Painting hidden for 200 years goes under the hammer at Wisborough Green

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A PAINTING by an iconic artist of the Industrial Revolution that has not been recorded for more than 200 years is expected to fetch £70,000-£90,000 when it is sold in Wisborough Green next month.

On Wednesday, April 24, Bellmans Auctioneers will offer for sale Landscape with Rainbow, attributed to the renowned 18th-century portrait and landscape artist Joseph Wright of Derby.

The painting found its way to Bellmans after one of the company’s specialists had building work undertaken by a local builder. Through a conversation with the builder it was found his family had inherited a Joseph Wright of Derby painting and wished to sell.

After deliberation by the family, the painting was brought to Bellmans in early January where the investigation into its provenance and history started. Research revealed two versions of this painting were produced – while one is known to currently reside at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, the other remained unaccountable.

Landscape with Rainbow was often referred to in accounts books, letters and papers, which suggests the painting in Bellmans sale may in fact be the second copy, currently absent from listings. Of the two copies, one was recorded to have been painted for Nathanial Philips in 1795 and was scheduled to be sent to America. This version has never been traced and has been unrecorded for 200 years.

The other painting was documented to have been part of the contents of Wright’s studio sale which took place in 1801. At this point Wright’s daughter and descendants took procession of the painting. It was later passed to AJ Keene and ultimately purchased by the Derby Museum in 1913.

James Gadd, paintings specialist at Bellmans Auctioneers, said: “Bellmans are very excited to be offering such a potentially-important painting attributed to arguably the most significant artist of the Industrial Revolution.

“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 will be extremely interested to see the market’s interest in a picture closely comparable with one in the largest collection of Wright’s work at Derby Museum.”