Auction for historic Leeds painting

Share this article

An historic Leeds picture, which is being auctioned next month, was painted to impress the House of Commons.

Celebrated Victorian artist J Atkinson Grimshaw was commissioned by Leeds Town Council in 1872 to paint Full Moon, Roundhay Park Castle.

* Click here to watch latest YEP news and sport video reports.

The council wanted MPs to support a bill so that it could take over the land as a public park.

* Click here to view the YEP picture galleries of Leeds nostalgia.

"It was a clever idea to show the park by moonlight, thus increasing its romantic and poetic appeal," said a spokesman for Bonhams the auctioneers.

Bonhams are selling the painting in London on January 27 and have given it an estimate of 20,000 to 30,000.

"It has been in the hands of a private collector for many years," said the spokesman, "and he is aware that the market is pretty good for Grimshaw at the moment.

"It is a very beautiful picture but, comparing it with other examples of his work, it is not as commercial.

"But we are aware it could make more money than we suggest."

Another Grimshaw in the same sale – a view of Glasgow docks – is estimated to fetch over 100,000.

"The Roundhay painting is in very nice condition," continued the spokesman, "and has not been touched for many years. Grimshaw is such a delicate artist that we tend not to clean his work if we don't have to.

"Grimshaws are not rare but they are well sought after and in London we probably sell six a year."

In October, an 1892 Grimshaw picture of Salthouse Dock, Liverpool, made 185,000 for a Northumberland couple who bought it for less than 100.

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) was renowned for his townscapes and landscapes and his use of twilight.

His celebrated contemporary Whistler once said: "I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy's moonlight pictures."

Grimshaw gave up his job as a clerk with the Great Northern Railway at the age of 24 to pursue a career in art and became very successful in the 1870s.

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

Pudsey blaze: Leeds family firm sees silver lining to hard two weeks