Seaham 'Tommy' sculptor's work up for auction in Newcastle

South Hetton metal artist Ray Lonsdale's creations are to be put up for auction at Anderson & Garland in Newcastle

Man skewered on a pike by Ray Lonsdale
Man skewered on a pike by Ray Lonsdale

Four artworks by the creator of a sculpture which local people are fighting to save for their town are to be sold at auction.

Ray Lonsdale’s acclaimed First World War figure, popularly known as Tommy, is the subject of a fund-raising campaign by people in Seaham in County Durham.

Mr Lonsdale, from South Hetton in County Durham, ran his own fabrication business before turning to creating metal art.

Now four of his earlier works are among the highlights of a Contemporary and Modern Art sale to be held on Tuesday by Anderson & Garland in Newcastle.

Ray Lonsdale's 'Pretty Vindictive' work
Ray Lonsdale's 'Pretty Vindictive' work

The sale features more than 300 lots, with North East artists Norman Cornish and Mary Ann Rogers among international pieces that include several Salvador Dali prints.

Mr Lonsdale’s sculpture 1101, depicting a First World War soldier after the Armistice announcement, is currently attracting people from all over the UK to its current home in Seaham.

The sale features Mr Lonsdale’s head artwork, titled Pretty Vindictive, at £150-£250, and his Squealing Pig for £500-£800. His Man Skewered on a Pike is priced at £500-£800 and a fourth work titled Nobody’s Fault But Mine is £100-£200.

Auctioneer John Anderson said: “The Northumberland vendor recognised Ray Lonsdale’s talent in his early works. Now Mr Lonsdale has come to prominence with his inspiring First World War sculpture. His time has come.

One of Ray Lonsdale's sculptures which is up for auction
One of Ray Lonsdale's sculptures which is up for auction

“His metal figures of men look very like the famous exhibition of similar manikins at the Baltic by Anthony Gormley. They evoke that very important exhibition where Gormley created sculptures based on local people, although I believe the Lonsdale pieces pre-date the Baltic exhibition.”

The sale also includes a number of pictures associated with Newcastle’s Stone Gallery, which was an important supporter of contemporary artists in the 1960s, including Spennymoor’s Norman Cornish.

Mystery surrounds a 15ft glass fibre panorama of Newcastle in the sale.

Signed “Haig”, it was created as part of Newcastle’s celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

The mystery 1977 view of Newcastle which is up for auction
The mystery 1977 view of Newcastle which is up for auction

“The panel looks like bronze and we believe that it was displayed on a building in Newcastle, and was saved by the owner when the place was being demolished,” said Mr Anderson. “But we would like anybody who knows anything about the panorama and where it was on show to get in touch.”

Anyone with information should contact 0191 430 3000.

Mr Anderson said: “We are finding there is a lot of market demand for modern and contemporary art at the moment.

“We have noticed an increasing number of younger buyers but it is surprising how many of our older regular clients are selling their Victorian paintings to finance their new taste for contemporary art.”


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