Portrait of a lady heads up Oxfordshire sale

The top performing lot in Oxfordshire-based auction house Mallams’ recent Art & Music Sale was an oil on canvas portrait of a lady (possibly from the Fairfax family, York) wearing a brown dress and blue cape, from the Circle of Mary Beale (1632-1697/99). The painting was estimated at £2,000-£3,000, however it eventually sold to a telephone bidder for £31,000 – more than 10 times its top estimate.

With more than 600 lots up for auction, the auctioeers said it was a very busy day, achieving total sales of £186,000. Rupert Fogden, Mallams’ Director and Art & Music Sale Specialist, said: “The sale included a good and diverse range of artists, styles and subject matters and was very well received by dealers, collectors and private clients, ensuring some encouraging results.”

The sale featured prints and engravings, oils and watercolours, miniatures and musical instruments, as well as books, frames and accessories.

From the same estate as the top lot was an oil painting of a Spanish Grandee wearing a white ruff and Milanese armour, painted by a follower of Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt (1567-1641). A bird symbol on the sitter’s left arm, was possibly representative of a family symbol. This achieved the top estimate of £6,000, going to an online bidder.

A signed oil painting by the British painter, Alfred de Breanski (1852-1928), particularly noted for his landscapes of England, Scotland and Wales was another lot that piqued interest. Entitled The Head of Loch Lubnaig (a small freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands), it sold with both the original and a later replacement frame for £10,000 to a telephone bidder, double the mid estimate.

The Flower Girl from the 19th-century English school, also performed well. This oil on canvas painting was estimated at £800-£1,200, but the hammer eventually fell to an online bidder at £2,800.

Other lots of note included a 19th-century charcoal painting of a girl’s head by Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919) which sold to a telephone bidder for the lower estimate of £2,000, and an oil on canvas landscape of ‘Manor Farm, Nesfield, Wharfedale’ by Herbert Royle (1870-1954/58) which sold online for £1,300, just above the top estimate.