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The works in the saleroom rivalling Seago

PUBLISHED: 10:03 23 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:03 23 October 2015

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arnolds keys chattels

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KEVIN LINES of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers profiles two East Anglian artists, demand for whose works in the saleroom are rivalling Seago - and previews the country's biggest sale of East Anglian art, taking place in the county next month.

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East Anglia has produced some fantastic artists across the centuries, and its reputation as a hub for painters in particular has always led to others being attracted to live and work here. For this reason, auctions focussing on works by East Anglian artists always attract great interest wherever they are held – and the biggest of them all takes place in Norfolk next month.

With good reason, the 20th century painter Edward Seago (1910-1974) often features high on the wish lists of buyers at these sales. Born in Norwich, he was a prolific painter, and over 19,000 of his works remain. He was famously the favourite artist of the late Queen Mother.

Seago’s popularity does sometimes overshadow the appeal of two painters from Nottingham who settled in east Norfolk just a few miles from each other, and who both died in 1955, when Seago was 45. Sir John Alfred Arnesby Brown and his protégé Campbell Archibald Mellon are two artists whose works are today receiving almost as much interest in the saleroom as Seago – and with good reason.

Arnesby Brown was born in 1866, and studied with the renowned landscape artist Andrew McCallum. Later he joined the colony of artists living and working at St Ives in Cornwall, before settling in Haddiscoe in Norfolk, where he painted his best known pastoral landscapes, presenting a timeless, naturalistic view of the countryside (although in later life he also became interested in the industrial landscape, depicting rail yards and brickworks around King’s Lynn.

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It is fair to rank Arnesby Brown alongside the top British Impressionists. He regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1891 and 1942, and was knighted in 1938 for his services to art.

Born ten years after Arnesby Brown, in Berkshire, Campbell Mellon was 27 when he moved to Nottingham, where he studied with Carl Brenner. After service in World War one, Mellon retired to Gorleston, and resumed his artistic career under the wing of Arnesby Brown.

Mellon’s landscape works are evocative of the East Anglian landscape, and in particular its huge skies. He is best known for his coastal scenes, featuring sun-drenched sands and figures picked out in impasto and fluid brushstrokes, as well as tranquil, contemplative landscapes of the marshes and broads of Norfolk.

The luminous brushwork, and the evocative scenes depicted in both Arnesby Brown and Mellon works, are amongst the reasons they are so sought after in the saleroom. In our forthcoming East Anglian Art Sale in November, we already have eight Mellons and three Arnesby Browns consigned for sale – alongside two Seagos.

Whilst our highest estimate is for ‘Barges in Amsterdam’ by Edward Seago (£14,000 - £18,000), not far behind comes a rural landscape ‘Cattles in Marshes’ by Arnesby Brown, with an estimate of £10,000 - £15,000). And with Campbell Mellons estimated at anything up to £8,000, it is clear that these are artists in demand.

Keys Fine Art Auctioneers’ East Anglian Art Sale takes place on Friday 27th November, and is the country’s (and indeed the world’s) leading auction of works by East Anglian artists, attracting buyers from all over the world. There is limited space for entries to the auction; contact Kevin Lines at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers, kevin.lines@keysauctions.co.uk, or 01263 738273. A full catalogue for the sale will be published at www.keysauctions.co.uk.

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