Follow your gut

It's the 30th of March; the last 12 months and more have been pretty awful for most; for me, the lowest point was losing my darling Mum to Cancer. In an attempt to block it out, I kept myself busy, possibly too busy...

One thing I happily took on and relished was to sell a friends house of its contents. I felt honoured to be asked. Many of the items I had known a long time, furniture, sculptures, pictures, ceramics, silverware, glassware, tableware, flatware, roundware (just testing). I threw my self into researching everything with gusto, and I learnt a lot. Who knew about Hester Bateman? I do now.

Then came the pictures - where would I start? All kinds; oils, pen & ink, watercolours, mezzotints, lithographs, classical, portraits, landscapes, still-life, midcentury, 17th Century, all sorts of dates, all kinds of locations.
I just looked at them for some months before I began researching them. As a trained artist and 20 years of buying and selling, you would think I'd have had some clue about the value or how to find out. But it isn't as easy as that. Yes, I can see if something has been painted well, the composition pleasing, the subject interesting, the detail, the colour, the materials, the paper, even the framing. It doesn't come down to an exact science, especially if the artist is little known, not at all, or there is no signature. It's subjective, so I reached out to a few fellow traders and antique specialists. Opinions varied, and nothing to say I was trying to sell anything of value. But I felt I had to pursue it more.

After more research into a few of the works, I knew I had to get an appraisal. I decided to get in touch with 2 well known London auction houses to get some of them hopefully valued. One of which had previously sold the pair of Harriet Cheney's. Thirdly, a really lovely small salesroom near Hasting, who recently sold a very similar Mid-century bronze sculpture by Michael Aryton.

A lengthy process ensued. Emailing, photographing and measuring 8/10 pieces. Uploading with an accompanying description and sizes multiple times a tedious and time-consuming job. Very disappointingly, two out of the three were not interested... The third confirmed that they were of value and would be happy to include the items in their auction but would they be able to get the best prices? I needed to get a London auction house interested. That would be able to get the exposure necessary to hopefully command higher prices. I contacted Bonhams in November; by the 4th of December, they were to be included in 3 separate sales.
I felt so pleased and knew I had done my best, and the Artist Alice Boyd now being described as The Lost Pre-Raphaelite and so hats off to me.
The reassurance I seek won't always be there from those who have always given it to me. Still, I hope my lesson is learnt, and I can now begin to be proud of my achievements as I know my Mum would. To accept that my instincts are credible, my opinion valid, to have the confidence to shout out what I have always known of myself, I have a good eye.

It just goes to show you have to follow your own instincts...
Despite the rejection, my persistence paid off, and I'm beyond thrilled.
3 works by Alice Boyd will be included in a significant sale of 19th Century and British Impressionist Art at Bonhams tomorrow.
And guess what? Rosetti himself wrote of Alice, and one of the paintings is only on the front cover of the catalogue!!! I now consider myself a major artwork detective 😂 

Follow your gut, thankfully I did. 
Debbie x

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published