Rayner, famous for capturing in meticulous detail the old-world character of British towns and cities, lived for many years in Chester but spent her summers travelling. She is known to have been working in the Staffordshire and Shropshire area in 1865 when this 16 3/4 by 21in (42 x 53cm) work was probably painted.
Entered for the sale on December 7-8 by a local client who had received a probate valuation of £7000, it lured eight interested parties at its pre-sale estimate of £9000-£13,000.
One of the five telephone bidders, a private buyer from Oxfordshire, prevailed at £37,000, a sum that surpassed the £32,000 the auctioneers achieved for a rare limited edition Royal Doulton character jug of Stoke legend Stanley Matthews that sold for over £32,200 earlier this decade.
According to Artnet, £37,000 represents an auction record for Rayner, the previous high being The Old Houses - Head of West Bow, sold by Lyon & Turnbull in January 2006 as part of the Drambuie Collection for £35,000.
The buyer's premium was 17.5 per cent.