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This depiction of the famous penguin pool at London Zoo by Alfred Thompson sold for £3300 at Sworders’ auction.

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The 3ft x 2ft 4in (91 x 71cm) oil on canvas, believed to be an unpublished poster design, features the curving ramps of the Berthold Lubetkin-designed pool, an icon of British Modernist architecture that housed the zoo’s penguins from the early 1930s until 2004. In original uncleaned condition, the work sold to a private buyer for £3300.

Deaf and largely self-taught, Thomson was an official war artist to the Royal Air Force during the Second World War but is best known for his striking Modernist poster designs for the Ministry of Information, London Transport and Ealing Films.

The work was offered with an estimate of £500-800 in The London Sale at Essex auction house Sworders (25% buyer’s premium).

Containing only objects connected with the capital, the inaugural auction was held on December 11 in Stansted Mountfitchet to coincide with the launch of a new office in Leicester Square. It totalled £57,000 and another London-themed sale is planned for September.