In my view, one of the most under-priced areas of the fine art and collectables market is Victorian watercolours. Some artists’ work can fetch a pretty penny, but for the most part landscapes, genre scenes, figural studies and the rest can be had for little more than a hundred pounds or two; sometimes considerably less.
Why is this?
One explanation is that tastes have simply moved on and buyers today can’t relate to the subjects depicted. Another is that people expect their art to ‘perform’ more. A nicely mounted and framed riverside view or idyllic cottage scene may be well executed but perhaps does not leap from the wall in the way a bit of brashly coloured Street art does.
Whatever the reason, it’s hard to believe that the spirit of nature and humanity captured in these views has no place among the collections of the future. I see many of them as a tonic, a perfect means to gently attract the attention of the viewer and make them ponder awhile, stepping off the conveyor belt of modern life to contemplate and drink in the serenity of a time gone by, when life was a simpler – if sometimes tougher – affair.
A plentiful supply of notable compositions comes to auction on a regular basis. Why not see if you can find one you like for the wall. We can all do with an occasional bit of slowing down, and gazing on an accomplished work by one of these masters of times gone by is an effective way of doing that.