Something for the artistic soul - with David Sumner

David Sumne, auctioneer and valuer of Ottery St Mary Auction Rooms, with the painting by Cecil Round

David Sumne, auctioneer and valuer of Ottery St Mary Auction Rooms, with the painting by Cecil Round. Picture: Alison Summerfield - Credit: Archant

The Resident’s arts writer Alison Summerfield meets David Sumner, auctioneer and valuer, of Ottery St Mary Auction Rooms

As an auctioneer, David is often asked, what do you collect?

His simple answer is ‘nothing’, however he does get to appreciate many works of art as they pass through his hands from one auction to the next.

So when posed with the question, ‘what is your favourite work of art?’, he struggled because he has many and, he said, it mainly depended on his mood at the time.

‘‘Like a piece of music,’’ he explained, “It could be the romance and opulence of Klimt’s Kiss, or the humour and naughtiness of a Beryl Cook, maybe the wit and rebellion of Duchamp or Banksy, the magnificence of Titian or Leonardo or the quality of draughtsmanship of Durer or Canaletto.”

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However, there is one painting that David returns to time and time again and that is a work by little known late 19th/early 20th century artist Cecil Round who painted in the South of England, not massively successful but this painting, he explains, is fairly well constructed, depicting a rising sun over a gentle summer sea off the south coast.

“It sums up romantic notions of days gone by with little thatched fishing cottages tucked away in narrow valleys, a nostalgic piece of whimsy, almost befitting a chocolate box.” The painting David says has little or no economic value and no masterpiece. Yet it is a piece that successfully communicates between artist and audience, stirring emotion and effecting a response.

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“Sometimes what I need from a painting is like chicken soup for the soul, something warm comforting and a little cosy,” he says.

I think many readers will agree!

For dates of upcoming auctions: visit or call: 01404 811800.

If you have an art matter you would like to discuss: email

For more featured from East Devon Resident, click here.

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