The painting depicting a girl goat herder in the Alps by Marianne Stokes (1855–1927) was consigned from a property in the north of Scotland and sold for £16,000.
Marianne Preindlsberger – better known under her married name – was an accomplished painter and focused on social realism. She met her husband, artist Adrian Stokes (1854- 1935), in France in 1883. They moved to St Ives, becoming prominent members of the Newlyn School.
In the 1890s she changed her style and began painting in tempera in a medieval style. The couple moved to London in 1899 and frequently travelled across Europe, often with friend artist John Singer Sargent. Marianne’s work appears at auction sporadically and she achieved her top auction price, according to the Art Sales Index, in December 2014 at Christie’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art in London when Angels Entertaining the Holy Child sold for a premium-inclusive £110,500.
It is believed the oil on canvas at Elgin had not appeared on the market since it was purchased from the artist.
Stokes’ great-great niece Magdalen Evans, who is the author of Utmost Fidelity: The Painting Lives of Marianne and Adrian Stokes, identified the work as The Goatherd of the Tyrol. She told ATG: “She was an incredibly accomplished artist and had very loyal clients who bought her works and held on to them.”
The girl in the image is knitting and Evans said Stokes “loved depicting children working and had a great appreciation for diligence and hard work”.
The picture was bought by a private buyer at Elgin through dealer Duncan Wood of the Anthony Woodd Gallery in Edinburgh. He said: “Marianne and Adrian Stokes visited the Alps a number of times and the painting concerned would have been painted during one of those visits. It certainly is a most unusual and arresting image, difficult enough for even the most seasoned specialist to put a proper value on.”
From the same consigner, Wood bought an 1885 oil on canvas by Austrian painter Franz Leo Ruben (1842-1920) for the same private buyer at £7000.
Also from the same source, a picture featuring an English setter dog Dash by sporting animal specialist George Earl (1824-1908) was hammered down to Wood at £6600. It has been sold to another client.
Wood added: “All three paintings were exemplary and attracted a lot of internet and phone interest.”
All the pictures were offered without estimate at Elgin Auction Centre – its usual policy.