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Harrogate’s answer to ‘Matchstick men’ Lowry is set to go under the hammer

A painting of a back street canal in Liverpool valued between £15,000- 18,000 is expected to excite bidders in the fine art section of Addisons of Barnard Castle’s Winter Catalogue Sale on Saturday 7 December 2013.

The oil on canvas is the work of the renowned English painter Brian Shields (1951-1997) who during his lifetime was described by The Times as one of the six most successful artists in England and was often likened to ‘matchstick men’ creator L.S. Lowry on account of a similarity in style.

Although born in Liverpool, Shields spent most of his working life in Harrogate, initially as a trainee chef. He was ‘discovered’ when murals he painted on the walls of one of the town’s hotels caused a stir and for several weeks there was a search in the local papers for this talented artist.

He is best known for painting industrial scenes of northern Britain – often signing his work ‘Braaq’, a nickname that he acquired in his school days. Although successful as a living artist, Shields was made bankrupt towards the end of his career and died prematurely of a brain haemorrhage. The popularity of his work today keeps increasing and his paintings regularly sell for large sums at auction.

Richard Edwards, Senior Auctioneer and Valuer at Addisons, said:

This wonderfully evocative painting is a fine example of the work for which this artist is renowned. It is full of interest with men, women, children, babies in prams and dogs all going about their daily lives.

“We expect this painting to create a great deal of interest at the sale, given Shield’s connection with the region. His paintings are well collected and usually sell for a considerable value. Only last month, four ‘Braaq’ paintings sold for a combined sum of almost £75,000 at an auction in Chester.

Also in the sale is a framed, signed, coloured reproduction print by L.S. Lowry himself. Lot 446 ‘Industrial Town Scene’ is 22cm by 33cm, with a Fine Art Trade blind stamp and signed in pencil by the artist on the mount. It carries a guide price of £400-600.

‘Back Street Canal, Liverpool’ by Brian Shields ‘Braaq’
‘Back Street Canal, Liverpool’ by Brian Shields ‘Braaq’

With almost 800 lots, Addisons’ Winter Catalogue Sale is packed full of quality items with a wide range of ceramics, glassware, rugs, textiles and antique furniture set to go under the hammer.

The charm and elegance of the Regency period is evoked by a substantial collection of furniture, including Lot 778 – an elegant mahogany sofa with outscrolled arms that carries a price estimate of £700-900. There are also several armchairs, a painted side table, fine bookcase cabinets and an ornate rosewood tea caddy from the era.

Addisons’ reputation for showcasing quality pieces of jewellery is more than upheld by the large number of noteworthy lots in this sale. Lot 325, a diamond necklace containing 59 brilliant-cut diamonds is estimated to reach £3,600-4,000 and a stunning sapphire and diamond ring (lot 326) carries a guide price of £4,000-6,000.

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