The sale at Dreweatts included furniture, sculpture, ceramics, works of art but also a smattering of pictures.
Both of the two Old Masters had been purchased for higher sums at auction in the last 25 years but, thanks to being pitched at lower levels, they both drew decent bidding.
One was a painting of a gorge with fishermen by a cascade and a monastery on a cliff beyond by Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-89). It had provenance to the late Betty, Lady Grantchester (1925-2019), the eldest child of the Littlewoods founder Sir John Moores, and it piqued the interest of a number of players in the Old Master market.
The 22¼ x 2ft 2in (57 x 65cm) oil on canvas had some retouching and a layer of varnish, and had previously sold for £41,000 including premium at Christie’s in December 1997. Here it was estimated at £7000-10,000 and sold at £17,000 to the UK trade.
Also bringing competition was a portrait of a cleric by German artist Georg Lemberger (c.1490-1537) which came from the same source. It had twice sold at Sotheby’s, once in New York in June 1990 for $55,000 (£32,650) and then again in London in July 2000 for £44,200 including premium.
Again, some retouching and discoloured varnish was evident but, despite some areas of shrinkage and surface cracking too, it exceeded its £10,000-15,000 estimate at the March 30 sale and sold at £20,000 to a UK private buyer.