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'Horses drinking in a stream under trees', an oil on canvas by Harold Power – £3700 at Charles Ross Fine Art.

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The signed 19in x 2ft (49 x 61cm) oil on canvas, of a pair of horses drinking in a stream as a farmhand looks on, had been consigned from a private vendor in Hertfordshire.

Entered with an enticing £200-300 guide, it was the object of eager bidding on the phone and a bidder on thesaleroom.com, selling to the latter for £3700. Despite pre-sale interest from Australia, the buyer was based in the UK.

“The Power picture did do much better than expected – there were one or two areas on it that will need some work, so we kept the estimate deliberately low,” said auctioneer Peter Mason. “We understand from the buyer that these pictures do not appear very often.”

Power is considered to be one Australia’s finest equestrian painters and was appointed an official war artist by the Australian government at the outbreak of the First World War.

Sotheby’s Sydney set a new auction record for Power in May, when a fiery canvas depicting war horses at the Battle of Passchendaele sold for Aus$164,700 (around £95,750).