Hercule aux pieds à Omphale (Hercules at the feet of Omphale) was discovered in the stairwell of a “modest home” in Suffolk, according to auctioneers Reeman Dansie. It will be offered with a £30,000-50,000 estimate on June 20-21.
The large classical scene in a period gilt gesso frame was exhibited at The Paris Salon in 1874, where it was awarded a third-class medallion.
The artist’s meticulous account books record that the work was purchased for 3000 francs by the Royal Manchester Institution – a body dissolved in 1882 whose collection formed the core of the Manchester Art Gallery.
Intriguingly, the Suffolk family who have owned the work for a long time are descended from the Sidebottoms, a family of wealthy Manchester industrialists and cotton mill owners.