Auctioneers Tayler & Fletcher showed it earlier this week to Prof Brian Allen of London dealers Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox who gave his opinion that the painting is by the artist’s hand. The estimate was immediately more than doubled from £10,000-15,000 to £30,000-50,000.
Dated c. 1775, Italian Landscape Viewed through a Cavern by Moonlight, 20 x 24in (50.5 x 60.5cm), has many of the hallmarks of a classic capriccio by Wright of Derby. Possibly incorporating elements of Neptune’s grotto at Tivoli, the moonlit scene is further illuminated by a fiery cave on the left.
The picture was included in the private collection of a Derby antiques dealer from the 1960s and has been passed down by family descent. It was first shown to auctioneer Martin Lambert of Tayler & Fletcher 20 years ago and again five years ago when the late owner’s brother inherited the picture. It is included in the auctioneer's sale on October 19.
In 2013 a previously unrecorded late work by the artist, Landscape with Rainbow, sold for £125,000 at Bellmans in West Sussex. Another work by Wright of Derby thought to be a self-portrait was rediscovered earlier this year by dealer Archie Parker who offered it for sale at the recent LAPADA fair priced in the region of £100,000.