Sir Noël Coward (1899-1973), View from Firefly Hill, Jamaica, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61.3 cm.), Painted circa 1955., Estimate: £10,000-15,000
Christie’s have announced the sale of Sir Noël Coward’s private collection, which will be offered as part of the Modern British and Irish Art sale on March 19th at the auction house in South Kensington. The collection on offer is to feature a number of works by Coward, including scenes and portraits of Jamaica, which was his Caribbean home, and a number of works gifted to him from friends such as the actress Elizabeth Taylor, the actor David Niven and the composer, actor and entertainer Ivor Novello. Included in the lot are works by a number of revered British artists such as Christopher Wood, John Nash, Edward Seago and Derek Hill. Estimates for the paintings therefore range largely from £300 up to £100,000.
Sir Noël Coward was known as a celebrated playwright, composer, director, actor and cabaret artist. What is lesser known however, is his skill as a painter and in particular his love of art as a collector. Coward began painting at a young age but devoted more time to his art in later years, particularly in his homes in Switzerland and Jamaica. Coward famously entertained celebrities at both homes, with a long list of visitors including Sir Winston Churchill, HM The Queen Mother and Ian Fleming.
It was while visiting Fleming’s Jamaican home that Coward first fell in love with the island, and gained much of his inspiration. He often painted vibrant scenes of people at work and play, and picturesque coastal scenes such as the featured image The View from Firefly Hill. He experimented with both watercolours and oils, often working with
rich primary colours to create vibrant compositions. The auction also presents a group of landscapes by Christopher Wood bequeathed to Coward by Ivor Novello. A highlight of the lot is Wood’s Fishing Village, Cornwall, which has an estimate of £70,000-£100,000.85 Old Brompton Road London SW7 3LD