Previously unknown Sickert painting for sale

A previously unknown painting by the influential British artist Walter Sickert has been discovered in Scotland. The Blind Sea Captain is thought to have been painted in Dieppe, in northern France, in 1914, during the outbreak of the First World War.

Sickert is better known for his paintings of nudes, including the controversial series The Camden Town Murder, which he painted after the notorious killing of a prostitute in 1907. The Blind Sea Captain is expected to fetch up to £60,000 at Bonhams' 20th Century British Art Sale in west London on 9 March.

It was inherited from the seller's grandfather and has been described as one of the finest examples of Sickert's proficiency as a master of mood and allusion.

The family selling the painting knew it was by Sickert, but the existence of the work was not known by experts.

Until the discovery, art historians knew of just one similar Sickert painting, The Old Soldier (1912). Art historian Wendy Baron, who has seen the painting, said: "Until The Blind Sea Captain emerged... I had found nothing during 58 years spent studying Sickert's paintings to suggest that he ever returned to this subject... Its rediscovery is thus especially exciting."

She said the work was an imaginary glimpse into the life "of a man broken by blindness who, but for the devotion of his old mother or wife, would be destined for the workhouse".

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