FCB Cadell’s Patron

Bonhams Scottish Art auction 16 September 2015 preview

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery recently added a significant self-portrait of the Scottish Colourist FCB Cadell to it’s collection, while two major Cadell works are up for sale when Sotheby’s relaunches dedicated Scottish sales in November.     One is Florian’s Cafe, painted after Cadell visited Venice in 1910; the young painter made his reputation with the work he exhibited in Edinburgh on his return.    It is estimated to fetch £4-600,000.

So it was interesting to see the highlights of Bonham’s Scottish sale on 16 September 2015 include a portrait of the patron who paid for that career-changing trip: Sir Patrick Ford.     The picture shows Ford in the uniform of a Royal Archer, and was painted by Sir John Lavery,  the gifted and celebrated Glasgow boy, with an estimate of £30-50,000.


Sir Patrick Ford portrait Bonhams September 16 2015

Sir Patrick Ford, by Sir John Lavery at Bonhams

The work dates to 1908,  the year Ford, who rose to be Solicitor General of Scotland as well as a Conservative MP, built Westerdunes, his Arts and Crafts villa overlooking the golf course at North Berwick.  Lavery painted portraits of Ford’s wife Jesse and other family members.   This work is being sold by his descendants; Ford, a schoolfriend of Cadell,  also had the first choice of Cadell’s Venice pictures.

Of particular interest in this year’s sale are ten pictures by John Smellie, who died in 1925 aged just 38 and is best known for his romantic pictures of the Clyde Coast.   It is the largest group of Smellie’s paintings ever shown together and the works come from a single collector.   They have a pale, period feel to them, of lazy, hazy summer days after the First World War, in which Smellie served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  Highlights include In Summer with an estimate of £40-60,000.

In Summer John Smellie Bonhams auctioneers

In Summer, by John Smellie, at Bonhams


There is a good variety of other lots.    They run from a witty little set of three watercolours on brown paper by Joseph Crawhall, of Roaring Red Deer, in Donana, Spain, to ever-amusing sketches from JD Fergusson, to  Arthur Melville’s portrait of an Arab man, titled Past and Present, in Cairo in 1881.    The National Galleries of Scotland launches its  first exhibition of Melville’s work in 35 years come October.

Sir Stanley Cursiter Bonhams

Summer Afternoon by Sir Stanley Cursiter

It’s always interesting to see the work of Sir Stanley Cursiter, Orcadian artist and director of the National Galleries of Scotland.     Summer Afternoon, with a £30-50,000 estimate, is smaller in scale than Cursiter’s grander gallery pieces might lead you to expect; but the 1926 work is said to reflect the influence of Cadell’s interiors with well-dressed women,  in those “welcome moments of calm, and reflection, in the wake of the Great War”.



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