Bonhams East Anglia View auction
IAN COLLINS This month sees another dispersal of regional heirlooms – with the annual East Anglian View sale of locally-linked art and antiques. Ian Collins enjoys a preview. East Anglian View catalogue on bonhams.com
A trove of Norfolk and Suffolk treasures will be on offer in Norwich this month as Bonhams stages its annual East Anglian View sale in the Assembly House.
Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, books, clocks, china, stuffed birds and fish, maps, models, memorabilia and the odd mystery object will all come under the hammer in 650 lots on Thursday, October 25.
As work by the stars of contemporary conceptual art continue to attract mind-boggling prices - with an average £15,000 asked (and often secured) for exhibits at last week's Frieze fair in London - this annual art and antiques auction in Norwich stands out for its likely bargains.
Pictures by masters and pupils of the early 19th century Norwich School now seem amazingly cheap. A John Crome print could fetch just £50, a John Sell Cotman drawing £800 and a lovely John Berney Crome oil scene as little as £2,000.
A major George Vincent view of a Thorpe cattle drover (£18,000-£25,000) is thought to have hung at the Royal Academy in 1822 - shortly before the twentysomething artist was himself hung out to dry in the nearby Fleet Prison for debtors. He died within five years of his release. No wonder his romantic rural idylls seem so wistful.
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The great names of East Anglian art are here - with The Rendezvous, a slightly saucy 1901 female portrait by the young Alfred Munnings, tipped to sell for up to £30,000. Half a dozen typical Edward Seago landscape oils, ranging from the Norfolk Broads to Venice, have estimates from £5,000 to £30,000.
There are scores of seascapes and bird-rife scenes. The latter include a bravura 1933 oil of pink-footed geese landing in a field of winter wheat, from the period when the artist Sir Peter Scott was turning from wildfowler to conservationist while living in a windmill overlooking the Wash.
This image, estimated at £2,500-£3,500, was a plate in his first book, Wild Chorus.
East Anglia's most valuable living artist is Mary Newcomb - whose lyrical, semi-naïve scenes began to evolve in the 1950s from the world she observed as a farmer's wife in the Waveney Valley. Eight drawings, watercolours and oils now carry pre-sale estimates of up to £20,000.
There are Georgian long-case clocks from Diss, Yarmouth and Norwich (£800-£5,000) and a range of late 18th century Lowestoft porcelain (£100-£1,200) and dozens of items relating to Nelson (from £50).
There's an antique cased bittern by Norwich master taxidermist John Cole of Castle Meadow (£600-£800) plus a stuffed pike caught at Ling in 1983 (£500-£800).
And the oldest and oddest item in the sale is a bronze circular disc found at Shotesham, with strange medieval markings that might just inspire an adventure novel.
The style of the letters and numerals suggest the late 14th century and the design hints at some sort of timepiece. But a relic that could fetch £5,000 remains essentially a mystery.
The East Anglian View auction is on Thursday, October 25, in Norwich Assembly House. Viewing Tuesday and Wednesday, October 23-24, 9am-5pm, and 9am-10am on the morning of the sale.
t Catalogues £12, £15 if posted - order from Angela Marshall on 01473 740494 (or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). Also available free online (www.bonhams.com).