Two paintings of scenes near Dunmow by celebrated sporting artist Lionel Edwards are going up for auction in Cambridge.

The paintings will be up for auction at Cheffins Fine Art Auctioneers on Wednesday, June 28.

The two goache works include a scene of the Essex Hunt, dated 1928, and a preparatory study for the landscape view.

These pictures were commissioned by poet and war veteran Captain John 'Jack' Newman Gilbey, a lifetime friend of the artist and part of the family who founded the Gilbey's Gin Distillery. The Gilbeys were also local, coming from Mark Hall in Latton, near Harlow.

Dunmow Broadcast: Lionel Edwards' landscape study for 'The Essex'Lionel Edwards' landscape study for 'The Essex' (Image: Lionel Edwards/Cheffins Fine Art Auctioneers)

Captain Jack was the great-nephew of the famous Sir Walter Gilbey, 1st Baronet, who along with Albert Gilbey founded W and A Gilbey - one of the most successful wine and spirits merchant businesses during the latter part of the 19th century.

This was said to have been the business which brought wine to the masses, offering it for sale by the bottle for the first time.

As the business grew, it expanded to create its own gin distillery, Gilbey's Gin, which expanded around the world.

Lionel Edwards' pictures were painted in March and April 1928 from near Colville Hall in White Roding. The paintings depict the Essex Hunt with White Roding village church in the background.

Both paintings are now being sold by Captain Jack Newman Gilbey's great-nephew.

In 1950, Captain Jack described watching Edwards paint the pictures in Country Life magazine.

He said:" With his usual thoroughness Lionel went out for the day with the hunt in order to take stock of the huntsman, his horse and the pack.


"He had asked me to suggest a typical Essex setting, and I thought I could not do better than choose the distant view of the village of White Roding, with undulating ploughland in the foreground and middle distance, which had been familiar to me from boyhood."

Captain Jack had a large collection of Edwards' work, including a hunting drawing painted when he was just five years old.

Patricia Cross, associate at Cheffins, commented: "Lionel Edwards is undoubtedly the master of the hunting scene.

"These paintings show his extraordinary eye for detail in depicting local landscape and remarkable talent in painting animals so precisely that they looked recognisable.

"This is a unique opportunity to acquire pictures which not only come from one the greatest and largest early collections of Edwards’ work, but also come with a rare and fascinating account of being painted right in front of the patron, Jack Gilbey, as he stood out in a field on a cold day in March 1928, watching Edwards work whilst smoking incessantly.

"Bearing in mind the success of the previous Lionel Edwards which was sold at Cheffins, I would expect them to draw much interest from both collectors and the trade."

The picture of the hunt, titled 'The Essex', has a presale estimate of £4,000 to £6,000, while the prepatory landscape study has an estimated value of between £2,000 and £3,000.