img_21-1.jpg
'An early omnibus on Farnham High Street' by William Cave – £8500 at Woolley & Wallis.

You have 2 more free articles remaining

The 2ft 2in x 2ft 10in (66 x 86cm) oil on canvas was by William Cave (c.1737-13), an artist from Winchester who, along with his three sons, specialised in decorative and religious paintings commissioned by the local gentry.

Few auction records for the artist exist, although a painting of a white dove, the property of one Mr Downes, a Winchester attorney, made £1500 at Sotheby’s in April 2000.

The Farnham picture came to auction having recently been removed from a Grade II-listed Hampshire estate.

While the composition may look naïve, the picture was impressively detailed. The figures, trade boards and, especially, the presence of an early omnibus gave it appeal as a piece of social, local and transport history. On the day, it duly surpassed a £5000-8000 estimate and was knocked down at £8500.

Intriguingly, the price was almost the exact modern equivalent of the £130 that the Leggatt Brothers had asked for it in 1933 when it was acquired by an ancestor of the vendor. Adjusting for inflation, £130 in 1933 equates to approximately £9000 today – slightly less than the price at the Salisbury sale when the buyer’s premium was added.