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Huddersfield star James Mason's art by Brighouse's Peter Brook sells for £81,740 at Bonhams auction

ART owned by Hollywood actor James Mason has sold for more than £81,000 at auction.

Peter Brook's Pennine Christmas Day
Peter Brook's Pennine Christmas Day

ART owned by Hollywood actor James Mason has sold for more than £81,000 at auction.

The items, many specifically created for the film star, were painted by Brighouse artist Peter Brook who died last November aged 83.

They went under the auctioneer’s gavel at Bonham's in Chester yesterday and the auction house is now looking at whether they have made a world record price for the sale of one of Peter Brook’s works.

James Mason’s estate put up 19 paintings for sale which reminded James of his hometown of Huddersfield and its surrounding area.

The top item made £12,480 for a picture called Pennine Christmas Day which had been estimated to sell for £2,500 to £3,500.

Guide prices indicated the collection would raise around £46,000 in total, but they all sold for £81,740.

Richard Hopkinson, head of pictures at Bonham's, said the work of Peter Brook and linked to James Mason was a strong selling point.

“It was a very strong auction,’’ he said. They are very good paintings.

“There is an enormous amount of feeling, love, skill and craftsmanship gone into them and it is a tribute to him that people have paid a high price for his work.”

The film star was born in Marsh in 1909 to John and Mabel Mason.

He had no formal training as an actor, but won roles in British films from the mid 1930s and starred in many from the 1940s onwards, as well as appearing in many Hollywood films including Julius Caesar in 1953 and A Star is Born in 1954. He died in 1984.

His work took him away from Huddersfield, but through his family connections and friends he retained strong links with his hometown.

In 1969 he was introduced to Peter Brook by the actor Rodney Bewes, when they were filming Spring and Port Wine in Bolton.

Rodney Bewes had met the artist through actor Tom Courtney, who also collected Brook’s work.

Around 1969 Rodney and James visited the artist’s home in Brighouse and formed a friendship with their common interest in the landscape, towns and life of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth area, where the artists was born.

James visited Peter Brook in the following 15 years whenever he was in the area.

In 1972 Peter appeared in Home James, a television film about James’ Huddersfield memories.

On the death of James’ father, Peter Brook painted Croft House, which was the family home in Huddersfield. That painting was sold yesterday for £3,120.

Another of his works – Evacuated Farmhouse, Dene Head Valley – sold for £10,560 yesterday.

James purchased about 30 works by Peter Brook in total and many of these were prominently displayed in his home in Switzerland until his death.

Paintings by Peter Brook are set to feature in the diaries for Tate Britain for 2011.

 

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