fine art auction - Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847-1928),
Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847-1928), "Sanctuary in the Sahara"

Bellmans is pleased with the results of its Old Masters, British, and European Paintings auction on Thursday, 28th March 2024. The three artists’ collections with works by 19th-century artists all came from descendants, were new to the market, and did very well. Two of which are well-known for their outstanding work depicting animals and in particular dogs and wild cats, Herbert Dicksee and Arthur Wardle, and Frank Dicksee, who was best known for his portraits and landscapes, while Arthur Croft also excelled in the latter.

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The highlight of the collection from the family of the artist Arthur Croft (1828-1902) was an oil painting by fellow artist Frederick Arthur Bridgman (American, 1847-1928), “Sanctuary in the Sahara,” signed and dated 1879. It had been estimated at £10,000 – £15,000, but the hammer came down at £26,000 (£32,500 incl. Buyer’s premium) and went to a European private buyer.

It was first exhibited in London at the 1880 annual exhibition of the Royal Academy and is the product of Bridgman’s second visit to Algeria. While he focused on Algiers during his first trip in 1872-73, during his second trip to North Africa, he decided to investigate the smaller towns and villages south of the metropolis, which remained less westernised, despite French control of the region.

Works by Herbert and Frank Dicksee from the collection of the late Pamela Service, Herbert’s great-granddaughter: All works, a few original drawings and paintings, and many etchings, by the two artists sold in the auction reaching a total of almost £15,000 hammer. Herbert often used family pets as his models and included in this collection is an adorable portrait of Pamela’s bull terrier, William, which was top lot of the Dicksee sale selling for £1,700 (£2,125) against an estimate of £300 – £500.

The studio sale of another contemporary of the former, Arthur Wardle (1860-1949), offered a superb collection of oil paintings, pastels, watercolours, sketches, and sculpture by one of the foremost British animal artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most works sold reaching a total of over £26,000 hammer, including a self-portrait of the artist that had carried an estimate of £1,000 – £1,500 and sold for £2,400 (£3,000).

Top lot of the auction was an almost 2-metre wide oil on canvas depicting The Fall of King Nebuchadnezzar, who was by an unknown artist of the Northern European School from the 17th Century. It sold for £48,000 against an estimate of £1,000 – £1,500 to a European private buyer.

A watercolour and gouache on paper of watermelon traders by Vladimir Egorovitch Makovski (Russian, 1846-1920) sold for £15,000 (£18,750), three times its mid estimate.

A portrait by Henry Scott Tuke (British, 1858-1929) of Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (1845-1916) sold to a Tuke collector in the room for £4,000 (est. £1,500 – £2,500, £5,000), who was pleased to add the portrait as well as another oil by the artist to his collection.

And a 19th-century English school portrait of a greyhound had been expected to sell for £100 – £150, but sold for £3,500 (£4,375).

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