Moonlight artist John Atkinson Grimshaw in the spotlight

A trademark nocturnal scene by Victorian painter John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93) got away on low estimate for £80,000 at John Nicholson’s (25% buyer’s premium) of Haslemere in Surrey.

Extracted from Learn Antiques Gazette | Gabriel Berner

This typical nocturnal scene by Victorian painter John Atkinson Grimshaw sold for £80,000 at John Nicholson’s.

The 12 x 20in (30 x 51cm) oil on board, which was included in a sale of pictures on November 28, was painted in 1883 and depicts a moonlit lane with a covered wagon in the distance and a country house lit by candlelight.

The vendor was an American collector living in London and had acquired it in the 1970s from Mayfair dealer Richard Green. Buffy Parker, painting specialist at John Nicholson’s, said: “This was one of his better works, with this painting being almost black in its dark green moonlit view. Works of this quality by Grimshaw will always be in demand at auction and we were thrilled to be able to sell it for our client.”

A near identical version, similar in size but duller in appearance, drew competition on two occasions when it was offered at auction. First in 2005 at Sotheby’s New York where it made $200,000 (then around £105,000) and five years later at Christie’s New York when it was knocked down for a premium-inclusive $290,500 (£180,400).

Moated home

Grimshaw was well represented in the latest Victorian art series in London, with a collection of eight paintings included at Sotheby’s on December 13.

The group featured a range of subjects, from a minutely studied still-life (£13,000) and portrait of his children’s governess (£70,000) to a trademark nocturnal landscape (£120,000). The financial highlight was A Moated Yorkshire Home, a large 2ft 6in x 4ft 2in (76cm x 1.27m) oil on canvas from a series of pictures from the 1870s depicting mysterious and unidentified houses amid autumnal parkland and crepuscular light.

Offered on the market nearly 40 years after it had been bought in the same rooms by the vendor’s father, it sold on bottom estimate for £150,000.

The result was a little way off the price another from the series made four years ago with the title A Yorkshire Home. Depicting the same large Elizabethan-style red-brick mansion and painted a year earlier in 1878, that version sold in the same rooms at Sotheby’s in May 2014 for a premium-inclusive £362,500.