A RUSSIAN painting which once hung in a Richmond stately home has exceeded sale expectations after fetching £6,700 at auction – well above its guide price of £200.

The two-panelled, religious Russian painting caused a stir at Elstob and Elstob’s recent fine art, antiques and jewellery sale.

Believed to date from the 19th century, the 35cm-high, arch-topped, hinged wooden panels open to reveal Jesus Christ on the cross in brass set amongst various elaborately painted representations of biblical scenes.

Known as a diptych, this artistic style was often used for iconography and examples like this were popular as altarpieces.

The piece comes from a collection of items offered for sale by Keith Schellenberg – former Olympic athlete and previous owner of St Nicholas House in Richmond – that formed part of the two-day auction on September 21 and 22 at Bedale Hall.

“It was incredibly exciting when bids flooded in on the day for this item and you could have heard a pin drop in the saleroom as the price climbed higher and higher,” said David Elstob, auctioneer and a director of the Bedale-based auction house.

“We had an inkling that the diptych would achieve a higher than expected price because it was the subject of much pre-sale interest from Russia and Eastern Europe. It was finally knocked down to an Eastern European bidder on the phone and reflects the strong market in this area for works of art,” he added.

Many other items in the Schellenberg collection also enjoyed huge success in the sale, including an oil painting of a young girl – entitled ‘Miss Robertson with a dove’ – in the manner of George Romney that sold for £4,000, far in excess of its guide price range of £600 to £800.

A George I-style walnut wing chair made £1,400, way above its price estimate of £200 to £300 and a pair of 19th century Italian carved wooden figures sold for £6,400, comfortably above their estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.

Smaller household items also achieved good results, including a collection of mid-19th century Staffordshire moulded drab ware pottery that sold above its price estimate of £40 to £60 for £1,200; and a group of 19th century Cantonese Famile Rose tea wares that reached £1,000, exceeding its guide range of £60 - £80.

Elstob & Elstob’s next sale will be held on Sunday, November 24 at Bedale Hall. Call 01677-333003.