Historic New Brighton painting fetches £22,680 at auction

A historically important painting of New Brighton sold for a winning bid of £18,000 (£22,680 including fees) at auction at Dreweatts this week in their Modern and Contemporary Art sale.

The painting was sold to a private buyer from the UK.

The auction took place on Wednesday, 25 October and the New Brighton work was one of four in the sale by Lancashire-born British artist Helen Layfield Bradley MBE (1900-1979).

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.

Jennie Fisher, Co-Head of Dreweatts Modern and Contemporary Art department, told Birkenhead News, “We were very pleased with this result.  Bradley’s works are very distinctive and instantly recognisable and this strong result shows that her inimitable style still resonates in the current market.   

“The fact that it depicts a lost local Wirral landmark is sure to have heightened interest in the painting.”

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.

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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