Final auction of hertfordshire County Council’s art on Thursday

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More than items from Hertfordshire County Council’s art collection are to go under the hammer on Thursday (May 23), in the last of three scheduled auctions.

The county council - which started to build up the collection in 1949 - took the controversial decision to sell-off the bulk of the artworks in 2017.

And in March this year the first of those artworks were sold off at auction - with some single items selling for as much as £37,000.

A second auction was held by Cambridge-based Cheffins in April - with every item being successfully sold.

And on Thursday (May 23) further items will be offered in the last of the three scheduled sales.

In advance of the auction, auctioneer Brett Tryner, associate at Cheffins Fine Arts, said they were hoping to repeat the success of the previous sales.

“Following two highly successful auctions of selected works from the Hertfordshire County Council picture collection, Cheffins will auction the remaining works entrusted for sale on Thursday 23rd May,” he said.

“The final sale will give people the opportunity of acquiring affordable works from the collection with estimates ranging from £30–200.

“The two previous sales resulted in 100 per cent sale rate and interest in the final sale is such that we are hoping to repeat this success.”
The first lot will be Robert H Lee’s ‘Apollo 2 - The Visor’, which is expected to sell for between £100 and £200.

Later there’s Frances Richards’ embroidered ‘Mother and Child’ and a single lot made up of two etchings by Phil Greenwood, titled ‘Kingswood Falls’ and ‘Field Walls’ - which are both expected to reach between £100-£200.

Also included within the county council lots is a lino-cut ‘Hedgehogs’ by Sheila Flinn, which has an estimate of between £40 and £60.

Meanwhile it has also emerged that an investigation into suspicious online bidding at the second auction has now concluded - and all sales will stand.

The county council built up its impressive collection over a number of years, after starting to purchase artworks that could be loaned to schools in 1949.

They took the decision to sell off the bulk of the collection in 2017. However the four most valuable items in the council’s collection - with an estimated value of £21.86million - have not been earmarked for disposal.

The council has previously said that funds raised from the sale of artworks will be used to improve the condition and visibility of the ‘nationally significant’ sculptures it owns.

Funds, they have said, will also be invested in the pieces it retains to increase accessibility, improve display and interpretation.