Iconic auction treasures including Bowie painting to star in art auction

Gerald Laings picture of Brigitte Bardot is one of many famous images on sale. Picture: Neil Hanna
Gerald Laings picture of Brigitte Bardot is one of many famous images on sale. Picture: Neil Hanna
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An iconic image of Sixties sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, a rare painting by rock icon David Bowie and a Peter Howson portrait of Edinburgh Festival favourite Steven Berkoff are to go under the hammer.

A sculpture by Kelpies creator Andy Scott, a piece of work commissioned from sculptor George Wyllie to mark the Euro 96 football championships in England, a portrait by Lothian artist John Bellany of his wife playing the accordion and a poem by Ian Hamilton Finlay will all be up for grabs at Lyon & Turnbull’s auction house in Edinburgh.

Jack Vettriano, Eduardo Paolozzi, David Hockney, John Byrne, Alexander Goudie and John Lowrie Morrison will also be represented in its sale of contemporary and post-war art.

The portrait of French icon Bardot, which is expected to sell for up to £5000, is by the leading British Pop Art figure Gerald Laing, who spent much of his life in the Highlands.

Laing, who created the 1991 sculpture of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at his Picardy Place birthplace in Edinburgh, spent much of the 1960s working in New York and became friendly with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

He worked on an exhibition of paintings and drawings of the singer Amy Winehouse before he died five years ago.

Charlotte Riordan, specialist in fine paintings, sculpture and Scottish art at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “Laing was instrumental in the Pop Art movement in Britain, which set the tone for the visual language of the Swinging Sixties.

“If any image were to capture the spirit of those times, this is surely it.”

The Bowie portrait in the sale, which was created in 1997 for an exhibition in 
Edinburgh to raise funds for an HIV and AIDS charity, is also expected to fetch up to £5000.

The portrait of actor, director and playwright Berkoff by Ayrshire painter Howson is described by Broughton Place-based Lyon & Turnbull as a “true meeting of minds between artist and sitter”.

Berkoff is known for such films as Beverley Hills Cop, The Krays, Octopussy, A Clockwork Orange and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

The portrait of Berkoff, one of Howson’s many celebrity admirers, could fetch up to £8000. It is one of eight works in the sale by the artist, who was dubbed one of the “New Glasgow Boys” when he emerged in the 1980s along with Ken Currie, Adrian Wiszniewski and Steven Campbell.

A galvanised steel sculpture of a panther was created by Scott, whose other work includes the Heavy Horse beside the M8 motorway and the Arria sculpture at Cumbernauld, while the metal Euro 96 sculpture created by the late Wyllie and displayed around Manchester during the tournament is inspired by a game of five-a-side football.

Other highlights of the sale include a depiction of Mozart’s The Magic Flute opera by Paolozzi, the Leith-born artist widely regarded as the founder of the Pop Art movement; a typically erotically-charged painting by the Fife artist Vettriano, said to have been created at the same time as one of his most famous works, Along Came A Spider; and Royal Opera House by the Paisley-born painter Alexander Goudie.

Other Pop Art figures represented in the Lyon & Turnbull sale on Thursday include David Hockney and Joe Tilson.