The 13½ x 10½in (34 x 27cm) oval oil on panel offered by Chorley’s (22.5% buyer’s premium) had typically flourishing brushstrokes by the artist who trained under Hendrik Frans de Cort, Samuel Drummond and also Thomas Lawrence.
As well as actors and actresses, children were one of Harlow’s most common sitters and a portrait of two young siblings with a dog that sold at Sotheby’s New York for $110,000 (£68,365) in 1997 remains his auction record.
The portrait here depicted John Etherington Welch Rolls, who was born in 1807 and was probably around four or five when the work was painted. Rolls would later inherit the family estate near Monmouth and his grandson, Charles Stewart Rolls, became the co-founder of Rolls Royce in 1904.
This oil sketch may have been a study for a larger portrait of the sitter and his sisters which Harlow exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815.
Offered at Prinknash Abbey on September 21-22 with a £4000-6000 estimate, it sold at £7000 to a private buyer, a good sum for a work of this size.