'Finest ever collection' of Suffolk School paintings auctions at Bonhams

One of the finest ever collections of Suffolk School paintings is coming up for auction when the contents of Reydon Hall, Suffolk go under the hammer at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on December 6.

The stars of the collection are two monumental works by Edward Smythe who, with his younger brother Thomas, became famous for charming and beautifully observed depictions of rural and domestic Suffolk life during the second half of the 19th Century.

The first, a commission painted in 1865, is of the Master, Hunt Servants and hounds of the Suffolk Hunt in the parkland before Euston Hall.

A similarly large scale work shows Woolpit Horse Fair - a subject Edward painted at least four times (the current world record price for a work by Smythe was for another version of this painting which sold in 2008 for £32,450).

Both pictures carry similar estimates at £15,000-20,000. 

The work of the other Smythe's brother, Thomas, became instantly recognisable during the 1970s and '80s when his famous snow scenes were widely reproduced on Christmas cards both in the UK and America. 

Edward Robert Smythe - The Suffolk Hunt

Smythe's painting of the Master, Hunt Servants and hounds of the
Suffolk Hunt

His "Snowball Fight" - a rare subject for him - has an estimate of £7,000-10,000.

Reydon Hall, a large 17th Century country house near Southwold, was home to the Le Grys family who established and ran a turkey production firm in North East Suffolk which was sold to the well known entrepreneur, Bernard Matthews, in the 1970s. 

Raymond Le Grys and his brother John had a passion for Suffolk art and the paintings in the auction are a testament to their taste and shrewdness.

The sale revives the great tradition of the country house sale which was so memorable a feature of British life from the 1930s until the 1960s.  Indeed, many of the contents of Reydon Hall were themselves bought from such auctions.

In addition to the impressive collection of paintings, the sale also offers fine furniture, silver and ceramics.

The Reydon Hall Collection will be sold on 6 December in Knightsbridge, London. The entire collection will be previewed on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 November at The Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds when it will be shown alongside Bonhams annual sale of East Anglian paintings.


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