New record set for work by former Scottish painter to the Queen

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AN “incredibly rare” painting of Princes Street has sold for almost £340,000 – smashing the record for works by a former painter to the Queen in Scotland.

The Ribbon Counter was painted in 1913 by Stanley Cursiter, who went on to paint for George VI and the present Queen.

The oil on canvas – 19 and a quarter inches square – shows the scene through a shop window in Edinburgh and is a rare example of Cursiter experimenting with Italian Futurism.

The painting smashed previous auction records
The painting smashed previous auction records

The work attracted attention from across the globe when it was listed for auction at Christie’s in London earlier this week.

And after going under the hammer it smashed his previous £60,000 record by selling for £338,500.

Bidders from as far afield as North America and the Far East eventually lost out to an unnamed British enthusist for Cursiter’s work.

The Ribbon Counter is one of just seven paintings that Cursiter did in the Italian Futurist style. The other six are on display in various public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland.

Andre Zlattinger, Head of British and Irish Modern Art at Christie’s, said: “The painting is incredibly rare and amongst his most important works.

Cursiter was official  painter to the Queen in Scotland for 30 years
Cursiter was official painter to the Queen in Scotland for 30 years

“Cursiter primarily painted landscapes until he saw a show in London in 1912 which displayed the works of Italian Futurists.

“He was inspired by them and completed a small series of pictures in that style. The painting is so rare because it was part of a very small body of work.”

He added: “The painting is believed to document a scene on Princes Street in Edinburgh, through a shop window.

“It was bought by a private British collector, which is nice as it means it will stay in the UK.

“We had interest from all over the globe, with quite a few collectors looking at it.”

The previous auction record set for a Cursiter work was £60,000 – the sum paid at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on January 26 2006, for his 1923 oil painting The Seamstress.

Stanley Cursiter was born in Kirkwall, in the Orkney Islands, on April 29 1887.

He went on to become King George VI’s and the present Queen’s painter and limner – portrait painter – in Scotland, a position he held for 30 years until his death in 1976.

He also served as the keeper and director of the National Galleries of Scotland, where some of his work now hangs.

One of his paintings, ‘Her Majesty The Queen receiving the Honours of Scotland’, currently hangs on the Great Stair in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

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