Sunderland’s own hay wain painting brings in thousands at auction

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A VICTORIAN oil painting by a Wearside artist has sold for thousands of pounds at auction.

The picture, Bringing Home the Hay, by William Kay Blacklock, dating back to the late 19th century, went for £4,000.

The artwork, which shows farm labourers working on haystacks, went under the hammer at Christie’s in London, where it was expected to fetch between £3,000 and £5,000.

William Kirkbride Blacklock was born at Bishopwearmouth in 1870, and later adopted the name “Kay”, which may have been to avoid confusion with his father, also named William and also an artist.

In 1871, the Blacklocks – William senior, wife Eleanor, three-year-old son Robert and William junior, aged nine months – were living at 31 Robinson Street, Bishopwearmouth.

William senior died in 1884, and by 1891, Eleanor, second husband Christopher Wendell and William junior were living at 22 Northcote Avenue, Bishopwearmouth.

From this address, in 1897, at the age of 27, William submitted two paintings, A Study & The Home Of The Fishermen, Whitby, for an exhibition at the prestigious Royal Academy in London.

In 1902, he left the North East and moved to Edinburgh, where he became headmaster of the Edinburgh Institute of Art, before moving to London.

In 1909, he married his former model, Hackney-born Ellen Eliza Richardson, known as Nellie, and they set up home in Chelsea, where, a year later, their daughter, Eleanor, was born.

Blacklock died on August 11, 1924, at the age of 54.

The current world auction record for a William Kay Blacklock picture is £95,000, which was paid at Christie’s in London in 1996, for his oil painting, sunlight and Shadow.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens owns a watercolour by Blacklock, Cotherstone Mill. Teesdale.

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