Square sheep and shipyards

For those of you who are familiar with this particular artist’s work, the title of this blog will be an immediate clue to his identity and I suspect that for anyone living in the North East of England, the penny will drop even quicker.

Around these parts, Mackenzie Thorpe – who became famous for his square sheep and stark, brooding images of the industrial north – is the story of a ‘local boy made good’. Very good in fact because his paintings, prints and sculptures appear in galleries all over the world and his original works sell out instantly. Many of his images have also been made into fine art prints and best-selling cards, including those commissioned for Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.

You can imagine then how excited we were to have seven original paintings come forward for auction. Three are of the classic Mackenzie Thorpe-style sheep and the others are of a chunky bull against a particularly glowering sky; a self-portrait of a small boy holding a bird; a moon-faced baby in an enormous red pram; and flat-capped figures in a northern shipyard.

It is of particular interest that four of the works are from a vendor who bought them direct from the artist, which is how we are privy to a rather amusing story concerning one of the paintings from early in his career. Evidently one day, after a particularly unsuccessful meeting with the bank manager, Mackenzie came home and vented his frustrations by painting a sheep in a landscape, which he called ‘Self with Pride’. It is somewhat ironic that this nice little oil on board now carries a guide price of £3,500 – £4,000, proving just how bankable an artist he now is!

If you are interested in having a closer look at the paintings, or even in bidding for one yourself, then they are featured in our Winter Catalogue Sale, which takes place on Saturday 3 December at 11.00am. As with all our sales, if you can’t be there in person then bids can be made on-line or via the telephone.