max temp: 15°C

min temp: 12°C


Sudbury: Mystery buyer has an eye on council artwork

11:55 31 July 2014

(c) Sudbury Town Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Sudbury Town Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

This image is copyrighted. For further information please read Rights Usage Terms.

A mystery buyer has expressed an interest in purchasing a potentially valuable painting from Sudbury Town Council.

The work, by George Washington Brownlow, which has been in the council’s hands for more than 20 years, currently hangs in the newly refurbished mayor’s parlour at the Town Hall.

Entitled The Moorhen’s Nest, it is thought to be the last and largest work by the prolific Victorian artist, who died in 1876 and lived for much of his life in Belchamp Walter, just over the Essex border from Sudbury. The prospective buyer is thought to be an avid collector of Brownlow’s work.

Will Axon, from Rowley’s fine art auctioneers, believes the painting could be worth as much as £15,000 if sold through a dealer.

He said: “Much of Brownlow’s work, which is of a similar subject, featuring children playing outside or in cottage interiors, sells for around the £1,000 to £2,000 mark, but most of his paintings are at least half the size of The Moorhen’s Nest. Given the provenance of the painting and the fact that it is a good size, it could make in the region of £10,000 on the open market and if you had to purchase it from a dealer, then it would be nearer the £15,000 mark.”

Mr Axon said Victorian “chocolate boxy” paintings were not as fashionable these days, but a Brownlow work sold at auction for £14,500 in 1981 when this type of picture was very much in demand.

Sudbury’s leisure and environment committee was told an approach had been made on behalf of an interested buyer.

Committee member Lesley Ford Platt said: “Surely we are not so short of money that we have to start selling the family silver?

It looks so lovely hanging on the wall and I am of the opinion that we should hang on to our assets.”


  • George Washington Brownlow was the younger brother of my great, great grandfather, Stephen Brownlow. My daughter and I have visited Belchamp Walter, where G. W. Brownlow lived and worked and also the local church where he is buried and where there is some of his work. We greatly enjoyed our visit and would have liked to seen 'The Moorhen's Nest' in Sudbury, which unfortunately was not possible on this occasion. However, we did hope to see it some day! I think it would be a dreadful shame if Sudbury Borough Council sold this painting to anyone. In my opinion it would be both a betrayal of G. W. Brownlow's memory and of Henry Westrope, who bequeathed this work to the people of Sudbury. It is part of Sudbury's and Belchamp Walter's history. I strongly feel the painting should stay in Sudbury, as Henry Westrope intended, and as a tribute to G. W. Brownlow, who died there.

    Report this comment

    E. Corrigan

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • I sincerely hope they never sell this painting, it was bequeathed to Sudbury Borough Council back in 1914 by Henry Westrope. I have seen this painting several times since it has been hanging in the Town Hall, it portrays my great grandmother, Mary Ann Ives as a child and was painted locally at Belchamp Walter in 1876.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • They would be utterly crazy to sell it. All that will happen is that there'll be a "Cable Mail" moment, when just after they sell it they realise they were poorly advised and got a low price; and shortly thereafter it will appear in an auction at a vastly increased price. It is not stated how the council acquired the painting, but I doubt they went out and bought it on a whim. If it was given to the council, then they have no business flogging it off.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • To be safe, if they decided to sell, they should put it in an auction with a guide price at the 'dealer valuation' (plus extra to allow for the exorbitant fees auctions charge) and if their 'mystery buyer' wants it then he will only get it at the minimum price he would have paid a dealer and it is possible the painting is even more valuable and may sell for far more. Recently a house valued at £25,000 sold for £225,000 at auction so sellers beware of making private deals, especially when it is public-owned assets.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, July 31, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Half term is nearly over and you have exhausted your usual list of family activities - arts and crafts, cinema trip and a day out at the park.

Motorists are being warned that highways engineers will be surveying the road surface of the A14 in Suffolk next week.

Campaigners are today making a toast to community spirit and tasting a hard-earned sip of success as their dream of saving a village pub becomes a reality.

Fright night fun comes to Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft this weekend as we celebrate Halloween - with the actual scare-fest taking place on Monday, October 31.

A D-Day veteran from Ipswich has been treated to a celebration lunch with the mayor after being awarded a French Legion of Honour medal for his role in the Normandy landings.

Get yourself protected – that’s the message from Suffolk health professionals to vulnerable people who are eligible for free flu jabs.

Through our iwitness24 site readers are able to share their photos of Suffolk’s top beauty spots, nature images that have been taken great patience to shoot and funny photos that bring a smile to your face.

More than 4,000 motorists were caught speeding during the first three months of enforcing the new 60mph speed limit on the Orwell Bridge.

A drug user found with cannabis inside a Kinder egg after going to Martlesham police investigation centre to answer bail for a theft offence has been jailed.

The clocks will wind back an hour this weekend, giving you an extra hour in bed.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24