Philip Wilson Steer's Jonquil will lead British impressionist art sale

Philip Wilson Steer's Jonquil (1890) will headline a sale of Victorian and British impressionist art at Christie's London on December 12.

The piece is valued at £300,000-500,000 ($491,400-819,000).

Philip Wilson Steer Jonquil
Jonquil features Rose Pettigrew, a model Steer used throughout his career

Steer (1860-1942) was a leading British impressionist and a founding member of the New English Art Club, which was set up in 1886 to mount an exhibition of the work of young British painters returning from their studies in Paris.

Jonquil features Steer's favourite model, Rose Pettigrew, who appeared in a number of his paintings.

Its technical virtuosity was much praised when it was first exhibited, and marked a shift from Steer's impressionistic and hazy compositions to a simpler, less stylised approach.

Jonquil was bought by a Glasgow based dealer in 1890 for £45 - a figure that equates to around £4,900 ($8,000) today.

The art critic George Moore observed at the time: "Mr Steer is a painter of rare talent, and it will be well for the first Art patron who takes him up, for his pictures are sold today cheaper than they will be in ten years' time".

Neptune, a painting by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873), carries an identical estimate of £300,000-500,000 ($491,400-819,000).

Edwin Landseer Jupiter
Newfoundlands are famous for their prowess in sea rescues

An enormously popular painter of animals, and particularly dogs, Landseer's reputation was such that by the mid 1830s there was a three-year waiting list for his services.

The painting includes a dedication on the reverse from WD Gosling, who commissioned the painting: "This picture of my favourite dog Neptune was painted for me Edwin Landseer in 1824.

"He was born in Newfoundland 1816 and died, supposed by poison, in 1824, at the time this picture was nearly finished. He was a dog take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again".

The work sold in 1994 for £330,189 ($540,651).

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