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A remarkable selection of etchings, watercolours and oil paintings by three exceptional draughtsmen will be offered in Lawrences’ first major auction of the autumn season at Crewkerne.
The sale, consigned from several private collections amassed since the late 1960’s, comprises 330 masterpieces by William Wyllie (1851-1931), William Walcot (1874-1943) and Edmund Blampied (1886-1966).
“All too often, prints are denied the attention that they so richly deserve,” observes Lawrences’ specialist in charge of the sale. “Some say that they are too monochrome, too `dull` or too technically complex for their subtleties and nuances to be readily appreciated. The briefest glance through the outstanding images here should lay to rest any such unworthy notions.”
Although the lives of these three artists spanned 115 years, the overlap of their productive years was relatively brief. Nonetheless, that period bookended arguably the greatest years of British printmaking and, in the quarter century from 1905-1930, the etchings of Wyllie, Walcot and Blampied achieved a remarkable apogee. In those fruitful years, subject matter and technical invention blended to yield some highly distinctive works of art. In total, there are 185 works by Wyllie (estimates range from £120-over £15000); 67 works by Walcot (£150-£3500); and 77 works by Blampied (£150-£7000)
From the vast selection consigned to this sale – and few auctions in recent decades have comprised quite as many examples of Wyllie’s 300 etched works as are on offer here – collectors can appreciate the astonishing `wealth of detail seen through a haze of romance` in Wyllie’s marine subjects; the gauzy shimmer of figures, defined in vanishingly fine lines, in Walcot’s remarkable Classical confections and his bustling London scenes; and the robust, anecdotal verve in Blampied’s exquisitely balanced portrayals of life, whether it be arduous, amorous or amusing.
“There really is something for everyone here,” suggests Richard. “Wyllie’s work embraces marine subjects on the Thames, Medway, Solent and Clyde. Walcot’s subjects include scenes from the Classical world with titles such as `Performance before the Emperor Hadrian` as well as contemporary views in London, Paris, Venice, Rome and Brussels. Blampied’s works inject some characterful humour as well as scenes of honest toil on the Jersey coastline. It is marvellous to be able to see the artists’ skills in so many different styles and media.”
The sale will be on September 24th (viewing from September 20th). It can be viewed online from September 10th at www.lawrences.co.uk. Catalogues, including brief artists’ biographies and illustrations of every lot, are £10 by post.
186: W. Wyllie, `Discharging a Collier on the Medway`, c.1887, oil, 35 x 56cm. £12000-18000
243: W. Walcot, `Westminster Abbey`, 1908, watercolour, 54 x 72cm. £2500-3500
315: E. Blampied, `The Speech of the Evening`, etching, 1931, 27 x 27cm. £400-600