Louis of France and Nelson Mandela among the big names at art auction

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A French prince and South Africa’s first black president were the subjects of interest at an auction of paintings in the Cotswolds last week.

A portrait of the young Louis of France, ‘Le Grand Dauphin’ was bought for £26,000 – in excess of its £15,000 to £20,000 estimate – when it went under the hammer at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Friday, April 11.

The 60cm tall oil on canvas by Pierre Mignard (1612-1695), a French painter at the court of Louis XIV, featured the heir to the French throne in child-size armour and a red cloak.

As an adult, Le Grand Dauphin would lead his father’s army into battle – against an alliance of troops from the Netherlands, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire during the Nine Years’ War – but he would never wear the crown.

He died from smallpox in 1711, at the age of 49, predeceasing his father.

Meanwhile, an image of Nelson Mandela’s handprint – a lithograph limited to 1,000 copies and signed in pencil by the former president himself – sold for £3,200.

The Hand of Africa – a print of Mandela’s left hand with a silhouette of the African continent in the palm – was created by accident when the leader was experimenting with printing processes while creating his famous 2007 series of lithographs, My Robben Island.

Elsewhere in the auction, there was surprise when a modern watercolour – The School Room, by Kenneth Rowntree – achieved £5,200 against a £1,000 to £1,500 estimate, making the second-highest lot price of the day.

Rowntree, who was born into a Welsh Quaker family in 1915, specialised in painting country chapels, miners’ cottages, rural schools and hill farms. His work can be found at the Tate, the Imperial War Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Another Welsh scene – this time by a Yorkshireman – achieved the third highest lot price of the day. On the Dee, Llangollen, North Wales, a river landscape in oil on canvas, featuring cattle watering, sold for £3,500 against an estimate of £2,000 to £3,000.

There was more livestock in the fourth-placed picture, an oil on board painted by Thomas Sidney Cooper in 1857 and titled Cattle Watering with Herdsman and Sheep on a Hillock in Background, which achieved £2,880.

And there was a lucky find for a vendor who moved into a new house with a discarded street scene of Arundel Terrace, Kemptown, Brighton hanging on the wall.

Painted in 1972 by Alfred Daniel – whose colourful work in the naive style can be found in the Imperial War Museum, the Science Museum, and in the collection of the City of London Corporation – the 77cm acrylic made £880.

For more information about buying and selling antiques at auction, log on to www.moorealen.co.uk

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