An eighteenth-century painting by English master Thomas Gainsborough was auctioned in London on Wednesday (July 19) for GBP280,000 sterling -- a world record price for an English artist's work.
GV & SV Painting showing detail (5 shots)
CU Sisters who owned painting ZOOM OUT TO SV of others at auction
GV PAN People at auction and painting (2 shots)
SV Painting and PAN TO auctioneer during bidding
SV Art dealer who eventually bought painting
SV Auctioneer calling for bids for last time (NT. SOUND)
ANDREWS: "The painting had always been known simply as 'the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor and their daughters'. Gainsborough painted it in 1748, and until today it had passed down generation to generation through the family of Dorothea Townsend, the little girl in white seated in front. She was the great-great-great-grandmother of the twin sisters who sold it this morning. When their mother died three months ago, they got in touch with Sotheby's for valuation. One of their art experts soon confirmed their wildest dreams. It was not only a Gainsborough, it was also one of the artist's finest works. The twin sisters, who wish to remain anonymous, arrived at Sotheby's this morning. It was the final act in what they themselves described as a 'fairy tale'. The portrait of their ancestors was the star attraction in the sale of English paintings which, before the day was out, would fetch nearly half a million pounds. Bidding for the Gainsborough was surprisingly brisk."
AUCTIONEER: ???ty thousand pounds to start it...twenty is bid.... forty.... sixty......eighty......one hundred......and twenty.....one forty...."
ANDREWS: (over auctioneer): "The art dealer who led and finally won the bidding was acting on behalf of a private English collector. He said the Gainsborough will hang in England, but won't be on public viewing."
AUCTIONEER: "....two-hundred-and-eighty-thousand pounds....centre of the room....two-hundred-and-eighty-thousand pounds....two-hundred-and-eighty-thousand.....all done."
Initials BB/0345 WLW/PN/BB/0406
TELERECORDING original on 9117/72 76ft
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Background: An eighteenth-century painting by English master Thomas Gainsborough was auctioned in London on Wednesday (July 19) for GBP280,000 sterling -- a world record price for an English artist's work.
The painting, known as 'the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor and their daughters' depicts a family in a landscape setting. It belonged to middle-aged twin sisters, whose family--descendants of those in the picture-had held it in their possession since it was completed in 1748. It was previously unrecognised as a genuine Gainsborough.
This film, showing the painting on view in the auction rooms of Sotheby's, the London auction firm which handled the sale, also shows the bidding in progress. It is provided with a voice-on-film commentary, a transcript of which appears below, and an ALTERNATIVE written commentary appears overpage.
SYNOPSIS: An eighteenth-century painting by English artist Thomas Gainsborough, known as 'the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor and their daughters' was auctioned in London on Wednesday. It was sold for two-hundred-and-eighty-thousand pounds-sterling -- a world record price for the work of an English artist. Unrecognised as a genuine Gainsborough, it had been hung in a private home--after being passed down through generations of the family descended from the people in the picture. The owners, twin sisters, were in fact great-grand-daughters of the girl in white seated in front.
The sisters, who were present at the auction, had the painting valued and certified only recently. It turned out to be not only a genuine Gainsborough, but also one of the artist's finest works--painted in seventeen-forty-eight, when he was twenty-one. The bidding for it came quickly.
The dealer who finally won was acting for an anonymous, private English collector. He said the painting would be hung in England, although not for public viewing.