Flowers and Fruit by George Leslie Hunter – £72,000 at Hansons.

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Flowers and Fruit, a vibrant 21½ x 18in (55 x 45cm) oil on canvas, was estimated at £60,000-80,000 in the June 30 Summer Fine Art sale in Etwall, Derbyshire.

The painting was reportedly discovered after a chance conversation between a taxi driver and the saleroom’s founder, Charles Hanson, and had remained in the same family since it was acquired from a gallery in Glasgow in the 1960s.

Adrian Rathbone, associate director at Hansons, said: “We were happy with the price. It is a good subject with a decent composition and an old gallery label added weight to its provenance. There is certainly strength in the Scottish Colourist sector.”

The ‘Scottish Impressionist’

The sale included a series of works by fellow Scottish painter William McTaggart (1835- 1910), consigned by descendants of the McTaggart family.

Known as ‘the Scottish Impressionist’, the artist was heavily influenced by Constable and Turner and adopted the practice of en plein air painting. A prolific painter, his prices reached a high on the secondary market in the 1990s but have softened since then.

The collection, which included eight pictures, his sketch books and walking cane, totalled just over £50,000, with the majority of his pictures selling just below their estimates.


Portrait of Margareta de Vos – £25,000.

Another Hansons highlight was a 20 x 14½in (52 x 37cm) oil on ceramic portrait of Margareta de Vos by a follower of Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). It sold for £25,000 against a £10,000-15,000 guide.

De Vos was the sister of the Antwerp painters, Cornelis and Paul de Vos, and the wife of Frans Snyders, the still-life and animal painter who was a friend of Anthony van Dyck and collaborated with his master Peter Paul Rubens. Van Dyck painted the couple, and this picture relates to the portrait in the Frick Collection in New York.

“This copy was painted on a hefty slab of pottery, which made it very heavy but there was definite quality there in the brushwork. It was a good buy and I think there is further research to be done,” said Rathbone.