Turner unearthed by detective work fetches pounds 100,500

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The Independent Online

A previously unknown painting by Turner, bought for a few dollars at a Canadian country sale, fetched pounds 100,500 when sold to an anonymous collector at an auction at Phillips in London yesterday.

The painting was only confirmed Turner's work after a previous owner decided to have conservation work carried out. After restorers failed to match the image, Landscape with a Rainbow, to other Turners, West Yorkshire police officers were called in.

John Manners, the head of the force's fingerprint bureau, matched a fingertip print on the painting with one from Turner's famous work, Chichester Canal, at London's Tate Gallery.

John Dabney, Phillips' British painting specialist, said: "It is probably the first time fingerprinting has figured in such an obvious way in confirming the identity of the artist."

At Phillips yesterday, the original puppet stars of the Thunderbirds television series were also yesterday sold to anonymous buyers. A British collector paid pounds 23,000 for the 9ft model of Lady Penelope's pink Rolls- Royce. The same buyer also bought Parker, Lady Penelope's faithful Cockney chauffeur, for pounds 19,550.

The puppet of Lady Penelope was sold to an American buyer for pounds 13,800. All were original models brought to auction by the series crew.