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Outstanding Price Achieved for the Rare Frances Hodgkins Gouache "Corfe Castle'

One of the highlights of our Fine Art Auction was the Francis Hodgkins ‘Corfe Castle’.

This Hodgkins sold for an amazing $168,900 at Auction in August.

One of a group of gouaches painted during 1942 and 1943 inspired by Corfe Castle, Dorset where Hodgkins was based for most of the duration of the Second World War.  Probably exhibited with other similarly titled works in an exhibition at Lefevre Galleries, London in March 1943.   As was usual Hodgkins mined the area on her doorstep using any objects, buildings or forms which attracted her, altered and manipulated them to suit her particular vision and created a visual treat of shapes and colours with great verve and originality. The use of gouache encouraged a lighter palette with an abundant use of white in particular which helps to take the viewer into a dreamy, fantastic world.  The presentation is in the English Neo Romantic vein reminiscent of the work of John Piper. This approach became more intense during the war years – almost as a reaction to the resulting privations and strictures inflicted on her and her valued friends and family.  In this image Hodgkins uses motifs and objects such as the Castle itself and her studio in an approach which is both complex and mysterious though the results are superbly balanced.   Some motifs and objects are at times only just discernible and never completely defined. There is a delicious ebb and flow of brushwork anchored in a stable composition which is balanced in terms of colour, form and shape from which Hodgkins weaves an organic unity.  The dominant structure of the old barn is not permitted to do so because it is surrounded by a host of other equally interesting shapes and forms – Corfe Castle itself appearing in the background. The title of work teases the viewer into searching for it.
Corfe Castle is one of the gems from this period and demonstrates Hodgkins undiminished powers even in this last decade of her life.  She retained the ability to surprise and delight - the eye is constantly active finding something new and intriguing to contemplate.   


Lot 30: Frances Hodgkins Corfe Castle is estimated at $100,000 – 160,000 being sold 11th August 2021.


For further details please contact Helena Walker 0274 713 662 /