Robert Gemmell Hutchison’s Sea Gulls and Sapphire Seas sold at auction for £120,000

Bolton Council's painting fetches £120,000

Rebecca Atkinson, 06.09.2011
Unsold works will be put up for auction again
Bolton Council’s sale of 36 artworks from its collection has raised £345,940 towards the £500,000 needed to fund a new storage facility for its museum.

This includes Robert Gemmell Hutchison’s Sea Gulls and Sapphire Seas, which sold for £120,000. The work was bought by Bolton Museum and Art Gallery directly from the artist for £150 in 1912, and had been given a guide price of up to £100,000.

John Everett Millais’s The Somnambulist sold for £74,000, although it had been expected to raise as much as £100,000.

An artwork believed to be an Augustus Charles Pugin watercolour sold for £4,560 despite its estimate of between £600 and £800. The work was initially valued at £10,000 to £15,000, but this was slashed after it was reclassified as a print and doubts were raised about whether Pugin had a hand in colouring the work.

Eight of the works put up for auction by Bolton Council have failed to sell, and therefore will go under the hammer again over the next three months. A further painting – Women Stealers by Edward Matthew Hale – also failed to sell at auction but was later sold for £2,500. It had been given a guide price by Bonham’s of between £3,000 and £5,000.

Five more works, including a Pablo Picasso lithograph, will be auctioned for the first time over the coming months.


Should the MA's code of ethics be more relaxed on disposal by sale?

A spokesman for Bolton Council said it would continue to monitor the progress of the sales but was pleased with the outcome to date.

“We embarked on this journey for the sole purpose of raising funds towards a new museum storage facility and we are hopeful of a satisfactory outcome when the auctions have been completed,” he added.

“During this time, some of the paintings failed to sell in the auction they were originally placed. However, Bonham’s offered us the opportunity to put these back up for sale in alternative auctions.”


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Patrick, Website Editor, Museums Association
MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
01.05.2012, 16:23
The last of the artworks were auctioned last week, raising a total of £431,654 before tax: