BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 04:00 GMT
'Lost' Turner fetches nearly 3m
The painting had not been on the market for 135 years

A "missing" Turner masterpiece, which had not been seen in public for nearly 120 years, has sold for almost 3m.

JMW Turner's Bamborough Castle was described in 1837 as "one of the finest watercolour drawings in the world".

It depicts Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland and has spent most of its life in a private collection of the Vanderbilt family in the US.

The painting sold for 2.93m to a US collector at Sotheby's in London - exceeding its 1.5m-2.5m estimate.

The watercolour dates from the 1830s and in 1872 was bought by the Earl of Dudley for 3,309 - a then record price for a watercolour. The painting was last seen in public 17 years later.

Shortly after the last public viewing, the watercolour was sold to the Vanderbilt family, who accrued enormous wealth by building a shipping and railroad empire in the 19th Century.

This watercolour fully demonstrates the genius of Turner and it's a real treat to have the privilege of bringing it to sale
Henry Wemyss, Sotheby's

Unbeknown to outsiders, the watercolour passed through successive generations of the family, before they eventually placed it on the open market for the first time in 135 years.

Turner's painting of the castle, perched on an outcrop on the very edge of the North Sea, shows the castle from its north side to portray the height and presence of its Norman walls.

The castle had a reputation as a place of refuge for sailors during storms and the painting shows a woman and girl appearing to cower from large rolling waves while a ship struggles to reach the security of land under huge storm clouds.

Henry Wemyss, head of British watercolours at Sotheby's, said before the auction: "This watercolour fully demonstrates the genius of Turner and it's a real treat to have the privilege of bringing it to sale.

"Its recent re-discovery after more than a century away from the public eye, alongside its dramatic and powerful British subject, result in an incredibly rare and special work of art."

It is hoped study of the painting may shed new light on Turner's working practices.

Turner masterpiece to stay in UK
01 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Turners unite to save masterpiece
07 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Turner breaks record at auction
05 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Turner painting sets sale record
06 Apr 06 |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific