Gleaning by Arthur Foord Hughes, £4000 at Mellors & Kirk.

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However, although the work was well known and sold for four times the mid-estimate, the same picture had twice fetched more in the past.

Gleaning, a large painting of a woman gathering crops in a field under an atmospheric sky, was one of the London-born artist’s most ambitious works.

The son of artist Arthur Hughes (1832-1915), he added the name of Foord (his mother’s maiden name) to differentiate him from his father. He produced numerous rustic scenes – he was said to have painted ‘practically every windmill in Sussex’ – but few, if any, were of this scale or featured such dynamic lighting.

Measuring 5 x 4ft (1.52 x 1.22m), the signed oil on canvas offered on January 9 had featured in a Royal Academy exhibition in 1891. It had previously sold twice at Sotheby’s: first for £4800 back in 1987 and then £6000 in 2011. It was offered here on behalf of a private vendor who also consigned a number of other pictures to the same Mellors & Kirk auction.

Restrained estimate

Having been relined and undergone some localised retouching in the past, it was in a ‘ready to hang’ state in its 18th century style frame. The estimate was restrained, something crucial in the Victorian market, and the pitch of £800-1200 ensured it attracted good interest on the day, taking it to a final £4000.

The buyer was a private collector residing in the UK.