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Quite why Sotheby’s (as their press releases maintain) should want to continue with the sprawling Jacobethan pile of Summers Place as a regional office and venue only for garden statuary and sporting sales is beyond the ken of most people in the trade, but picture buyers, at any rate, will not be
trailing down the A29 for much longer.

Barring a freak sleeper in October or November, the last high-value picture to be sold at these Sussex rooms looks as though it was the Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) watercolour Shrimp leading Ponies across a Norfolk Common which brought £62,000 at their July 18 auction of Sporting, Primitive and Selected Pictures.

At the same sale, an unforeseen result for Jacob Maris (1837-99) oil on canvas Meeting the Boat, right, was arguably the greater talking point. The estimate of £2000-3000 was certainly on the low side for Maris, founder of the Hague School and a leading Dutch landscapist of the 19th century. However, the painting was small scale, measuring 163/4in by 111/4in (43 x 29cm) and auctioneer Dendy Easton was averse to hyping its prospects, considering the tender state of the market for 19th century Dutch paintings which famously imploded in the 1970s and has only recently come back to life.

However, there was no shortage of admirers for this painting and its impressionist qualities, with strong interest from the Netherlands reflecting the significance of the work and the current revival of interest in the Hague School. The Dutch trade secured the canvas with a bid of £29,000.

On the Dunes, a 191/2in by 141/2in (50 x 37cm) watercolour by a follower of Maris, Bernandes Blommers</b), sold to a Canadian collector at £8000.