Nestled among a 173-lot ‘time capsule’ collection from a Staffordshire estate offered at Hanson’s on January 12, the Old Master picture shown here proved to be the star performer of the sale by some considerable margin.

This imposing work was the talk of the saleroom after it drew dramatic interest against a £3000-5000 estimate and was knocked down to a London dealer at £62,000. Catalogued as 'in the manner of Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680)', the portrait had been dated to the last quarter of the 17th century. There was also a suggestion that it may have been produced in Lely's studio and even perhaps with some involvement of the master himself.

The 5ft 6in x 5ft 2in (1.67 x 1.57m) relined oil on canvas carried an inscription, thought to be in a later hand, which identified the subjects as The Honourable Francis and Henry Lennard - the younger brothers of Thomas Lennard, 15th Lord Dacre and 1st Earl of Sussex.

Lely is known to have painted their parents in c.1650.

The buyer's premium was 17.5%.