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Purrmann spent his latter years in Switzerland, living in Montagnola in the former home of the Nobel Prize-winning writer Herman Hesse.
Very much the stuff of Impressionist and Modern Part II sales, pleasantly decorative landscapes and still lives by Purrmann occasionally come up at sales in Germany and Switzerland where they tend to fetch solid prices in the £20,000-80,000 range.

They are an altogether less common sight in the English provinces, yet thanks to a surprise inheritance from a New York relative a Somerset vendor consigned this signed landscape of Lake Lugano, Switzerland, right, to the second day’s picture section of Lawrence’s (15% buyer’s premium) May 16-17 sale in Crewkerne.

Fully authenticated by the artist’s daughter-in-law who, with admirable Teutonic precision, dated it to c.1949-51 and identified it as HP153 in the artist’s oeuvre, this unlined 3ft 3in by 2ft 5in (99 x 74cm) canvas attracted determined bidding from the German trade before falling for £36,000, just above the £25,000-35,000 estimate, which it was felt was pretty much what the painting was worth in the current market.

The other, rather more surprising highlight of this Somerset picture sale was the Frederick Gordon Crosby (1885-?) watercolour and charcoal drawing, above right, of a two-seat MG 18/100 Tigress racing at Brooklands in the ‘Double Twelve Hour Race’ on May 9, 1930.

Lawrence’s had thought an estimate of £800-1200 would be a realistic enough valuation but the automobilia market, like that for railwayana, can be a law unto itself. In this particular case interest was heightened by the fact that the watercolour was the original drawing for a well-known limited edition print issued by the MG Car Club in 1988.

It therefore represented something of a Holy Grail to MG enthusiasts and at least a dozen of them were ready to contest the lot up to £7000-8000. It was eventually knocked down to an automobilia dealer/collector for the shock price of £11,500.