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Spencer paintings break two records minutes apart

17th June 2011

Two paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer have broken the record for a work sold by the artist twice in the space of a few minutes at auction in London.

Workmen in the House, which was painted in 1937, sold first for GBP 4.7 million, breaking the record for a Spencer work, despite the top estimate being only GBP 2 million.

However, the record only stood for a few minutes, as in the very next auction item, Spencer's 1937 work Sunflower and Dog Worship, was bought by an anonymous bidder for GBP 5.4 million, far exceeding the GBP 1.5 million estimate.

Sotheby's senior director James Rawlin said a 'series of new benchmarks' had been set at the auction.

He added that the sale demonstrates 'both the strength of the market in this field and a particular appreciation for the artist's work'.

The previous record for a Spencer painting was set in December last year, when a 1954 self-portrait of the artist and his first wife Hilda sold for GBP 1.43 million.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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