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1936 ROLLS ROYCE OF ‘ARTIST LAUREATE’ WHO PAINTED QUEEN ELIZABETH II, CHURCHILL & FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT FOR AUCTION WITH MOSSGREEN, AUSTRALIA

Francis ("Frank") Owen Salisbury (1874–1962) was an English artist who specialised in portraits on large canvases. He made a fortune on both sides of the Atlantic and was known as “Britain’s Painter Laureate”. The sale is on Sunday 28th May and features some 20 interesting cars.


The FO Salisbury Rolls Royce, not surprisingly is a work of art in itself. 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. It is estimated to sell for A$120,000 - 160,000. (£75,000 to £100,000)

In 1936 the car was the first choice for those wanting to be able to cruise down to the south of France for the weekend.  A total of just 1,201 25-30 HP automobiles were built by Rolls-Royce in the two year period between 1936 and 1938. It is arguably one of the most elegant Rolls-Royce motor cars in Australia. The car has won many Rolls-Royce Owner's Club of Australia awards including the 2004 Winner of the Concours d'Elegance Master Class, the 2003 Age and Authenticity York Motors Trophy, the 2003 Bert Ward Trophy, and the 2002 Concours d'Elegance Best Pre-War Car.

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

During his life he painted no fewer than 25 members of the Royal House of Windsor and he was the first artist to paint HM Queen Elizabeth II. He painted Winston Churchill more often than any other artist and one of these portraits is titled ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’.

He also painted actor General Montgomery of Alamein, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Benito Mussolini and Jan Smuts, the South African Prime Minister. He was just as popular in the USA where he painted no fewer than six Presidents and all the financial giants of his day from John D. Rockefeller to Andrew William Mellon.


Salisbury produced several self-portraits including depicting himself whilst painting the 1937 Coronation.

James Nicholls of Mossgreen’s Car Department comments: ”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?”


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