Dutch master's courtyard scene may fetch pounds 6.5m

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The Independent Online
A MASTERPIECE by Pieter de Hooch, the 17th Century Dutch painter, The Courtyard of a House in Delft, (left) is expected to fetch between pounds 4.5m and pounds 6.5m at Christie's in December, writes Dalya Alberge. Putting a price on it has been difficult as this is the finest De Hooch to have appeared on the market in living memory.

The composition and the way the artist has played with illusions of space closely relate to one of his most famous images, which hangs in the National Gallery. Christie's version, which comes from a collection at Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire, has also been widely exhibited.

Christie's yesterday also announced that its Old Masters sale will include Rubens's previously lost Portrait of Madame de Vicq, 1625, (above) long ago separated from the image of her husband, which is in the Louvre, Paris. Its estimate is pounds 1m to pounds 1.5m.

(Photographs omitted)