A collection of works by important Irish artists is to be offered by Sloane Street Auctions in the Fine Art and Antiquities sale on 27 April. The sale is to include paintings by Strickland Lowry and Samuel Spode, and a late 18th century portrait of the young Irish gentleman John Richard Hedges Becher of the Hollybrook and Aughadown houses, historic estates of the landed Becher family of Co. Cork. Estimates range from £2,000-£6,000.
A rare and fine painting by Strickland Lowry is a handsome example of the artist’s convincing trompe-l’œil style, and depicts Aeneas carrying his father from Troy. Born in Cumberland in 1737, Lowry worked in Ireland for most of his artistic career, and came to Belfast in around 1762. He was commissioned by a number of prominent gentry families, and was patronised by Sir John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira. The trompe-l’œil is a genre of picture which seeks to deceive the viewer with the illusion of three-dimension, and remained popular between the 17th-19th centuries. Illustrating the moment at which Aeneas, the son of Aphrodite, carried his elderly father Anchises from the burning city of Troy after its defeat in the Trojan War. It carries an estimate of £2,000-£4,000.
This is offered alongside a painting of three horses and a terrier painted by the portrait and landscape artist Samuel Spode, who spent a great deal of his life painting in Ireland before his death in Dublin in 1872. Trotting against the glorious mountainous landscape of Sugarloaf, Co. Wicklow, the 552-metre peak in West Wicklow, lying on the northern edge of the Glen of Imaal, the work is a stunning example of Irish landscape painting, and of the famous wild horses of Sugarloaf. It is estimated to fetch £4,000-£6,000. Spode travelled considerably across Ireland, first visiting in 1836, when he painted Birdcatcher, the first important Irish-bred thoroughbred to become a major stallion after he won the Peel Cup that year.
The sale also includes a tender and contemplative portrait of the young Irish gentleman John Richard Hedges Becher, of the landed Becher family of Co. Cork, who owned the important Hollybrook and Aughadown estates. The Irish Becher family traces its origins to the Bechers of Penshurst, Kent, originally a mercantile family. Depicting the eldest male heir of Henry Owen Becher, whose ancestry can be traced back to the Tudors, the work is a charming portrait in the romanticised manner typical of the time. As heir to the Becher estates, John inherited the lands and houses upon the death of his cousin, and later held the title of Justice of the Peace before his death at Loughine House in 1901.