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The 19 1/2 x 15 1/2in (49 x 39cm) canvas, right, had hung in the same local private home for over half a century, and although it was in restored and relined condition, this had happened back in the 1960s.

No fewer than 13 telephone bidders lined up to contest the work, supported by at least four bidders in the room who were prepared to take the bidding up to £10,000.

The hammer finally fell at £16,500, bid by a leading London dealer in the room and underbid by competition from as far afield as New York, Australia and Italy.