The 2ft 6in x 2ft 1in (76 x 63cm) oil on board, signed twice and dated to 1955, was included in the large five-day Fine Art sale on April 3-6 and 11, which was held in the Grade II*-listed interior of Bishton Hall in rural Staffordshire.
The picture formed part of a collection of 20th century art consigned from a Leicestershire academic institution that the saleroom has been selling throughout this year.
Adrian Rathbone, associate director at Hansons, said he found the picture “languishing in a cupboard” and it “depicted an unidentified, rather frazzled botanical study”. Tentatively estimated at £2000-3000, it sold to a London buyer for £8000.
Nolan painted a number of flower studies during the 1940s-50s, but these have been overshadowed by his more famous works from the period, notably his outback scenes on the theme of the 19th century bushranger Ned Kelly.