A departure from the artist’s usual domestic interiors, Throng in Leicester Square was consigned locally and secured by a private buyer on January 25 above its £4000-6000 guide.
According to the Blouin Art Sales Index, this is the highest price for the painter at auction, surpassing the £6500 fetched at Bonhams Oxford in March 2010 for a pair of moralistic domestic scenes titled Industry and Idleness.
The catalogue note described the oil as “rich in character and detail, pathos and humour…”. In the foreground of the 2ft 8in x 3ft 6in (83cm x 1.07m) oil on canvas, two well-attired women in silks and bonnets are jostled by the crowd. A terrier tugs at the expensive paisley shawl of one, whose dropped purse spills out laxatives.
On the right is the Sablonnière Hotel, run by an Italian named Pagliano, which was a popular establishment with foreign visitors to London and was situated on the south-east side of the square, in a building where the artist William Hogarth had lived for many years.
Also at David Lay, a market-fresh picture with strong connections to Buffalo, New York, by the American artist Frank Crawford Penfold (1849-1921) was knocked down within estimate at £3500. The painting, which depicts six members of Buffalo society taking tea in the artist’s studio, is returning to the American city.