From Banksy to Picasso .... Mallams' December Modern Art + Design Sale

From Banksy to Picasso .... Mallams' December Modern Art + Design Sale


Mallams’ final Modern Art + Design show of the year took place in December and achieved a total hammer price of over £443,000, just nudging the top estimate. With almost 1200 online bidders it was a very lively and successful two day sale.

Day 1 focused on Modern Art and the top performing lot, with a hammer price of £25,000, was a screenprint of ‘Welcome to Hell’ by Banksy (b. 1974), numbered 91/175 and dated 2005 (lot 199).  Featuring a rat, Banksy said about these animals “They exist without permission. They are hated, hunted and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilizations to their knees. If you are dirty, insignificant, and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model.”

Coming to Mallams from Art Republic, this work was accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity issued by the Pest Control Office.

An oil on canvas painting by Anna Airy (1882-1964) also attracted considerable interest. Lot 314, it was entitled ‘Portrait of Mr Pocock’ and was signed and dated 1908.

Anna Airy was considered, by many who knew her, to be one of the most gifted English women artists. She was a prolific painter and mastered a variety of mediums including oil, watercolour, and etching and her choice of subject matter was as diverse as her mediums. In 1952, The Royal Society of British Artists held a ‘jubilee’ exhibition honouring her great talent, entitled ‘Anna Airy: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints’.

'Portrait of Mr Pocock' was highly contested and this pushed the hammer price ever upwards, surpassing its £2000-£3000 estimate to achieve a final winning bid of £14500.

Another oil painting which performed well above expectations was a still life by Bryan Pearce (1929-2006) – ‘Blue Jug and Bird Bowl’. This signed painting (lot 349) was estimated at £6000-£8000 but huge interest saw the hammer finally fall at £13,000 almost 63% above top estimate.

Day 2 of the sale focused on 20th Century Design, and included a range of studio and contemporary ceramics. Lot 796 was a Pablo Picasso ‘Hibou Mat’ engraved ceramic plate conceived by Picasso (1881-1973) in 1955 and produced the same year in a limited edition of 450. Just under 39cm in length, it was stamped and marked 'Madoura Plein Feu /Edition Picasso / Edition Picasso / Madoura' and sold for £14,000 against an estimate of £12,000 - £15,000.

We are now inviting entries for our 11-12 May Modern Art & Design Sale so if you have any items you are considering selling at auction please email for a free, informal valuation. 

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