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To improve matters, the mail coach was introduced to transport letters and parcels in a faster, safer and more efficient way. By 1797 there were over 40 coach routes throughout the country, linking most major cities and carrying both stagecoaches and coaches bearing the Royal Mail.

This moonlit scene, below, by James Pollard (1792-1867) depicts the Bath, Bristol and London Royal Mail coach on a country road. With a label for London dealership Arthur Ackermann & Son, the 20in x 2ft 6in (51 x 76cm) oil on canvas forms part of a tranche of coach scenes consigned from a single collection to John Nicholson’s March 1 in Haslemere, Surrey. It carries a guide of £5000-7000.

Another similar-sized canvas by Pollard depicting the Norwich and London Royal Mail coach and two works by Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-77) complete the group, which range in price from £3000-7000.