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Surprise result for Russian religious art

A Russian painting that once graced the rooms of a prestigious North Yorkshire country house caused quite a stir at our September Fine Art, Antiques and Jewellery Sale when it soared way above its guide price of £200-£300, selling for £6,800.

Believed to date from the 19th century, the 35cm-high, arch-topped, hinged wooden panels open to reveal Jesus Christ on the cross in brass, set amongst various elaborately painted representations of biblical scenes.

Known as a diptych, this artistic style was often used for iconography and examples like this were popular as altarpieces.

The piece comes from a collection of around 80 items offered for sale by Keith Schellenberg – the Olympian athlete and former Yorkshire Rugby captain, who lived at  St Nicholas House in Richmond until earlier this year.

There was much pre-sale interest in the diptych from Russia and Eastern Europe, and it was finally knocked down to an Eastern European telephone bidder.

Many other items in the Schellenberg collection also enjoyed huge success in the sale, including an oil painting of a young girl – entitled ‘Miss Robertson with a dove’ – in the manner of George Romney that sold for £4,000, far in excess of its guide price range of £600 - £800.

A George I-style walnut wing chair made £1,400, way above its price estimate of £200 - £300 and a pair of 19th century Italian carved wooden figures sold for £6,400, comfortably above their estimate of £4,000 - £6,000. Thought to be Venetian in origin, the exotically dressed turbaned figures stood almost two metres high and were exquisitely decorated.

Smaller household items also achieved exceptional results, including a collection of mid-19th century Staffordshire moulded drab ware pottery that sold above its price estimate of £40 - £60 for £1,200; and a group of 19th century Cantonese Famile Rose tea wares that reached £1,000, exceeding its guide range of £60 - £80.

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