The things that we collect so often reflect our lives and interests. This is true of the collection of the connoisseur and patron, the late Frank Warren, who lived near Horsham. A gentleman, amateur naturalist and sportsman, his collection of art and his library reflect his deep love of nature and the countryside and are to be auctioned at Toovey’s.
A man of broad interests with a knowledge, care and excitement for the world in which he lived the collection reflects his outward facing, generous nature.
The paintings are from an established group of contemporary realist artists who are once again returning to the British tradition of recording the world and nature. Many of the paintings in the collection are by Michael Jevon, as well as Rodger McPhail, George Lodge and Emma Faull, artists who this private collector counted as friends. He enjoyed the quality of patronage when buying work from these contemporary, realist artists. They depict birds, wildlife, and the countryside.
Painted in watercolour on a gold ground the beautiful study of Snipe in reeds is by Emma Faull. There is an accuracy and life to her work which defines her painting. Emma works with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey and is a passionate conservationists. Her art is represented in permanent collections such as the Audubon Society in the USA and collectors of her work include HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The book department is one of my favourite rooms at Toovey’s; a library where the volumes are constantly changing. I catch up with Toovey’s book specialists, Charlie Howe, who is busy cataloguing and ask him about the books in the collection. He says “It’s notable to see that all these books are in very fine condition – he obviously was a genuine collector with wide and varied interests.
There’s literature and poetry, fine bindings of Shelley and Keats, all sitting alongside a strong collection of books on hunting and natural history.”
Six beautifully bound volumes in slip cases catch my eye. Charlie explains that the volumes are limited editions, bound in leather with tipped in illustrated plates by the artist and publisher, Richard Robjent. They cover all the sporting game birds and wildfowl of the British Isles and were published by Fine Sporting Interests. The volume ‘The Partridge – Studies in Words and Pictures’ includes a foreword by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
Charlie continues “Frank had a keen interest in travel too. There’s a first edition of Bruce Chatwin’s ‘In Patagonia’, as well as a scarce first printing of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s ‘A Time to keep silence’. There are many other rare volumes.
Estimates range from under £100 to the low thousands. This beautiful collection reflecting the interests of a country gentleman and connoisseur will be auctioned in Toovey’s Fine Art sale on Wednesday 23rd June and the Antiquarian and Collectors Books sale on Wednesday 21st July 2021.