Self-portrait by 18th century Suffolk artist sells for £116,460

Undated handout photo issued by Cheffins of the earliest known self-portrait by Thomas Gainsborough

The earliest known self-portrait by Sudbury-born artist Thomas Gainsborough which was sold at Cheffins auction house in Cambridge - Credit: PA

The earliest known self-portrait by an 18th century Suffolk painter has sold at auction for £116,460 – around double its pre-sale estimate.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), a weaver's son who went on to become a founding member of the Royal Academy, is thought to have created the artwork aged 13 in 1740, soon after leaving Sudbury for London

A London-based buyer, who bid by telephone, bought the painting at the Cheffins Fine Sale in Cambridge on Wednesday for £116,460.

The price includes the buyers’ premium of 24.5% and VAT.

Its pre-sale estimate was between £40,000 and £60,000.

Nicolas Martineau, Auctioneer at Cheffins, said: “This painting saw a great deal of interest ahead of the auction, with inquiries from private collectors and institutions worldwide.

“As the leading portrait painter of the 18th century, this important work from Gainsborough’s early career represents an exciting glimpse into his development as an artist and what potentially was to come.

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“It has been a privilege to offer the work at auction here at Cheffins in Gainsborough’s native East Anglia.”

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