Colin Gleadell points out the surprise success of a painting by Laurence Olivier’s uncle in Sotheby’s erratic Victorian and Edwardian Art sale. The entire sale raised £3m or nearly $5m even though the sell-through rate was below 50% with only 41 of the 84 lots finding buyers. However, when the lots did find buyers there was much joy on all sides:
Taking off at Sotheby’s Victorian and Edwardian art sale last week were summer scenes of girls in idyllic settings, wearing beautiful summer robes and frocks. One was by the little known Herbert Arnould Olivier, the uncle of the famous actor Laurence Olivier. Entitled Summer Is Icumen In, the 1902 painting quadrupled its lower estimate, selling to dealer Richard Green for £331,250. The other, Wind and Sun, a watercolour by Dame Laura Knight, sold at four and a half times its estimate to an anonymous buyer for £914,850. It was last sold in 1986 for £66,000.
The most expensive lot, Wind and Sun by Dame Laura Knight, was magnificently estimated at £2-300k because it found a buyer for £914k. John Atkinson Grimshaw’s Liverpool Docks sold more in line with, but still at the top end of, the £250-350k range. John Everett Millais’s The Romans Leaving Briton also performed admirably by attracting £301,000.