A Painting Found in a U.K. Thrift Shop Turns Out to Be a Henry Scott Tuke Work Worth Over $31,000

The painting was left at an Oxfam thrift store by an unnamed donor.

Henry Scott Tuke. Nude Study Of A Young Man (circa 1915). Photo courtesy of Batemans Auctioneers & Valuers

A painting of a nude man donated to an Oxfam thrift store in the U.K. sold for nearly $25,000 earlier this month after it was determined to be by the hand of English Impressionist painter Henry Scott Tuke.

Greg Bateman, senior valuer at Batemans Auctioneers & Valuers in the town of Stamford, said in a statement he was “stunned” to see the painting emerge from a shopping bag when it arrived at auction house. The painting had been brought in with several others by a thrift store volunteer after it was left behind by an unnamed donor.

The unsigned oil painting, Nude Study Of A Young Man (ca. 1915), measures roughly 15 by 12 inches and depicts a young man crouching and looking off to the left. The model is likely Charlie Mitchell, a boat handler.

Henry Scott Tuke, born in 1858, was a prolific painter best known for depicting nude boys and men. His works, though never explicitly sexual, have been owned by collectors including Elton John and Freddie Mercury, and have been the subject of many academic papers on gay and homoerotic work.

The newly discovered painting opened with a bid of £520 ($651) at Batemans before rapidly increasing as eight different bidders, including one phone bidder, fired off 88 bids in just six minutes.

It ultimately sold with a price of £24,800 ($31,036), after buyer’s premium, to a British collector who “will be trying to pin down a firm attribution” for the work.

“The difficulty was that it wasn’t signed and [had] no real official provenance,” Bateman told The Telegraph. “We weren’t able to speak to the person who donated it, we don’t even know a name, so we don’t know how they came by it.”

In his statement, Bateman said the collector is “extremely pleased” to have fought off stiff competition for the painting, which is the most expensive ever sold by the small auction house. The proceeds of the sale are expected to go to the charity.


More Trending Stories:  

Artists to Watch This Month: 10 Solo Gallery Exhibitions to See In New York Before the End of the Year 

Art Dealers Christina and Emmanuel Di Donna on Their Special Holiday Rituals 

Stefanie Heinze Paints Richly Ambiguous Worlds. Collectors Are Obsessed 

Inspector Schachter Uncovers Allegations Regarding the Latest Art World Scandal—And It’s a Doozy 

Archaeologists Call Foul on the Purported Discovery of a 27,000-Year-Old Pyramid 

The Sprawling Legal Dispute Between Yves Bouvier and Dmitry Rybolovlev Is Finally Over 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.
Article topics