Bonhams Stages First Stand-Alone Sale Of Bloomsbury Artists

Vanessa Bell (British, 1879-1961) Portrait of Henri Doucet, 41.8 x 34.5 cm. Both works have individual estimates of £30,000-50,000.
Art Martin Cid Magazine
Art Martin Cid Magazine

London – Following three years of setting record-breaking results for Bloomsbury artists, Bonhams will stage its first auction dedicated solely to this fascinating set of artists and thinkers. Bloomsbury: Modern British Art sale will run from 8-18 April on bonhams.com

Duncan Grant
Duncan Grant (British,1885-1978), Lydia Lopokova, 68 x 52 cm

Two major portraits, Portrait of Henri Doucet, oil on board from 1912, painted by Vanessa Bell and Portrait of Lydia Lopokova, oil on canvas, circa 1922 painted by Duncan Grant will lead the sale. Both works have individual estimates of £30,000-50,000.

The sitters in both paintings were influential figures of their time. Henri Doucet was a French painter and Omega Workshops contributor who died tragically young, and Lydia Lopokova, was the famous Russian ballerina who danced with Diaghilev. In 1925 she married fellow Bloomsbury group member and economist, John Maynard Keynes.

Ingram Reid, Head of Sale for Modern British and Irish Art comments, “In recent years Bonhams has led the market for the Bloomsbury group, offering more artworks by these artists than any other auction house and has set multiple records in the process. We are now delighted to hold this special dedicated sale at a moment of increased interest in the group. The quality and variety of the works on offer is excellent, ranging from important portraits of influential figures and key locations such as Charleston, to fascinating market rarities such as a fine group of intact sketchbooks. There are artworks on offer which are museum worthy, yet this collecting area remains highly accessible with bidding starting from £300.”

Sale includes unpublished sketchbooks by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell

The group of sketchbooks, six in total, by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, include many spontaneously observed portraits, landscapes, designs and café scenes which offer a rare glimpse into the duo’s travels across Europe. They have not previously been published or exhibited. Of particular note, is a sketchbook which includes pages by both Bell and Grant, created during their time travelling through Paris and Spain in 1923 which includes seven pencil drawings by Grant and 28 pencil drawings by Bell with an estimate of £4,000-6,000. Another sketchbook of interest by Duncan Grant includes both a portrait of Vanessa Bell, as well as two studies of John Maynard Keynes, along with a further 50 drawings, with an estimate of £5,000-7,000.

An exhibition of all lots will be held at 101 New Bond Street from the 15-17 April.

In 2022, Bonhams set a major record for Duncan Grant for his portrait Vanessa Bell in a Yellow Shawl, oil on canvas, which achieved £327,900. In 2020, Bonhams had another top-selling Bloomsbury painting, setting the record for Roger Fry, with a portrait of novelist E.M Forster, which sold for £325,062.

Portrait from Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant
Portrait from Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s sketchbook, Paris and Spain, 1923. Estimate: £4,000-6,000
Drawing from Vanessa Bell’s sketchbook, Venice, 1926
Drawing from Vanessa Bell’s sketchbook, Venice, 1926. Estimate: £6,000-8,000
Drawing from Duncan Grant’s sketch book, Rome, 1920
Drawing from Duncan Grant’s sketch book, Rome, 1920. Estimate: £5,000-7,000.

Other highlights and lots of interest include:

  • Duncan Grant (British,1885-1978), Portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, seated in an Interior signed and dated ‘D Grant./.59’ (lower right), oil on canvas laid to board, 63 x 47.7 cm. Estimate:£7,000-10,000.
  • Roger Fry (British,1866-1934) Hyacinths and Anemones, signed ‘Roger Fry.’ (lower right) oil on canvas, 54.6 x 45.7 cm. (21 1/2 x 18 in.) Painted circa 1926. Estimate: £8,000-12,000.
  • Vanessa Bell (British,1879-1961) Design for cross-stitch chair back for Virginia Woolf stamped with initials ‘VB’ (lower left) pastel, 30.5 x 40.6 cm Executed circa 1930-32. Estimate: £4,000-6,000.
  • Phyllis Keyes (British,1881-1968) and Vanessa Bell (British, 1879-1961)

A unique tin-glazed earthenware dish made by Phyllis Keyes, decorated by Vanessa Bell, circa 1934 34.3 x 47 cm marked with Keyes insignia and initialled ‘VB’ (to the underside) circa 1935. Estimate: £1,500-2,000.

Duncan Grant (British,1885-1978), Portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire,
Duncan Grant (British,1885-1978), Portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, seated in an Interior signed and dated ‘D Grant./.59’, oil on canvas laid to board, Estimate: £7,000-10,000
Phyllis Keyes (British, 1881-1968) and Vanessa Bell (British, 1879-1961)
Phyllis Keyes (British, 1881-1968) and Vanessa Bell (British, 1879-1961). A unique tin-glazed earthenware dish made by Phyllis Keyes, decorated by Vanessa Bell, circa 1934, 34.3 x 47 cm. Estimate: £1,500-2,000
Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *