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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Artistic tour of the past

A TREASURE trove of original artwork showing South Cumbria’s villages, public buildings and grand country homes is being sold at auction later this month.

The collection of very detailed pen-and-ink pictures, all by Jack Myall, are a time capsule of life from almost 40 years ago.

They all appeared in the Evening Mail’s former sister publication, the Barrow News, in a long-running weekly series called Seeing the Countryside in 1970 and 1971.

The original artwork has never been seen in public before.

Today almost all these pictures would fall within the boundaries of Cumbria, but back then they represented an artistic tour through the old Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire.

Many of the grand country homes which Jack Myall drew almost 40 years ago were still the private homes of wealthy families. Today many have been transformed into flats, guest houses and hotels.

Perhaps the most changed view is of the Hill of Millom looking across the Duddon to the skeleton of Millom Ironworks.

In 1970 it had been abandoned for the best part of two years but the demolition men had not yet taken it apart.

The artist did almost all his work in black and white – the only exceptions being an impressive bird of prey and an unidentified view of a typical country cottage – possibly in the Duddon Valley.

The collection is being sold at the School Street saleroom of Furness Auctions on Sunday April 19.

Most of the pictures come with a cutting from the edition of the Barrow News in which they appeared. Barrow auctioneer Rory McClure said: “You have to admire the amount of work which has gone into them.” He was particularly impressed by the detail shown in Mr Myall’s depiction of Cartmel Square and expected it to sell for £40 to £60.

Village views of places like Broughton and impressive historic buildings such as Gleaston Castle should sell at similar prices. All the pictures will be sold individually and can be viewed at the saleroom on Thursdays to Saturdays from 11am to 4pm and from 10.30am on the morning of the sale.

Mr McClure said it was the biggest single-artist collection he had ever sold. Almost all we know about the artist is from a typed note among the papers which came in with the collection.

It revealed that Jack Myall lived from 1909 to 1996.

The note, from a relative called Edna Myall, noted: “He was a naturally talented amateur artist all his life.

“By request he exhibited in his home town of Accrington, Lancashire, many years ago and at the Lakes Artists in Grasmere in 1972.

“During the early 1970s he supplied weekly drawings to the Barrow News and Mail.

“Although a quiet and somewhat introverted man, his artistic talent remained until the end of his life. He was also a naturalist and microscopist.”

The area covered includes Millom, Broughton, Lindal, Urswick, Gleaston, Aldingham, Barrow, Dalton, Walney, Kirksanton, Bootle, Field Broughton, Cartmel, Allithwaite, Grange, Coniston and Hawkshead.

  • Don’t miss tomorrow’s Evening Mail antiques page preview of the April 8 Kendal Auctions Rooms sale where items chosen by experts at the BBC Flog It valuation day in Barrow will be sold.

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