Meanwhile, for nostalgia buffs more interested in the recent past than the 19th century, the Lumley Cazalet Gallery in Davies Street is showing tiny but exquisite watercolours (accessibly priced between pounds 500 and pounds 1,800) of an Irish landscape that is rapidly disappearing under the pressure of new economic realities. The artist, Robert Bates, explains how they came into being:
'I live on the Maharees - a tiny peninsula three miles long by half a mile wide that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean in the far south west of Ireland. The people who live here make their living mainly by farming and fishing, both dying occupations, to which the relentless depopulation of the area testifies. Increasingly, tourism is seen as the answer to these chronic problems, bringing in its wake inevitable changes.
'Imperceptible at first, in a land where time moves slowly, the old ways and places are beginning to disappear. Farms become empty, fishing boats lie idle, ponies and traps, once common, are now a rare sight. Everywhere, holiday homes are springing up, camper vans fill the roads in summer. This is my record of a place before that process of change renders the past invisible, as it has done in much of England. It is still, fortunately, a landscape where man's hand has only lightly touched.'
Revival meeting: Pugin and the mid-19th century Gothic revival he inspired are back in vogue. The brass chandelier (top), one of a pair in the Pugin style, is expected to fetch between pounds 3,500 and pounds 4,500. The brass bed (above), valued at pounds 10,000-pounds 15,000, comes from Scarisbrick Hall in Lancashire, where Pugin made extensive alterations between 1836 and 1845. The bed, embossed with the monogram of Anne Scarisbrick, was made around 1865 and probably designed by Pugin's son.
Typical of the Gothic revival is this Pugin design (above) for a stained glass window for the south aisle of the church at Crewkerne in Somerset. Executed in watercolour and ink, the sketch is one of a batch of 10 designs for stained glass widows which Bonham's are selling; they are estimated to fetch between pounds 250 and pounds 300. The bread plate (left), with its pious 'waste not want not' inscription, was designed by Pugin and manufactured by Minton around 1849. Blairman is offering it for sale along with a Pugin piano.
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