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Ravilious is one of the cult names of the Modern British market and this particular watercolour, measuring 173/4 x 211/2in (45 x 55cm) and illustrated in Freda Constable and Sue Simon’s The England of Eric Ravilious, recently re-issued for this year’s centenary of the artist’s birth (Scolar Fine Art, ISBN 0 85 331 8808, £18.50) was thought to be an early work dating from the early 1930s.

During this period, the artist was living at Great Bardfield, Essex, where he was much influenced by Edward Bawden, whom he had met while at the Royal College of Art.

The watercolour has been reluctantly entered by a local private lady whose late husband had been a keen collector of Modern British art.

Condition is described as fresh and unfaded and though the Essex auctioneers have yet to identify the specific subject they are convinced it depicts a local building type.

The pre-sale estimate is £10,000-15,000, reflecting the rarity with which Ravilious watercolours appear on the auction market. In July 2002 at Sotheby’s Olympia, a similarly estimated, signed and dated 1934 landscape, The Waterwheel, was bought by the Fine Art Society at £28,000.