Facts about the painting

Size 27" x 25"
Format Oil on Canvas
Signature Lower Left (on side of shed)
Frame Not known

History of the painting

Date Auctioneer Lot Offer Price Sale Price
16 Mar 1995 Bonham's 86 Not known £12,500
11 Nov 1998 Sotheby's London 274 £25,000-£30,000 Not sold
4 Nov 1999 Christie's London 69 £15,000-£20,000 £21,000

Other observations

Of the known Harry Brooker paintings, less than ten feature children playing outside the house and very few of these are in real countryside. The majority of his external play scenes are as in this painting of a scene in a back yard.

Edgar (11) is showing Charles (5) the inside of a hutch hung on a wall, whilst Ruth (8) carrying a wicker basket watches Oswald (10) and Edwin (7) feed two rabbits on the ground, some scraps of lettuce or cabbage.

The signature is very nicely added to the lowest most board on the wooden shed, next to the spade.

The auction history of this painting is quite interesting in that Sotheby's clearly attempted to repeat their successful auctioning of "The Great Performance 1890" earlier in the summer of 1998 which raised £27,500, but did not manage this. Christie's then stepped in a year later, scaling down the offer price by a third and actually raised more than expected. It is not clear why Christie's reduced the offer price by so much as in the intervening year Sotheby's successfully raised £33,000 from the auction of "A Good Story 1902" which remains the auction record at £33,000.