S. J. Peploe's Studio Life at 150 | Guy Peploe28 Oct 2021
The Scottish Gallery tribute to Samuel John Peploe has just closed to universal acclaim. We had set out to add to scholarship by using primary sources, concentrating on his studios and presenting both catalogue and exhibition in thematic, retrospective groups. We also set out to borrow back some of his greatest works from private collections to make our show a feast for the eyes. We therefore had little for sale but still had some significant successes.
In the same month both Bonhams and Christies had works by the artist on the block and it is worth commentating on the market. Auction continues to provide a valued marketplace despite the relentless rise in the cost of transactions – 25% premium now standard for the first £450,000 of your purchase at Christies while Bonhams have nudged the premium up to 27.5% for the first £3,000 to cover lower end volume. The major auctioneers are less keen on your goods if they are assessed at less than £5k.
Bonhams Edinburgh had four works by Peploe, all of which looked vulnerable but would have been delighted to sell all four at the bottom end of expectation. Their cover picture was a problematic double sided still life which favoured the earlier, strongly modernist side. Christies had three works in their evening sale and were trialling a simple, smaller format catalogue for day and evening parts reflecting the shift towards on line consideration and transactions. A Peploe Roses and Fruit previously on the block in 2011 sold for £650,000, representing a return of more than 30% in a decade. All of the eight Peploe in the Christies sale, eight works sold, a tonic for the marketplace and most sold well above or within their estimates. One still life did sell for a figure significantly below the bottom end of estimate. In the day sale, two works struggled but sold and another two sold within estimate and one sneaked over.
For The Gallery, the notion of investment is somewhat alien: we sell to passionate people who want to live with great works of art. But no one is immune to value and returns available to the lucky and discerning can be significant. Headline auction numbers can at least provide reassurance. While October 2021 was a good month for Peploe at auction the risks to the seller are still significant on the downside. Today, The Scottish Gallery can provide discretion, expertise and terms which can look much more attractive to the potential consignor.
For a limited time only we are offering a special discount to S. J. Peploe enthusiasts who wish to purchase a copy of our new catalogue, S. J. Peploe's Studio Life at 150, and a copy of Guy Peploe's monograph S. J. Peploe with its new anniversary cover! By purchasing both together in our S. J. Peploe bundle you make a saving of £10. Join us in celebrating 150 years of Scotland's first modernist, and one of our greatest painters. Click here to purchase your bundle.