The unsigned 10 x 9in (26 x 22cm) work showing the head and shoulders of an unidentified woman in a fur collar was offered on June 14 at Welsh auction house Rogers Jones (18% buyer’s premium) and was knocked down at £5000 to a private buyer based in London.
According to the saleroom, it had been purchased around 30 years ago from a private country house sale in south Wales by the vendor’s late husband. A label inscribed C/G Philpot was on the gilt mount.
Ben Rogers Jones, auctioneer and partner at the auction house, said it was “described cautiously but the quality meant we were quietly confident that the attribution was correct”.
Initially known for his portraits of contemporary figures such as Siegfried Sassoon and Oswald Mosley, Philpot is perhaps best recognised today for his portraits of black people, in particular his West Indian servant Henry Thomas.
A portrait of Thomas painted in the final year of the artist’s life sold for £368,750 (with fees) at Christie’s contents sale of nightclub Annabel’s last autumn.
The price set a new auction record for the artist by some distance.