In The Frame | Old Master, British & European Art

In The Frame | Old Master, British & European Art

With the launch of Sworders’ inaugural sale of Old Master, British & European Art coming in the autumn, we speak to Head of Pictures, Jane Oakley, to find out more about this multifarious collecting area and what we can expect from the forthcoming sale.

7 March 2022


What types of works will be covered in this new sale?

The Old Master, British & European Art sales will encompass a huge variety of styles and periods from the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century, including prints, works on paper and oil paintings. Sales will cover early portraiture, still lifes, portrait miniatures, landscapes, maritime and genre pictures, through to symbolist, Impressionist and the belle époque.

Are there any themes that are proving particularly popular at the moment?

Early portraiture still seems to be popular. Generally quality continues to shine through, so when something by a good hand and in good condition appears – be that a Norwich School landscape, a miniature or Victorian picture – buyers will still bid competitively.

Which artists’ works would you be most excited to see consigned?

I am a big fan of portraiture so I would love to see some good quality, attractive portraits come my way. To name a few names - and if I had the pocket to buy myself - I’d love to see some Sir Peter Lely, Allan Ramsay or Joseph Wright of Derby. Or perhaps a Sir Thomas Lawrence. But really, with a 400-year date range to choose from, there are so many artists I’d love to see come through the doors here, that’s why it’s such a great sale to work on.

Tell us about your most memorable sale

In recent years it would have to be our London office discovering the Constable oil sketch of Dedham Vale which we sold for £91,000 including fees. We see so many works that purport to be by Constable and we are much more used to letting people down gently than delivering good news, so when the research was completed and we could actually tell our vendor it had been authenticated, it was a great moment.

Has there been a shift in the demographic of collector for these works in recent years?

Taste is so eclectic these days it is hard to predict what buyers are going to go for. In the old days, we would have long conversations with buyers in the saleroom or on the phone. Today, we sell all around the world so we don’t get to meet a lot of our buyers now. People read our condition reports which are prepared by a restorer, they may ask a few questions via email, and then they will buy online.

For those considering the sale of an Old Master, British or European work, how should they go about receiving a valuation?

We are always available to talk via email or on the phone. Clients can arrange this with us directly through the department, or by filling in the valuation form on our website. We love to meet with clients in person and host regular valuation days in our three offices - London, Hertford and Stansted. We will also gladly arrange home visits for those unable to bring their items into us or for larger collections.



Old Master, British & European Art takes place on Tuesday 27 September 2022

Entries close on Friday 5 August


For more information or to discuss a consignment, please contact Jane Oakley - | 01279 817778





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