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Depiction of a young gentleman by the Scottish portraitist Allan Ramsay – £18,000 at Sworders.

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And a sensitively portrayed depiction of a young gentleman by the prominent Scottish portraitist Allan Ramsay (1713-84) that appeared at Sworders (25% buyer’s premium) on December 8-9 was no exception.

The 2ft 3in x 22in (69 x 56cm) oil on canvas showing the unidentified sitter half-length and holding a manuscript was unknown at the time Prof Alastair Smart complied his catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work in 1999.

But due to comparisons with two works in Smart’s catalogue (a portrait of Lord Sinclair, c.1765, and another of the Duke of Leinster dated 1762), it has since been authenticated, dated to the mid-1760s and become an interesting addition to the artist’s late work.

Fresh to the market

It came to Sworders’ sale from Horton Lodge, a Grade II-listed property near Windsor, and was completely fresh to the market. It had some scattered retouching and a few condition issues but promised to restore well.

Cautiously estimated at £2000-3000, the work sold at £18,000 to a London dealer who bought it for his own collection. Head of Old Master paintings at Sworders Sarah Flynn said: “I was underbidding for a client, a museum director, who said to me on the phone ‘that is a Rolls-Royce painting’.”

More on the Sworders’ sale in next week’s ATG.