New auction record achieved for Evesham artist's Cotswold work - The Evesham Observer

New auction record achieved for Evesham artist's Cotswold work

Evesham Editorial 24th Oct, 2023   0

A PAINTING by an Evesham animal portrait painter Richard Whitford achieved a new record price for the artist at auction, when it sold in Chorley’s Fine Art and Antiques auction for £41,024.00 against an estimate of £5,000 to £8,000.

The previous record for a work by the artist was £14,000 in 1998 at Moore Allen auctioneers, titled A Portrait of a Ram.

Titled The Swanwick Prize Cotswold Sheep Herd/the herd of sheep bred by Russell Swanwick of The Royal Agricultural Farm, Cirencester, comprising a group of sixteen shearling ewes winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize and three Old Rams winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Show at Birmingham 1876.

Speaking after the auction, Chorley’s director Thomas Jenner-Fust said: “This delightfully naïve depiction of prize-winning sheep is a real piece of Cotswold history.

“Attracting attention from specialist dealers and collectors, there were bids from the internet, the room and five telephone lines.

“The painting ultimately sold to a private UK bidder and we are delighted that it will remain in the Cotswolds.”

Richard Whitford was born in 1821 in Evesham and trained firstly as an excise offer, taking his first position in 1841 at the age of nineteen.

His role was to ensure taxes were paid on a range of goods across various industries, such as spirit dealers /traders, soap makers, tobacco producers, brickmakers etc

However on being accused of pilfering in 1848 he moved back to Evesham and rethought his career. It was around this time that he explored his passion for painting, producing his first major work of a bay hunter in a stable in 1855.

Whitford painted cattle, sheep, dogs, pigs and horses, capturing the beauty of the English landscape and many of the animal’s owners or those that cared for them, such as shepherds, in his paintings.

His oil paintings were fervently collected and highly desirable with wealthy collectors and the aristocracy, with Queen Victoria added a selection to her collection.

She hung some of his paintings at Shaw Farm, Windsor and this afforded Whitford the right to inscribed ‘Animal Painter to the Queen’ below his signature of his paintings in the 1860s and early 1870s.


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