uk