Colin Gleadell has been bird-spotting at Christie’s in London:
Even more remarkable was an immaculately detailed 1856 painting of a white owl perched on a rafter with its prey (right), by the little-known Pre-Raphaelite William Webbe.
Found in an attic by its owners, descendants of the anti-Darwinian natural scientist Richard Owen, the painting carried a £50,000 estimate, which would have established a record for Webbe. However, its quality and rarity was so widely admired by connoisseurs that bidding went sky high before the work fell to the London and New York art advisers Simon Dickinson Ltd for £589,250.
Art Market News: Auction Sales Fall 10% (Telegraph)