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Etty dedicated much of his career to painting the nude, often in the context of a historical work, and he remains one of the few British artists to specialise almost exclusively in the tradition.

The undated example at Sworders was consigned by a private vendor in Japan and was entered with an attractive £2000-4000 estimate to the September 12 sale.

Eager bidding on the day ensured it bettered this guide to sell for £7000 to a private collector in London.

The most valuable work offered at the sale was a dramatic historical painting of Cymbeline, King of the South East of England, by George Dawe (1781-1829), the English artist better known for his portraits of distinguished Russian sitters in the Hermitage.

The large 6ft 8in x 3ft 6in (2.03 x 1.07m) oil on canvas was an early work, probably created c.1809 before he embarked on portraiture painting. It depicts Cymbeline hurling rocks at the invading Romans, an encounter loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name.

Consigned from a private collection in Hertfordshire, it got away on the bottom guide at £15,000 to a London dealer.

It will be included in forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.