Oil on canvas of Lady de la Pole attributed to Thomas Beach, £24,000 at Elstob.

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The daughter of James Templer of Stover House, Devon, she married Sir John William Pole of Antony House, Cornwall, in 1781.

Lady de la Pole had her likeness taken on a number of occasions including by John Flaxman (modelled in blue-dip jasperware, she was the fifth and last in a series of portraits of well-known British and French women issued by Wedgwood in the late 1780s).

She was also painted by George Romney, whose 1786 full-length portrait was sold at auction in London by Christie’s in 1913 for a mighty $206,850.

At the time it was the highest price ever paid for any fine art object. It is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Several other images of Lady de la Pole currently reside in the collection at Antony House (now a National Trust property) including both a copy of the Romney portrait and another full-length work by the Dorset artist Thomas Beach (1738-1806), that shows the sitter leaning on a stone plinth, her head resting against her right hand.

Same pose

The 2ft 5in x 2ft (74 x 62cm) oil on canvas offered by Ripon firm Elstob Auctioneers (25% buyer’s premium) as part of a timed online sale was directly related to this image by Beach.

Although painted half-length in an oval format, the pose, the gaze and the clothing are nonetheless the same. The painting had arrived at the North Yorkshire saleroom as a portrait of an unknown lady but further research by specialist Rohan McCulloch identified her.

A pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Beach spent much of his career painting portraits in the fashionable resort of Bath. Many of his portraits bring relatively modest sums today but the £2000-3000 estimate on this attributed work proved too modest.

When bidding closed on May 7, it had reached £24,000. The winning bid was placed by a private collector who saw off interest from a UK dealer.