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As such, this early 19th century hybrid of silk, wool and watercolour, left, was one of the more sought after entries at the February 14 Phillips (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) sale at Knowle, although the subject of the painting generated a fair number of enquiries himself. The face of the equestrian is unmistakably that of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) arguably the most successful general in British history. His troops in the background are performing that most hazardous of manoeuvres – the river crossing – but exactly where is open to debate. Probably not the Sub-continent, or the Iberian Peninsula – the landscape appears too temperate for those locations. Northern Europe is more likely, and this would mean somewhere near Waterloo, although it is doubtful that the provincial artist had any specific place in mind when stitching this tribute to the Iron Duke.

Silkwork pictures have in some cases trebled in value since the early 1990s; the fine condition, decent provenance (the estate of Sir Francis and Lady Winnington) and popular subject of this example, 21 by 18in (54 x 46cm) ensured a triple-estimate hammer price of £1150.