The statue of Prometheus

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A Victorian sculpture has been sold for an astonishing £97,250 at an auction house in Billingshurst.

The white marble figure of mythological Greek hero, Prometheus, was sold to a private British collector at Summers Place Auctions.

Carved by 19th century sculptor William Theed, the statue was unveiled at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was estimated between £20,000 and £40,000 on the day of auction.

Co-director of Summers Place Auctions, James Rylands, said: “We are delighted that a piece of history has reached such a high auction price and illustrates the trend during the autumn sale which favoured lots with provenance.”

Also on the night, Dame Elizabeth Frink’s bronze head from the Desert Quartet series was bought for a substantial £181,250 by a private collector.

A number of pieces from the athletes village at this year’s Olympic games were also sold including Nicola Godden’s bronze figure of Icarus that fetched £61,250.

A collection of nine sculptures collected between the 1960s and 1980s by Senator Walter Fontana, including a striking bronze by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj all sold for a total of £182,625.

The auction took place in the new 5,000 square foot Morris Weller Gallery that opened just prior to the sale.

The launch saw BBC’s Antiques Roadshow star, Dendy Easton, unveil the name of the gallery and smashing a bottle of Champagne on the engraved steps.

The gallery stands adjacent to six acres of landscaped gardens that are considered to display one of the most spectacular collections in the world.

Directors James Ryland and Rupert van der Werff worked closely with Horsham District Council to complete the gallery.