Seated Girl by Sir Matthew Smith – £7600 at Halls.

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The portrait of a young woman holding a bunch of flowers was a 2ft 2in x 21¼in (65 x 54cm) oil on canvas, one of a good number of portraits of Eastern women painted by the Halifax-born artist.

Smith’s works can be very valuable, especially his colourful still-lifes and landscapes which were inspired by Matisse and tend to be his most sought after pictures. They have made six figures on occasion.

The current example had a Crane Kalman Gallery label on the back which showed that it had been purchased in 1969 by ‘Mr and Mrs Sydney Gilliat’ – presumably meaning it was once owned by the film director and screenwriter Sydney Gilliat who helped produce some of the most famous inter-war films and worked with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock.

Longer exposure

When offered back in December with a £6000-8000 estimate, the picture had failed to sell. However, when it reappeared at the timed online sale that closed on May 2 at the lesser guide of £4000-6000, it met with a much more enthusiastic reception. This may have been on account of the three-week bidding period allowing for greater exposure as well as the more attractive pricing.

It eventually sold at £7600 to a UK private buyer from outside London – a bid that would likely have been easily enough to secure it first time round.