Offered at Kidson-Trigg’s saleroom near Highworth, Swindon, on May 14, the oil on wood panel of dead game and a bowl of fruit had the trademark features of the Antwerp painter who was closely associated with Rubens and van Dyck.
Not only did the work feature the artist’s distinctive signature to the lower left, it also had a label on the back for a 1964 exhibition at London dealership Leonard Koetser. It came to auction after being discovered in a property for which Kidson-Trigg was conducting a probate valuation.
Pippa Kidson-Trigg said: “The house was in some considerable state of disrepair and a lot of valuable items were discovered in strange places. The paintings were in a room packed with furniture in decay, and they were hung lopsided on a wall with wallpaper coming off. Among boxes and rubbish, the papers were found relating to the purchases of the paintings from the Leonard Koetser gallery in 1964, as well as the original catalogues.”
In the Kidson-Trigg catalogue, the work was estimated at £60,000-100,000 although the description made clear that it had “not been officially authenticated”. However, the quality of the composition which added to the supporting documentation (which included gallery correspondence and the original invoice), seems to have left bidders with little doubt as to the Snyders attribution.
With bidding both in the room and on the phone, the lot was eventually knocked down at £300,000 – a record for picture at Kidson-Trigg and also the highest sum for a painting in the regions this year. Only five works by the artist have ever made more at auction, according to the Art Sales Index.
The following lot, a still-life by Cornelis Jansz de Heem (1631- 95), from the same source and which again had been purchased through Leonard Koetser, also drew interest and sold above its £10,000-15,000 estimate at £17,000.