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Antiques Roadshow guests astounded by eye-watering valuation of paintings by ‘Derry’s most famous 20th century artist’ Norah McGuinness


An Antiques Roadshow guest was left astounded by the value of two paintings by Irish artist Norah McGuinness that she’d brought in to be looked at when the programme stopped at Ebrington Square in Londonderry during Sunday’s episode.

The guest and her friend were seen standing alongside the two pieces of art, one which features three black and white birds pecking on the ground against a colourful background and another similar piece which featured a seagull.

After seeing the works of art, expert Frances Christie said: ‘I was really excited when I saw these two paintings poking out of your bag because they are unmistakably by Norah McGuinness who was born in Derry. So probably Derry’s most famous 20th century artist.’

The guest explained that she’s bought them separately when she was drawn to them after spotting them 

Frances continued: ‘I love that you managed to get your hands on two because, Norah, she was a pretty pioneering artist for her time.

Shock: An Antiques Roadshow guest was left astounded by the value of two paintings by Irish artist Norah McGuinness during Sunday's episode

Shock: An Antiques Roadshow guest was left astounded by the value of two paintings by Irish artist Norah McGuinness during Sunday’s episode

Art: She stood alongside the pieces of art, one which features three black and white birds pecking on the ground and another similar piece which featured a seagull

Art: She stood alongside the pieces of art, one which features three black and white birds pecking on the ground and another similar piece which featured a seagull

‘She was obviously born around here and spent most of her life in and around Dublin. She went to art school in Dublin, then London and then Paris.’

Norah was an Irish painter and illustrator who was born in County Londonderry who was known for painting vivid and brightly coloured landscapes before her death at the age of 79 in 1980.

Inspecting the paintings, Frances said: ‘They’re both oil on canvas and when you stand back, and when you see the bold combinations of colours she’s used in both of them…’

Pointing to one, she said: ‘Over here this bright green with red flashing across the composition.’

Moving over to the other painting, she continued: ‘Over to the seagull in this painting, that combination of purple with blue and this lovely ochre sand colour.

‘They’re combinations that when you talk about them away from the camera they might sound quite odd to have purple with ochre but, actually, when you see how she’s done it, they’re absolutely fabulous.

‘When you see them together you can kind of understand why she was chosen to represent Ireland at the (celebration of art and architecture) Venice Biennale in 1950. It was the first time Ireland had ever shown there.

‘And I think it actually says quite a lot about her and actually how avant-garde she was, that she was chosen, along with her friend Nano Reid, to represent Ireland for the first time.

Delighted: Seeing the art, expert Frances Christie said: 'I was really excited when I saw these two paintings poking out of your bag because they are unmistakably by Norah McGuinness'

Delighted: Seeing the art, expert Frances Christie said: ‘I was really excited when I saw these two paintings poking out of your bag because they are unmistakably by Norah McGuinness’

Artist: Norah was an Irish painter and illustrator who was born in County Londonderry who was known for painting vivid and brightly coloured landscapes

Artist: Norah was an Irish painter and illustrator who was born in County Londonderry who was known for painting vivid and brightly coloured landscapes

Splash of colour: Inspecting the paintings, Frances said: 'They're both oil on canvas and when you stand back, and when you see the bold combinations of colours she's used'

Splash of colour: Inspecting the paintings, Frances said: ‘They’re both oil on canvas and when you stand back, and when you see the bold combinations of colours she’s used’

‘They’re really special and to have them in Derry is even more special.’

The guest explained that she’d spent £120 for the painting with the three black and white birds and £600 for the one with the seagull.

Revealing what she would value them as today, Frances priced the painting featuring the seagull at between £8,000 and £12,000, and the painting with the three birds at between £6,000 and £8,000.

Frances joked: ‘Not too bad for something that you spotted a while ago!’ 

Talented: Norah was known for painting vivid and brightly coloured landscapes before her death at the age of 79 in 1980

Talented: Norah was known for painting vivid and brightly coloured landscapes before her death at the age of 79 in 1980



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