Trial blazers: Bonhams stages dedicated sale of Mod Brit female artists

Bonhams has launched an auction titled ‘Blazing a Trail: Modern British Women’, a dedicated sale of works by 20th century female artists.

Anna Zinkeisen portrait

‘Julia and Starkey’ by Anna Zinkeisen – estimated at £2000-3000 at Bonhams.

Over recent times, increasing interest in female artists has been a notable feature within both the museums world and commercial spheres.

Bonhams’ director of Modern British and Irish art Christopher Dawson said: “The idea behind Blazing a Trail is to shine a light on the outstanding female artists of the 20th century, too many of whom remain overlooked and undervalued. The sale will include significant artworks by both established and lesser-known names to give a clearer picture of the century and the pioneering women who shaped some of its major movements, as well as those blazing a trail for the future.”

The sale takes place on September 29 and features high-end works by the likes of Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), Bridget Riley (b.1931) and Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) but also plenty more works further down the price-scale.

Here is a pick of five lots by well known names which are pitched in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands.

1. Anna Zinkeisen portrait of her daughter

Works by the Zinkeisen sisters, Doris and Anna, have been gaining greater attention at auctions around the country of late.

One by each of them is on offer at the Bonhams sale. The portrait by Anna Zinkeisen (1901-76) pictured above is titled Julia and Starkey and depicts her daughter Julia and cat Starkey.

The 3ft 8 x 2ft 10in (1.12 x 86cm) signed oil on canvas is estimated at £2000-3000. View the catalogue entry for this Anna Zinkeisen portrait on

Meanwhile, a portrait of Miss Harold Taylor by Doris Zinkeisen (1897-1991) is pitched at £3000-5000.

2. Barbara Hepworth print

Barbara Hepworth lithograph

‘Three Forms’, a Barbara Hepworth lithograph estimated at £3000-5000 at Bonhams.

Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) is one of the most famous sculptresses of the 20th century. While her large abstract sculptures can sell for six-figure and even seven-figure sums, here at Bonhams is an interesting lithograph in colours from 1969.

Titled Three Forms, the subject has strong overtures to the trademark forms she produced for her three-dimensional works.

The signed and 23in x 2ft 4in (58 x 72cm) print comes from an addition of 60 plus an artist's proof. Intriguingly, this copy is inscribed 'artists copy' in pencil. It is estimated at £3000-5000.

View the catalogue entry for this Barbara Hepworth lithograph on

3. Orovida Pissarro’s animals

Orovida Pissarro painting

‘Cats in the Garden’ by Orovida Camille Pissarro – estimated at £2500-3000 at Bonhams.

Orovida Pissarro came from a great family of artists – her father was Lucien Pissarro (who settled in Britain in 1890) and her grandfather was the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro no less.

However, she was the first female professional painter in the family.

This 20in x 2ft (51 x 61cm) oil on canvas titled Cats in the Garden dates from 1959 and was produced at a time when she favoured everyday subjects – a period which also coincided with her trips observing the animals in London Zoo.

It is estimated at £2500-3000.

View the catalogue entry for this Orovida Pissarro painting on

4. Dora Carrington drawing

Dora Carrington drawing

‘Wuthering Heights, Interior’ by Dora Carrington – estimated at £1000-1500 at Bonhams.

Dora Carrington (1893-1932) is one of the best known artists associated with the Bloomsbury Group and, as such, commands a strong following at auction when her works appear.

At the Bonhams sale, a small drawing titled ‘Wuthering Heights, Interior’ from 1919 is estimated at £1000-1500. The pen, ink and wash sketch measures 8.5 x 10in (22 x 26cm).

View the catalogue entry for this Dora Carrington drawing on

5. Beryl Cook’s penguin

Penguin Reading by Beryl Cook

‘Penguin Reading’ by Beryl Cook – estimated at £3000-5000 at Bonhams.

One of the most popular British artists of her generation, Beryl Cook (1926-2008) is represented at the Bonhams with two works, one of which is this 13 x 8in (33 x 20cm) oil on panel from 1985 titled Penguin Reading.

The artist is famed for her humorous depictions of sailors, stilettos and buxom ladies but this picture was produced as part of a small series commissioned by Penguin Books when they celebrated their 50th birthday. The penguin shown here is reading Cook’s own first book, The Works. It is estimated at £3000-5000.

View the catalogue entry for this Beryl Cook painting on


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