Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sketches by Peter Arnold - original artworks or prints?

For many years New Zealand Fine Prints along with many other galleries and picture framers stocked prints of pencil sketches by NZ artist Peter Arnold.  Arnold's drawings of popular places and buildings around NZ were originally published as prints in the 1980s. The different titles have gradually sold out over the past few years and are now completely out of print (sold out).

"One Tree Hill, Auckland"
Print of a sketch by NZ artist Peter Arnold
However as a consequence of advertising Peter Arnold prints for sale at prints.co.nz until we sold out of the very last one just a few weeks ago we received a fairly steady stream of enquiries about whether a sketch by Peter Arnold was an original artwork or not - and also enquiries as to the value of what looks at first glance like an original pencil sketch by this artist.  So if you are looking for information about this artist's work - perhaps having inherited a framed print/sketch - the perhaps unwelcome news is that you are almost certainly the owner of a reproduction print rather than an original artwork.

Confusingly these prints were sold both as black and white images and hand coloured (by the publisher, not the artist). Either coloured or uncoloured they are reproduction prints, not original (i.e. handmade - for example an etching) prints or sketches.  Their value is decorative rather than investment, nicely framed they are worth around $NZ50 each.

An example of the artists' style is the print of Auckland's One Tree Hill illustrated here - there were at least a couple of dozen scenes published in this technique and of similar appearance.

If you are still convinced that you may have an original sketch rather than a reproduction we'd recommend getting an expert in paintings and drawings to take a look at the artwork in real life, try contacting an auctioneer of fine art near you or your local city council run art gallery.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for the information.

    I have what appears to be a reproduction of a Peter Arnold original copy of Kerikeri Basin in colour, which is framed and signed," Peter Arnold, 1985" . My question is his signature, which appears to be in pencil, on all previous reprints?
    Greatly appreciated.

    iain.lamont.nz@gmail.com

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    1. Hello Iain,

      Yes, the original pencil drawings are all signed. This is reproduced on the print. You can check that it won't rub out! It will be coloured by hand though, they were nicely done prints.

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  2. I bought my first Peter Arnold in 1979 which is black/white drawing of the Stone Store in Kerikeri - also with his signature and the date as '79. My 2nd drawing/sketch, also black/white is of Rangitoto from Mt Eden Crater signed and dated 1979. My last one (black/white) is of Mt Egmont with signature under those words as well as Peter Arnold 1982 on the right hand side. I too would be interested in knowing how to tell an original from a copy or are ALL of them original copies with the original being kept by the artist himself? Hopefully someone will reply
    nonieone@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, we didn't realise that the Arnold prints were first published as early as that! Obviously there must be the original sketches out there somewhere and it is possible that you could be the owner of one of them. However there are some easy ways to tell the difference between original sketches and reproduction prints (see the article above and my reply to the previous comment). Another indication of whether you own an original or a print is how much you paid for the artwork in the first place and where you purchased it from. At the time an original sketch by a competent - but not high profile - NZ artist would have cost at least one hundred dollars and would have been bought from either a dealer gallery or directly from the artists' studio.

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  3. Andrew McGregor7 May 2013 23:57

    I am Peter's nephew and I can tell you that he used a method of reproducing his work by lithograhing. Often he would countersign these in pencil as well. I have both some originals and such copies and suggest that the paper that most originals would have been drawn on would be discoloured by now whereas the prints would still be looking reasonably fresh. The families lost contact with each other and I need to contact him. If anyone knows if he is still alive (he would be approx. 82 now), please advise-agmcgregor@icloud.com.

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    1. hi there andrew, I have a framed pencil drawing of "The Bridge Hotel in Warkworth" and sign and dated by Peter Arnold 78"
      it has that old yellowish look about it that they get with age, was wandering how I could find out if it is genuine or print, I really love it, as my parent use to go to the bridge hotel many years ago before it burnt down. please let me know
      thanks
      maureen

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  4. Hi I have a sketch by Peter Arnold of Plimmerhouse Wellington, it is dated and signed 1985, what value would it be

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    1. If it's a print conservatively framed and in good condition (without foxing or light damage) it has a value of about $50. If it is one of his much rarer original sketches it would be worth around 3-4x this amount at auction. The best place to sell it if you have an original sketch by Peter Arnold rather than one of the very similar prints (see the article and answers to other comments above on how you can tell the difference between a print and a sketch) would be a Wellington based fine art auctioneer such as Dunbar Sloane.

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  5. I have two prints signed Arnold both of buildings trees and railings just signed Arnold would these be by Peter Arnold

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    1. Could well be Peter Arnold if you purchased them in New Zealand. He chose architectural subjects that were well-known - can you identify the buildings?

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  6. Hi, I was given a sketch which I was told was an original, it has some fine foxing and is titled Mt Egmont New Zealand and signed by Amanda Appleby & Peter Arnold 1979. After reading your article I'm assuming its likely an old print, but who was Amanda Appleby and was it common for him to do a collaboration with other artists? Thanks, Stacey

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  7. Hi, in the late 1970s Peter Arnold had a studio in Durham Lane, Auckland city, and taught many adult students. It is quite likely that Amanda Appleby was one of his students and you have a co-signed original. To my knowledge, there are no co-signed lithographs from 1979.
    The first lithographs of his sketches were produced about 1978 and were numbered limited editions, personally signed by Peter Arnold. Many of these he also coloured himself. If your sketch has two signatures, one is reproduced on the lithograph and the other is the original artist.
    Peter always signed Peter Arnold, never just Arnold.
    In the 1980s he had a studio in Russell, Bay of Islands. By this time the lithographs were produced in larger quantities, not numbered and generally not personally signed. He sold hundreds of them, small and large, framed and not framed.
    I don't know if any of the original sketches were sold and I'm not sure how many limited editions were produced.
    In reply to Andrew, his nephew, I think he would be about 78 years old now, last known to be in Europe.
    Gaylene

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  8. I was a friend of Peter Arnold in the late 60s we use to catch the bus to work together. He also introduced me to what was to become the father of my first child. We lost touch as I went overseas but I did catch up with him again when he was selling his prints in one of the shopping malls. I have an original print dated 1978 of Russell waterfront that Peter gave me himself. It was never framed so the paper has yellowed with age and it has some small brown spots. Do you know how much it would be worth today.

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  9. Oooh., I am fascinated... all very interesting, I have just listed 2 on ebay if anyone is interested.. Would luv to see a pic of the man himself :)
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=131012711093

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    1. hi there again I have checked out what you have on ebay and they are like mine, but still not sure they are lovely photo's

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  10. I worked with Peter and was also married to his son. I can tell you that his originals were all huge, sketched on very large pieces of paper A1 size. He often signed his prints so there would be 2 signatures on them, 1 printed and one original. I went with him on a number of occasions to the printers and as mentioned above, they were reproduced through lithography. He also handcoloured with pastels a lot of the prints, additionally I handcoloured them as well. Amanda Appleby was one of his students and also did some work with him before my time with him. I knew he moved to Europe, it was always his dream to go and live there. He is English by birth and trained in England as well. He was also an amazing water colourist - I have a large A1 orginal on my bedroom wall that he painted for me for my 21st birthday.

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  11. I am here in the UK and I too have two very fine prints, hand coloured. 1] Port Nicholson Harbour, Wellington '84. 2] Russel Bay '86. They are fine examples ready mounted for framing.
    If anybody would like pictures or would like to make an offer please email me salfordlad01@icloud.com

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  12. I have a Peter Arnold print of Boats at Kerikeri Island in color signed and framed. Does anyone know the value of this item?
    Thanks,
    mkutner@emory.edu

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  13. Today we were wandering around Petone and we came across a lovely print that reminded me of home - I spent $10 at a local junk shop and it would appear that I have a 1982 Peter Arnold lithography print of 'Mt Egmont, from Pukerkura Park', it is colored and has the 2 signatures one in pencil and the other from the original. It does need a new frame and a bit of a clean but the color of the picture and and detail is crisp and true it will now have a new home. It has been lovely to read the above and now i have a little bit of background about my picture, Thank you. Brenda_Leigh

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  14. mt egmont with amanda appleby--1979.
    the fairfield bridge---1981.
    pompallier house.
    boats at kerikeri basin----all the above signed in pencil by peter arnold 28th january, 1983.
    picked them up at charity shop this am.i like them.

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  15. Shearers Hutt ....1983
    The Wairarapa, New Zealand.....1982
    Both have 2 signatures on each ....each have a light pencil color and a dark pencil color when signed.
    Apparently these are missing, so get in touch with me! Thanks

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  16. For anyone interested, South Sea Art in Russell, Bay of Islands has most of his prints and the rights to print more.

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