Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:25 UK

'Missing' Goyas to be auctioned

Goya's Repentance
Goya's Repentance was taken from his Images of Spain album

Three sketches by Spanish master Francisco de Goya, which were presumed lost, will be seen for the first time in 131 years when auctioned in London.

The pieces were discovered in a private Swiss collection and are expected to fetch more than 3 million at a sale at Christie's in July.

They had not been seen since 105 of his drawings were sold in Paris in 1877.

The three sketches, drawn between 1812 and 1829, are all from Goya's celebrated private notebooks.

It was only realised that the three had not been lost after all when the owners contacted Christie's to say they would like to sell them.

The drawings were still on mounts used during the sale in 1877.

They illustrate to perfection the inexhaustible fertility of Goya's imagination
Benjamin Peronnet

The auction house said all three sketches were in "exceptional condition" because they had not been framed or exposed to light.

They "illustrate to perfection the inexhaustible fertility of Goya's imagination and the creativity and flair that see him recognised as arguably the first modern artist", spokesman Benjamin Peronnet said.

The sketch Bajar Rinendo (Down They Come) shows four women fighting, while Repentance portrays a seated man praying in front of a cross.

The Constable Lampinos Stitched Inside a Dead Horse depicts the punishment given to an 18th Century local official by peasants for his persecution of women and students.

Goya, who lived from 1746 to 1828, is considered one of the world's greatest artists and one of the first "modern" painters.

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