Newly discovered Sir John Lavery masterpiece up for auction

A newly discovered work by Belfast-born painter Sir John Lavery is to be sold at auction.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:23 am
In Morocco by Sir John Lavery
In Morocco by Sir John Lavery

The painting entitled ‘In Morocco’ is being sold in Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on June 30 and carries an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

Morocco was a home from home for Lavery, who was born in 1856 and is best known for his portraits and wartime depictions.

He first visited Tangiers in the early 1890s. In time he acquired a home there. The war years interrupted the pattern of regular visits but in late 1919, with hostilities safely at an end, he returned to Tangier for what would turn out to be the final time. It was during this trip that he painted In Morocco.

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Bonhams director of Modern British and Irish Art, Matthew Bradbury, said: “In Morocco has been part of the same family collection since it was acquired in the 1930s and its rediscovery is a major event. It is one of several works that Lavery painted in early 1920 either in his house in Dar-el-Midfah, Tangier or in the Villa Harris where the Laverys were staying while their own home was being prepared. The exact identity of the three figures in the painting is unknown but they may be the Earl and Countess of Pembroke and their daughter, Lady Patricia Herbert who were in Tangier at the time and visited the Laverys. It is by any measure a wonderful work and a fine example of the family rendezvous portraits for which Lavery was renowned.”

The sale also includes a work painted on the same visit. ‘Jasmin’ was executed in Fez in April 1920 when Lavery, his wife, his stepdaughter Hazel and a family friend, Nora Clark-Kerr, were staying at a house loaned to them by El Menebhi, whose portrait Lavery had painted. It carries an estimate of £60,000-80,000.