The couple now selling the painting bought it from their local charity shop several years ago. Believing it to be a Harvey they commenced research into the artist, a Penzance-born painter and member of the Newlyn School along with Alfred Munnings and Stanhope Forbes. The couple then sent the picture to Christie’s to be valued.
“The picture was flaking badly which might explain why it had been overlooked,” said Christie’s specialist Sarah Reynolds.
The picture, which measures 20 x 18in (51 x 46cm) was restored and given an estimate of £5000-8000 at the sale of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist art, maritime art, sporting and wildlife art.
The painting, Study in Green, remains enigmatic despite its new attribution.
“This rather mysterious picture comes from a year, 1931, in which Harvey doesn’t appear to have been painting much,” says Reynolds.
The presence of a Staffordshire china dog, which Harvey collected, and the green chair, which appears in some of his other pictures, suggest that the portrait was a commission completed in the artist’s studio.
“The subject and colouring are typical of Harvey’s works, but the signature is more unusual,” Reynolds adds. “It is signed twice in the upper right corner, but both are signatures that Harvey used and make it more likely that the work was a commission on which Harvey was perhaps to amend the signature in order to make it clear.”