Rediscovered Velazquez painting sold for £3m at auction

Portrait of a gentleman, bust-length, in a black tunic and white collar The portrait by the Seville artist dates from 1631-1634

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An oil painting by Spanish artist Velazquez discovered in Oxford has sold at auction for £3m.

The unframed portrait of a balding man was found in August 2010 when it was consigned for sale at Bonhams auction house in Oxford.

In-house experts suspected it was by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez and had it sent for analysis.

The portrait was confirmed to be by Velazquez after X-ray examination.

It is one of 100 works by the Seville artist known to exist, of which only a handful remain in private hands.

The 47cm (18.5in) x 39cm (15in) painting of a unknown man in a black tunic and white collar was part of a small collection of works owned by 19th Century British painter Matthew Shepperson.

"The discovery of this lost treasure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it is tremendously exciting to be able to bring it to the world's attention," said Andrew McKenzie, director of Old Master Paintings at Bonhams.

"This is a portrait of outstanding quality which has the most extraordinary presence.

"To have worked so closely with it has been a wonderful experience and a highlight of my career," he added.

The portrait went under the hammer at an auction of works by Old Masters at Bonhams in London.

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