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A pupil of Legros at the Slade and Bouguereau and Ferrier in Paris, Wells settled at Appledore, North Devon where he lived until his relatively early death at the age of 51.
His favourite compositional motif was a peasant girl set against an open landscape and a low skyline, typified by this 3ft by 2ft 4in (91cm x 76cm) canvas, right, which came up for sale at the Lewes rooms of Gorringes (10% buyer’s premium) on September 4-6.

Signed and dated (19)08, the painting had been bought from the Fine Art Society in the 1960s and was in heavily nicotine-stained condition, which is always a plus with the trade. On the day, two Scottish dealers were determined to buy it, the hammer finally falling at £15,000 against an estimate of £4000-6000.