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LONDON (Reuters) - A watercolor by British master artist JMW Turner not seen in public for more than a century and listed as lost goes on sale next week with a price tag in excess of 1.5 million pounds ($3 million).
Described by The Graphic Society in 1837, shortly after it was painted, as "one of the finest watercolor drawings in the world" Bamborough Castle has not been on the open market since 1872 when it went for a then record of 3,309 pounds.
About 18 years later it passed privately into the hands of the American Vanderbilt dynasty and disappeared from public view, being listed in a 1979 catalogue as "untraced".
The painting depicts the castle high on a cliff on the northern English coast in the 19th century in the middle of a violent storm which has driven a ship onto the rocks.
In the picture a flare has been fired and people are gathered on the waters' edge preparing to try to rescue the sailors seen rowing away from the stricken boat.
The castle was known as one of the great places of refuge on the British coast for sailors in distress during storms.
It had rooms within the walls that were set aside for rescued sailors as well as a marine rescue party that patrolled a long stretch of the coast north and south of the castle.
It goes on sale at Sotheby's in London on December 5.
Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; Editing by Janet Lawrence