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Head study of a spaniel, Manner of Piero Francesco Cittadini – £15,000 at Tennants.

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An Old Master canine portrait and a decorative British School painting of a sheep were included in a two-day fine art sale at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) of Leyburn on July 17, the first of these triennial auctions since lockdown began.

Modestly estimated at £80-120, the portrait of a spaniel came from a private consignment and was catalogued as ‘Manner of’ Pier Francesco Cittadini (1616-81).

The Milanese-born Baroque artist turned his hand to variety of genres, including portraiture, and is noted for the realism of his subjects.

The auction house noted the 10 x 11in (24 x 25cm) canvas was “possibly a fragment” – presumably of a larger portrait. It was covered in a thick layer of dirt and discoloured varnish but described as “in an overall good and stable state of preservation”.

It appealed to several bidders who pursued it into five figures, the hammer falling at £15,000 to an undisclosed buyer.

Stumped as to who was the artist

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Sheep at rest before a tree stump in bloom, British Provincial School (18th/19th century) – £3200 at Tennants.

The other painting, another private consignment in similar condition, was catalogued as ‘British Provincial School (18th/19th century)’ and showed a sheep at rest before a tree stump in bloom.

Charlotte Conboy, head of the picture department at Tennants, described it as “a highly appealing and unusual image which would suit a variety of collections”.

Estimated at £300-500, the 12 x 8½in (30 x 22cm) oil on panel sold to a private buyer for £3200.