The Conjurer’s Table by Peter Rose Pulham, £9000 at Roseberys.

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The artist, who trained as an architect but became a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, was initially better known for his photos of 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso but turned to painting Surrealist-style works in the late 1930s.

He exhibited at the Redfern Gallery, the Hanover Gallery and the London Gallery, and the critic and writer George Melly believed Pulham would have become an important painter had he not died at a relatively young age.

Pulham works are relatively rare on the market – records around 50 results. The intriguing composition titled The Conjuror’s Table which was offered at the November 29 auction was a small example, with the oil on panel measuring 8½ x 10½in (22 x 27cm).

A similarly sized example by the artist with the same brick background and highly finished style emerged at Bonhams in 2019. Titled Blue Paper, it sold well above estimate at £8000.

Here at the south London saleroom the pitch was again set at what proved an attractive level, with bidders online, on the phone and in the room prepared to go over the £2000-3000 estimate.

It was eventually knocked down at £9000 to a UK private collector – the sum standing only behind the £10,000 for the much larger Grisaille Figures I from 1947 that sold at Christie’s in 2016 in terms of auction prices for Pulham.

The sale was led by a newly authenticated Jean Dufy (1888-1964) oil on canvas, Les Battages, which will be included in the forthcoming edition of the artist’s catalogue raisonné. It sold below estimate to a buyer in Switzerland at £22,000.