£35 Munnings painting fetches £182,500

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A painting by Sir Alfred James Munnings originally bought for £35 has sold for £182,500.

The Fair, a sporting painting by Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959) captures the hustle and bustle of a rural horse fair. It sold for £182,500 at Bonhams, London, on Wednesday.

It was purchased direct from the artist pre-1916 for the sum of £35 and has been passed down within the family for a century.

At the time this picture was painted, Munnings was a member of the Lamorna Group, a bohemian artist’s colony which had sprung up near the coastal village of Lamorna in Cornwall. The 19th Century Paintings sale featured several works by other members of the group including Stanhope Forbes and Samuel John Lamorna Birch.

The sale made a total just shy of £2million. A number of other paintings in the sale exceeded expectations. The mountain patrol by Alfred von Wierusz-Kowalski (Polish, 1849-1915) sold to a bidder in the room for £98,500 – near doubling its pre-sale estimates.

Several bidders competed for Quinterelle II, a nude study in watercolor by Sir William Russell Flint (British, 1880-1969) estimated at £15,000-£20,000, which was eventually secured by a bidder on the telephone for £76,900.

A Dream at Dawn by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) made £55,000 against £15,000-£20,000 estimates. The work, painted when Millais was at the height of his fame, depicts a young girl in a white night dress standing on her balcony, dreamily gazing at the sky with head in hand as she waits for morning.