British & Continental Art Auction Highlights

By: Susan Robertson

Each painting, watercolour and drawing has a story to tell

Lot 137 – August Wilhelm Leu, A QUIET COVE IN A FJORD

The British & Continental Art online auction is full to the brim with 18th and 19th century paintings, and includes fine works representing popular artists from over 20 countries: across the UK (England, Ireland and Scotland), Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and Spain. Comprising over 172 paintings, watercolours and drawings, each has a story to tell.

The auction is abundant in themes relating to everyday life: indoors and out, with figures engaged in activities, mothers interacting with their children, family scenes with pets and farm animals, landscapes of distant lands, cities in all seasons, marines and still lifes. Many command close attention, encouraging quiet absorption and a deeper consideration. One such painting is lot 137, August Wilhelm Leu’s, “A Quiet Cove in a Fjord.” Painted in 1857, this fine canvas is a wonder to behold as the view seems frozen in time.

Another standout is lot 117, “The Book Antiquarian” by German artist Louis Toussaint. The subject is so absorbed in the hunt for a valuable manuscript that he is oblivious to the disorder around him, like a true collector. How can you help but be amused? It reminds us of the passion of the collectors we have worked with at Waddington’s over the years.

Lot 117 – Louis Toussaint, THE BOOK ANTIQUARIAN

This auction also includes several quality genre scenes, which were a particular favourite of British Victorian artists. These ‘storytelling paintings’ realistically portrayed figures engaged in spritely narratives that invite the viewer’s interaction and participation.

A fine example is lot 16, George Smith’s “Gentlemen Playing Cribbage in a Cottage.” The expressions on the characters’ faces offer a clue as to the ongoing dialogue between the players.

From Scotland, lot 8, Duncan Mackellar’s “Girl in a Vegetable Patch Gathering” depicts a young girl standing quietly alone in a garden. Completed in 1876, the composition creates a sense of calm with its beautiful blues. The repetition of the bushes suggests a pattern reminiscent of a fine William Morris design.

Lot 19, “The Crown Inn,” painted by John Charles Maggs, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1871. At the time, scenes depicting snow were highly sought after, and were shown by leading art galleries in London, Europe and Canada.

For those interested in a bit of detective work, the auction also includes a few mystery paintings with indistinct signatures or partial identification labels. We have several collectors who enjoy the challenge and research that come along with discovering what might be a lost masterwork.


This auction is offered online October 10 to 15. Please register to bid.

We invite you to peruse the full auction catalogue.

We’re always happy to answer your questions, provide a condition report or additional photos. Please contact the International Art department at [email protected] or by telephone at 416-847-6179.


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