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Stubbs horse painting fetches £22.4m

A George Stubbs painting of the racehorse Gimcrack has fetched £22,441,250 at a Christie's auction in London.

John Stainton, Senior Director, British Paintings, Christie's London, said: 'The painting, entitled "Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a jockey and a stable lad", had a pre-auction estimate of £20m to £40m.

!The painting, bought by an unidentified bidder in the room, last changed hands in 1951, when bought by the Northamptonshire-based Woolavington Collection for £12,600.”

The 1.8-metre wide oil on canvas was painted in 1765 by Stubbs.

Gimcrack was a famed racehorse who won 27 of his 36 starts, and the work was commissioned by Gimcrack's owner, Viscount Bolingbroke.

The price blows the previous record for a Stubbs work out of the water. His previous best auction price was £10.1m for "Brood Mare and Foals" at Sotheby's in 2010, although another of his works reportedly changed hands in a private deal for £15.75m.