Suffolk School brothers' art sells for £297,000 at Bonhams

A collection of 19th Century paintings by two brothers from the Suffolk School has been sold at auction for £297,000.

Bonhams of London was offering 85 rural works by Edward and Thomas Smythe, of which 72 sold.

The most expensive was Edward's Woolpit Horse Fair which went for £39,650 - double the estimate.

The collection was put together at Reydon Hall, Southwold, in the 1960s by the Le Grys family who are trying to sell the house.

A spokesman for Bonhams said: "The magnificent total exceeded all expectations and it was particularly good to see a new world record established for a painting by Edward Smythe."

The previous record for an Edward Smythe was for another version of the Woolpit painting which went for £32,450 in 2008.

'Idyllic landscapes'

The Woolpit painting measures 36x72 ins (91x183cm).

The other similar sized painting by Edward, of the Suffolk Hunt, sold for £23,750.

Both of these paintings were won by private buyers in the UK.

Hugh Belsey, former curator at Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, said: "The Suffolk School is rather ill-defined and as loose as 'artists who worked in Suffolk', including Gainsborough [1727-1788] for a brief time, but it was mainly early-to-mid-19th Century when the school became particularly characteristic.

"The Smythe brothers' reputation is very high in East Anglia and they produced very charming works, often with horses in them, showing an idyllic kind of Suffolk landscape with a nostalgic tinge to them.

"It was rare for them to produce pictures of that size, so they immediately become more nationally important than most of the works they produced."

The paintings were part of a larger Reydon Hall country house sale, including furniture, which fetched £500,000 in total.

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