A painting that had not been recorded for more than 200 years sold today (Wednesday, April 24) for £162,000 at Bellmans Auctioneers in Wisborough Green, after one of their specialists had building work undertaken by a local builder.
Through a conversation with the builder it was found the family had inherited a Joseph Wright of Derby painting and had wished to sell it.
After deliberation by the family, the painting was brought to Bellmans in early January where the investigation into its provenance and history started.
The painting ‘Landscape with Rainbow’ attributed to the renowned 18th century portrait and landscape artist Joseph Wright of Derby was bought on the telephone by an anonymous bidder, who bid against several other interested parties on the internet and on various phones.
It had been estimated to fetch £70,000-90,000.
The seller of the painting, Terry Wickham, was in the saleroom for the auction.
He commented: “I am delighted with the result, and am planning to put the money towards building a new house, this will definitely pay for the foundations!”
Expert in Charge, James Gadd: “This painting had a wonderful provenance and I started working on researching it earlier this year, including visits to Derby Museum. I am extremely pleased with today’s result, deservedly for such an interesting and important work, which has been unrecorded for so long. This is the most expensive painting that I have sold at Bellmans, but the increments were easy, I just had to remember the number of noughts!”
Mr Wickham was bequeathed the painting by Mary Daffodil Marshall from Dunsfold who died in December 2011, leaving all the contents of her home to the builder.
“I first met her 30 years ago after I had a car accident and I was walking around on crutches,” said Mr Wickham.
“I dropped one outside the Dunsfold shop, she picked it up, and after that we became good friends.”
He recollected Mary’s consternation at trying to donate the oil on canvas to the Tate Museum in London, only to be told she must pay £380 for a specialist to come and collect it.