The portrait, dated 1750, was painted by Italian neoclassical painter Marco Benefial (1684-1764) and depicts Edward Curtis of Mardyke House in Bristol wearing a finely embroidered waistcoat patterned with rococco metal threads. The original, believed to be French mid 18th century, was offered alongside the picture.
A well-known merchant from Bristol, Curtis likely sat for the portrait while on the Grand Tour and is believed to have acquired the waistcoat ‘en route’ for Italy.
The pair drew eager bidding and was knocked down at £9500 against a £6000-8000 guide. The buyer was “one of the UK’s largest institutions” said the auction house.