A MASTERPIECE by renowned artist Frances Cadell is to be sold off by George Watson’s College to pay for more children to attend the school.
The Cheval Glass is expected to fetch between £250,000 and £350,000 when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s at the end of the year.
The artwork by the Edinburgh-born Colourist, donated to the school almost 60 years ago, will be auctioned at a sale of Scottish Art in London on November 18.
Principal Melvyn Roffe said its value had “increased beyond all measure” since it was donated to the school in 1958.
Profits from the sale will be used to help fund bursaries for children to attend the fee-paying school, which charges up to £11,000 per year.
A proportion of the proceeds will also be used to start a fund to buy other artwork for educational and decorative purposes at the school.
He said: “The governing council considered the matter thoroughly and came to the conclusion that they could not justify holding on to such a valuable work, given the cost of insurance and security that ownership involves.
“The proceeds of the sale will go to the George Watson’s Family Foundation which provides bursaries for pupils to attend the school where their family circumstances would not otherwise permit it.
“This sale will enable us to invest in the future of dozens of pupils who will now be helped to come to Watson’s.”
A “high-quality reproduction” of the painting will take its place in one of the school’s meeting rooms.
Jane Oakley, Sotheby’s Scottish art specialist, has praised the painting’s “sophisticated composition” and “fluid brushwork”.
She added: “This stunning painting epitomises a high point in the achievements of the Scottish Colourists and in the work of Cadell.
“The work comes from an accomplished series of interiors featuring the artist’s favourite model and in recent years these pictures have fetched record prices at auction.”
The Cheval Glass dates from a series of interiors painted by Cadell at the height of his powers between 1913, when he moved to 130 George Street, and 1915, when he was sent to serve on the French front.
In each, a woman stands before a mirror or mantelpiece in a stylish drawing room, wearing the fashionable costume of the day.
Cadell studied in Europe – in Paris, Munich and Venice – and was the only Scottish Colourist to make Edinburgh the focus of his work.