Suffolk painting set to raise thousands

AN oil painting of the Orwell is among the 700 treasures collected by the Queen Mother's faithful servant William Tallon which are expected to fetch around a quarter of a million pounds at an auction.

AN oil painting of the Orwell is among the 700 treasures collected by the Queen Mother's faithful servant William Tallon which are expected to fetch around a quarter of a million pounds at an auction.

The picture, titled :Half Tide On The Orwell, was one of Mr Tallon's favourite possessions and it is tipped to sell for between £6,000 and £8,000 at Reeman Dansie Auctions in Colchester on July 5.

A spokesman for the auctioneers said Mr Tallon, known as “Backstairs Billy” knew many of the country's top artists thanks to his connecting with the royal family.

He said: “They included Edward Seago, with whom William became great friends and they even went on holidays together.


You may also want to watch:


“He would offer William gifts of pictures, which William often refused, saying it was far too generous. In later life, he joked that he wished that he had accepted them."

The Orwell picture is among eight works by Seago owned by Mr Tallon and together they could sell for around £50,000 at the auction in Colchester.

Most Read

Norwich-born Seago's work is much admired and collected by Prince Philip and Prince Charles and the artist encouraged them to paint.

Seago was entranced by the Orwell and particularly by the barges which gathered there.

According to Seago biographer James W. Reid: "Pin Mill became(for Seago),from the 1950s on, what Argenteuil had been for Claude Monet in the early 1870s........"

William Tallon's regret over not accepting more painting must have increased towards the end of his life because in recent years the value of Seago's work has soared.

The current world record for one of his pictures is £318,850, the sum paid at Christie's in London in May,2004, for a 1936 oil painting, titled : Derby Day.

William Tallon worked for the Royal Family for more than half a century, from 1951 - when he joined as a junior footman at Windsor - until the Queen Mother's death, at the age of 101, in 2002.

For nearly 25 years, from 1978 until 2002, he was the Queen Mother's Steward and Page of the Backstairs. He became such a trusted aide that he was allowed to enter the Queen Mother's private rooms without knocking; he bought the Christmas presents she gave; and he cared for her treasures and collections.

The Queen once asked him what she could buy for her mother.

He became one the most famous royal servants, known to millions as the slightly mysterious, immaculately-dressed figure with the dark, swept-back hair who stood in the background gathering up bouquets of flowers presented to the Queen Mother on her birthday appearances at the gates of Clarence House.

Mr Tallon died last year, on November 23,at the age of 72.

SEAGO'S picture is expected to fetch thousands of pounds in an art market which has been bouyed by jitters in other financial investments over recent months.

Earlier this week a Claude Monet Waterlilies painting fetched more than £40 million in a Christie's auction.

Seago's works are unlikely to raise that sort of money - but the entire art world is now seen as a safe investment in a difficult time.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter