Sworders’ Paintings Specialist with an emphasis on modern British and 20th-century art
History of Art graduate Amy spent three years working in a London gallery before joining Sworders eight years ago. She now leads the Picture department. Her job was to coordinate the paintings part of The Anniversary Sale, estimating and cataloguing each lot.
‘The works we’ll be offering in our Anniversary Sale cover four centuries and are traditional in style, primarily Old Master and Victorian paintings. There will be up to 150 pictures and our first consignments came in last year. There’s a pair of impressive paintings from the first half of the 19th century by British marine painter William John Huggins. The oil pictures depict a lifeboat rescue in heavy seas and, at over 130cm each, these remarkable works needed a sale with gravitas. Luckily, the vendor was happy to wait over six months for this auction. Since then we have been holding back a number of other works, ranging from fine miniatures, watercolours and oils, to be the sale’s foundation.
‘When a work comes in, I catalogue and value it and report back to the client with my initial opinion. The work may need further research, so I’m very lucky to have the expertise of our Specialist Consultant Andrew Bowyer. Together we look through the paintings and discuss them. We rarely have pictures cleaned or restored before sale as this can be very expensive and buyers prefer to see things in original condition.
‘I always have favourites in every sale I work on. That’s the case with my favourite lot in this sale; five portrait miniatures painted in the 18th and 19th centuries (est £3,000£4,000). The elaborately moulded leather frame is a technique I haven’t seen before.
‘On the day of the sale I’ll be working up until 10am when the auction begins, assisting clients with any queries they may have and completing condition reports on the paintings. I will then be in the auction room ready to take telephone bids.’