Signed Paul Nash woodcut could bring £6,000

A very rare and unusual screen-print by Ben Nicholson is one of the star lots in Bonhams Prints from the St Ives School sale on May 25 in London.

The image, George and Rufus (estimated at £2,500-3,500), is printed in colour on rayon and was based on a series of paintings that Nicholson produced in the 1930s for a children's book that in the end was never published.

The print shows two of the story's heroes, the dogs George and Rufus, taking a walk through a town by the sea. This proof copy is dated 1938 and is one of only four known examples (one of the others being in the permanent textile collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum).

The children's book that never was: George and Rufus by Ben Nicholson

Also featured in the sale is a Peter Lanyon work from 1949 (£2,000-3,000). This unique piece shows Lanyon at his most experimental using pen, ink and gouache over a traced slate monotype printed in dark blue. 

The print's dominant image of a horse links it to the artist's 1946 painting "Yellow Runner" and the large lino-cuts "The Returned Seaman" of 1946 (now in Tate

An early work by Sir Terry Frost, Bow Movement from 1954 (£1,500-2,000), is signed "No 4" and is one of a few proofs printed by the artist when he was living and working in St Ives.  No edition was ever made of this work.

Although the sale centres on painters from the St Ives School there are works on offer by other artists including a 1923 Paul Nash woodcut, 'The Bay' (£4,000-6,000), signed and dated with a pencil inscription 'Special proof for Mr Bailey with all good wishes'. 

Nash is currently the focus of an Exhibition at the Dulwich Picture gallery, "Paul Nash: The Elements."


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