Northumberland couple's painting sells for £185,000

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Auctioneer Jim Railton with the painting
Image caption,
Auctioneer Jim Railton said he knew the painting would fetch a high price

A painting bought 50 years ago for less than £100 by a Northumberland couple, has sold for £185,000 at auction.

The landscape of Liverpool's Salthouse Dock, by John Atkinson Grimshaw, had hung on the wall of the elderly couple's home since they bought it.

It had been expected to fetch about £100,000 when it came up for auction at a saleroom in Alnwick on Sunday.

But a London-based private collector eventually bought the 1892 painting by Leeds-born Grimshaw for £185,000.

The painting shows figures and carriages on the wide cobbled road of the dock where sailing ships are moored and atmospheric gas lamps shine on pavements and shops.

Auctioneer Jim Railton said the oil on canvas, which attracted world-wide interest, had achieved a "fantastic price".

He said: "It is a picture of quality with a fantastic provenance and I knew it would have dealers and private collectors fighting to own it.

"Such paintings rarely come onto the market and this one literally attracted world-wide interest. The atmosphere in the saleroom was electric."

He said the vendors were a couple in their 70s who did not want to be identified.

But Mr Railton said they were "amazed and delighted" at the result.

Grimshaw, who started his working life as a railway clerk before turning to art, became famous for such atmospheric canvases of industrial areas.

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