Brighton, south of London was a popular holiday spot in Victorian times. However, jet travel enabled holidaymakers to visit warmer France and Spain. Brighton became half derelict in those down days, until the ‘hip’ set moved in and took over the best seaside apartments.
Rumours abound of art collections of famous residents like author Rudyard Kipling, and screenwriter / composer / actor Nick Cave. Some of those by contemporary artists were auctioned for low prices to locals after they died.
Hence my curiosity was hard to contain when a solicitor asked me to do a probate valuation in a Brighton seaside apartment with an art collection. I am always careful to manage my excitement as I uncover value which should ultimately benefit the heirs.
A Surprise Discovery in a Half-Forgotten Brighton Seaside Apartment
The solicitor warned me to expect chaos as the deceased person occupied the apartment on their own. Apparently he regularly forgot to put out rubbish for the council to collect and was generally untidy.
As I searched through the belongings I came across a watercolour painting of three ladies on a beach.
As I gently wiped away the dust, my eye fell on a signature at the bottom right hand corner reading W.R. Flint. The truth dawned in me. I held a minor art treasure in my hands that might have been lost for decades.
How Work by Sir William Russell Flint Became Valuable
Sir William Russell Flint was born in Edinburgh in 1880 and lived to age 89. He trained as a lithographic artist but worked as a medical illustrator while attending art school after hours. Then he rounded his knowledge off by studying the art hanging on the walls of the British museum.
This launched a successful career producing illustrations for newspapers and other publications. We don’t how he migrated into the role of an artist, but we know he was painting until his last days.
Sir William Russell Flint was president of the Royal Watercolour Society from 1936 to 1956. He was knighted in 1947 crowning a successful career. Some say he perhaps deserves the title of last British renaissance artist.
His paintings were still showing up in second hand bookshops and street markets until the 1980’s. However since then he is back in vogue and prices have gone up considerably.
Validating and Valuing the Painting as Genuine
Avery Associates are fine art specialists and regularly carry out valuations of paintings and watercolours.