Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Lot 18 goes under auctioneer Martin Phillips' hammer.

HAF auction raises £6,500

The Hastings Arts Forum auction on Saturday 22 February was a great success, raising valuable funds of £6,500 from the sale of 166 lots. HOT reporter Siobhan O’Hanlon sampled the atmosphere at the three-hour event, and afterwards spoke to some of those present.

All works were sold by the wonderful auctioneer, Martin Phillips, whose cheerful style  generated much enthusiasm. The auction ran smoothly and was entertaining throughout. A buzz ran round the room and the momentum continued throughout as a fine and varied array of art works on paper, canvas, board, ceramics and glass came under the hammer.

It felt right to ask for the opinions of those directly involved in what has become an eagerly awaited annual event, as the excellent turn-out for last Saturday’s sale – in excess of 50 at its peak – confirmed.

“The generosity of those who donate work for sale is much appreciated: this year there were 166 lots to go under the hammer, and the overall quality gets better each year,” said John Plummer, HAF trustee, artist and long-serving volunteer. “Some amazing bargains were secured and it’s good to see buyers leaving well satisfied with their purchases.

“All proceeds go to help the Forum continue its good work: particularly in these straitened economic times, the auction is a vital shot in the arm as we receive no external grant funding.

Happy punters.

“Organising the auction is always a bit of a challenge, but we’ve learnt a lot over the five or six years since the event began, and it was good to get compliments both on the high quality of the catalogue and the smooth running of the sale this year, all down to our hard-working volunteers. When it goes with so few hiccups, it’s a really enjoyable occasion and a good morale booster. Special thanks to our ebullient MC and auctioneer, Martin Phillips,” said John.

The buying public are fully committed to the auction and it was great to get the following insight into the experience from Kirsti Matthews, financial director of Global Re Group, who has attended the auction for the last few years.

“Being able to support organisations such as the Hasting Arts Forum as well as the local artists themselves is of course very important for us, but so is our own drive to cover as much wall space with original art work as possible. Therefore the HAF Art Auction has become a fixture in our calendar, having attended now the past three or four years.

“The anticipation of the bidding process; being out-bid; the holding back on some lots; the impulsive bids on others; the all-important knowing and keeping to your limits, and of course the sheer joy of picking up your wins and putting them up in your home with its ‘auction story’ to tell admiring visitors ever after. Obviously all with the rather smug knowledge that you may have just bagged a bargain to boot.

“Highlights this year for us included a wonderful Annie Rae titled The Last Promenade, depicting Hastings pier past and present with its juxtaposition of Victorian ladies amongst the charred remains; and the carefree childhood of Boys in the Sand, a lithograph by Ian David Baker of two young boys in the sun smoking. As well as pictures, I was also pleased to get some beautiful ceramics by Marybeth Haas. All in all a very good day’s work.”

"A redoubtable auctioneer."

And as he left clutching an exquisite Ben White etching, property developer and auction newcomer Grenville Lister had this to add: “An excellent maiden experience in which one was kept totally in the picture by the fey antics of a redoubtable auctioneer!”

I for one am looking forward eagerly to the next auction experience and encourage others to come and soak up the experience for themselves at what has become a sociable calendar art happening event.

All photos by John Cole.

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Posted 15:08 Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014 In: Arts News

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