Rosemary Tonks Image via the Guardian Rosemary Tonks
Image via the Guardian

With around 40 lots, predominately of portraits, the collection includes works by artist including Alma Gogin, Maurice Fievel, Anthony Staynes, Mary Serpico, Michael Chappelow and Michael Rothenstein.

The collection, which was gifted to the vendor, is expected to raise more than £20 000, and also includes a large number of good bronzes and oriental decorative arts.

The most valuable work in the collection is an oil on board study of a naked man holding a staff, the reverse with a study of naked women by Charles Gogin. The piece is inscribed to Gladys and signed on the frame and is estimated to fetch between £600-1 000.

Oil on board study of a naked man holding a staff, the reverse with a study of naked women by Charles Gogin, inscribed to Gladys and signed on the frame Oil on board study of a naked man holding a staff, the reverse with a study of naked women by Charles Gogin, inscribed to Gladys and signed on the frame

Tonk was born in Gillingham, Kent. During her lifetime she wrote two poetry collections and published six novels, among them Opium Fogs, 196  and The Halt During the Chase, 1972.

Tonk's own tale was a tragic one, in 1979 she moved out of London and became a recluse in Bournemouth. She destroyed most of her possessions, burning an unpublished novel and her collection of valuable oriental antiques in a garden incinerator.

Her husband, Michael Lightbrand, an engineer, work took them to India and Calcutta, where she contracted paratyphoid fever in Calcutta, followed by polio in Karachi in 1952 which left her with a slightly withered right hand. With determination, Tonks taught herself to write and paint with her left hand.

The sudden accidental death of her mother, Gwendoline, in 1968 followed by the collapse of her marriage led to a personal crisis. In 1977, she was admitted to Middlesex hospital for emergency operations on detached retinas in both eyes, which saved her eyesight but left her nearly blind for the next few years. Unable to see properly, Tonks rarely was seen in public.

The sale will take place on 19th November, with the rest of the sales being held at Ewbank's from 18th-20th November.

Check out Ewbank's on Barnebys here.

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