Askrigg Church beats lockdown with a silent auction of stunning works of art

Stewart Huntingdon's Askrigg Church with Snow Falling captures the spirit of the season.

By Betsy Everett

The frenetic atmosphere of the auction room will be replaced by the discreet transfer of sealed envelopes, as bids are taken at a “silent” art auction in a Wensleydale village hall next week.

Plans for the sale of more than 50, mostly original, works of art by some of the region’s leading artists to help Askrigg parish church, had to be put on hold in April during the first nationwide lockdown.

Concerts, coffee mornings, and a host of other money-raising projects, including the auction, had been planned to help towards raising more than £200,000 for the St Oswald’s Church tower appeal.

With no knowledge of when Covid restrictions would be lifted for good, local artist Piers Browne, a Royal Academy exhibitor, has curated the exhibition despite the problems, donating ten of his own oils and etchings, and enlisting the help and generosity of fellow artists and Dales residents who have donated from their own collections.

They include works by the late Marie Hartley, felt artist Andrea Hunter, Denise Burden, Pierre Guillou and Stewart Huntington.

Piers points out that all the works are framed. “Framing is often notoriously expensive and as there will be bargains galore the frame is an added bonus,” he says.

A full catalogue can be seen here http://upperwensleydalechurch.org/silent-art-auction

The artworks will be exhibited in Askrigg village hall next week, from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 December from 10am-2pm and 3-7pm, except on Saturday when the doors will close at 6pm.

Viewing is by appointment only, because of Covid restrictions, and entry will be restricted to one family group at a time, up to a maximum of six.

To book a 30-minute slot call Piers on 01969 650434  or  0787623331 or email piersbrowne@gmail.com.

Sealed bids will be accepted at the exhibition and the highest bidders will be contacted by 7pm on December 12  to arrange payment and collection. If you are unable to attend please email or telephone the numbers above to leave your bid and full contact details.

Denise Burden’s captivating etching, The Release.. . Bolton Castle.
Marie Hartley’s view of Askrigg in oils has a reserve of £250.
Piers Browne’s etching, Rainbow: Wensleydale from Cubeck.