UK AUCTIONEER DISCOVERS CACHE OF FORGOTTEN DRAWINGS BY GEORGE CHINNERY An album of George Chinnery drawings discovered at a house clearance has prompted international interest after auctioneers estimated it could be worth more than £100,000.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - An album of drawings, many of them littered with apparently meaningless hieroglyphics, which was discovered in a house in Didsbury, Manchester, could bring a £100,000 windfall for the family who own it.
Michael Perry of Manchester auctioneers Capes Dunn was called in by relatives of the late Mrs Joan Seton, who died at her home in Belfield Road, in March this year.
Lying forgotten in a room in the large Victorian house was a leather-bound 19th century album containing more than 100 drawings by George Chinnery, the flamboyant artist who recorded colonial life in India and China in the 19th century. The album will be auctioned by Capes Dunn in Manchester on Tuesday, September 19, when it is expected to fetch £80,000-120,000.
"I was dumbfounded," Michael Perry said. "Chinnery drawings are incredibly rare, but to find a album containing so many together was very exciting.
"The house was being emptied by the family prior to the property being put on the market and fortunately they had the foresight to call us in. This album, which I found among a stack of family photograph albums could easily have been overlooked."
The 115 pencil and ink sketches include portraits of European family groups and an 1809 sketch of a mosque in Dacca, while the remainder are scenes in old Macao when it was a Portuguese trading colony. Some are titled, for example a street scene 'Fronting Dr Watson's House' and 'Mr Barnes' House', while others include Chinese figures, animal studies, topographical scenes, various boats, coast scenes, several panoramic views and a drawing titled 'Sketches in Macao 1825'. Many carry Chinnery's trademark shorthand inscriptions which are the artist's notes to himself.
The album is being sold by the family of the late Mrs Joan Seton, whose husband Bertram taught at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. His aristocratic ancestors included Sir Alexander Seton (1555-1622) the 1st Earl of Dunfermline; Mary Seton, a lifelong friend and lady-in-waiting to Mary Queen of Scots. and more recently Henry Addington, Britain's Prime Minister from 1801 to 1804.
Bertram Seton was born in 1910 in Appleby, Cumbria, the son of a banker and showed an early interest in music, literature and art. He was educated at private boarding schools in Sedbergh and Bruton in Somerset and read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he gained an MA. He subsequently gained a Bachelor of Music degree for which he received tuition in composition from Vaughan Williams at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
His first job was teaching English at Stockport Grammar School, but his career was interrupted by the Second World War. After a short period in the Royal Artillery, Seton was encouraged to join the Education Corps and was sent to the Middle East, where he helped organise concerts, educational lectures and other entertainment for the troops.
On his demobilisation, he returned to his teaching duties at Stockport Grammar School and subsequently moved to a similar post at Portsmouth Grammar School. He was