Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The unsigned 2ft 5in x 221/2in (74 x 57cm) canvas showing a vase of foxgloves, tulips, carnations and other flowers had been entered from a deceased estate in the South of England and was described by the auctioneers as being in “fairly rough” condition.

There were no labels on the back indicating an older provenance and the painting lacked a sympathetic frame. The auctioneers generically catalogued the still life as ‘Italian School’, but thought it dated from the late 16th century.

Although specialist dealers might have had other ideas, ultimately the quality of the painting was not sufficiently high to trigger seriously speculative bidding and the final £13,000 bid by a Manchester dealer against an estimate of £3000-5000 was broadly in line with current prices paid for decorative Old Master still lives that can’t be attributed to a major name.

This multiple-estimate price from the trade for this market-fresh still life, tellingly contrasted with the below-estimate £5000 bid by a private buyer for a Robert Gallon (1845-1925) river landscape that had been bought by the vendor some 15 years ago.

In relined condition, this 18in x 2ft 8in (46 x 81cm) canvas held few attractions for dealers and was knocked down some way short of its £5500-7000 forecast.