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This maquette, right, of one of those panels, The Prodigal Son, turned up on July 11 at Crewkerne auctioneers Lawrence’s (15% buyer’s premium) was catalogued as plaster, but was later realised to be terracotta. Tinworth’s popularity rests on his impish models of children and animals – the playful side of his puritan personality – but critics like Ruskin acclaimed his scriptural sculpture, much of which goes unnoticed today in Anglican churches. The Prodigal Son can be seen in St Mary’s Church Nottingham.

This parable interested Tinworth, who was obliged to hide his aspirations as a sculptor while working for his wheelwright father in Lambeth during the 1850s.

Measuring 17in wide by 53/4in high (43 x 14.5cm), the maquette was intricately modelled in relief with the father welcoming the errant son back into the fold. It was entered in good condition by a local woman and sold to a local dealer at £930.