A private collection of paintings from a Yorkshire Estate are to be auctioned in the British, European and Sporting Art Sale at Tennants Auctioneers on 18th March. The collection comes from Denton Hall, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a popular wedding and shoot venue.
Amongst the twenty-four paintings from Denton on offer in the sale is “Cowslips” by George Dunlop Leslie (1835-1921), offered with an estimate of £10,000-15,000 (all estimates exclude buyer’s premium). The picture, depicting a trio of young girls collecting cowslips, was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1877 and was in the collection of The Rt. Hon. William George Armstrong of Cragside, Rothbury between 1900 and 1910. George Dunlop Leslie was a member of the St John’s Wood Clique, an influential circle of artists who acquired large fortunes and high social status. His early work was markedly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, but as his career progressed, he began to paint in a more academic manner, portraying gentle and pleasing scenes of everyday life. The critic John Ruskin praised his depictions of the “sweet quality of English girlhood.”
A painting by fellow St John’s Wood Clique artist William F Yeames (1835-1918) is also on offer from the collection. Yeames, who set up his studio in Park Place, London, was not a stereotypical bohemian artist; rather he lived a civilised and comfortable existence in a smart house in London and holidayed on the Devon coast. He had a fascination with British history, particularly the Civil War, reflected in the present painting which depicts “Dr Harvey and the children of Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill” (estimate: £7,000-10,000).
According to the catalogue note that accompanied the painting when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1871, “The Young Princes accompanied their father the King, whilst he waged war with Parliament. At the outset of the Battle of Edgehill, their tutor Harvey, the famous discoverer of the circulation of the blood, took them to a place of safety, as he though, and all absorbed in his meditations, sat down and pulled out his books, and plunged into his studies. It was only when the bullets whistled about their heads that he became aware of the danger to which his young charges were exposed.”
Further notable paintings in the collection include ‘St Paul’s London’, by John O’Connor (1830-1889) (estimate: £6,000-9,000), two floral still lifes by Cecil Kennedy (1905-1997), ‘Romneya’ and “Summer,” offered with an estimate of £6,000-9,000 each, and “Hauling Timber, Loweswater, Cumberland” by Herbert Royle (1870-1958) (estimate: £4,000-6,000).
Amongst the lots from other vendors in the sale are two fine marine works by Yorkshire artist John Steven Dews (b. 1949). Dews was born in Beverley and is one of the most successful living maritime artists. His work has been exhibited across the world, from an early sold-out show in San Francisco to exhibitions in London and New York. Born into a seafaring family, he set up his studio on the Humber Estuary where he studied the ever-shifting waters.
As an avid sailor, he imbues his works with meticulous detail and realism gained from his close affinity with the sea and sailing. On offer are two depictions of legendary racing yachts “Shamrock Racing, Velsheda & Britannia Thames Estuary, c.1930” and “White Heather II battling it out with Britannia off Fishburn, Cowes”, on offer with an estimate of £8,000-12,000 each, alongside a smaller historical scene “Shipping off Sunk Island, 1830”, on offer with an estimate of £800-1,200.