A small, early portrait roundel of Elisabetta Querini, the Dogaressa of Venice by marriage to the Doge Silvestro Valuer, was the top lot in Oxfordshire auctioneers Mallams’ recent Picture Sale.
The oil on canvas work, showing Elisabetta with plaited hair and wearing a pearl necklace, saw a number of interested parties pushing the price upwards, with the successful top bid of £9,200 from a UK telephone bidder.
A fine copy, by the John Moores prizewinning artist Nicholas Middleton, of the world-renowned Toilet of Venus by Velasquez also performed well, with the hammer eventually falling at £7,400 against a top estimate of £1,200. Unusually, Middleton painted the work in its unrestored state, the original having been slashed with a meat chopper by the suffragette Mary Richardson whilst it was hanging in the National Gallery in 1914.
A 17th-century portrait traditionally identified as Sir Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading, and in the style of Cornelius Johnson van Ceulen (1593-1661), was another lot which exceeded its top estimate. It depicted Sir Jacob (1579-1651) in a cloth cap, collar and steel breastplate and sold to an online bidder for £6,000.
René Charles Edmond His (1877-1960), was a formally-trained French painter known for landscapes, and one of his oil paintings was included in this sale. A signed, sun-drenched river landscape with washer woman, aroused interest amongst bidders and eventually sold for £3,200 to a telephone bidder.
Another landscape painting, a watercolour of a view of the Lake District by English artist John Glover (1767-1849), also performed well, with a winning commission bid of £1,600.
Two charming, oil portraits, in the manner of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), achieved a hammer price of £2,200 against a top estimate of £800. One portrait depicted a lady with coiffed hair and lace-collared dress, while the other featured a lady wearing a lace bonnet.
An online bidder made the winning bid of £2200, just over top estimate, on a Bacchanalian revelry from the 17th-century Italian School measuring 68.5 x 86cm.
The sale, both online and over the telephone, saw 90% of lots sold and a sale total of £160,000.