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The tone was set by an Albert Küchler (1803-1886) sketch on canvas, 12 by 161/2in (31 x 42cm), of the Gulf of Gaeta, immediately north of Naples, seen through a stonemason’s shelter covered in vines. It was unfinished on the lower left hand side, but this only added to the sketch’s sense of spontaneity and it eventually found a trade buyer at DKr78,000 (£6770) against an estimate of DKr8000-10,000. The same price was bid for a similarly-sized Italiensk landskab, Narni, showing a sun-drenched olive grove in the Roman campagna, by Anders Lunde (1809-1886).

Küchler and Lunde are hardly household names, even in Denmark,
but Thorald Laessøe (1816-1878) who produced a number of ‘Nationalist Romantic’ paintings before concentrating on Italian views from the 1840s onwards, is a somewhat better-known figure. His 15 by 231/4in (39 x 59cm) panoramic oil sketch of Rome from the Palatine, proved the most expensive of these plein air studies, climbing to DKr140,000 (£12,150) against an estimate of DKr50,000. The buyer was described by these Copenhagen auctioneers as a collector from “Down Under” which, from a Danish perspective, apparently means France or Italy.
Exchange Rate: £1 = DKr11.5