This oil painting of the RMS Queen Mary by marine painter William McDowell (1888-1950) sold for £12,000 at John Nicholson’s auction.

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Offered on January 31, the large, 2ft 9in x 5ft 4in (84cm x 1.62m), oil on canvas appears to belong to a small series of commemorative paintings produced in the 1930s for the ship’s owner, Cunard White Star.

An inscription to the verso states that all rights to its reproduction were the property of the British Colour Printing company in London, suggesting it was intended to be reproduced. McDowell specialised in commercial work for large shipping companies such as Cunard, which used his original oils for promotional prints and posters.

Estimated at £1500-2000, it sold to a phone bidder against competition from the internet and another phone.

According to the Blouin Art Sales Index, the price is an auction record for the artist, superseding another smaller oil of the Queen Mary sailing into New York which took £10,500 at Sotheby’s London back in 1985.