China Trade painting, 1840s – took €55,000 (£47,010) at Ivoire Besançon.

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The painting was brought to the auctioneers on a valuation day by an owner who was reluctant to get it out of the boot of his car, certain that it had little value.

However, Ivoire Besançon’s auctioneer Jean-Paul Renoud-Grappin showed it to the Asian specialist Cabinet Ansart Papillon which identified the 3ft x 6ft 4in (92cm x 1.93m) oil on canvas as a China Trade painting showing the waterfront at Honam, Canton, and the Pearl River.

It was able to date this depiction of the port where the European Hongs (factories and warehouses) were located to the 1840s thanks to the presence of the so-called ‘Dutch Folly’ pictured centre right and the ‘French Folly’ lower right, two defensive forts used during the Second Opium War (1856-60).

The painting took €55,000 (£47,010) against a guide of €10,000-15,000.