Sold on thesaleroom.com: Lake District sketch by fell-walker Alfred Wainwright01 July 2020 A record price of £10,200 was paid via the saleroom.com for a pen and ink sketch by fell-walking legend Alfred Wainwright at 1818 Auctioneers of Milnthorpe, Cumbria.
The 7 x 5in (18 x 12cm) depiction of mist on Striding Edge, Helvellyn was that used in Wainwright’s first guidebook The Eastern Fells. Across the timed online sale closing on June 28, a total of 72 bids were made on the sketch before it was won by a Lancaster bidder.
“Wainwright wrote that mountaintops were places to refresh the soul, find new perspectives and banish worries, and that’s particularly meaningful right now” said 1818’s saleroom manager Bill Nelson. “His depiction of the Lake District's most talked-about ridge, Striding Edge, would tick all those boxes. It really does capture the essence of the mountain.”
Helvellyn, the Lake District’s third highest peak at 950 metres, was given the most coverage in Wainwright’s first guidebook.
The drawing was one of three similarly sized sketches by Wainwright in the auction, each estimated at £400-600. The two others, showing Doddick Gill, Blencathra, and Cul Mor, sold for £740 and £820 respectively – more typical sums for the artist-author’s work.
Born in Blackburn in 1907, Wainwright made his first visit to Lake District aged 23. A total contrast to his home surroundings, it was a love-at-first sight, life-changing moment. About 10 years later, he came to work in Kendal and spent his spare time making monochrome drawings of the fells. His seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, is still considered the standard reference work on the subject.