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Oil on canvas of a water spaniel by John Boultbee - £15,000 at Lacy Scott & Knight.

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In particular, the colossal Durham Ox and the famous herd of longhorn cattle bred by Leicestershire farmer Robert Bakewell.

Canine portraits on the other hand, like this signed work of a water spaniel shown above, are far less common in his oeuvre.

The 2ft x 2ft 6in (60 x 75cm) oil on canvas, painted towards the end of Boultbee’s life in 1806, had some craquelure and paint loss but generated decent bidding when it appeared at Lacy Scott & Knight (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Bury St Edmunds on June 12.

Estimated at £6000-8000, the privately consigned work was knocked down for £15,000 – an upper-range sum for the artist at auction.

LSK’s Ed Crichton told ATG the subject matter “undoubtedly played a major part in the hammer price”. The buyer was a major London gallery.

According to artprice.com, just one other canine portrait by the artist has sold at auction this century: a painting of an English setter against a similar backdrop which took $24,000 (around £13,000) at Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles in 2004.