Weird and wonderful delights from 'modern day surrealist' Nancy Fouts

Berkshire saleroom Dawsons will offer the Nancy Fouts collection of her own artwork as well as her antiques and collectables.

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'Peacock War Bonnet' by Nancy Fouts, 2017 – estimate £4000-6000 at Dawsons.

Nancy Fouts (1945-2019) was a contemporary artist like no other. Yet she was so much more than an artist, with diverse skills as a sculptor, painter, graphic designer, collector and prop maker.

Dawsons auction house in Maidenhead is selling works of art by Nancy, along with her collection of antiques, taxidermy and collectables, on June 10.

Fellow artist Gavin Turk said of this ‘modern-day surrealist’: “She would take you excitedly down to her magical workshop in the basement to pull open drawers of feathers, watches, shells, eyeballs and jewellery tools. Her infectious laughter and flashing eyes would sparkle as she described with her maker’s hands her latest conception or discussed the affairs of the day in visual metaphor.”

Despite being sent to a Knightsbridge finishing school, her American vitality was not to be surrendered, and she went onto to study at both the Chelsea School of Art and Royal College of Art.

In more recent years she exhibited at the Venice Biennale and UK galleries Flowers, HangUp and Pertwee, Anderson and Gold. Further international retrospective exhibitions are also currently under discussion.

Like the famous Surrealists before her, Fouts had a flare for manipulating everyday objects into works of art. Aside from her creations, this auction includes many of the wonderful and unique antiques, collectables and taxidermy from her Victorian Gothic Revival vicarage (serving as a home, gallery and studio) in London.

Here are five ideas of what to buy from the Dawsons Nancy Fouts Studio Sale on June 10.

Feathers in your cap

Estimated at £4000-6000 is Peacock War Bonnet (pictured top) by Nancy Fouts, 2017, a work comprised of a taxidermy peacock, beads, leather and goose feathers mounted onto an ebonized pedestal column, measuring 94 x 57 x 84cm.

View the catalogue entry for Nancy Fouts Peacock War Bonnet on

Sitting not so comfortably

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'Electric Rocking Chair' by Nancy Fouts, 2012 – estimate £3000-5000 at Dawsons.

Electric Rocking Chair, 2012, a stained oak framed rocking chair mounted with leather straps and seat pads, measures 1.13m x 1.28m x 66cm. According to the monograph catalogue, the chair was constructed by John Reeves (under Fouts’ direction).

Estimate £3000-5000.

View the Nancy Fouts Electric Rocking Chair on

Building brands

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Nancy Fouts advertising archive – estimate £200-300 at Dawsons.

Before dedicating her life to purely being an artist, Fouts worked in advertising with her then husband Malcolm Fowler (1943-2012), running both the Shirtsleeve Studio and Fouts & Fowler which was based at 30 Tottenham Street, London W1. At the Shirtsleeve Studio she was commissioned to work with many household brands such British Airways, Silk Cut cigarettes, Virgin and Mentos Mints.

Her own photographic archive with personal copies of posters for these brands, along with the famous Post Office Handle With Care and Tate Gallery by Tube designs, are being sold in a single lot with an estimate of £200-300.

View the catalogue entry for the Nancy Fouts advertising archive on

Seaside Donald McGill fun

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Donald McGill watercolour from the Nancy Fouts Collection – estimate £200-300 at Dawsons.

Among the illustrations from Fouts’ collection is this Donald McGill (British 1875-1962) original watercolour, A portly couple strolling along the seafront, signed, 27 x 17cm.

Estimate £200-300.

View the catalogue entry for the Donald McGill watercolour from the Nancy Fouts Collection on

Moorhen the merrier

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Moorhen taxidermy from the Nancy Fouts Collection – estimate £100-150 at Dawsons.

An early 20th century taxidermists whimsical/anthropomorphic arrangement of a Moorhen (Gallinula) wearing lace collar and mob cap in a naturalistic setting is estimated at £100-150. Within a glazed wooden case, it measures 40cm long x 30cm high x 16.5cm deep.

View the catalogue entry for the taxidermy Moorhen from the Nancy Fouts Collection on


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