One of John Constable's finest works, The Lock, set a new world record price for the artist last night (July 3) in Christie's Old Masters and British Paintings sale.
The London auction realised over £85m ($133m), the highest total ever achieved for the category. It will be followed today (July 4) by the Old Masters and British Paintings day sale, where Hans Rottenhammer I's Venus and Cupid is expected to excel at £100,000-150,000.
However, the impressive price tag achieved by The Lock was marred by an unpleasant dispute between the consignor and her late husband's family. Baroness Thyssen, a former Miss Spain, angered the daughter of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who claimed her father would never have agreed to auction the Constable work.
Despite this, the piece went on to achieve £22.4m ($35.2m), sitting comfortably within its pre-sale estimate of £20-25m. The sale represents a 3.38% pa increase in value from the baron's £10.8m winning bid at Sotheby's in 1990.
The Lock is one of six oil paintings of the River Stour that were exhibited by Constable at London's Royal Academy until 1824. It depicts a rural scene with a Suffolk man working the mechanism of a canal lock, and provides a stunning example of Constable's intricate landscapes.
Investors who missed out at Christie's will have the chance to bid on a rare sketch from Constable in Bonhams' July 11 sale.
We will be bringing you more results from the record-breaking sale shortly, so be sure to check back with us soon. In the meantime, take a look at some of our fantastic entry-level artworks.