A PAINTING by a leading Scottish colourist, Francis Cadell, which hung anonymously for years over a kitchen sink in Ireland, has been sold for more than (pounds) 75,000 at


The still life, The Red Chair, was bought for just (pounds) 1 at a house clearance nearly 35 years ago in Ireland, but was sold for (pounds) 75,250 yesterday at a sale of nearly 300 British, Victorian, and Scottish paintings at Christie's in London.

The picture's true value was appreciated only after the owner's daughter spotted a similar work by the artist on the internet.

It was bought yesterday at Christie's South Kensington branch by an anonymous private collector.

The lucky owner, 68, has kept her identity a secret - although she lives in a small cottage in County Wicklow and bought the picture at a local house clearance sale in about 1969.

Her daughter, who lives overseas, saw a similar work by Cadell featured on Christie's website promoting their Scottish sale in Edinburgh last year.

She recognised the artist's name as that on her mother's painting and contacted Christie's Irish representative, Christine Ryall.

The painting - featuring a bottle on a table beside a red chair - was sent to London, where experts confirmed that it was by the popular and sought-after Scottish colourist.

Mr Ryall said: ''The owner had no idea of its significance or value - she just liked the look of it and hung it over her sink, where it has remained all these years.

''The picture has suffered a little from damp and the paint has flaked slightly, but it is nonetheless a major discovery and represents the bargain of a lifetime.''

In yesterday's sale, works by Cadell's fellow colourists, Samuel John Peploe, and George Leslie Hunter, were among the most popular of the 277 lots. The decision to auction the works in London was intended to attract a more international clientele.

Peploe's painting, Roses in a Chinese Vase, from 1923, topped the bidding, selling comfortably within its estimate, at (pounds) 125,000, which is almost three times more than when it was last auctioned in 1986.

The work of Scottish colourists is sought after on the international market, and an increasing number of buyers are emerging from the United States, Europe and the Far East, although the prices were far from the record amount of (pounds) 520,750 paid for Peploe's The Black Bottle in 2001.

There were only six colourist pictures in the auction in what was a slow sale, with nearly one third of pictures remaining unsold.