Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The picturesque half-timbered architecture of Chester was one of Rayner’s favourite subjects and this particular watercolour, measuring an impressive 201/2in by 2ft 41/2in (52 x 72cm), was a typically detail-crammed view of Northgate Street crowded with Victorian shoppers. Justifiably described in the catalogue as showing Louise Rayner at the “zenith of her powers”, the watercolour was in superbly preserved condition, if in a later frame, and was thought to be totally fresh to the auction market.

True to the strategy of selling regional material in the relevant regional area, this sold to a local collector against underbidding from the trade at a record £27,000 (estimate of £15,000-20,000). The previous high for the artist had been the £23,500 given for The High, Oxford at Bearnes of Torquay back in September 1989.