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Mountain Lake by JD Innes – £15,500 at Stacey’s.

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The oil on board of a mountain lake scene with a seated figure in profile in the foreground came with a label from the esteemed collection of the Earl of Sandwich. Estimated at £2000-3000, bidding on the lot involved five phone lines and an underbidder on thesaleroom.com, eventually selling to one of the former for £15,500.

Innes started his artistic career painting in the traditional academic manner, but a trip to France in 1908 and a meeting with Henri Matisse dramatically changed his style.

Inspired by Post-Impressionists and Fauvism, he became a pioneer in Britain of directly painted landscapes, combining hot and bold colours with decorative patterns.

He exhibited with the Camden Town Group in 1911 but, like his friend Augustus John, was only a fringe member. In pursuit of romantic and artistic freedom, the pair subsequently spent several seasons painting in north Wales, specifically the Snowdonia mountain Arenig Fawr. The body of more than 100 pictures that resulted became the subject of a 2011 BBC documentary, The Mountain That Had to Be Painted.

Innes’ flourishing artistic career did not last however, and he died at the age of 27 from tuberculosis. Despite his prolific output, works by the painter crop up rarely at auction – Art Sales Index lists some 150 entries since 1956.

In April 2017, Exeter saleroom Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood set a record for the artist when it sold The Fairy Mountain for £41,000.