The Canada Auction Series: Canadian Fine Art

May 27June 01, 2023
Auction begins to close at 8:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 21

Lot 21

Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian

Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian
Lot 21 Details
Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian


oil on canvas
gallery stamp verso
13.75 x 27 in — 35.2 x 68.6 cm

Estimate $25,000-$35,000

Realised: $24,600

Lot Report

Additional Images
Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian
  • Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian
  • Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian
  • Frederick Arthur Verner, OSA, ARCA (1836-1928), Canadian

Laird's Gallery of Art, Toronto, ON;
Private Collection, Toronto, ON;
Private Collection, Cambridge, ON


By 1874, Frederick Arthur Verner (1836-1928) had hit his stride professionally. Joan Murray writes: "He could devote himself full time to painting and by the spring of 1875 had produced a surprising amount of new work. Among his paintings were his first subjects of evening or night..." This encampment, painted around 1875, falls within a period of outstanding accomplishment. Between 1873 and 1876, Verner brought to his painting a greater truthfulness, attention to detail, drama and confidence than he had previously demonstrated. This period of consistently exemplary oil painting ended by 1877 after which, according to Murray, many of his best works would now be executed in watercolour.

Encampment, like many of his finest landscapes from this period, displays Verner's "mystical use of distance". The dusky light filters through the space that Verner created with the contours of opposing shorelines, in counterpoint describing distance toward the opening in the background.

Many of Verner’s paintings of this moment derived from pencil studies he made on a trip to western Canada in 1873. Like most historic artists, Verner’s studies were a resource commonly referred to in different compositions, and the shared features of the canoe, tipi and hanging clothes in the present Encampment, and those in the Encampment of similar size that Waddington’s sold 27 May 2019 (lot 46) are unsurprising. To Verner’s credit, like Cornelius Krieghoff at his best, each painting has its distinct mood that has much greater effect than their shared placement of figures and accoutrements.

The stamp, “Laird’s Gallery of Art” on the back of the frame provides valuable information about Encampment. Through ads in The Globe and Mail (Toronto) we know Verner exhibited there along with William Cresswell, Daniel Fowler, and Thomas Mower Martin in 1870 and that the business was there until the late 1870s. We also know he was a prolific artist and exhibitor in the 1870s and that the exhibition history of this beautiful painting in its period frame remains to be written.


Very good overall condition. No visible issues to report.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 21

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.