Leonardo's equine drawing sold for record £8m

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The Independent Online

A study of a mounted man by Leonardo da Vinci became one of the world's most valuable Old Master drawings yesterday when it sold for more than £8m at auction. The work, Horse and Rider, had been expected to fetch £3.5m but went for more than double that to equal the previous world record price set by Michelangelo's The Study For The Risen Christ, sold at a Christie's auction last year.

The Leonardo been described as the most important drawing by the Italian artist to be offered at auction since the Thirties, and is the only remaining work by him of such importance in private hands.

Reflecting Leonardo's passion for equestrian subjects, Horse and Rider was a study for his first great composition, the large unfinished panel The Adoration of the Magi, now in the Uffizi museum in Florence.

Noel Annesley, deputy chairman of Christie's, said: "This is an exquisite drawing. The sense of movement of both horse and rider is captured with Leonardo's unique finesse of execution, and it achieved an exceptional price." An anonymous telephone bidder offered the final figure of £8,143,750 for the work, which equals the price to the penny of Michelan-gelo's Risen Christ.

Horse and Rider has been part of the collection of the Brown family of Providence, Rhode Island, since John Nicholas Brown bought it at auction in 1928. It is being sold for estate planning purposes for his son, J Carter Brown, a former director of the National Gallery in Washington and a distinguished connoisseur.

A drawing by Michelangelo, Study of a Mourning Woman, being auctioned by Sotheby's in London today, is expected to fetch a similarly price. It lay unrecognised in a country house for 250 years and could be sold to an overseas buyer, despite campaigns to keep it in Britain.

* The newly discovered 44-page handwritten Eumaeus section of James Joyce's ground-breaking novel Ulysses fetched £861,250 when it was sold by a private collector at Sotheby's yesterday.