I was very tempted with this today. Lot no. 2 in Key’s auction of East Anglian Art at Aylsham was described as a mid-19th Century hand-coloured lithograph, after J. Reid and engraved by F. Jones, a ‘View of the New Town of Lowestoft’ published by Colman & Stacey, printed by Day & Son and at a size of 12 x 37 inches.
South Lowestoft was subject to a great deal of new development in the mid-nineteenth century by Samuel Morton Peto who produced an illustrated prospectus of views of the new buildings. This lithograph was not an image that was familiar to me and I had been hoping to get up to Aylsham for the view. This week in which the diary had looked quiet at the beginning had turned out as each day arrived to have every opportunity for some ‘me’ time filled by other things.
The saving grace is online bidding. The estimate was £150-200 and I duly prepared at least to be ready to bid. 10.30am on sale day duly arrived and the connection to the auction via The-Saleroom remained silent. About 14 minutes after the due start time a notice popped up saying that there would be a 15 minute delay. Shortly after 10.45 my Saleroom alarm, which was set for the start of the auction, sounded and I watched as the first lot sold silently. There had obviously been some sort of technical problem but the auction was at least in progress although without sound, which took some of the edge off normal saleroom atmosphere.
Lot 2 duly came up and I was ready to click on the ‘bid’ button but my jaw dropped when I saw the bidding had open at £400. I might have got away with spending £200 but my wife, who says that we already have too many pictures, would not have been amused had I spent more that that.
The bidding quickly progressed to a final figure of £540 which with the buyer’s premium and VAT will add a little over £113 to the hammer price. Another very successful sale for Keys. Perhaps it was for the best that I didn’t buy it but it would be interesting to know who did. Hopefully such an unusual historical image of Lowestoft will have a home in a public building in the town but if not then at least we have the auctioneer’s publicity image above.