Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 10:09 UK

Old Master price soars at auction

View of the Tiber looking towards the Castel Sant Angelo with St Peter's in the distance, by Giuseppe Zocchi.
The painting was discovered during a valuation at a cottage in Devon

A painting has sold for £1m more than its estimated price at an auction of works by Old Masters, in London.

The oil painting was recently identified as being by Italian artist Giuseppe Zocchi.

It had been expected to fetch up to £250,000, but it sold for £1.3m as two bidders battled it out.

A Bonham's spokesman said: "The client was aware that it was valuable but I don't think they had any idea it was in that kind of league."

The sale price set a new world record for that artist, Bonhams said.

Devon cottage

The work is titled View of the Tiber looking towards the Castel Sant Angelo with St Peter's in the distance. It was thought to have been painted by Andrea Locatelli, until a sketch by fellow Italian artist Zocchi exactly matching the painting came to light.

The painting was discovered in a cottage in Devon, and had been acquired by the seller's parents in 1949.

Charles Lanning, Bonhams regional director in Devon said: "The painting turned up as the result of a valuation I did at a small cottage in the South Hams.

"The client knew it was a valuable picture but it was attributed to the wrong artist. The client had no idea what its auction value would be."

Another painting in the Old Master sale, valued at £50,000 to £80,000, went under the hammer for £625,000.

New records

Titled A Young Man At A Stone Window Playing A Theorbo-lute, the work is by Belgian artist Jacob van Oost, setting a world record price for that artist as well.

The Bonhams spokesman said Old Master paintings had a "track record" in terms of their value. The prices included buyer's premium.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's sales of Old Master Paintings raised £26,134,050 with five new auction records set.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger's finest version of The Massacre of the Innocents sold for £4.6m - the second-highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist at auction.

Goya's equestrian portrait of Don Manuel Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, raised £2,617,250, while Van Dyck's three-quarter-length portrait of Endymion Porter sold for £2m.

Alex Bell, co-chairman of Old Master Paintings, Sotheby's Worldwide, said: "The results demonstrate yet again the consistent underlying strength of the Old Master Paintings market."

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