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Around 80 per cent of the 90-odd lots managed to find buyers with local private demand mainly concentrated in the £1000-10,000 range.

However, two private collectors were prepared to put in some hefty underbids of £92,000 and £85,000 for the c.1930 Leslie Hunter (1877-1931) Still Life with Flowers in a Striped Vase that was the obvious star of the sale.

This large signed double-sided canvas, measuring 3ft 41/2in by 2ft 6in (1.03m x 76cm) and featuring a three-quarter length portrait of the artist’s close friend T.J. Honeyman to the reverse, was fresh to the market from a Scottish private collection and had never been offered at auction before. Condition was untouched and the canvas retained its original frame. In terms of auction prices, Hunter has always been the slight ‘poor relation’ of the four Scottish Colourists and expert-in-charge Nick Curnow expressed his regret that the record £95,000 that was eventually bid by a London dealer for this late still life did not quite elevate the artist to the same six-figure plateau that Cadell, Peploe and Fergusson occupy.

Elsewhere in this Edinburgh sale, post-war Scottish painting by names such as Alberto Morroco (1917-1999), James Morrison (b.1932) and Sir William George Gillies (1898-1973) attracted the most intensive demand in the key £1000-10,000 range that is so attractive to private buyers.

But there was also a major Victorian surprise when a privately entered, but relined and cleaned, Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) canvas of sheep in a snowy landscape by moonlight surprisingly found a trade buyer at £36,000 against an estimate of £6000-8000.

Admittedly the sheep were facing in the right direction – that odd but key point with Farquharson works – but given that this was a moonlit scene rather than a sunset, and the fact that the relatively small 2ft by 20in (60 x 50cm) canvas had been cleaned quite recently, many regarded this as a fairly remarkable price that reflected the current shortage of commercial, market-fresh images.