Belfast Telegraph

Trio of McWilliam sculptures expected to sell for £60k-plus

By Dick Barton

Three works by one of Northern Ireland's leading sculptors are expected to fetch at least £60,000 at auction next month.

Banbridge-born Frederick Edward McWilliam gave the three sculptures to Belfast artist TP Flanagan.

Now they are expected to sell for between £60,000 and £95,000 at Sotheby's in London on September 27. One sculpture alone - a bronze, titled 'Icon' - is tipped to fetch up to £50,000.

Auctioneers Sotheby's confirmed: "The three sculptures were acquired directly from McWilliam by Flanagan and have been in the family for a long time. McWilliam was a frequent visitor to the Flanagan house in Belfast.

"The Flanagans returned these visits by going to the McWilliams' home in Holland Park, London."

Flanagan, who died in 2011, has been lauded by Sotheby's as "generally regarded as the finest landscape painter to work in Ireland in the late twentieth century."

McWilliam was born at Newry Street, Banbridge, in 1909 and was educated at Campbell College in east Belfast before going on to study at the city's College of Art.

In 1989 he became the first Northern Ireland sculptor to be elected to the prestigious Royal Academy in London.

His fans included pop star David Bowie,who owned and treasured three McWilliam sculptures, which sold for £83,750 at the auction of Bowie's art collection at Sotheby's in 2016.

The current auction record for a McWilliam sculpture is £266,500, the sum paid at Christie's in London in June 2014 for a 1933 cherrywood sculpture titled 'African Figure'.

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