The 2ft x 3ft (61 x 92cm) oil on canvas, Across the Common, was a vintage example of his airy views painted on one of his visits to southern England and Wales. Commercially, the presence of figures walking was a bonus which, together with its good size, raised it above the artist’s more run-of-the-mill fare.
Signed with the artist’s initials and dated ’99, it was a late work that seemed to encapsulate how the Chester-born illustrator-turned-watercolourist-turned-painter had been influenced by the likes of David Cox, Myles Birket Foster and Peter De Wint and then incorporated a few distinct touches of his own.
Like many of Wimperis’ landscapes which have frequently appeared on the market, it was a work that was well known to the trade having previously appeared at both Phillips and Christie’s (the latter in 1994) and retained labels on the verso for two London dealers.
A more recent auction appearance was that Halls in in April 2014 where it sold for £2400. It reappeared on December 9 from a private local collection where, against a £1000-2000 estimate, it sold at £2100 to a UK online buyer.
Despite not being the freshest work – something so important in the Victorian picture market – the price was not only above average for the artist but it appears to be the highest auction sum for Wimperis since this picture last sold at Halls.