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Born in Peterborough, Peele was a landscape, portrait and genre painter who emigrated to the US at the age of 12, settled in New York and became an Associate of the National Academy, before returning in 1851 to England, where he died.

This particular canvas, entered from a local East Sussex deceased’s estate, was signed and dated 1854 – three years after Peele had returned to England – and was in lined and restored condition, having been bought from the Eastbourne dealer Stacey Marks in the 1970s.

However, the commercial sentimentality of the subject and Peele’s American connections attracted interest from four telephone bidders and two in the room, a lady dealer from Florida eventually triumphing on the phone at £14,400, underbid in the room by a man who represents major London galleries. The pre-sale estimate had been a modest £2000-3000.

The last major price for the artist appears to be the £7000 achieved for the 1876 oil Children and Goldfish at Bonhams Knightsbridge in December 1998.
The same Sussex source also yielded a large 19th century Italian genre oil by Aurelio Tiratelli (1842-1900) of peasants travelling in ox carts down a sun-baked road.

Again bought from Stacey Marks in the 1970s, this 2ft by 4ft 43/4in (61cm x 1.24m) canvas attracted interest from two Italian bidders, but was eventually knocked down at £8200 to a Brighton dealer, who is apparently keeping it for himself.