'Lost' Joseph Wright painting by sells for £162,000

The painting of Landscape with Rainbow. The picture was unrecorded for 200 years

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A 'lost' painting by an iconic Derby artist has sold at auction for £162,000.

The painting - Landscape with Rainbow - was thought to exist but had gone unrecorded by art experts for more than 200 years.

In January, a family from Sussex inherited the painting and took it to an auctioneer, where the investigation into its history began.

A second version of the work hangs in Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

The painting found its way to the auction house, Bellmans, after their assistant director employed a local builder to carry out some work.

'Extremely pleased'

While in conversation, he heard the family had inherited the painting and wished to sell it.

The history of the lost work

  • The Derby Museum version of Landscape with Rainbow is signed and dated 1794
  • Wright's letters and papers seemed to reference a second painting for Nathanial Philips in 1795
  • This was due to leave for America but then disappeared from the records
  • The Derby Museum painting was among the contents of Wright's studio sale in 1801 before being passed to his daughter and her descendents
  • It was purchased by Derby Museums in 1913

Bellmans' painting specialist, James Gadd, travelled to Derby to study the copy of the work in the museum.

He said: "This painting had a wonderful provenance and I started working on researching it earlier this year, including visits to Derby Museum.

"Wright's style is widely recognised and is in the collections of some of the most prominent galleries certainly in the UK and further afield.

"I am extremely pleased with today's result. This is the most expensive painting that I have sold at Bellmans."

The seller of the painting, Terry Wickham, said: "I am delighted with the result, and am planning to put the money towards building a new house."

Prior to the auction, estimates suggested the painting would sell for between £70,000 and £90,000.

It was bought anonymously.

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