John Hoyland painting in Essex saleroom

An oil by the celebrated British abstract painter John Hoyland RA (1934-2011) comes for sale at Essex auctioneers Sworders this week.

The painting, titled Little Dancer and signed and dated 1982, was bought by the keen-eyed buyer at a Hertfordshire auction house for just £12. Now fully attributed it is expected to fetch £3,000-5,000 as part of a sale of Modern and Contemporary Art on April 25.

The seller of the painter is an amateur artist who is drawn to abstract compositions. He has spotted this unframed canvas, stacked behind a mirror, when viewing a local sale. It received no other bids so he managed to buy it for just £10 – plus £2 fees. When he arrived home he began removing a thick layer of dust with a vacuum cleaner and the artist’s name appeared.

Following some quick internet research that reveal Hoyland’s importance to the Modern British movement, he took the picture to Sworders where it was shown to specialist Amy Scanlon. Although a relatively small-scale work, she was confident it will bring enough to buy the lucky vendor a holiday and some new artist materials.

“Its a great find by an important Modern British artist. Larger prime works by Hoyland regularly bring five figure sums at auction so we expect plenty of interest in this painting,” said Amy, Head of Modern and Contemporary Art auctions at Sworders.