Best of British: Made in Britain Sale Soars as Bidding Moves Online

Best of British: Made in Britain Sale Soars as Bidding Moves Online


Y esterday’s Made in Britain auction at Sotheby’s in London went ahead as planned, and saw strong results leading the charge in to the spring season. The sale saw an increased number of bids online, rising to more than 50% of the lots sold, with a final result of £2,113,500, significantly above the pre-sale estimate. The result demonstrates a buoyant and positive market, as well as the continued appetite for exceptional property delivered to our clients with ease, wherever they may be in the world.

In another triumph for the Sotheby's Request an Estimate service, L.S. Lowry’s rediscovered drawing of a Trawler in a Rough Sea sold for £40,000, more than double its pre-sale estimate.

As well as auction records for artists such as David Shrigley and Nina Hamnett, there was great White-Glove success for Studio Ceramics, with examples by Dame Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Jennifer Lee and Bernard Leach all achieving strong results.

View The Top Ten Lots from Made in Britain

Celebrated British Artists

M ade in Britain included almost 300 iconic paintings, works on paper, prints, photography, contemporary & studio ceramics and design by some of the most recognized names in British art – as well as a few lesser known, but none-the-less brilliant artists.

‘Being an artist does mean knowing something about oneself … The way in which you do that is through working.’
Bridget Riley, 2008

Following the success of her recent Hayward Gallery retrospective, the sale is led by Bridget Riley’s zinging work on paper - October 5, Revision of August 11. Featured within the artist’s 1998 Abbot Hall Art Gallery retrospective, the work appeared for the first time at auction and celebrates the artist’s unrivalled understanding and use of colour.

One of the most recognisable depictions of the world’s longest reigning monarch, Chris Levine’s stunning photograph of Her Majesty The Queen, Lightness of Being, is amongst his most beloved images. As the artist later commented ‘the process of capturing the Queen was daunting, the most portrayed woman in history and the subject of so many seminal artists. I wanted to make a portrait that was an evolutionary step forward form all that had been created to date. It was a challenge to which I applied my heart and soul.’

‘Painting is painting. It exists as a creation in its own right, just as does music … Painting is to do first and foremost with paint, not with illusionistic juggling. In a good painting one should get a pleasure from the paint – the weight of paint, the thickness and thinness of paint, the relation of paint to the primed canvas…’
Ivon Hitchens

The subject of a critically acclaimed retrospective exhibition at Pallant House Gallery last year, Ivon Hitchens has always been one of Britain’s most successful and sought-after landscape painters. Sotheby’s November sale saw a new auction record set for his work of £275,000, and this sumptuous landscape from 1965 appears at auction for the very first time as a highlight of the 17 March sale.

20th Century British Icons

T he auction also celebrated a number of 20th-century British icons, from models such as Kate Moss and Twiggy, to musicians and bands such as Elton John and The Beatles. They offer a unique opportunity to own a little bit of British popular culture, and celebrate the contributions made by these famous Brits on a global platform.

In 1966 Yoko Ono commissioned Scottish photographer Iain MacMillan to document her exhibition at Indica Gallery in London. This is how MacMillan met John Lennon who then invited him to photograph the iconic Abbey Road album cover a few years later. Paul McCartney already had an initial idea for the shot which he then developed with the photographer resulting in arguably one of the most famous album covers in music history.

In October 1975, Elton John performed two career-cementing, sell-out concerts at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium. He was the first musical act to perform there since the Beatles’ show nine years earlier. British photographer Terry O’Neill was there to document it and he explained, “You have to remember – in October 1975, no one was bigger than Elton John. He was like Elvis at the height of his career. It is impossible to try to explain to people today what it was like – numerous number one albums, touring non-stop, recording non-stop, media, press, television…he was everywhere. Elton still is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met and he gave his all at those concerts”.

This photograph was shot for the front cover of Vanity Fair Magazine at Glasshouse Studio, Shoreditch, London, in November 1996. Agius is known for his photographs of the ‘stars’ of our time in which he captures accurately the character and individuality of his sitters. His fun and refreshing approach to commercial photography has led him to portray icons such as Beyoncé, Madonna and Will Smith amongst many others.

Photographer Lewis Morley recalled about this famous shoot, ‘These photographs were from a series of publicity shots for an intended film which never saw the light of day. It was not until 1989 that a film of the 1963 happenings was released under the title 'Scandal'. […] It wasn't until I developed the film that I discovered that somehow I had misfired one shot and there were only eleven images on a twelve exposure film. How this came about is a mystery to me’.

In 1967 Terence Donovan was a firmly established young photographer, part of the triumvirate (along with his friends David Bailey and Brian Duffy) christened the ‘Black Trinity’ by their elder peer Norman Parkinson. Donovan visited Jimi Hendrix in his temporary home in Upper Berkeley Street and shot this iconic portrait of the musician. As opposed to his onstage persona, this version of Hendrix captures a quiet and calm person, surrounded by his prized colourful textiles which he took with him from flat to flat.

How to Bid Online at Sotheby's

Sotheby’s leads the industry in providing simple and secure ways to bid. In the video below, learn about the features that make bidding online at Sotheby’s easier than ever. Discover how to place your bids — on your smartphone or computer — from almost anywhere in the world. To learn more about bidding at Sotheby’s, watch our video.

How to Bid Online at Sotheby's

Modern British & Irish Art

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