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‘Dawn ‘, a 1914 picture of French soldiers marching by CRW Nevinson that was knocked down at £1.55m (£1.87m including premium) at Sotheby’s.

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Dawn, a 1914 picture of French soldiers marching rhythmically to the front in Flanders on an autumnal morning, was an early example of the artist’s trademark Vorticist style. It featured in Nevinson’s breakthrough solo show at the Leicester Galleries in 1916.

Consigned from a private source, it was offered in the Modern & Post-War British Art sale with an estimate of £700,000-1m.

The price surpassed the previous auction high for the artist – the premium-inclusive £473,000 set by the same rooms in June 2016 for the 1916 pastel Troops Resting, a study for a painting now in the Imperial War Museum.

Christie’s equivalent sale the following evening was topped at £1.3m (£1.5m including premium) by Stanley Spencer’s Beatitudes of Love 6: Consciousness from 1938.

The vendor had acquired the picture from St John’s College, Oxford in 1954. It had previously hung in the college’s Junior Common Room.