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Covey of Red Grouse by Archibald Thorburn sold for £17,000 at a Busby auction.

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Well contested at Busby (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) in Bridport, Dorset, were two Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) watercolours. The signed works, Grouse in Flight (1927) and Covey of Red Grouse (1924), had been stored in a bank vault for over two decades and never offered at auction. They came from the Barlow family of Furnace Place in Haslemere and had been a gift by Sir Charles Garton to his daughter Winifred Barlow.

Garton had been a friend of Thorburn, who moved in 1902 to Hascombe, a short distance from Furnham Place. The works were described by auctioneer Hugo Busby before the sale as two “of the best I have seen of Thorburn’s work. The colour, condition and crispness of detail are second to none.”

They generated interest on the day from dealers and private buyers. Covey of Red Grouse, the larger of the two at 15 x 21½in (37 x 54cm), was secured by a private buyer on the phone for £17,000 (estimate £10,000-15,000). Grouse in Flight sold to another private phone bidder for £11,500 (£8000-12,000).

After they sold on November 21, Isaac Goodwin of Busby said: “Both subjects were attractive to the market, especially the shooting fraternity who acquired them, and the difference in price was due mostly to the size.”

Country house

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This oil on canvas of hounds and horseman on a hunt by John Charlton made £11,000 at Cheffins’ auction.

At Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Cambridge on November 27-28 two pictures from Moulton Grange, a country house in Pitsford in Northamptonshire, sold for multi-estimate sums to private buyers.

A vast 4ft 11in x 7ft 10in (1.5 x 2.4m) oil on canvas of hounds and horseman on a hunt by John Charlton (1849-1917) was knocked down at £11,000, more than twice the top estimate. Gone to Earth had suffered some scuffs and scratches but was largely in good condition and showed Charlton’s skill of painting horses, dogs and figures in a detailed and vivid landscape.

A slightly scruffy and yellowed rectangular oil signed in Cyrillic E Pifmenov and depicting a wildfowl shoot at sunset was taken to £5500 against a £300-500 estimate.