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‘The Sporting Sale’
~ 6th November 2002 ~ Sothebys

Early Austrian Cold Painted Bronze dog models are much collected and this fine example
(lot 166) is estimated at £250-£350.

Since Sotheby's moved its main operations to the vast expanses of Olympia, in London's Hammersmith Road, it has consistently been turning out quality sales - and "The Sporting Sale", on November 6, is no exception. The style of the catalogues has also changed, they are now smaller but thicker and with nearly every lot illustrated, albeit usually only matchbox or playing card size.

For this sale, Sotheby's has put together over 300 quality lots, with a general sporting theme, everything from Horse Racing to Ornithology is covered with items as diverse as Silver Trophies, Racing Colours and Arcade Games. Naturally there is also a good selection of oil paintings and bronzes, with a healthy selection of items with canine interest. These range from a pair of very early Gundog paintings accredited to "a follower of James Baranger" (1780-1831), a pair showing a brown and white pointer in a landscape, and a charming and very interesting tan and white spaniel, with a short tail, looking either like and early Welsh or Brittany. This pair carry the modest estimate of £1,000-1,500.


Other Gundogs featured include (attributed to) George Armfield (1811-1887), painting of three spaniels putting up duck (£2-3,000), a pointer and a setter by 19th century artist Edward Batty (£1,200-£1,800) and an unusual Red and White Setter, painted circa 1840 in the style of the English Provincial School, measuring 25" x 30" (65 x 77cm) but only estimated by Sotheby's at £600-£800, a snip if it goes for this, which I have to say is sadly unlikely!

Do you recognise these characters? Lot 160, The Reluctant Gundog,
by living artist Rodger McPhail is a keenly observed and highly competent cartoon,
could be your s for between £300-£500.

Another potential bargain is a humourous cartoon by Rodger McPhail (b.1953) entitled the Reluctant Gun Dog, estimated at £300-£500. Hounds are represented naturally by some interesting Fox Hounds, for which the market has never been stronger, but also a wonderful 20" x 30" (51 x 76cm) oil on canvas of a pack of Otterhounds, with a hunt terrier in a brook.

Credited to J Vincent (19th century), this work appears to have been the work of a very competent artist, but it bears an unmistakable resemblance to the work of Walter Hunt (1860-1941).

In particular it would appear to be a direct copy of his famous painting Sportsman, showing the Otterhounds of the West Cumberland Hunt, painted for W H Clift of Cockermouth. Otterhound enthusiasts should make a bid for this one, as it is modestly estimated at £1,000-£1,500.

Lot 161 titled The Favourite Book is a signed oil on board by Valentine Thomas Garland (1840-1914) and is estimated by Sotheby's at £1500-£2000.

My "Best in Sale" award goes to a wonderful study of a Scottie by the much overlooked John Fitz- Marshall (1859-1932). It shows a Scottie reclining on a table with a violin, books and a lamp in the background. I find it hard to believe that Sotheby's estimate is realistic for this sale as once again this painting is only pre estimated at £1,000-£1,500.

Finally in the Bronze section is a really lovely early 20th century Austrian cold painted Bronze of an Irish Setter with a pheasant. At just 3.5" high it is still expected to fetch £250-£350.


The sale is at 10:30am and viewing is on November 3, noon to 5pm then Monday and Tuesday, during office hours with late viewing on Monday till 8pm. On Sunday, a guided tour of the sale will be given by Channel 4 racing commentator, Derek Thompson, starting at 2pm. This is no doubt because of the large amount of horse racing lots in the sale and the expected interest therein.

The fully illustrated colour catalogue can be ordered by telephone on 020-7293 5555, or via fax on 020-7293 6939. All Sotheby's catalogues can now be viewed on line at Go to the website, click on "catalogues" under the Live Auctions heading on the right hand side. Scroll down the page that appears next, until you see the box for sale number, enter: W02918 and this should take you there. Most of the dog lots are between lot 148 and 171, but there are several others sprinkled throughout the sale.

Good luck!

Lot 149 was clearly inspired by the work of Walter Hunt (see text). This good quality painting attributed to J Vincent, could be the bargain of the sale at just £1,000-£1500.