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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
13,000 for Egypt queen painting
Egyptian painting by Howard Carter
Queen Senseneb from Derel Bahari was painted in 1897
A painting of an Egyptian queen by Howard Carter, the man who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen, has sold at auction for 13,000.

The watercolour was left to owner Barbara Rampton 15 years ago but she did not realise its significance until she took it to a charity valuation.

The 1897 work had been hanging in a holiday cottage near Barmouth.

Carter, who died in 1939, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

His painting of Queen Senseneb began with an estimate of 3,000 but was soon contested by five telephone bidders.

It eventually sold to a specialist art dealer in London.

They don't appear for sale very often as they are usually found in museums
William Lacey, Halls Fine Arts painting expert

The significance of the work was identified by William Lacey, paintings expert at Shrewsbury-based Halls Fine Art after Mrs Rampton took it to a charity valuation day in Barmouth in March.

Mr Lacey said: "The price is far and beyond what I was expecting and surpasses what other examples of his work have made in recent years.

"Howard Carter is now a household name, as everyone associates him with Tutankhamen."

Carter went to Egypt as an artist in 1891 when he was 17, but he became increasingly interested in the archaeology he was there to record. His portrait is of Queen Senseneb from Derel Bahari.

'Exciting discovery'

Mrs Rampton said: "We had been on holiday to Egypt and bought paintings with a similar Egyptian subject - they did not suit our cottage so we put them up in a holiday cottage we have.

"I used to tell visitors that the painting was by Howard Carter. They would go, 'Oh' and that would be that.

"I took it along to the charity auction just to make the numbers up because they were raising money for a good cause."

"I was surprised it was worth so much and after speaking to my husband and children decided it would be best to sell it rather than put it back in the holiday cottage.

Mr Lacey added: "This is a very unusual watercolour by Howard Carter who was a good amateur water colourist.

"It's in nice condition - and is quite a rare thing. They don't appear for sale very often as they are usually found in museums."

The painting went under the hammer at Shrewsbury's Welsh Bridge saleroom.


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