Naval scene by Abraham Jansz Storck, £52,000 at Semley.

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The painter Abraham Jansz Storck (c.1635-1708) lived and worked in Amsterdam with his father and brothers who were all artists. The family changed their name to Storck from Sturckenburch in the late 1680s.

Although he trained under his father Jan Jansen Storck, he was heavily influenced by his contemporaries Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707) and Ludolf Bakhuizen (c.1630-1708), specialising in shipping pictures, harbour views and battle scenes.

His prices at auction vary across a wide range with six figures recorded for his best works but many also making between £10,000-20,000.

Part of the reason for this variation is that he sometimes provided only the finishing touches to works produced by assistants in his studio and added his own signature.

Attention to detail

The 11¾ x 12½in (30 x 32cm) oil on oak panel offered at the Semley (22% buyer’s premium) auction in Shaftesbury on January 21, however, showed a certain quality of touch and attention to detail on the ships, rigging, figures and costumes which implied that Storck had more than a cursory involvement in this case.

The fact that it was a tranquil scene with the calm waters and had a dog on the shore also added to its appeal commercially.

While it was not without condition issues, it looked an attractive proposition against a £3000-5000 estimate.

After generating strong interest it was knocked down at £52,000, a strong sum especially for a smaller format picture by the artist.