Drawings and Posters from the Collection of Clifford and Rosemary Ellis

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ two-day Interiors sale at Donnington Priory, Newbury, on 10th & 11th January 2017 will include property from the collection of the late Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. Part of the legacy left by the Ellises includes paintings, drawings and posters by both Clifford and Rosemary either separately or working together. Lots range from £100 - £2,000.

There will also be a number of works on offer by other artists such as Walter Sickert, William Scott, Adrian Heath and Howard Hodgkin which the Ellises acquired throughout their long careers. The majority have a direct personal connection to the artist and gives a glimpse of the rich cultural life that the Ellises created during their lifetimes, such as a drawing by Walter Richard Sickert, Grand Hotel Restaurant (Lot 106, est. £1,000-£1,500) which was a gift from Thérèse Sickert to Clifford Ellis in 1942 and thence by descent to the present owners. 

As well as leading the way in the teaching of fine art, husband and wife, Clifford and Rosemary, were both prolific in their own artistic output. The selection reveals the breadth of subject matter and interests of each and also charts the progression of their work over a number of years. The mid 1940s paintings by Clifford are of interest not only in terms of their artistic merit but also in reflecting the art of the period. In his position as head of the Bath Academy, Clifford was undoubtedly exposed to the work of what were to become some of the leading artists of their day and their influence is clearly visible in some of his work. Works by Rosemary Ellis are indicative of a more illustrative style and are closer to the work that the couple created for the ‘The New Naturalist’.

In 1933, the Ellises were commissioned to design a series of posters for the London Underground. They also designed posters together for the Empire Marketing Board which was a government Department established in 1926 with the purpose of encouraging people to buy Empire products. The poster campaigns were an integral part of their advertising program and Clifford and Rosemary produced a number of designs during the 1930s. They also designed posters for Shell and the General Post Office.

In addition to this sale, prints by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis will be on offer in a timed online only auction, which starts at 10am (GMT) on Tuesday 3rd January and closes on Monday 16th January 2017. Both artists were keenly interested in the printmaking process and, as with many of their generation, it formed an integral part of their artistic output. The group ranges from examples of animals and birds by Clifford Ellis comparable to the works produced for ‘The New Naturalist’ series of books to a number of series of linear prints characteristic of 1950s abstraction. All works offered come directly from the estate of the artists and the sale offers a rare opportunity to acquire one of their prints. Many are working proofs with hand-written annotations adding a personal dimension to the work. 

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