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The previously unrecorded painting canine portrait by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, the Italian Old Master known as il Guercino (1591-1666), will be offered with a £80,000-120,000 estimate at the Cheffins auction on March 7-8.

But the viewing at ‘The London Office’ in London St James’s, just down the road from Christie’s King Street rooms, also displayed a selection of other Old Masters offered at the same sale. These included some of 15 works owned by Birkbeck family and removed from their historic home West Acre High House in Norfolk (now owned by Sir Anthony Gormley) which was sold in 2010.

Possibly the highlight of the collection is a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole by Charles Jervas (c.1675-1739). Thought to date to 1725, it may have been painted as a gift for Walpole’s sister Susan Hamond and it depicts the prime minister wearing the Order of the Bath and with the chancellor’s bag. Its estimate is £7000-10,000.

Another eyecatching work at the sale is a portrait of a lady with a small spaniel believed to date from c.1600. It has been consigned separately, having come via family descent to a private London owner. Catalogued simply as ‘English School’, it is believed the sitter was a member of Queen Elizabeth’s court, possibly a maid of honour.

It is estimated at £15,000-20,000.