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As soon as news broke that some 50 of the artist's masterpieces had been cremated, speculation was rife as to the possible knock-on effect to prices. While it is perhaps a little premature to say for sure that Heron's prices have indeed moved up a gear since the fire, the weeks following the event have shown plenty of bullish competition from both trade and collectors to snap up his work.

Among the early sales at the exhibition devoted to artists associated with St Ives, which opened on June 3 at Beaux Arts in London's Cork Street, were Heron's gouaches No 4, August 1970 and November III, 1973 and his 2ft 6in x 3ft 4in (76cm x 1.1m) oil Five in Scribbled Violet (English): 1971-1973.

Given their small size, Heron's two colourful abstract gouaches May III: 1976 and May I: 1976 sold much as expected at £5500 and £4200 respectively when they came up at Christie's South Kensington on May 14.

However, it was a very different story when on June 4 Christie's King Street offered Heron's 16 x 20in (41 x 51cm) canvas Dahlias on a gas stove, illustrated right. Painted in 1945, a turning point in the artist's development, this composition of familiar domestic objects illustrates how well Heron used small patches of bright colour, often pressed straight from the tube, to fill intricate frameworks. Carrying a conservative guideline of £30,000-50,000, it would have been surprising if this canvas had not stormed ahead. And, of course, it did, the final bid coming in at £95,000 (£111,650 with premium).