The unsigned 13¾ x 19¾in (35 x 50cm) oil on canvas had been acquired by the vendor around 15-20 years ago from a regional saleroom for approximately £100.
At the Gloucestershire saleroom on March 23 it was catalogued as ‘mid-19th century English school’ and estimated at £40-60.
This time around, however, a number of bidders appear to have spotted its similarity to John Constable’s (1776-1837) painting West End Fields, Hampstead, noon from c.1822, a work now in the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.
While the placement of the shepherd and his flock in the current picture is similar to Constable’s original, other elements more closely followed the mezzotint version from c.1830 engraved by the young David Lucas who reproduced a wide range of Constable’s English landscapes, first under his close supervision and then also after his death.
If the painting in the Chorley’s sale was indeed a mid-19th century copy of the well-known print, it looked like a good example with the composition, sky and colouring all deemed well conceived, even if not quite matching Constable’s masterful original.
Whatever the merits of the artist’s hand, a view of Hampstead looking towards Kilburn windmill from this period is highly attractive in any case.
This helped the bidding reach £14,000 before it was knocked down to the UK trade.