Feel Freer: great Modern British art from a fascinating collection at auction22 February 2021 Chiswick Auctions are holding a sale titled The Delighted Eye Part II comprising 20th century art and furnishings from the collection of Allen and Beryl Freer.
Christie’s sold the core works from the collection last year.
The Freers filled their detached 1960s home in a suburb south of Manchester with pictures. Daughter Dr Catharine Davies recalls: “There were no empty spaces — pictures were even hung on the sides of bookcases and beside windows. Having a mirror or a cupboard was much more of an issue growing up — that meant a challenge to much-needed wall space.”
Much of the collection was assembled on a modest budget. “‘Don’t run two cars’ would be my mother’s tip for financing a collection,” said Davies.
The sale at Chiswick Auctions on February 25 comprises more than 250 artworks plus over 50 pieces of ceramics and furniture and more than 200 books. Estimates range from £100-2000 with many lots offered without reserve.
Here are five ideas on what to buy from The Delighted Eye Part II at Chiswick Auctions.
To dazzling effect
Edward Wadsworth (1889-1949) was one of the artists turning their talents to ‘dazzle’ camouflage to disguise ships from submarine attack in the First World War.
His striking style is captured perfectly in Tugs, a wood engraving originally published in 1921 (pictured top). The unframed image itself measures 8.7 x 9 cm (3.5 x 3.5in) with the overall sheet 14.5cm (5.75in) square.
View the catalogue entry on thesaleroom.com to bid for Tugs by Edward Wadsworth.
Spiral direct from the artist
Allen Freer, in Eileen Agar – Angel of Audacity, an unpublished manuscript, 1998, said of the artist: “The fantastic heads of mythical personae that she painted must have had their beginnings in the heads carved in the intaglios. Heads have always been a source of fascination and inspiration to Agar ever since she painted her self-portrait...in the mid-twenties... They blossomed forth in vibrant colours with their dynamic form and communicated her delight in the design of old stones.”
This Spiral Head, 1954, was acquired direct from Agar (1904-99) herself. The pencil and gouache work measures 34.2 x 24.7 cm (13.5 x 9.75in).
You can view Spiral Head by Eileen Agar via thesaleroom.com.
Ravilious in Tuscany
This wood engraving is by one of the most renowned Modern British artists, Eric Ravilious (1903-42). San Gimignano, 11.5 x 16.5 cm (4.5 x 6.5in), is signed E Ravilious (lower right) and inscribed San Gimignano (lower left). It was published in 1924.
See San Gimignano by Eric Ravilious at thesaleroom.com
From Frost to Freer
This untitled work by Sir Terry Frost (1915-2003) is signed Frost (on the reverse). The linocut and collage, 10 x 23 cm (4 x 9in), executed in 1990, was a gift from the artist to the Freers.
Check thesaleroom.com to bid for Untitled linocut and collage by Sir Terry Frost.
All his own work
Allen, a teacher throughout his life, and by turns a publisher, patron, curator, writer, editor and craftsman, was himself an accomplished watercolourist, often using his work to illustrate his poetry and prose.
More than 10 of his own paintings are included in the auction such as this one titled Seven Sisters of Kintail, 9 x 13in (23 x 32cm), estimated at £200-300.
To bid for Seven Sisters of Kintail by Allen Freer check thesaleroom.com