San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, a 4 x 7½in (11 x 19cm) oil on canvas from 1885, had been in the same family since it was purchased, possibly from Christie’s, at the turn of the 20th century. The local vendor, who had inherited it from his grandfather, was unaware of its true value when he consigned it to the Bromley firm.
Depicting the Venetian island bathed in sunlight, its unusually small size suggests that it was most likely a sketch for one of the Peruvian painter’s much larger Venetian landscapes.
These large-scale works can command six-figure sums at auction. Last year, Sotheby’s New York sold a Venice view of The Grand Canal with The Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, also painted in 1885, for a premium-inclusive $682,000.
“He is best known for his paintings of Venice and the beautiful way he painted water,” said auctioneer Catherine Southon. The shimmering and luminous quality of his paintings were achieved by using a bright palette, short, fine brushstrokes and delicate glazes.
Probably in its original frame and in good condition, San Giorgio Maggiore was offered on June 7 with an attractive £4000-6000 guide. It was the object of keen competition from seven bidders before it was eventually knocked down at £23,000 to a private buyer. The price is a new auction house record and could be a record for one of del Campo’s smaller-sized works, according to the auction house.
The sale also featured a highly detailed mid-19th century watercolour by Edmund George Warren (1834-1909) depicting a picnic in a woody glade landscape by water. It sold to a phone bidder at £2500 against a £800-1200 estimate.