Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Take the case of this 10 by 61/4in (24.5 x 16cm) watercolour, right, of three kittens fishing for eels which came under the hammer on the second day of Tennants’ (15/10% buyer’s premium) July 13-14 sale at Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

Entered by a private Scottish vendor and in good, unfaded condition, this signed watercolour carried what appeared to be a realistic enough, if somewhat modest estimate of £600-800. However, the Louis Wain fan club had a completely different idea of the painting’s value and a combination of five telephones and at least 10 commissions plus interest in the room pushed the bidding up to £4800, making it the most expensive picture in the sale. The buyer was described as a private collector from the Lake District.