AN “exceptional” private collection of Scottish Colourist art was shown to the public yesterday as auctioneers prepare for a big-money sale.

More than 30 works by some of the country’s best-loved painters will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London next month.

They were amassed by Glasgow ship owner Major Ion Harrison, who passed them down through the family and entertained the artists at the home where the pieces hung. This includes The Drawing Room, Croft House by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, which was displayed in the room where it was created.

Estimates on the collection, which features works by George Leslie Hunter, Samuel John Peploe and John Duncan Fergusson, run to six figures, with one item – another Cadell – expected to reach up to £600,000.

Thomas Podd, Sotheby’s Scottish Art Specialist, said visiting Harrison’s home was “an experience that will live long in the memory”.

He added: “One’s eye was instantly drawn to Cadell’s The Drawing Room, Croft House hanging in the very same room it depicts, with the majority of furniture and artworks unchanged some 80 years later.

The National:

“It is hard to imagine a work that encapsulates so perfectly the spirit of an entire collection. With its balanced composition and sophisticated application of colour, the painting is not only the ultimate Colourist statement, but it speaks also about the collector and his friendship with the artists whose works lined the walls of his beautiful home.”

A spokesperson for the auction house added: “The pictures in the Harrison Collection represent such a broad range of styles, subjects and dates by all of the four Colourists that they present an opportunity to assess the differing influences and themes that link them together or contrast them.”

Harrison’s love for the Colourists began after his friend Dr John Thomas Honeyman, who later became director of the Glasgow Art Gallery, encouraged him to attend an exhibition.

He said: “I had never seen anything in art similar to these pictures.”