Mod Brit art from Cumbrian collector to be auctioned at Sworders in Essex

A single-owner private collection, including significant works by artists from the Modern British canon, will be sold at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet on January 15.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

Count Basie by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, signed, dated 1987 and inscribed 2/2, is estimated at £15,000-25,000 at Sworders.

The 440 lots – acquired since the 1960s by a farmer’s wife from north Cumbria – are expected to realise up to £400,000.

The late Barbara Holliday’s taste was more cosmopolitan than that of many of her peers. While her husband ran the adjacent farms, she focused on her two great passions: the garden and the interiors of The Gale, a handsome Victorian house in the hamlet of Highlaws near the Solway Coast.

As well as regular trips to auctions in the provinces and London she immersed herself in the contemporary British art scene, befriending and corresponding with a group of noted painters and sculptors.

Nine Sheila Fells

Holliday particularly enjoyed buying direct from artists. She first met local artist Sheila Fell in the late 1960s – nine oils include Allonby, Approaching High Tidesigned and dated 1965, estimated at £8000- 12,000 – while she acquired many paintings and sketches by Olwyn Bowey and Carel Weight, who both became close family friends.

She met and bought works by significant Royal Academicians of the late 20th century – Elizabeth Frink, Jacob Epstein, Mary Fedden and Eduardo Paolozzi.

The sale also includes Holliday’s antique furniture and chattels plus her Georgian and Victorian jewellery.