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A skirmish on the banks of the Rhine, catalogued as ‘French School, early 18th century’, sold for £7000 at Stride & Son.

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The 23½in x 3ft 2in (60 x 97cm) oil, painted on a large single-piece panel of oak, is believed to depict a cavalry skirmish on the banks of the Rhine.

It had been consigned by a local private vendor and is likely to have been in their family for generations, said the auction house. In good overall condition and estimated at £3000-5000, it sold to a European picture dealer via the phone at £7000.

Stride & Son picture’s specialist, Peter Parker, said: “It was well painted and the battle scene was quite interesting – there were a set of gallows in the centre of the composition which was most unusual.” With more specialist research an attribution may be possible, he added.

The scene may depict one of the many conflicts that arose in the middle Rhineland, primarily between France, her eastern German neighbours and the European-wide coalition. The region was repeatedly invaded by French troops, which resulted in continuous battles, widespread devastation and famine.

Both the Nine Years’ War under the reign of Louis XIV and later, Louis XV’s War of the Austrian Succession, were also fought in the Rhineland.