'Villefranche' by George Leslie Hunter – £68,000 at Bellmans.

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Bellmans (22% buyer’s premium) included a signed 2ft x 20in (60 x 50cm) oil on canvas of a landscape in southern France in its paintings sale in Winchester on February 13.

Villefranche was fresh to the market, having been in a private UK collection for many years, and had Alex Reid & Lefevre gallery labels to the reverse. It tipped over the top estimate to sell to an anonymous buyer for £68,000.

Although undated, it seems likely to have been painted in the mid to late 1920s when, in search of continental inspiration, Hunter took a studio in the south of France. “This is a painter’s country,” he remarked in 1927.

Invigorated by the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and by the influence of Henri Matisse, he painted with a bolder and more intense palette, producing some of his best works.

A mid-1920s oil on board of the same view, although less worked and given the descriptive title Rooftops, possibly Villefranche, sold at Bonhams in August 2008 for a premium-inclusive £21,600.

Seville settings


Women washing garments in a stream by Manuel Garcia y Rodriguez – £11,500 at Bellmans.

The Bellmans sale featured an early- 20th century oil on panel by Spanish painter Manuel Garcia y Rodriguez (1863-1925).

Closely associated with Alcala de Guadaira school of painting, Rodriguez took much of his inspiration from the city of Seville and the surrounding areas of the Guadaira river. In later years depictions of the gardens, patios and parks of Seville became his stock in trade.

Painted in 1910, a signed 14in x 2ft 2in (35 x 65cm) work depicting women washing garments in a stream came from a private collection and sold to an overseas buyer for £11,500. It had been estimated at £3000-5000.