Ruskin Spear's colourful and expressive first Festival of Britain art is for sale
In the year of the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, Bonhams are to sell a painting by Ruskin Spear of the inaugural Festival in 1951. It is expected to fetch £10,000-15,000 ($24,800) when it goes under the hammer in the Modern Pictures auction at Bonhams, Knightsbridge on Tuesday, September 20.

This painting depicts the celebrations along the Embankment during the Festival of Britain in 1951. The festival aimed to create a feeling of hope, recovery and progress and positivity to a country recovering from the ravages of the Second World War. 

On the opposite side of the river, Southbank was a key area of the festival and new public spaces were created in the area including the river side walk. 

Ruskin Spear's Festival of Britain painting
A colourful London night: Ruskin Spear's Festival of Britain painting

In this painting Ruskin Spear has chosen to concentrate on the crowds and decorations on the northern bank of the Thames rather than the new modernist buildings on the opposite side of the river.

Emma Corke, Director of Bonhams Knightsbridge Pictures Department, comments, "The Festival helped to breathe new optimism and energy into bleak post War Britain. 

"This painting focuses on the crowds and sense of community amongst the Londoners looking towards the future, and the colourful, twinkling lights add to the positive atmosphere."

Ruskin Spear was certainly an evocative painter. We noted one of his works as one of our favourite snooker collectibles late last year. An evocative art work from someone who unlike Spear is very interested in city buildings is on the private markets at the moment.


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