A beautiful watercolour of Kirkby Lonsdale Churchyard by Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (1775-1851), that had not been seen at auction since 1884, sold yesterday (Wednesday 25th January 2012) for £217,250 as part of the 19th Century Paintings sale at Bonhams
, 101 New Bond Street, London. The sale total was £1,871,925.
Turner painted the lyrical English landscape of the River Lune from the churchyard of St Marys Church in Kirkby Lonsdale, with a group of children playing in the foreground. A view admired by the influential critic and artist John Ruskin (1819-1900) who wrote, whatever moorland hill, and sweet river, and English forest foliage can be seen at their best is gathered there; and chiefly seen from the steep bank which falls to the stream side from the upper part of the town itself. ...I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine, or a more priceless possession of true "Holy Land." The view is now known as Ruskins View.
Other highlights of the sale include: Winter landscape with figures by Frederik Marinus Kruseman (£97,250), Market Day by Théodore Gérard (£45,650), Tin Miners by Harold Harvey (£40,850) and Looking out to sea by Henry Scott Tuke (£27,500).
Peter Rees, Head of Sale for the 19th Century Paintings department, comments, We are very pleased with the overall results of the sale. There is still clearly good demand for the best examples of 19th Century Painting, with provenance and condition being increasingly important. We were delighted to sell the Turner to a private collector.
In a generally strong sale, there were some outstanding prices, such as the price achieved for the collection of Tukes, and we remain market leaders in sales of works by Archibald Thorburn, with sales totalling over £210,000 from the 20 lots sold.
In a separate auction yesterday morning a private collection of over 100 paintings by the ornithological artist John Cyril Harrison sold for £535,338, selling 97% by lot. The highlight of the sale was The take off which, at £33,650, set a new world record for the artist at auction - almost triple the previous record of £11,500.