LONDON – Modern British Art often gets dealt a rough hand on the international stage of colour – perhaps you may think of the dark interiors of Sickert’s Camden Town, or the smoggy industrial landscapes of L. S. Lowry – but British art really is awash with colour! And nowhere is this more colourful side visible than in the fun and figurative work of Beryl Cook, John Bratby, Mary Fedden and Helen Bradley, all artists whose work features in this autumn’s Made in Britain auction.
Beryl Cook, Bumper Cars, £12,000–15,000.
Beryl Cook did not start painting until late in life – picking up some paints belonging to her son John whilst living in Southern Rhodesia, and setting in motion a rollercoaster of creativity that was to last for the rest of her life. Like the much-loved primitive artist Alfred Wallis she painted anything that she could get her hands on – scraps of wood, fire screens and even breadboards! Her paintings transport the viewer into her very unique world – a world of Edward Burra-inspired rotund figures, that is loved the world over.
John Bratby, Sunflowers, £5,000–7,000.
A founding member of the Kitchen-Sink school, John Bratby veered away from his darker, earlier compositions by the 1960s, and focused instead on thickly-impastoed, colourful paint, often applied direct from the tube, seen here in his wonderful Sunflower painting.
Mary Fedden, The Hopjes Tin, £25,000–35,000
One of Britain’s most beloved artists, Mary Fedden mastered the art of the still life genre, from early 1950s compositions, right up until her death in 2012. She painted items from her everyday life – from flowers in a vase, to fruit upon a table, to bottles of the world-famous Guinness at Clonakilty, in Co. Cork.
Helen Bradley, The Bombing of the Seven Sisters Road, £15,000–25,000.
Like Cook, Helen Bradley did not begin painting until late in her life – painting to show her grandchildren how life used to be. Her paintings are rich with narrative, often featuring the famous Miss Carter, who always wore pink! The Bombing of the Seven Sisters Road captures life in London during the First World War, with Zeppelin raids providing a daily source of danger.