A very British Sotheby’s sale

The best of British art, photography and design is showcased at this seismic London auction

Pluto Aged Twelve by Lucian Freud, £40,000-£60,000
Pluto Aged Twelve by Lucian Freud, £40,000-£60,000

The Sotheby’s Made in Britain auction, hosted in London on Wednesday March 20, will showcase the best of British art, photography and design, with works from internationally acclaimed artists such as David Hockney.

Cascading Wave by Maggi Hambling, £8,000-£12,000
Cascading Wave by Maggi Hambling, £8,000-£12,000
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“There’s an explosion of colourful content that puts the fun back into collecting,” says Robin Cawdron-Stewart, Sotheby’s modern and postwar British art specialist and head of sale at the event. “The selection includes fresh-to-the-market material by both celebrated names in British art of the past century – Hockney, Freud, Heron and Rie, to name a few – and those whose pioneering work is garnering increasing recognition. Estimates start at just £300, so there’s something for everyone.”

Portrait of Vanessa Bell by Roger Fry, £12,000-£18,000
Portrait of Vanessa Bell by Roger Fry, £12,000-£18,000
Nudes Birthday by Beryl Cook, £15,000-£20,000
Nudes Birthday by Beryl Cook, £15,000-£20,000

A British sense of humour and irreverence permeates much of the work in the sale. The painting Nudes Birthday by Beryl Cook, estimated at £15,000-£20,000, features three of her trademark voluptuous ladies, indulging in cake in their birthday suits. One Lady Owner, which is expected to fetch £10,000-£15,000, is equally tongue-in-cheek and depicts a woman about to embark on a journey in her battered old car. A very different female figure, Kate Moss, also appears in several guises, most notably in Steven Klein’s 1993 photograph Girl With Hat, which is expect to sell for £5,000-£7,000.

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Lucian Freud is typically associated with unflinching observations, but his etching of a dog, entitled Pluto Aged Twelve, estimated at £40,000-£60,000, reveals a softer side to the artist. The big names continue with Roger Fry, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, and his affectionate pencil and gouache Portrait of Vanessa Bell on paper (£12,000-£18,000), dated circa 1911 to 1915. Maggi Hambling is at her most intense in Cascading Wave (£8,000-£12,000), a subject of frequent fascination. And how about Girl With Balloon by Banksy (£40,000-£60,000)? One feels that records could be broken at this very British affair…

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