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Newlyn School luminaries provide star lots at Penzance auction

By cmjohnw  


Ernest Procter


David Lay's Fine Art Sale next Thursday, May 5 will see works by Stanhope Forbes, the acknowledged grandfather of Newlyn School painting, and his star pupil, Ernest Procter, go under the hammer.

The Forbes is a charming, expressive portrait of a young boy in a large cloth cap dated 1904.

The work by Procter was painted in 1919 and shows a very familiar corner where the Strand in Newlyn rises up to become Fore Street and where boats were built for many years; that corner is now where the Penlee Life boat is housed.

The sale contains many other fine works by well known names of 20th century Cornish art: Ben and Kate Nicholson, John Anthony Park, Margo Maeckelberge, Lenkiewicz, Reg and Gill Watkiss, Rose Hilton and many more.

Other noteworthy lots include a signed print by the great French cubist artist Georges Braque and an extremely rare watercolour dated 1796 by Penzance's scientific hero Sir Humphry Davy. However, one of the most interesting lots turned up quite unexpectedly during the last day of cataloguing and is by Peter Lanyon, one of the greats from that golden era of Cornish art – 1950s and 60s St Ives.

Unearthed while cataloguing a box of old paperwork that had belonged to Sir Terry Frost, the team at Lay's discovered a unremarkable looking small hardback book, a copy of The Story of Cornwall by A K Hamilton Jenkin.

They were intrigued to see several familiar faces pasted onto the photographs in the book.

On closer inspection they realised that the book was filled with amusing collages and that the collages could only be by Peter Lanyon.

In the book Lanyon is mischievously poking fun at his fellow artists; Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, John Wells and Bryan Wynter. Lanyon was the only ''native' Cornishman amongst the group, whereas the others were all 'incomers'.

Lanyon died after a gliding accident in 1964. His work is widely collected and large canvases can make in excess of £100,000.

Although much of his work was very serious, he had a wicked sense of humour and liked to poke fun at those that took themselves too seriously.

The sale begins at 10am on May 5 and can be viewed on Saturday, April 30 from 9am to 1pm and Wednesday, May 4 from 9am to 7pm.