Prestigious art consignment received for first ‘Signed and Designed’ sale

We are delighted to announce that a large collection of Artist’s Proof prints from the family of Chris Prater (1924-1996), co-founder of the world-famous Kelpra Studio, will be included in our first ‘Signed and Designed’ sale to be held on 5 March 2021.

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David Elstob is pictured with a selection of Artist’s Proof prints from the world-renowned Kelpra Studio that will be included in the auction house’s first ‘Signed and Designed’ sale.

The 26 prints feature work by a number of leading modern artists such as Joe Tilson, Victor Pasmore, Gordon House, Brian Clarke and Sir Terry Frost and between them represent the amazing breadth and quality of work produced at the renowned London-based studio.

 Kelpra Studio was set up by Chris Prater and his wife Rose Kelly in 1957 as a commercial screen-printing operation from a single room in Kentish Town. The couple’s break came two years later when work involving the production of posters for arts organisations brought them into contact with Gordon House, a painter and graphic designer, who made Kelpra's first artist's print.

 House enthused so much about Prater's skill that other artists soon followed and in the ensuing decades the studio was to produce brilliantly inventive images for many of Britain’s most famous artists, including Peter Blake, David Hockney and Bridget Riley. The Studio was largely credited for developing a new style of printing that transformed a commercial process into an exciting and innovative artist’s medium.

 In the early 1970s, Prater donated 1,500 prints to the Tate, to help found its contemporary print collection. The gallery celebrated the gift with a major exhibition in 1980 showing the enormous vitality of British printmaking, and Prater was awarded an OBE.

There are some stunning works in the collection that have come from the estate of Prater’s cousin, including an Artist’s Proof from Victor Pasmore (1908-1998) entitled Blue Movement and Green (initialled and dated 1980) that carries a guide price of £1,500. We also have an Artist’s Proof by Sir Terry Frost RA (1915-2003) Yellow, Red and Black for Lorca (signed and dated 1987) valued at £900; as well as several silkscreens by John Piper (1903-1992), with estimates ranging from £600 - £1,600.

It is particularly fitting that there are a couple of pieces by Gordon House that are signed and dedicated to Chris and Rose. Indeed, their partnership was where it all began and set Kelpra on the road to international fame.

‘Signed and Designed’ is the first of a new type of sale to feature in our 2021 auction calendar. This specialist sale category will embrace the Decorative Arts from Gothic Revival to the present day and include the Aesthetic and Arts & Crafts Movements, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, as well as the Studio Ceramics and Modern Design of the post-war decades. 

The first of the four ‘Signed and Designed’ sales will take place on Friday 5 March with a deadline for entries of 5 February.

Please contact us for a copy of our 2021 auction calendar. We are vastly increasing the number of sales from eight held in 2020 to 23 scheduled for the coming year. This includes six ‘Fine Art & Antique’ sales; six ‘Jewellery, Watches and Silver’ sales; four ‘Signed and Designed’ sales; three ‘Fine Wine and Whisky’ sales and four exclusive online sales that will run for a fortnight.

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