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John Bradley's oil-on-canvas portraits of a young boy with his toy horse, below right, and a girl holding a doll in an interior, above right, each measuring 12 x 11in (30 x 28cm), had been consigned to Bonhams Ipswich from a deceased estate. Both required some minor restoration to London-made canvases but, thick with grime, were in absolutely untouched condition and offered in period, probably original veneered frames. Importantly, as it subsequently emerged, they were signed and inscribed I. Bradley, Limner, Suffolk 1830.

Bradley's early history is sketchy but c.1831 he was in Manhattan painting subjects from Staten Island and New Jersey.

A handful of signed works completed by Bradley in America are known, the earliest dated 1832 signed I. Bradley From Great Britton. He was previously thought to be from Ireland but these works - evidently the earliest by the artist to have survived - suggest he hailed from East Anglia.

Estimated to bring just £1200-1600, it was this American connection that saw them sell to a UK collector of naïve portraits at £40,000 plus buyer's premium.