The picture was part of a local consignment from a private collector who is in the process of moving home, and who had acquired a series of pictures from the London salerooms in the 1960s and 70s.
Elaine, a typically aesthetic large oil on canvas of a mythical subject, had been purchased by the vendor for £200 at Sotheby’s May 1970. The auctioneers were under no pressure to push up estimate and it was pitched here at £15,000-25,000.
Multiple bidders competed for the lot and auctioneer Ian Brasher reported both trade and private interest. The eventually buyer was in the room, seeing off interest from a number of interested parties on the phone to secure the work.
The price was a house record, surpassing the £110,000 for a Cartier bracelet that was the previous saleroom high at House & Son.
The 4ft 6in x 6ft 1in (1.36 x 1.85m) oil on canvas was signed and dated 1899 and a plaque on the gilt frame indicated that the painting had been one of the artist’s Royal Academy exhibits.
In Arthurian legend Elaine of Astolat dies of her unrequited love for Sir Lancelot and her body is placed in a small boat which floats down to Camelot.
The buyer’s premium at House & Son was 17.5%.