Turner watercolours found in widow's attic fetch pounds 200,000

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The Independent Online
AN ELDERLY widow who found a couple of Turner watercolours during a clear-out of her attic and who was expecting to sell them for pounds 40,000, saw them fetch more than pounds 200,000 yesterday, writes Dalya Alberge.

Turner's delicate view of Stonehenge went for pounds 131,865, to the Leger Galleries, leading Bond Street dealers, and his imaginary impression of the pyramids sold for pounds 72,637 to a private collector in Nottingham. The sale was held by the Nottingham auction house, Mellors & Kirk.

David Posnett, of the Leger Galleries, who explained that it had been bought for their stock, said: 'It is a drawing of one of the greatest sites in England . . . The sun rising or setting over Stonehenge is a scene that has been watched since the time of the Druids . . . It is a drawing in an excellent state of preservation, and totally fresh to the market. We believe it to be an item for a serious collector.' He added that the price was entirely in keeping with figures for other important Turner watercolours.

Both pictures were painted in 1822 for Turner's patron, Walter Fawkes, a descendant of Guy Fawkes. They were to illustrate the front covers of two manuscripts compiled by Fawkes.

They were sold for pounds 231 at Christie's in 1890, and were said to have been lost while on their way to Christie's again in 1939. But research by Mellors & Kirk suggested that they were sold to a member of the family of the widow who subsequently found them in her attic.