Depicting dancers, they were painted between 1895-1905, during the formative years of Peploe’s career in France, and show the clear influence of Edgar Degas (1834-1917). They had been a gift from the artist to his sister-in-law and had remained with the family ever since.
Picture specialist and department head Richard Kay, said it was unusual to find pastels by Peploe that were “so fully developed on paper”.
On the secondary market, Peploe’s pastel and chalk studies make far less than his oils, with the exception of Girl on Sofa, a pastel drawing from the collection of Simon Sainsbury that sold for a premium-inclusive £32,450 in June 2008 at Christie’s.
With this in mind, Kay estimated the pair at an inviting £8000-12,000 each.
The Hair Pin, showing a woman arranging her hair, was the more striking of the two compositionally and slightly larger at 22 x 17in (55 x 44cm). It was pursued to £25,000 where it was knocked down to the artist’s grandson, Guy Peploe, on behalf of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh.
The other work, a seated dancer in a yellow tutu fixing her shoe, sold to a private buyer at £16,000.
The £275,000 sale also attracted keen interest for the work of Wynford Dewhurst (1864-1941), dubbed ‘Manchester’s Monet’ in a solo exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery earlier this year.
Recognition of Dewhurst’s contribution to English Impressionism appears to be gaining some traction at auction. In September, a painting of French apple blossoms sold for £24,000 at Bonhams in London. According to the Art Sales Index, this broke the previous £10,000 high set at Christie’s 27 years ago.
Kay said a pair of oils at Lawrences drew a high number of pre-sale enquiries.
An apparently uncommercial view of the Seine, which lacked any clear focal point to the 21½in x 2ft 5in (55 x 75cm) canvas, went to a private buyer for a multi-estimate £4900.
A painting of the artist’s potting shed on a property he rented in the Creuse Valley, western France, sold to a dealer in south-east England for £4100 against a £1500-2000 estimate.