Record-breaking William Dobson self-portrait tops £1 million at Bonhams
A self-portrait by the English painter William Dobson has smashed its estimate to fetch a new world record price at Bonhams.
Dobson, who has been described as the "lost genius of British art", was the first Englishman to serve as official artist to the Royal Court.
He succeeded Anthony van Dyck in 1641, and served King Charles I during the English Civil War, producing portraits of numerous cavaliers, the Duke of York and the young Prince of Wales.
However, when Charles was imprisoned at the end of the war in 1646 Dobson lost his royal patronage, left the court in Oxford and died in poverty before the year was through.
He was later described as both "the most excellent painter that England has yet bred", and "being somewhat loose and irregular in his way of living", but is largely unknown to the public today.
Offered with an estimate of £200,000 - £300,000, the painting – the earliest known work attributed to Dobson – sold for a record £1,106,550 ($1.43 million).
"It is difficult to overestimate the rarity and importance of this work in the history of British art and I am not surprised that it has sold for such a very high record price," said Andrew McKenzie, Bonhams Director of Old Master Painting.
There was also a strong result for Pastoral Landscape by Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), a painting described as "more beautiful and ordered than nature itself", which achieved a final price of £722,500.
Further notable highlights from the sale included The Entombment by Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574) which sold for £482,500; Saint Sebastian by Jusepe de Ribera (1588-1656) which sold for £218,500; Portrait of Elizabeth Burgoyne by George Romney which sold for £314,500; and Part of the Refectory of Walsingham Abbey Norfolk by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) which fetched a new world record price of £338,500.
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