Two oil paintings by Sidney Richard Percy are expected to fetch up to £15,000 when they go under the hammer at a leading Shropshire fine art auction house next week.

The paintings by Percy (1821-‘86) include ‘Cattle watering at a Lochside’, which is dated 1869 and valued at up to £12,000 and a view of Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia, which is expected to fetch up to £3,000.

Both works are part of a private collection of 25 paintings from a South Staffordshire collector which have been consigned to Halls Fine Art’s final auction of 2023 at Battlefield saleroom in Shrewsbury on December 6.


The company’s art specialist Abigail Molenaar has selected a 1728 copy of Sir Anthony van Dyck’s (1599-1641) ‘Crucifixion of Christ’, which she has attributed to fellow Flemish artist Johann Baptiste Bouttats (1680s-1743), as “one to watch” in the auction. The painting carries an enticing estimate of £800 to £1,200.

The original painting by van Dyck is located in the Church of St Michael, Antwerp, one of a series of crucifixion paintings he painted for various religious locations in the city between 1627-‘32) following his return from six years in Italy.

He also painted a number of smaller, simpler versions just showing Christ on the cross alone, which are believed to have been for private individuals.

Coming from an Antwerp based family of engravers and painters, Bouttats emigrated to England in the 1720s where he worked as an artist covering a wide variety of subject matter including large topographical views and panoramas, still life studies and maritime scenes alongside printmaking.


Other paintings to watch out for in the fine art, antiques and jewellery auction include ‘The Letter Writer’, an oil on canvas by William Morison Wyllie (1830-‘90), which is valued at up to £2,000.

The painting shows a woman standing in the doorway with the proprietor of a shop called ‘The Tomb of Secrets’, where patrons can instruct the services of the public writer.

Research by Abigail has revealed another painting by Wyllie, titled ‘The Answer’, which shows the same female figure in matching costume inside the shop listening to a letter being read out to her. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1853.

‘The Letter Writer’ was originally in the collection of architect Horace W Parnacott (1884-1956) and has been handed down through the family. It hung in the family home in Beckenham, Kent between 1930-2008. Parnacott was co-architect of the Empire Memorial Sailors Hostel, London.


In addition to Percy’s ‘Cwm Idwal’ work, two other Welsh landscape oil paintings are expected to do well in the auction.


Ever-popular Midlands artist David Bates (1840-1921) features with ‘The Return from the Moor, Near Ffestiniog’, dated 1896, while ‘The Valley on the Llugwy’, dated 1855, by Thomas Creswick, RA, (1811-‘69) are each expected to sell for up to £1,200.

“We sell a lot of work by With David Bates, a Birmingham artist who painted a lot of scenes in the Marches and North Wales,” said Abigail. “Some previous works showing Welsh landscapes have hit high estimates in our auctions.

“I have a particular interest in Welsh art, so this is an area I am very keen to expand at Halls Fine Art.”


Likely to be a star of the auction is an evocative bronze sculpture by Frederick Edward McWilliam, valued at up to £30,000, of a female bomb victim during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The 61 cm tall sculpture comes from McWilliam’s ‘Women of Belfast’ series and has been consigned by a Midlands art collector.

Picture captions:


Header image: Sidney Richard Percy’s ‘Cattle watering at a Lochside’, which is valued at up to £12,000.


One to watch – a 1728 copy of Sir Anthony van Dyck’s ‘Crucifixion of Christ’, attributed to fellow Flemish artist Johann Baptiste Bouttats.


‘The Letter Writer’ by William Morison Wyllie is valued at up to £2,000.


This evocative Frederick Edward McWilliam bronze sculpture from his ‘Women of Belfast’ series is valued at up to £30,000.