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The elaborately framed oval picture of a mermaid hanging onto the stern of a rowing boat, bottom right, another undated oil on masonite, made $27,000 (£14,850).

Posters, prints, etc. cater to the demand for Cahoon's work - and there is even a special line in pillows that reproduce his folksy seaside scenes - and the fine 18th century house in Cotuit, Massachusetts, that for nearly 40 years was the home and studio of Ralph Cahoon and his wife Martha, whose own paintings focus on fantasy, children, animals, the changing seasons and the country way of life, is now the Cahoon Museum of American Art.