Historic New Brighton painting expected to fetch up to £30k at auction

A historically important painting of New Brighton is up for auction at Dreweatts this week in their Modern and Contemporary Art sale this Wednesday, 25 October.

The work is one of four in the sale by Lancashire-born British artist Helen Layfield Bradley MBE (1900-1979), famous for her oil paintings depicting Edwardian life in the North West.

The painting, titled All day we went to New Brighton, features the tower at New Brighton, which was the tallest building in Great Britain when it opened sometime between 1898 and 1900.

The tower was designed to rival nearby Blackpool Tower and be part of a wider leisure development of the area. 

The tower was closed at the beginning of the First World War and subsequently suffered from neglect, being declared unsafe with demolition beginning in 1919. 

The painting was a direct commission from the artist by the family of the present owner (along with the other three works), so it has remained within the family for generations. This particular work will be offered at auction with an estimate of £20,000- £30,000.

About the artist

Helen Layfield Bradley MBE (20 November 1900 – 19 July 1979) was an English artist born in Lees, Lancashire.

In the 1960s she met fellow painter L. S. Lowry who encouraged her in the creation of a narrative style based on her own childhood memories. 

Her works are in several public collections, including those of the Yale Center for British Art, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, and the Saddleworth Museum, with several at Gallery Oldham.

In May 2013 Bradley’s Going for a Walk Before Bedtime sold at auction, at Bonhams of London, for £37,250. Two of her paintings, one in oil and one in watercolour, featured in an October 2019 episode of the BBC Television programme Antiques Roadshow. Expert assessor Rupert Maas commented on the “wit and levity” in her work, and compared her to the American naive painter Grandma Moses.

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