Oil-on-canvas by Augustus Edwin Mulready.

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It is believed that this was the oil on which Mulready based a series of prints he published entitled Orphans of the Storm. "I'd say it was more of a study sketch than a full-blown oil painting," said Marshall's Adam Partridge.

"We had a lot of enquiries about it. The subject matter had all the credentials that buyers like."

It was consigned by a private vendor whose grandmother had bought it in the 1950s. It had been kept it in a wardrobe, so the auctioneers had to give it a quick clean.

Augustus Edwin Mulready was the son of the painter Paul Augustus Mulready (1805-1864) and the grandson of the Irish-born artist William Mulready (1786-1863).

He painted mainly London street scenes, especially urchins, flower sellers and children. His London Flower girl standing beneath poster for the Lyric Theatre, which was signed, inscribed and dated 1897 on the reverse, 19 x 11in (48 x 29cm), appeared at auction at David Duggleby in Scarborough in May 2004 and sold at £900. Another of his works, Fisherman's Daughter, a signed painting measuring 21 x 17in (53 x 43cm) and inscribed on the verso, was seen at Christie's South Kensington in September 2003 and made £3500.