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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Turner watercolour sets record
 View of Heidelberg with Rainbow
The watercolour was painted in the 1840s
A watercolour by JMW Turner has sold for more than £2m - making it the most expensive British watercolour ever.

Experts had put a high estimate of only £800,000 ($1.1m) on View of Heidelberg with Rainbow.

View of Heidelberg with Rainbow ranks as one of the greatest and loveliest of Turner's landscapes in watercolour.

Henry Wemyss, Sotheby's
The new owners of the Turner, art dealers Thomas Agnew and Son, first bought the same picture 93 years ago for just £4,300 ($6,000).

They later sold it to Sir Donald Currie and it has remained in his family ever since.

The Important British Pictures auction at Sotheby's also saw another record-breaking bid for a piece by John Zoffany.

The eighteenth century artist's work, The Dutton Family in the Drawing Room of Sherborne Park, Gloucestershire fetched £3.2m ($4.9m).


The final bid of £2,038,500 ($2,846,285) at Sotheby's auction house in London set the record for a piece by Turner.

The work dates from the early 1840s and is one of a group of watercolours of German and Swiss views which Turner drew between 1840 and 1848.

Henry Wemyss, senior director and Sotheby's specialist in British drawings and watercolours said: "View of Heidelberg with Rainbow ranks as one of the greatest and loveliest of Turner's landscapes in watercolour.

"It is breathtakingly atmospheric and highly romantic with its incredible observation and attention to detail, all translated with a lightness of touch, evocative brushstrokes and blending of colours, simultaneously both bright and yet subtle."

The former record for a British watercolour was £826,500 ($1.1m) for a work by John Frederick Lewis which was sold at Sotheby's in 1996.

See also:

30 Jun 98 | UK
Monet sold for £19m
09 May 01 | Arts
Bacon sale hits world record
10 May 00 | Americas
Picasso fetches $28.6m
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