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Most hotly contested of the
quartet proved to be this 13 by 91/2in (33 x 24cm) oil-on-panel painting, right, of children outside a cottage which Gorringes, wary of the Cyrillic
signature, catalogued as Attributed to Nikolai Bogdanoff.

In untouched condition in its
original gilt and gesso frame, the painting is dated (18)94, which might well make it a work by Nikolai Grigorjewitsch Bogdanoff, a St Petersburg painter whom Bénézit lists as being born in 1850.

Presumably Russian picture buyers had a far clearer idea of what they were looking at and on the day a Latvian-based telephone bidder got the better of a Muscovite on another ‘phone with a final price of £15,000.