‘Painter laureate’ Rolls-Royce on Aussie auction docket

1936 Rolls-Royce was owned by famed portrait artist | Mossgreen photos
1936 Rolls-Royce was owned by famed portrait artist | Mossgreen photos

A 1936 Rolls-Royce former owned by the artist known as “Britain’s painter laureate” headlines Mossgreen Auctions upcoming sale May 28 in Melbourne, Australia. The auction will include around 20 vehicles.

“The F.O. Salisbury Rolls-Royce, not surprisingly is a work of art in itself,” Mossgreen said in its news release.

“This 1936 royal blue Rolls-Royce 25-30HP has a very elegant aluminium sportsman’s saloon body by H.J.Mulliner which is in concourse winning condition. The vehicle arrived in Australia in 1962 with a complete set of tools.”

The auction house expects the car to sell for $95,000 to $125,000.

The car itself is a work of art
The car itself is a work of art

Francis “Frank” Owen Salisbury specialized in portraits on large canvases and became wealthy painting on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Among his subjects were Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Salisbury, who lived from 1874-1962, painted 25 members of the Royal House of Windsor and was the first artist to do a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

One of his portraits of Churchill is titled “Blood Sweat and Tears.”
He also painted portraits of six U.S. presidents and industrialists, including John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Mellon.

“One of the greatest society artists of his generation, Frank Salisbury is best known for his portraiture,” Mossgreen added. “He was famed for his speed in producing portraits which stemmed from his painting his own twin daughters every morning for an hour.”

James Nicholls of Mossgreen’s Car Department commented, “Not only is this a magnificent example of a Rolls Royce of this period but its provenance adds hugely to its interest.”

“How many of us can say that they own a car which was driven by a man whose talent took him, without any education, to the very top of society on both sides of the Atlantic? Holding the steering wheel, your hands rest where his golden gifted hands rested. Imagine if this car could speak the secrets it might whisper.”

Rolls-Royce produced 1,201 of its 25-30 HP vehicles from 1938-1936. Since landing in Australia, the car has won a series of awards at concours d’elegance and at Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club events.

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