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Coastal painting to fetch £500k

PUBLISHED: 15:17 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:17 05 July 2010

A PAINTING of the Blyth estuary between Southwold and Walberswick is coming under the auctioneer's hammer next week when it is expected to fetch in the region of £500,000.

A PAINTING of the Blyth estuary between Southwold and Walberswick is coming under the auctioneer's hammer next week when it is expected to fetch in the region of £500,000.

A Tale of the Sea, by Walter Osborne, was painted in 1884 and is one of the star exhibits at the Irish Sale, being held at Sotheby's, in London, on Wednesday.

Osborne was one of a number of artists attracted to the Suffolk coast during the 19th century and his painting shows children waiting at the quayside to unload the catch when the fishing boats return to harbour.

The painting is featured in the book, An Earthly Paradise, by BBC television Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert, and Southwold resident, Geoffrey Munn.

In the book the painting is described by Richard Green of Fine Paintings.

“Beyond the capstans and the wooden bridge a small cluster of houses and sheds can be seen. They were built to service the fishing trade on which Walberswick and Southwold had depended for centuries. In the bright summer sunshine the younger boys have been playing with a toy sailing boat, but those with the straw hats are already at work,” he writes.

Mr Munn said he enjoyed discovering secrets about Southwold while researching and writing the book that shows the town's history connecting well known artists and figures with the area's iconic landmarks.

It is known that Walter Osborne and fellow Irish artist Nathaniel Hill visited Walberswick and Southwold in 1884 and 1885.

“They were both students at the Royal Hibernian Academy. It is possible that the two young painters were at Walberswick because their teacher Augustus Burke was working there at the time,” said Mr Munn.

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