A tiny oil painting discovered on a routine valuation day has just totalled over £4K in a Fine Art Auction this week.

The 25cm by 19cm oil is by one of Scotland’s most sought after genre artists, Robert Gemmell Hutchison ((1855-1936). Hutchison was born and educated in Edinburgh and gained a love of painting taking his inspiration from Dutch pictures and John and Thomas Faed. He specialised in painting children in typically Scottish landscapes with broad brushstrokes and a muted palette. He was elected to the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours and Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1901. He exhibited widely and his works now reside in galleries and important large works have fetched over £100K at auction in recent years.

The painting in question is typical of Hutchison’s style – three infants collect mussels from the seashore, their facial features typically obscured from view. Discovered amongst a consignment of ‘general’ pictures and prints at Richard Winterton’s Solihull Valuation office, the vendor was unaware of what a valuable and rare work of art they possessed. The signature was very hard to read, but Adrian Rathbone (Fine Arts Manager) at the Auction House identified it as that of Hutchison and placed it in the 1st December Fine Art Sale as Lot 378 at Richard Winterton’s Lichfield Auction Centre.

Illustrated in the glossy catalogue and marketed internationally with the ‘live internet bidding’ feature, it exceeded the £400-600 pre–sale estimate to bring £3.6k. It was purchased by a delighted and determined UK private buyer present in the room who fought off five telephone, other room and online bidders.

Other notable highlights in the same successful sale included Lot 64, a unique military silver snuff box by Aston & Sons of Birmingham dated 1858 at £2,050 and Lot 146, a cased set of Isle of Man platinum crowns at £6k.

The next International Fine Art Sale is 29th March 2012 and entries are now being invited. Visit the Auction House website at www.richardwinterton.co.uk for information on the free valuation events in your area or phone 01543 251081.

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