The paintings by Alfred Leyman had been estimated to fetch between £200 and £400; over the past five years the artist’s work had sold at auction for an average hammer prices of £265.
There was a real buzz in the sale room, with a wide range of local buyers in the room, bidding over the phone or via the internet. Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott was astonished when the bids kept going up – and up.
Eventually the paintings sold for an average hammer price of £1114, with the top performer being a small oval watercolour illustrating a view of a location near Turks Head, looking towards Honiton from St Margaret’s Chapel on one side of the lane and the alms-houses opposite. This was sold for £1650, equalling the record auction price paid for a Leyman painting.
Duncan said: “We knew there would be a lot of curiosity about the pictures locally as they depict recognisable scenes so had a sense of nostalgia about them.
“However, we had no idea that there would be quite that level of interest – to be honest we could have sold the pictures five times over!”
Pleasingly all but one of the paintings have stayed in or close to Honiton, which is where the artist lived for forty years until his death in 1933.