You have 2 more free articles remaining

Fresh to the market from a private source, and untouched under glass in its original Victorian composition frame, this 23in x 3ft 5in (58 x 1.04m) oil was widely recognised by the trade as the work of Jane Vivian (19th century), a little-documented London-based painter who is listed as exhibiting five Continental views at the Royal Society of British Artists from 1869-1877.

Vivian doesn’t loom large in the
reference books – she doesn’t even rate a mention in Bénézit – and, until recently, her inoffensively decorative paintings have tended to sell solidly, if unspectacularly, in the £2000-6000 range.

However, last September an unrestored 2ft 4in x 3ft 4in (71cm x 1.02m) Vivian oil of the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs surprised the Cranbrook auctioneers Calcutt MacLean Standen by selling to a private buyer at a sextuple- estimate £18,000 at their on-the-premises sale at The Grange, Lydd.

It was, presumably, this breakthrough price which encouraged the trade to book more than a dozen telephone lines when this similarly-sized view of Venice, right, came on the market at Bonhams. There was also plenty of interest in the room before the
hammer finally fell after a sale-topping trade bid of £13,500.

Jane Vivian – or indeed ‘Viviani’ – is a name that auctioneers will obviously have to take rather more seriously from now on.