Tuesday, 24 May 2011

1886 Sale By Auction of Brookes' artwork.

I had often wondered what happened to the accumulation of artwork that must have been in Warwick Brookes' (1808-1882), possession at the time of his death. I know that some of it filtered down through the family and is still in their possession. Other pieces are to be found in museums, art galleries, and libraries across the country, (there is a fabulous sketch book held in the archives of Manchester Central Reference Library). But, surely some must have escaped, and are now in the public domain?

Again, as a direct result of being able to access digitally archived information via the internet, my question seems to have been answered.

A notice of a sale by auction was published on December 3rd 1886 in The Manchester Guardian. The auctioneers were Capes, Dunn, and Pilcher of 8 Clarence Street, Manchester. The auction was to be the same day, Friday, at 12 o'clock prompt. The notice read:- Sale of remaining works of the late Mr. Warwick Brookes, distinguished for his beautiful drawings of child life, including many examples in pencil, charcoal and watercolours, both figures and landscapes. These were to be sold together with his small collection of pictures by other artists. Unbelievably perhaps, but the auctioneers, being established in Manchester in 1826, are still thriving as auctioneers of fine art today, see:- Capes Dunn Auctioneers, now at 38 Charles Street Manchester!

This is also further evidence that perhaps some of his work deviated from monochrome pencil drawings of the human form, as some of the lots are listed as landscapes in watercolour.

Footnote: I have since been contacted by a lady in the USA who is lucky enough to own a selection of 6 minatures, approximately 1 inch X 1 inch, which are all enclosed in a single frame. She purchased this whilst working in the UK during the 1970's. They are all pencil drawings signed by the artist, and confirmed as Brookes' work by Christies of London. Each drawing is dated 1863, June 10th - June 16th. The subject being 'Little Red Riding Hood'. I suspect that these were practice sketches, taken from a sketch book to be framed, and possibly drawn in preparation for a future book illustration. There is a full size drawing of 'Red Riding Hood' contained within the pages of  'Pencil Pictures of Child Life'. The Brookes sketch book that is held at the Manchester Central Reference Library, has within its pages, many such minature practice sketches, often of single parts of the human form, drawn over and over, until perfection was obtained. This particular sketch book was donated to the library by the family of Thomas Letherbrow.

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