Painting thought to be by Nicolas Poussin sells

A painting thought to be by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) has doubled its top estimate to sell for £60,000 in a recent sale at Sloane Street Auctions in London.

Showing a satyr with a nymph on his back, the 40 x 30in oil on canvas belonged to the late Lord Eldon (1805-54), grandson of the 1st Earl of Eldon, the Lord Chancellor under George III and George IV, from whom he is thought to have inherited it.

A painting thought to be by Nicolas Poussin

A painting thought to be by Poussin with a similar subject is known to have sold at the banqueting House in London on June 2, 1684, and Sloane Street Auctions have traced a likely ownership history from then on, including the collection of the Duke of St Albans in the 18th century.

An independent assessment by the Poussin scholar and art historian Christopher Wright, who produced the catalogue raisonné on the artist, prior to the auction confirmed the attribution to Poussin.

Artist and Poussin scholar Timothy Standring dates the painting to 1626-1627 and believes it to be the prime version of this composition and, as such, it is a significant addition to the early oeuvre of Nicolas Poussin.

A later treatment of the subject from 1629 is conserved in the Gemäldegalerie, Alte Meister, Kassel (inv. no. GK 459), while the British Museum holds what appears to be a preparatory drawing for it, dated to circa 1626.

Poussin is considered one of the leading painters of the classical French Baroque style who inspired Paul Cezanne as well as other leading artists of the late 18th century.