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Lenkiewicz's Alchemist Turns His Art into Big Prices...

25th July 2020

A selection of pictures spanning no fewer than six centuries featured first on the last day of Lawrences’ Summer Fine Art sales in Crewkerne.

Amongst the watercolours and drawings, a small pencil drawing by John Smart, the celebrated miniaturist, of General Sir John William Floyd, Bt. (1748-1818) drew a number of keen bidders before being secured for £3000. A watercolour view of Ludlow by Louis Rayner, bustling with activity and with typically neat architectural details, made £5500, more than double the low estimate.

An impressively decorative oil painting of an urn of flowers, attributed to Franz Werner von Tamm (1658-1724) more than doubled its high estimate to make £6250; and a dashing Regency portrait of a young gentleman, possibly a member of the Gough-Calthorpe family and ascribed to Sir Francis Grant  (1803-1878) exceeded hopes of £1200 to soar to £4000. The obvious quality and picturesque appeal of a depiction of sheep at Glen Lyon in Perthsire by William Watson made £4000;and a realistic portrait of the bay race horse, `Legal Prince`, by Frances M. Hollams attracted many bids to make £2500. Part of its appeal no doubt lay in the fact that the horse had been owned by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and had been a gift to the vendor’s sister in 1955. A modern oil of a lady with a black fan by Marthe Lebasque (1897-1977)  made £3250, believed to be a record price for the artist’s work and one of only a few of her pictures that has ever made over £500.

The penultimate lot in the sale made the highest price: an inventive but eccentric depiction of `The Alchemist` by Robert Lenkiewicz featured a portrait of the artist himself standing in the centre. The large subject, 91 x 120cm, refers to Lenkiewicz’s love of the history of science and medicine, the pursuit of knowledge down the centuries and the focused determination of a scholar’s passion. Dated to c.1968 by the artist’s son, the picture attracted phone bidders and online activity to make just over £9300.

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5 stars

“Congratulations on what looked like a very successful sale ! You never mentioned that you did the auctioneering as well ... talk about doing the whole job ... see it into the building, find out what it is, decide if it’s for the Fine Art sale or the General Sale, lot it and describe it accordingly, and then sell it ... that really does count as seeing the job through from start to finish! Whilst the job isn’t over yet, it really is a case of so far, so good ... some items have sold for sums that exceeded our expectations, with one item in particular fetching a truly remarkable sum, so we’re very happy indeed... we’ve noted how accurate the guide prices are ... and how gratifying it is when the bidding goes sailing past the guide ! I found the whole week to be both gripping entertainment and pleasingly rewarding financially. Please accept my sincerest congratulations for a job well done, and we’ll look forward to the October and November Sales with bated breath ...”

Andrew P

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