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The Misses Stewart Hodgson, owned by Mildred H. Boink, was previously unaccounted for and only came to light when her family made contact with Ken Farmer, a noted antiquarian, dealer and appraiser for the US version of the Antiques Road Show. Until then, they thought the artist of the painting, which Mrs Boink purchased in the 1970s, was named Bart. It was only when Mr Farmer pointed out that this actually stood for baronet that they came to realise how important the portrait might be.

The painting emerged from the collection of Lady Campbell in the UK in 1964 when it sold at Sotheby’s. Purchased by Old Hall Gallery at Iden, it then sold to an anonymous US collector.

Painted in 1888, it depicts the daughters of James Stewart Hodgson, a wealthy banker, longtime friend of Leighton’s and owner of many works by the artist. The 1996 Leighton exhibition at the Royal Academy included a portrait of another Hodgson sister, Ruth, but the whereabouts of this painting was then unknown.

Sothebys.com are offering the painting with a $200,000-300,000 estimate.