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Sotheby’s (20/12% buyer’s
premium) December 2 Marine Sale was a fairly typical example of the genre with reasonable, but hardly exceptional, oils by traditional favourites like Montague Dawson and Stephen Dews selling well within estimates.

Nonetheless, around two thirds of the picture section’s 170-odd lots did find buyers, led by this 2ft 4in x 3ft 5in (71cm x 1.04m) Montague Dawson (1895-1973) canvas, Winging On: The Clipper Ship ‘Great Republic’, which sold to a private buyer at £55,000 against an estimate of £50,000-70,000.

By contrast, an almost identically sized, composed and preserved Dawson canvas of the clipper Ariel failed to sell against an estimate of £60,000-80,000.

The simple explanation? Ariel was a British clipper ship, while Great Republic had been built in Boston, Massachusetts.

Total for the sale, including marine memorabilia, was a premium-inclusive £963,624.