Consignment follows stunning £ 81,250 premium-inclusive price for John Glover's Scottish Tour sketchbook

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Consignment follows stunning £ 81,250 premium-inclusive price for John Glover's Scottish Tour sketchbook
Pages from the John Glover sketchbook, number 71. The estimate at Ewbank’s on December 8 is £8,000-12,000. All images courtesy of Ewbank’s Auctions.

LONDON.- Ewbank’s are to sell a second sketchbook by John Glover (1767-1849), having taken a premium-inclusive £81,250 for another in June 2021 by the man dubbed the Father of Australian Landscape Painting.Originally consisted of 105 sketches, John Glover Sketchbook No. 71 still contains 47 mainly pencil and some grey wash sketches of cattle and landscapes in southern English locations. Some pages are double-sided and others include two or more individual sketches per page.

“The quality of the draughtsmanship is exceptional,” says Ewbank’s partner Andrew Ewbank.

The previous sketchbook sold by Ewbank’s was number 48, begun in 1817 and showing scenes from a Scottish Tour taken from August 30th to October 27th that year. The current sketchbook, which is initialled and numbered to the inside of the front cover, was a gift to the vendor's father from the well-known dealer Cyril Fry and dates to a period before Glover departed for Australia at the age of 64 in 1831.

The artist’s emigration was the key to his legacy, as he headed south and secured one of the largest land grants in Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania, at Mills Plains, Deddington. By that time, he had already served as president of the Old Water Colour Society in London and exhibited at the Royal Academy and Society of British Artists, enjoying one-man shows in 1823 and 1824 as his standing grew.

Settling at Patterdale, his new home in Mill Plains, Glover kept a record of his difficult relationship with his neighbour John Batman, the bounty and aboriginal hunter who co-founded Melbourne, calling Batman “the vilest man I have ever known”.

Glover spent his remaining 18 years consolidating his reputation as a master of Australian landscape, painting scenes of Tasmania, focusing on its unique flora and light. The John Glover Society was established in 2001 to promote his memory and contribution to Australian art, with a statue to him being unveiled two years later in Evandale, Tasmania. The Glover Prize, Australia’s richest award for landscape painting, is presented for the best views of Tasmania, while Glover’s own works are to be found in public and private collections all over Australia.

Enclosed in frayed and worn boards, with all pages loose, the sketches bear some foxing and spotting, as well as some wear to the corners, but the images themselves are generally in good condition and intact.

Significant media coverage about the first sketchbook in Australia led to the sale attracting more than 1,000 registered online bidders, including institutional interest, with Ewbank’s adding four extra phone lines to meet demand. The original £2,000-3,000 estimate was left well behind, as the final price showed. This time the estimate is £8,000-12,000.

“We had huge amounts of interest, especially from Australia, after our media campaign there,” says Andrew Ewbank. “We were delighted to see the sketchbook return to Australia, where it has such historic significance. We anticipate similar interest for this notebook at our Fine Art sale on December 8.”

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