Red Flash by William Gear, £12,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

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Among the examples bringing demand earlier this year was Red Flash, a 17¾ x 13¾in (45 x 35cm) signed oil on canvas from 1987 (below) which was offered at Lyon & Turnbull (25% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh on January 19.

It came to auction from the collection of the late Dr Angus Gibson and was sold with proceeds to support the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.

The small size was described by the auction house as “more domestic in scale than is typical” which may well have appealed to collectors who find Gear’s large works a bit too dominating in terms of their display.

“I knew this was a strong, punchy little picture and that it would do well, but it’s late-ish so I wasn’t expecting it to necessarily reach the level it did”, said associate director and head of Contemporary art at L&T Charlotte Riordan.

On the day it flew over a £2000-3000 estimate and sold at £12,000.

Riordan added: “Ultimately, the price was reached because two private bidders desperately wanted it and were prepared to pay what it took – even if that price eclipsed what other larger, earlier examples by Gear have been making lately.”