A large selection of pictures from five centuries was offered at Lawrences in Crewkerne on July 11th and keen bidding from buyers on the internet ensured a healthy selling rate right across the sale.

Three prints, all from a single local collection, sold particularly well. A rare 1950s’ monotype (unique print) by Robert Colquhoun of `Woman Holding Lobster Shell` made £3580 whilst a woodcut by Paul Nash, `Dyke by the Road` (1922) went just over its estimate at a similar price and a lithograph by Pablo Picasso from 1945 made £4540.

Four highlights in the watercolour section could hardly been more dissimilar: a blustery Edwardian watercolour of a boat off a rocky shore by Charles N Hemy was consigned for sale from Northern Ireland and breezed to £6930 against hopes of £4000-6000; a splendid panorama by Charles Dixon showing the yacht `Margerita` off Ryde in 1913 sailed to £3100; a joyful semi-abstract by Cornish artist Roger Hilton entitled `Red Sun` (1974) made £5490; and a ghoulish but garish `spin` picture of a skull by the celebrated contemporary artist Damien Hirst made £5370.

In the selection of oil paintings on offer, it was marine subjects again that seemed to catch collectors’ eyes: a large Royal Academy exhibit by William Wyllie from 1887 entitled `The River of Gold` was bid to £10150; a dramatic scene of The Battle of The Dogger Bank by Thomas Luny (1781) was contested to £15530 and an important sketch for Horace Vernet’s tragic scene of a cholera outbreak on board the French ship `Melpomene` in 1833 was bought for £14340. This last item was spotted in a box of low value pictures and prints in the firm’s general saleroom and researched by Richard Kay for the sale. A lighter mood of perfect summer contentment was struck with the final lot of the sale when a charming little oil by Annie Rose Laing of a girl enjoying a pot of tea at a sunlit breakfast table was bought for £4780.lot2091

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