Trailblazing Couple’s Legacy to Emerging Artists

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Launch Slideshow

A new generation of emerging artists are set to benefit from the upcoming sale from the estate of artist couple Julian Trevelyan and Mary Fedden. The auction of 90 works will enable the exciting redevelopment of Durham Wharf, under the direction of Turner Prize-winning architects, Assemble. Trevelyan and Fedden were adamant that this unique London studio complex should continue to be used to nurture artistic practice and creative collaboration, serving as a potent reminder of their legacy. The works offered for auction span a period of 80 years, and demonstrate this extraordinary couple’s unrivalled contribution to British art. Join us at 1pm on Sunday 20 November at New Bond Street for a gallery talk and book signing with Philip Trevelyan, author of Julian Trevelyan: Picture Language. To reserve your place email rachel.david@sothebys.com  Click ahead to see highlights from the sale.

A Painter's Paradise Julian Trevelyan & Mary Fedden at Durham Wharf
23 November | London

Trailblazing Couple’s Legacy to Emerging Artists

  • Julian Trevelyan, Durham Wharf, 1940-43. Estimate £15,000–25,000.
    For Julian, it was at Durham Wharf that his complex ideas came together – as his son Philip Trevelyan said, "It was at Durham Wharf that the different strands of his vision would come together: the brilliant light of these riverside studios would open his eyes..."

  • Henry Moore, Figure in a Shelter, 1941. Estimate £30,000–50,000.
    Henry Moore lived and worked not far from Durham Wharf at 3 Grove Studios between 1924 and 1928. During his time in Hammersmith he taught at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington and attended Leon Underwood’s Brook Green School of Art. Moore was to become a close friend of Julian – participating in the picture-lending scheme and most likely a guest at artistic gatherings at Durham Wharf. Moore even had a series of his terra-cotta figures fired in the kiln at Durham Wharf.

  • Julian Trevelyan, Bolton, 1937. Estimate £18,000–25,000.
    Trevelyan would construct collages on the spot, enjoying the immediacy of the process and carried a suitcase full of collage materials with him wherever he went. These collages which mix elements of photography, cuttings from Picture Post and seed magazines, newspaper cuttings, old bills and scraps of coloured paper provided a vivid and original record of his time in Bolton.

  • Mary Fedden, Portrait of Julian Trevelyan, 1955. Estimate £8,000–12,000.
    Fedden first came across Julian Trevelyan when she was still at the Slade, and on sight declared that this was the man she was going to marry. She later said that "it was Julian Trevelyan who really changed the direction of my painting," This early and intimate portrait of Julian was painted four years after their marriage, and captures their domestic bliss, complete with their contented cat sitting on Julian’s lap.

  • Mary Fedden, Still Life with Harbour, 1986. Estimate £6,000–8,000.
    Etching was Julian’s main means of expression, and Mary kept all of the fragments and cast-offs from his etchings left over or rejected by him, and cut them up to incorporate them in her own collages. In this way she kept Julian’s memory and vision alive, doing so with a wit and continuing affection, saying ‘I like the idea that my collages are almost joint efforts!’

  • Mary Fedden, The Basket of Grapes, 1999. Estimate £12,000–18,000.
    This painting is one of several Fedden painted inspired by postcards. In this case, the postcard was sent to her by a fan, who rightly thought it looked like a work by the artist. She kept it in a box of postcards she raided for inspiration.

  • Mary Fedden, Motley and the Cards. Estimate £2,000–3,000.
    In the 1990s, Fedden also became known for her successful book illustrations and this sale brings together all but one of the illustrations which were used in Motley the Cat, a children’s story by Susannah Amoore. The images bring to life the moving and magical story of a cat who is desperately seeking his dream-home, eventually finding one with two girls whose own cat has passed away. Mary’s understanding and love of cats shines through the fresh and vibrant illustrations. This was a love she shared with Julian, as two cats lived with them at Durham Wharf.

  • Julian Trevelyan, Taj Mahal. Estimate £3,000–5,000.
    In 1962, Julian survived a serious attack of meningitis, and once recovered, he and Mary were eager to take to travelling to discover new subjects. They toured the world together to destinations far and wide, from Paris and New York to India and Russia, often recording cultures that were declining or disappearing - capturing the essence of each place.

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