Auction sales, from beautiful art to an evocative ship’s bell...

PUBLISHED: 10:43 05 May 2018

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Under the Hammer: More news of what is making the salerooms buzz from Kevin Lines, of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers of Aylsham, the leading East Anglian fine art and antiques auction house.

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Key’s East Anglian Art Sales have become the most important auctions of artworks by East Anglian artists anywhere

in the world, and the first such sale of the year in April saw a packed saleroom and brisk bidding both in the room and via the internet and telephone, with may works fetching prices considerably above their pre-sale estimates.

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Paintings by the artists of the Norwich School of painters are always popular, and this sale featured more than 30 works from the personal collection of the late Peter Kennedy Scott, who until his death in 2016 was acknowledged as the leading authority on the Norwich School.

The sale also evidenced a growing interest in 20th century and contemporary artists, a trend which has been borne out by prices achieved in our antiques and interiors sales this month. For the first time ever Keys is holding a 20th Century Design and modern art sale in June – see details elsewhere on these pages.

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Featured sold items

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A stunning painting of the Old Fishmarket in Norwich by early 19th-century artist David Hodgson sold for £5,800, double its pre-sale estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

A painting by fellow Norwich School artist John Berney Ladbrooke entitled ‘A Romantic Evening’ did even better, more than tripling its pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2,000 and selling for £6,500. The picture features on the cover of the late Peter Kennedy Scott’s renowned book ‘A romantic look at Norwich School landscapes’, and was from Scott’s personal collection.

Wells-born artist Jack Cox died in 2007 aged 93, and his works continue to grow in popularity. The East Anglian sale included several of his pictures, including ‘North Norfolk estuary with fishing boats’, which sold for £520 (estimate £250-£300).

Works by fellow Norfolk artist Colin Burns, now 74, always fetch good prices in the saleroom. His ‘The Approaching Storm – Yarmouth Marshes’ sold for £3,600 (estimate £4,000-£6,000).

A Benson & Co brass and copper adjustable oil lamp from the early part of the 20th century, with an adjustable reeded column on a brass quatrefoil base, sold for £750 – way beyond its estimate of £60-£80.

An Arts & Crafts ebonised oak drop-fronted cupboard also smashed its pre-sale estimate of £80-£100, selling for £580.

An unusual eastern hardwood carved cobra formed side table with a heavy circular top supported by three coiling cobra heads sold for £190 (estimate £150-£200).

A cast ship’s bell from the first half of the 20th century, marked with the crow’s foot broad arrow and signed ‘Narcissus’ (six ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Narcissus) sold for £350, close to its estimate of £360-£380.

The growing popularity for design and art from the past century – especially from the post-war era – has encouraged Keys to mount its first-ever 20th Century Design and Modern Art sale, on June 9 at Keys’ Aylsham salerooms.

The sale will feature a wide variety of furniture, ceramics and decorative items from throughout the 20th century, from Art Nouveau right through to the 1980s, as well as artworks from the same period, The sale is already gaining much interest from collectors, including many younger buyers who might not number among Keys’ regular antiques sale-goers.

The sale takes place on Saturday June 9 from 11am – the full catalogue will be on the Keys website mid-May.

You can find details of every lot in both forthcoming and past sales on the Keys website at

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