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Who painted this historic view of Cromer?

07:00 23 January 2013

Historian, Christopher Pipe, pictured with the rare watercolour painting of Cromer that he bought at a German auction house.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Historian, Christopher Pipe, pictured with the rare watercolour painting of Cromer that he bought at a German auction house. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A painting of 19th-century Cromer has turned up at an auction in Germany - and sparked a debate about who was the artist.

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The watercolour of Cromer Church from The Narrows in about 1840 was spotted online and snapped up by Cromer author and historian Christopher Pipe.

Mr Pipe recognised it as a watercolour version of an oil painting by Norwich School artist Henry Ninham, which was used for the front cover of his 2010 book A Dictionary of Cromer and Overstrand History.

Ninham often did multiple versions of his pictures, but experts are divided, with some not convinced the watercolour is his work.

The painting also uses a degree of artistic licence, not uncommon in work by Ninham. Mr Pipe said some of the details were “of dubious historical authenticity”, including the unlikely presence of a building in dressed stone and some building behind a high wall in the churchyard.

Mr Pipe, who is selling the painting at Watermark, 1, Church Street, for £2,250, said: “The auction house did not spot the Ninham connection. Whether it is a Ninham, or partly Ninham, it’s certainly very similar.

“Goodness knows how it ended up in Germany, but I’m pleased that I spotted it. I wonder if he made sketches in Cromer, but did not have enough detail when he worked them up.”

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